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Facelifted Volkswagen Passat brings improved tech and upgraded GTE hybrid

(Volkswagen/PA)
(Volkswagen/PA)

Volkswagen has revealed the latest revisions to its Passat range, which see the popular saloon gain a host of new safety equipment alongside an updated engine range.

The new Passat takes a similar approach to the Golf, with the facelift considered a ‘Mk8.5’ model rather than a totally new car. As such, it’s virtually identical on the outside – with just a few tweaks to the bumpers and new alloy wheel designs. LED lights are also now standard across the range.

Under the bonnet, the most significant change is the reintroduction of the Passat GTE plug-in hybrid model. Removed from sale last year amid the changing WLTP emissions regulations, the new model features a larger battery pack for a WLTP-certified electric-only range of 35 miles. Total power output remains the same at 215bhp.

Elsewhere in the engine line-up, four diesels are on offer. A 1.6-litre, 118bhp powertrain starts the range, followed by a 187bhp 2.0-litre option and a range-topping 237bhp bi-turbo unit — while a new 2.0-litre TDI Evo engine appears with cylinder de-activation technology for greater efficiency.

There are also three petrol engines on offer – a 148bhp 1.5-litre TSI Evo, and a 2.0-litre TSI with 187bhp and 268bhp on offer above it.

Body styles also remain the same, with the Passat offered as a four-door saloon, five-door estate or in jacked-up Alltrack form.

Headline technology news for the Passat is the introduction of Volkswagen’s Travel Assist – essentially the brand’s first semi-autonomous system capable of operating at higher speeds.

(Volkswagen/PA)

This tech is able to take care of throttle, brakes and steering at speeds of up to 130mph – a big improvement on the previous Traffic Jam Assist’s 25mph maximum and even the 80mph maximum of rival Volvo’s Pilot Assist.

The interior has also received a technology boost – with the brand’s Virtual Cockpit tech making an appearance for the first time on the Passat, having recently been made available across a number of VW Group model. Always-online functionality’s been introduced for the top-end infotainment system, as well as wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality.

The new Passat will make its first appearance in the metal at the Geneva Motor Show, ahead of order books opening in May. Pricing hasn’t yet been announced, but expect a modest rise over the current car’s £23,495 starting price.