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2020 VW Passat Facelift Is All About Details and Tech in Geneva

Europe says it wants crossovers, but it keeps buying Passats. That's why Volkswagen made fresh updates to the mid-size sedan and wagon, which arrive in the form of a 2020 facelift at the Geneva Motor Show.
2020 VW Passat Facelift Is All About Details and Tech in Geneva 27 photos
Photo: Guido ten Brink / SB-Medien
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This car is not to be confused with the American 2020 Passat, which is all-new yet still doesn't ride on the MQB. No, it's an update for the European range, which includes such things as an Alltrack, a PHEV and a wagon above all.

The cosmetic changes are only going to be apparent to current Passat owners. For example, even though they look the same, the headlights are new and fit well around a slightly larger grille. The lower fascia is probably the most prominent change of the facelift.

Around the back, we have a new diffuser and taillight graphics stolen from the Touareg. Also, "Passat" is very clearly written over the trunk. A variety of models were shown in Geneva, our favorite being the R-Line Edition with its fancy body kit and black wheels. On the downside, the carbon leather seats are a bit too much.

Climbing inside, we found quality-of-life changes. For example, the MIB3 system has live info, individualized menus, and wireless Android or Apple pairing. Volkswagen has installed clever dampers that work with a camera and semi-autonomous driving at up to 210 km/h. We've learned that VW's apps can remotely generate access keys, so you could let a friend drive your Passat even if he doesn't have a key. It's also set up for package deliveries to the trunk, though the system isn't implemented at this moment.

Powertrain-wise, there's nothing particularly important. Engineers say the 2.0 TDI has been set up to feel more responsive and linear, while the 1.5 TSI replaces the old 1.4 unit. Also, the GTE uses a larger battery for more real-world range.

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About the author: Mihnea Radu
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Mihnea's favorite cars have already been built, the so-called modern classics from the '80s and '90s. He also loves local car culture from all over the world, so don't be surprised to see him getting excited about weird Japanese imports, low-rider VWs out of Germany, replicas from Russia or LS swaps down in Florida.
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