VOLKSWAGEN Passat Models/Series Timeline, Specifications & Photos

Generations: 12
First production year: 1981
Engines: Gasoline, Diesel, Natural gas
VOLKSWAGEN Passat (US) photo gallery

The Volkswagen Passat (US version) was first introduced in 1992 and today is now one of the most popular cars available.

The 2020 Volkswagen Passat comes with a 2.0-liter engine that develops 174 HP and 207 lb-ft of torque, and 6-speed automatic Tiptronic gearbox. The power is taken to the front wheels via the 6-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission.

At the exterior, Passat retains the main characteristics of its previous model, but completely restyling it, with a dynamic coupe-like roofline, thrilling "tornado" line, and aggressive grille, giving the latest Volkswagen Passat a bold stance.

Inside we find a new design and upgraded technology with a spacious cabin. The cockpit incorporates air vents that flow across the dash in a design that reminds of premium models. Furthermore, new colors and premium materials are added to give the interior a slick look.

Volkswagen continues to offer comfort to both drivers and passengers through the following available features: heated front and rear seats, power driver's seat with memory, dual-zone Climatronic automatic climate control, heated side mirrors with memory, adaptive front-lighting system, auto-dimming rearview mirror, remote start, rain-sensing wipers, keyless access, push-button start, voice control, easy-open trunk, and standard Volkswagen car-net app-connect technology, which incorporates compatible smartphones with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

With no less than 30 million Passat models having spawned from Wolfsburg and over 7 generations of the nameplate creating its own legen, the eighth iteration of the model in mid-cycle facelift guise was unveiled in 2019. Thanks to a cornucopia of technology added to the model, most of the new features having trickled down from some of the more premium car brands under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, the eighth Passat is now more advanced than ever.

Most of the refresh is found inside, where thanks to new hardware and software, the new Digital Cockpit has been massively improved compared to the previous Active Info Display. With much enhanced graphics and improved features, the system now offers three various display configurations can be customized using the redesigned multifunction steering wheel. The exterior is almost identical to its predecessor, although newly shaped headlights and redesigned front and rear bumpers give it a slightly more dynamic look.

All gasoline engines now feature particulate filters as standard, while on the diesel front there is a new 2.- TDI Evo engine choice. With an output of 150 horsepower, the powerplants emits 10 g/100 km less CO2 compared to its predecessor. The gasoline engine lineup has been completed with three new engines with 150 horsepower, 190 horsepower and 272 horsepower, respectively.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

If you are considering buying a midsize sedan, the 2014 Volkswagen Passat is one of the interesting options. Maybe you didn't know that It's the only European car in the family sedan segment. It's also the only sedan in this class that offers a diesel engine option with a fuel economy almost close de hybrid sedans, emphasized by a start-stop system.

If it's to talk about the design. Passat gives that specific German style design with a wide variety of precisely drawn edges and creases that develop individual light-reflecting surfaces. The radiator grille is designed to be significantly larger than the headlights. All three equipment versions (Trendline, Comfortline, Highline) are upgraded by four chrome bars.

On the sides, these bars bend inward towards the headlights in a trapezoid shape. The lowermost chrome bar of the grille is continued into the headlights. Above the grille and the headlights, another chrome accent extends across the entire width of the front end, and it is continued laterally in the character line (from "Highline").

Volkswagen developed an entirely new lighting design for the eighth-generation Passat. The car is being offered with halogen and LED headlights. In particular, the two versions' LED headlights create an unmistakable look.

The interior cabin of Passat is very spacious. Space up front is good, offering the necessary adjustment positions for the seats and steering wheel for a comfortable driving position. The Passat has plenty of legroom and headroom in the back, giving enough comfort for adults.

The spacious trunk offers 15.9 cubic feet of cargo, a very good number compared to its competitors, and a large pass-through gives you plenty of room to haul bulkier items when the rear seats are folded.

The quality of the VW Passat's interior materials is among the best in the class. Everything feels well screwed together, giving you the feeling of the VW solidity. The overall cabin design is minimalist, while the layout of gauges and controls is refreshingly simple.

Riding the Passat is a very good long-distance cruiser. It is very comfy and quiet, even at higher speeds. The only complaint is that the steering is a bit inert, but the DSG gearbox compensates.

The fuel economy is very good for both diesel and petrol engines. Is it a good family car? Yes, it is, it has many safety features, and it is worth mentioning that it gained 5 stars out of five on crash tests. It's the only European car in the family sedan segment, and that heritage is evident in its clean styling, tidy, down-to-business interior design, and solid, composed highway ride. It is comfortable, and when buying it, it is good to think that due to its strong brand image, it will keep its value better when resold.

REVIEW: 2016 Volkswagen Passat 2.0 BiTDI 4Motion   full description and technical specifications
VOLKSWAGEN Passat US photo gallery

Volkswagen did an excellent job when it decided to build an American-special Passat for the 2012 model year, resulting in a lower price than on its predecessor.

The German carmaker tried to get a bigger market share in the U.S. mid-size sedan segment with the Passat. For that, it opened a new factory in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Another major decision was to make a different vehicle than its European sibling. Thus, it resulted in the U.S.-spec Passat, which shared only the nameplate and the badge with the German-made mid-size cousin.

Once it crossed the Atlantic, the Passat became longer, wider, taller, and, most importantly, cheaper. It was around 30% less expensive than its predecessor. Its design resembled its smaller sibling, the Jetta. The three-slat grille with chromed accents and the broad lower air-intake flanked by fog lights with angular shapes confirmed it as a member of the Volkswagen stable. The angular-shaped taillights crossed the rear quarter fenders onto the trunk lid at the back, thus creating a classy look.

Thanks to the longer wheelbase than its predecessor, the U.S. Passat provided a more extensive interior for the rear passengers. At the front, the bucket seats offered good side support for both occupants. On the tilted center stack, the carmaker installed a touch-screen infotainment system. The instrument cluster was typical Volkswagen with two large dials for the speedometer and tachometer, plus a TFT display between them.

Under the skin, the Passat received a revised suspension with McPherson type at the front and a four-link independent rear axle. Strangely, the carmaker didn't make the Passat with an all-wheel-drive system, even though it could. Under the hood, Volkswagen offered a choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter inline-five base model, a 3.6-liter V-6, and a 2.0-liter TDI unit. Later on, the carmaker added a 1.8-liter turbocharged version.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

Volkswagen introduced a heavily facelifted version of the sixth generation of the Passat in 2010, and despite naming it as being the seventh, it was more of a sixth and a half.

The Passat was already one of the best-selling nameplates in history, with over 15 million units sold worldwide since 1973. It was sold around the globe, and the carmaker even considered building it differently for specific markets.

For the refreshed version, the 2010 Passat gained a new front styling that resembled the Scirocco, a sporty hatchback based on the Golf. Its three horizontal slats on the upper grille made the car look wider, even though it wasn't. Still, it was longer and had the same height as its predecessor. With its more angular lines and the Phaeton-inspired taillights, the mid-size sedan was a hit on the market, something that Volkswagen desperately needed to recover from the Dieselgate scandal.

Inside, the materials' quality was improved over its predecessor. The car was offered on the European market in three trim levels: Trendline, Comfort, and Highline. Depending on the version, there were different infotainment units and chromed accents around the cockpit. The front bucket seats provided adequate side support and enough comfort for long distances. There was room on the bench for three occupants, although the front-to-back transmission tunnel took some of the middle passenger's legroom.

Under the hood, Volkswagen installed only Euro 5 engines since they were mandatory starting with 2009. This time, though, it shrunk the offer on turbo-diesel engines but made them cleaner. Last but not least, the gasoline versions were changed.

REVIEW: VOLKSWAGEN Passat   full description and technical specifications
VOLKSWAGEN Passat CC photo gallery

Based on the well-known Volkswagen Passat, the CC version was the 4-door coupe version for the German car-maker. It was launched in 2008 at the North American International Auto Show.

The CC initials stood for Comfort Coupe and it was the Volkswagen answer for a market that demanded sportier sedans and for customers who didn't enjoy the coupe versions. Not to mention that Volkswagen didn't have any mid-size coupe in its lineup.

The design was a daring move made by the, otherwise traditional, Volkswagen brand. A low-profile roof, with very raked A-pillars and narrow front end, would suggest a sports car. The frameless windows were also new for a 4-door Volkswagen. The redesigned front and rear headlights made a clear statement of distancing from the regular Passat.

The interior was designed for four adults, with a sportier design for the front seats and a profiled rear bench for two passengers. The low roof design limited the headroom for the rear occupants. The dashboard was straight, with horizontal lines to amplify the width appearance. The instrument cluster featured carried-over analog dials from the regular Passat.

The Passat CC was offered with a choice of gasoline and diesel engines, with manual or automatic transmission. For specific markets, it was also offered with all-wheel-drive systems, with a Haldex center differential.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

The first Passat generation was launched back in 1973 and it was designed by the famous Giorgetto Giugiaro.

In 2005, the Passat was already at its 6-th generation at it was revealed at the Geneva Motor Show in March.

While the large sedan wasn’t exactly included in the upmarket class, It would differentiate a lots from the mainstream ones. The Passat was a good rival to a lower-end BMW 3-Series or the Audi A4.

The Passat was capable and comfortable on long journeys, with a great suspension setup. The sportier models traded comfort for better handling and were equipped with a lowered suspension and larger wheels.

The most appreciated engines on the Passat were the 1.9-liter with 138 hp and the 2.0-liter with producing 168 hp.

Inside the cabin, the users had an airy feeling due to the great finishes. Roomy in the front, the driving position was very comfortable and the steering could be adjusted to suit every driver.

The storage room inside the cabin was great, with deep pockets into the door panels. The lack of the traditional handbrake contributed to the airy feeling, VW replacing it with an electric version.

The Passat was available with four trim levels: Trendline, Comfortline, Sportline and Highline.

The Passat scored 5 stars at the crash-test results in the Euro-NCAP, having 6 airbags and ESP.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

The 2000 version of the Passat fourth-generation brought several upgrades that made the car more appealing to the market and improved Volkswagen's image.

Also known as the B5.5, the 2000 Passat received a few updates. Even though it was just a regular family vehicle, it could serve as a middle-management company car with the right configuration. Moreover, the base versions were some of the best mid-size rental sedans available on the market.

At the front, the small rectangular headlights from the 1997 model were gone. Volkswagen installed reshaped headlamps and turn signals. The carmaker adorned the grille's horizontal slats with chromed lines to make the car look more upmarket. Following the same idea of a higher quality product, it replaced the black rubber strips with color-bodied ones. A new set of taillights with butterfly-shaped reversing lights lenses made a clear difference in the rear.

Volkswagen improved the 2000 Passat interior by adding new climate control buttons on the center stack. Depending on the trim level and the options, the carmaker included better infotainment systems on the offer, with satellite navigation. For the instrument panel, the German carmaker added shiny silver rings around the dials and gauges. Thanks to its 2.7 m (106.4") wheelbase, it offered decent room for rear passengers, although the transmission tunnel affected the legroom for the middle bench occupant.

Volkswagen's engine choices played a significant role in Passat's sales. The carmaker offered it with an extensive power range from a fuel-efficient 1.9-liter TDI unit that provided 100 hp up to a 4.0-liter W-8 gasoline engine with 275 hp. It was available with front or all-wheel-drive, with manual or automatic (Tiptronic) transmissions.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

Volkswagen introduced the fourth generation of the Passat lineup in 1996. It was a revolution in design and features compared to its predecessor. As a result, many people considered it the best Passat of all times.

While most Volkswagen vehicles were built with a transverse-mounted engine, the Passat was built on a different platform, with a longitudinally mounted powerplant. It was an unusual decision, but it paid off. It was not only a dependable vehicle but also comfortable, trustworthy, and, with the right options, a competitor for premium vehicles.

Volkswagen decided to introduce a vehicle with round shapes, curved lines, and angular headlights in the full bio-design era. A game of lights and shadows made this vehicle look attractive even though its details were somehow bland. The curved greenhouse sported a third, small, triangular window behind the rear doors. The corner-mounted taillights flanked the trunk lid opening with their red lenses at the back, apart from the white reversing lights.

On the inside, the carmaker placed a dashboard with a curved design. The instrument cluster resembled the same shape as the car's greenhouse. At the same time, a tall center console separated the front bucket seats. The bench was wide enough for three passengers at the back, but the tall tunnel that crossed the car from front to rear limited the legroom for a middle occupant.

Under the hood, Volkswagen offered something for everyone. It started with a 1.6-liter gasoline-powered engine that was relatively weak for this heavy vehicle. But since the diesel-powered versions already gained traction on the market, Volkswagen decided to install an extensive choice of them, with either a front or an all-wheel drive system.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

Volkswagen introduced the third Passat generation in 1988 on a new platform and followed a new design concept that affected its successors.

In 1993, the carmaker introduced a heavily facelifted version of its mid-size competitor. Ford put up a big fight with the 1993 Mondeo, and Volkswagen had to upgrade its model. Instead of calling the '93 Passat a facelift, the carmaker said it was the Passat B4. But it was the same platform, with the same greenhouse and roof. It replaced the rest of the body panels, though.

At the front, Volkswagen's designers created a new front fascia with a slatted grille and elongated, horizontal headlights. Unlike the second generation, from the Passat B3/B4, the carmaker offered it only as a three-box sedan or as a station wagon, dropping the hatchback version. Its body-colored bumpers with a black rubber stripe running along the body were a shy step forward over its predecessor.

Inside, the comfortable interior offered a revised interior. The center stack was tilted towards the driver and provided easy-to-access controls and commands. Depending on the trim level and engine version, the Passat featured high-bolstered front seats or plain bucket seats at the front. Volkswagen installed a bench for two in the back, with an option for a center armrest between the occupants. The bench was wide enough for three, but there was no headrest for a middle passenger.

Under the hood, the Passat offered a choice of eight engines, either gasoline or diesel. Volkswagen brought only a few of them on the U.S. market: a turbo-diesel and a 2.8-liter V-6. The former was available exclusively with a five-speed manual, while the latter offered an option for a four-speed automatic.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

The third generation of the Passat was introduced at the 1988 Geneva Motor Show, and it was available as a sedan or a station wagon named Variant.

Volkswagen focused on these two bodyworks and axed the hatchback version. The sedan was suitable for families and even middle-management executives. It was the first Volkswagen built on top of a proprietary platform fitted with a transversely-mounted engine instead of a longitudinally one, like its predecessors.

The Passat was considered a mid-sized vehicle in Europe. Its main competitors came from Opel, Fiat, and the French automakers. At the front, the vehicle featured a flat panel that covered the area between the squared headlights. Volkswagen relied only on the bumper-mounted grille to cool the engine. The overall clean design had nothing to impress and nothing to bother. Behind the rear doors, it installed the third row of windows, thus creating a brighter interior and also increasing the driver's visibility. At the back, the raised deck for the trunk was available with a small wing as an option.

Inside, the dashboard was improved and featured a wide instrument cluster extended over the center stack. It included the center vents as well. The German engineers considered placing the sound system above the climate control system. Unlike most cars on the market, the Passat was available with an automatic climate control system named Climatronic (EU-spec only). The carmaker installed two seats at the front and a wide bench for three in the back. Depending on the trim level and options, the car featured power windows for all four doors.

Under the hood, depending on the market, Volkswagen installed a wide engine choice ranging between 68 hp and 174 hp. The standard transmission for the entire range was a five-speed manual, while a four-speed automatic was available on specific versions.

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VOLKSWAGEN Passat photo gallery

Volkswagen introduced the second generation of the Passat in 1981, and it showed a clear upgrade over the Golf lineup and a closer approach to the mid-size segment.

While its predecessor was no match for Fiat, Renault, or Citroen, starting with the second generation, it closed the gap with its competitors and, by the end of its career, it managed to overtake them. The German carmaker was riding the high waves thanks to its modern front-wheel-drive concept, while other brands were still stuck with the old-school, rear-wheel-drive sedans. Moreover, it was available for the first time with an all-wheel-drive configuration, named Syncro.

Its angular lines, the big rectangular headlights, and the plastic bumper were a fresh look on the market. The three-box sedan version was not the most popular on the market, but it was considered an excellent middle-management vehicle thanks to its roomy interior. Soon, it became popular for families as well. Volkswagen installed two large dials on the dashboard for the speedometer and tachometer in the angular instrument cluster and two smaller gauges for fuel and coolant temperatures. There was an area with ten lights for turn-signals, hazard, oil-pressure, parking brakes, and a few other important warning lights in the middle.

Volkswagen offered the Passat a wide choice of engines, both diesel, and gasoline. Its long-range autonomy, of over 1000 km (623 miles), made it one of the most cost-effective cars on the market. Its reliability and low running costs increased over the years.

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