2020 VW Passat gets sleek styling and tech upgrade

The 2020 Volkswagen Passat has made its debut at the Detroit Auto Show 2019, with more power, more style, and a focus on value. Although a mainstay of VW's range, nobody has ever described the Passat as dramatic, something this 2020 Passat aims to change.

So, while the architecture of the car remains the same, the styling has been revamped completely. That means a more coupe-like roofline and a more dominant grille, the latter flanked by slimline LED headlamps as standard. LET taillamps are standard, too, and VW has added a broad Passat badge that seemingly presumes people will be so surprised by the car's rump, they won't know what it is.

17-inch aluminum alloy wheels are standard, with 18- and 19-inch wheels optional. Under the hood there's the same 2.0-liter turbocharged direct-injection TSI engine, with 174 horsepower. Most models will get a torque bump, though, to 207 lb-ft; that's courtesy of a new torque converter. A launch trim will use the old configuration.

Front wheel drive, the 2020 Passat gets a six-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission. Inside, the dashboard has been redesigned to ape more premium models in the VW Group family, with new air vents that are sleeker. A more contemporary instrument panel has been added, and there's a glass-covered touchscreen for the infotainment.

Three interior designs will be offered, with V-Tex leatherette and Nappa leather along with standard cloth seats. Heated front and rear seats will be optional, as will a power driver's seat with memory. Dual-zone automatic climate control will be available, as will power-folding, heated side mirrors with memory.

VW will also offer the 2020 Passat with its Adaptive Front-lighting System, that can tilt to illuminate corners and has range control. An auto-dimming rearview mirror is available too, as is remote start, auto-wipers, and keyless access and push-button start.

The infotainment system can have voice control, too, and Volkswagen Car-Net App-Connect – with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink – is standard on all trims. Top-end trims get a Fender Premium Audio system.

Forward collision warnings and autonomous emergency front braking assistance is standard, including pedestrian monitoring. Blind spot monitoring and rear traffic alerts are also standard, something many other automakers still charge for. On the assistance options list are adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance, along with parking steering assistance and parking distance sensors.

Arguably just as important, though, is VW's warranty. The 2020 Passat comes with a six-year or 72,000 mile – whichever occurs first – bumper-to-bumper warranty, that supports transfers to subsequent owners, too.

The 2020 Volkswagen Passat will come in four trim levels, along with the launch-only Limited model with the old engine. No word on pricing at this stage, but it should show up in US dealerships in the Summer of 2019.