All-new Volkswagen Passat debuts with impressive tech, but SA to miss out

Published Aug 31, 2023


The Volkswagen Passat might be dead in South Africa, but it’s just been given a new lease on life in its European home market.

What you see here is the completely redesigned, ninth-generation Passat, revealed ahead of next week’s IAA international motor show in Europe. And it’s now a wagon only, with the sedan body style being relegated to history.

Once a popular nameplate when it was manufactured in SA in the ‘70s and ‘80s, the Passat spent its last two decades as a low-volume import before being discontinued entirely from the local market in 2019.

Thus it’s unlikely that the new vehicle seen here will be offered locally, particularly given our non-existent appetite for sedans. So what are we missing out on?

The redesigned, 2024 Volkswagen Passat is built around a modified version of the German carmaker’s modular platform, now dubbed MQB Evo.

Its interior has been completely modernised, with a large Tesla-like ‘landscape display’ touchscreen taking pride of place on the dashboard, and powered by the MIB4 modular electronics system.

Customers can look forward to some advanced tech features, including a new Park Assist Pro system that allows owners to manoeuvre their vehicles in and out of parking bays by remote control, using their phones. Furthermore, the system is available with a memory function that can record and store the last 50 metres of a journey on request, allowing it to park automatically.

The new Passat also introduces a new adaptive chassis control system called DCC Pro. Featuring two-valve technology, it claims to set the standard for comfort in the midsize class. Speaking of comfort, Volkswagen is offering ergoActive Plus seats, for the first time, featuring a pneumatic 10-chamber pressure point massage function.

What ever happened to the humble old Passat we once knew?

On the powertrain front, the ninth-gen Passat debuts two new plug-in hybrid (PHEV) options, offered in 150kW and 200kW guises.

Thanks to a 19.7 kWh battery capacity, the new PHEV variants can travel up to 100km on electric power alone, Volkswagen claims, and they’re also capable of DC fast-charging at up to 50kW.

For those not ready to take the electric leap, the new Passat is also available with a 48V mild hybrid eTSI powertrain that offers 110kW, as well as conventional TSI petrol motors that offer between 150kW and 195kW and TDI diesels that produce 90kW to 142kW.

The versions with 195kW and 142kW also have Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel drive system, while the others are front-wheel driven.

And that’s the new Volkswagen Passat in a nutshell.

(Not) coming to a showroom near you, unless you happen to live in Europe!

IOL Motoring