With the world becoming more and more SUV-centric, carmakers that haven’t already dropped their traditional sedans are scrambling to repurpose their valuable nameplates. Unlike some of its other contemporaries, Volkswagen isn’t going so far as to stick the Passat badge on a crossover, but it is evolving its D-segment model to appeal to changing customer tastes.
According to Auto Express, Wolfsburg will be offering the next-generation Passat as a hatchback as well as a Euro-centric wagon. This will mirror the approach taken by Skoda with the closely-related Superb, which gained an innovative Twindoor bootlid/tailgate in its second generation (this functionality was removed from the third-gen, but the hatch stayed).
In fact, the two cars will share even more with each other in the future, including production at the Bratislava plant in Slovakia (where the Touareg is currently being built) and a revised version of the outgoing cars’ modular MQB platform. The Volkswagen’s wheelbase is also expected to grow to around the same size of the current Superb, at 2.85 metres.
The increase in size is largely to differentiate the Passat from the similarly-sized Arteon – which recently received a shooting brake variant – and the now-larger Golf Variant wagon. The longer wheelbase should not only free up more rear legroom but also a bigger boot which, when combined with the hatch, should make the Passat the most practical non-SUV model in Volkswagen’s lineup.
While the hatch will add some spice to the Passat lineup, the engine offerings will be deeply traditional. Because VW will offer production versions of the ID. Vizzion electric sedan and ID. Space Vizzion wagon, the Passat will be freed of the need for a zero-emissions version.
However, there will be two plug-in hybrid models expected, both based on the petrol engines that will be offered with the regular Passat. An entry-level eHybrid will produce around 200 hp, while the GTE will be boosted to around 242 hp. The latter is due to receive a larger battery than the outgoing model‘s 13 kWh, which should increase all-electric range significantly to a useful 60 km. A more powerful 11 kW onboard AC charger should also improve charging speeds to make up for the bigger battery.