Volks bulks up
Golf’s big brother keeps growing
IT is, in a word, bigger.
The next generation of Volkswagen’s family-size Passat, which has been snapped by Carparazzi testing in Europe, grows incrementally but appreciably on a model that’s one of the better, if least appreciated, big cars.
A more imposing Passat was inevitable, given the Mark VII Golf wagon (previewed and positively reviewed by Carsguide in September) approaching the current model for load and passenger space.
Due for European release after next year’s Paris motor show, it gets here early in 2015. Built on the supremely sorted MQB platform, which serves in the Golf and its compact cousins Audi A3 and — as of next week — Skoda’s Octavia, the Passat is the first large model to roll out on these modular underpinnings.
In elevated and all-wheeldrive form, the Passat also points to the new medium SUV recently foreshadowed by VW Australia chief John White.
“There are still a few key segments we don’t play in, for instance a small SUV and then a mid-size SUV that slots in at a pricepoint between the Tiguan and the Touareg,’’ White says.
Though bigger, the Passat will still weigh in lighter than the already trim current car, which starts well under 1500kg and even as an AWD wagon barely surpasses 1700kg, so the mandatory reduction in fuel consumption will be achieved.
The Passat starts at $38,990 for the 1.8 TSI with $2K more for the equivalent wagon.
The next one, we suggest, might have a yet more attractive sticker and a still more compact engine.
At least that’s what VW’s research and development chief Hans-Jakob Neusser told us at Frankfurt — possibly with an ancillary electric motor to help it off the line.
Other engines would be the 132 TSI 1.8-litre turbo four and 2.0 TDI diesel hitched to six or seven-speed DSGs.
With White emphasising the desirability of extending high-performance R line throughout the passenger car line-up, a weapons grade Passat is odds-on. Say auf wiedersehen to the current naturally aspirated V6, though. The turbo four we’ll experience in February, powering Golf’s R variant, seems most likely.