2016 Volkswagen Passat Walk Around

With the exception of the sleek CC sedan and the Beetle revival, Volkswagen has rarely been noted for adventurous designs, and the Passat is consistent with that tradition.

That said, there is much that’s new on the 2016 model. VW has redesigned all the surfaces from the windshield forward: the new four-bar grille is more assertive, the new hood is slightly domed, there’s more bright trim, and the lighting array now includes the option of LED headlights, fog lights, and taillights. Bumpers are also new, front and rear, as is the trunklid, and the redesigned array of wheels includes 16-, 18-, and 19-inch sizes.

This is still a conservative design. But it does have a more upscale presence than the 2015 car.

Also, the conservatism is mitigated by the new R-Line trim, a sporty option in other VW models and a first for the Passat. As noted in the model lineup notes, R-Line cosmetics include revised bumpers, rocker panel extensions, a rear diffuser, black accents, and 19-inch alloy wheels wearing 235/40 tires with a high-speed (186 mph) ZR rating.


The upscale look continues inside, a quiet, straightforward elegance with upgraded materials, a new dashboard, new instruments, new steering wheel, new trim, a new 6.3-inch center-dash touch-screen that’s home for the second generation of Volkswagen’s MIB infotaintment system as well as the available navigation feature. And, inevitably, connectivity is enhanced, via VW Car-Net with App-Connect, allowing integration with three different smartphone platforms: Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Mirror Link.

VW’s synthetic V-Tex leatherette upholstery has a very upscale feel, similar to the M-B Tex developed by Mercedes, indistinguishable from leather, and at least as durable. The front seats convey a sense of relaxed sportiness, with good lateral support but not too snug. Seat heating is available, front and rear, and as noted the rear compartment is as roomy as many full-size sedans.

That goes for the trunk, too: almost 16 cubic feet.

New safety features include VW’s post-collision braking system (automatically stops the car after initial impact, and standard on all trims); plus a number of available driver assistance programs: forward collision warning; autonomous emergency braking (a feature that NHTSA may soon mandate in all cars); adaptive cruise control; lane departure warning and assist; blind spot monitor; park assist; and rear traffic alert. A rear view camera is standard in all models.

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