The next-generation Volkswagen Passat has been spied again ahead of an expected reveal this year.

    Like previously spied Passat prototypes, this white example is covered in cleverly placed camouflage pieces intended to make it look like an older model.

    This camouflage is most noticeable on the headlights, upper and lower grilles, tail lights, and lower rear bumper.

    While the Chinese-market Passat, which launched in 2019, is offered as a sedan, the new global Passat will reportedly be wagon-only. The current global Passat sedan has already exited production.

    It may be the last Passat to come with combustion engines, too.

    A high-riding Alltrack variant is expected to return, as is a plug in hybrid (PHEV) – and Volkswagen Australia says it’s looking to finally bring an electrified Passat here.

    VW Australia’s passenger vehicle boss Michal Szaniecki told CarExpert in August last year a plug-in Passat could join the Golf GTE and Tiguan eHybrid PHEVs that are on track for a 2023 Australian launch. A plug-in hybrid Touareg R is also joining the local range.

    “We’re looking into the Passat segment for our plug-in hybrid expansion, that would be a natural thing to do,” Mr Szaniecki said, adding, “that would probably exhaust our [plug-in hybrid] range, at least for perhaps the foreseeable future.”

    Based on the latest MQB platform (dubbed MQB Evo), the new Passat is expected to offer a more electrified powertrain line-up, including 48V mild-hybrid petrol and diesel engines as well as the brand’s next-generation plug-in hybrid system.

    Said PHEV drivetrain will be based around VW’s latest 1.5 TSI evo2 turbocharged petrol engine, which recently launched in the T-Roc crossover in overseas markets. The new engine has been designed to be compatible “with fuels containing ingredients manufactured from renewable energy sources”, as well as “various hybridisation levels”.

    In a recent European media release, VW indicated a PHEV system with up to 200kW will “be possible”, while Cupra has said its upcoming Terramar plug-in hybrid SUV – likely to be built on the same underpinnings – will offer 100 kilometres of EV driving range.

    The current Passat GTE plug-in hybrid has total system outputs of 160kW and 400Nm and 59.5km of claimed range under the WLTP cycle.

    It currently serves as the flagship Passat in markets like the UK that don’t get the more powerful petrol engine options Australia gets.

    The new Passat is being developed alongside the next-generation Skoda Superb and will be built alongside it in Slovakia, instead of Emden, Germany as with every previous generation.

    It’s expected to grow in size and could match the Superb in dimensions.

    The current Passat wagon measures 4777mm long, 1832mm wide and 1477mm tall (1506mm on the Alltrack) on a 2791mm wheelbase.

    The Alltrack shares the wagon’s dimensions except it’s 1506mm tall. All models have 650L of boot space, expanding to 1780L with the rear seats folded.

    In contrast, the current Skoda Superb wagon is 79mm longer and 32mm wider on a 50mm longer wheelbase, and has an extra 10L of boot space, or 170L with the rear seats dropped.

    This spied Passat prototype has a lower bonnet and a more aggressive front bumper treatment compared to the current model, as well as a slightly different D-pillar.

    Although our spy photographers didn’t capture any images of this particular prototype’s interior, previous shots have shown Volkswagen is moving to a large, protruding touchscreen and touch-capacitive controls like the ID. range of electric vehicles (EVs).

    Much as the Volkswagen ID.3 and ID.4 are electric alternatives to the Golf and Tiguan, respectively, the company is working on another vehicle on its dedicated MEB architecture to compete in the mid-sized segment.

    The Volkswagen ID.7 was recently teased at the CES tech show in Las Vegas and is the brand’s first ID.-branded electric sedan.

    Because it’s a sedan, it’s not such a priority for Australia, where Volkswagen plans to sell the ID.3 hatch, ID.4 and ID.5 SUVs, and ID. Buzz and ID. Buzz Cargo vans by mid-2024.

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    MORE: Everything Volkswagen Passat

    Jack Quick

    Jack Quick is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne. Jack studied journalism and photography at Deakin University in Burwood, and previously represented the university in dance nationally. In his spare time, he loves to pump Charli XCX and play a bit of Grand Theft Auto. He’s also the proud owner of a blue, manual 2020 Suzuki Jimny.

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