Hawk moths use camouflage to disguise themselves as snakes to deter predators. Volkswagen prototypes are disguised as older models for the same reason.
The greatest predators for 2024 Volkswagen Passat prototypes are spy photographers, though they weren’t fooled by this camouflage as this series of shots proves.
Peel away the camouflage on the front and back designed to resemble the headlights and tail lights of the outgoing model, and we can see the Passat’s slightly evolved lines.
There’s still a sharp crease running down the side of the vehicle, though the glasshouse is slightly changed at the D-pillar.
There looks to be a lower bonnet and a more aggressive front bumper treatment, but if you like the looks of the current Passat wagon, you’re unlikely to find anything objectionable here.
The interior heralds more of a change, being the next Volkswagen to move to largely touch-capacitive controls with climate settings adjusted solely via the touchscreen.
Said touchscreen, per previous spy photos, appears to be larger and protrudes from the dashboard.
While the latest Chinese-market Passat, 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’s expected to debut in 2023 as a 2024 model, and may be the last Passat with combustion engines.
A high-riding Alltrack is expected to return, as is a plug-in hybrid – and Volkswagen Australia says it’s looking to finally bring an electrified Passat here.
VW Australia’s passenger vehicle boss Michal Szaniecki recently told CarExpert 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, “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 grow in most dimensions and 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 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.
Much as the ID.3 and ID.4 are electric alternatives to the Golf and Tiguan, respectively, Volkswagen is working on another vehicle on its dedicated MEB architecture to compete in the mid-sized segment.
Revealed in concept form earlier this year as the ID. Aero, it’ll be produced in Emden starting in 2023.
The company says it’ll be offered worldwide, specifically mentioning the European, Chinese and North American markets, and it’ll also be built in China.
A wagon has yet to be revealed, but the earlier ID. Vizzion and ID. Space Vizzion concepts teased a mid-sized electric sedan and wagon duo.