Volkswagen has been spied winter testing its next-generation Passat with its production body for the first time.
Previously-spied Passat prototypes have used a current-generation body as a mule, but have appeared to be longer and wider under the skin.
As Volkswagen is known to do, this prototype has been disguised to look like another vehicle – in this case, the current-generation Passat – with decoy headlights, tail lights and front air intakes.
The new Volkswagen Passat is expected to be revealed in 2023 as a 2024 model.
Under the bonnet, power is expected to come from both petrol and diesel engines with mild-hybrid systems. A plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain will also be available.
Internally, this new-generation Passat is referred to as the B9. It’s being developed alongside the Skoda Superb and will be built in the same plant in Slovakia.
It’ll reportedly only be available in a wagon body style with a lifted, more off-road-focused Alltrack variant expect to follow.
Autocar previously reported that production of the current-generation Passat sedan ended in December 2021.
Volkswagen Australia was already in the process of transitioning to police-only sales, with the base 140TSI Business a favourite of Victoria Police.
A Volkswagen Australia spokesperson confirmed no more Passat sedans are arriving here for private buyers, leaving only what’s left in dealer stock. At the time of writing, there are only 21 Passat sedans left at dealers nationwide.
The company is now steering buyers interested in the current-generation Passat sedan to either its wagon counterpart or the relaunched Arteon.
While the next Passat range will reportedly lack a sedan, there’ll be a new mid-sizer in the Volkswagen line-up with a three-box silhouette.
Codenamed Aero B, the electric mid-sizer has already been spied testing and will be sold alongside the next-generation Passat.
Previewed by the ID. Vizzion concept, and in wagon form as the ID. Space Vizzion, this all-electric model was originally rumoured to wear the ID.6 nameplate.
Like the rest of the ID. family, the Aero B rides on Volkswagen’s electric MEB architecture and will likely offer a choice of single-motor rear-wheel drive and dual-motor all-wheel drive variants.
It’s unclear at this stage if the next-generation Passat will come Down Under.
The current car will lose its five-star ANCAP rating at the end of this year, something Volkswagen recently criticised the safety authority for.
The safety authority introduced a rating validity period, and while vehicles with older ANCAP ratings have been “grandfathered” in, the Passat’s rating will be withdrawn on December 31, 2022.
Its five-star rating from EuroNCAP already expired 12 months ago.
The German brand defended its mid-sized sedan and wagon, highlighting the introduction of further standard safety equipment since it received its ANCAP safety rating in 2015.