Behind the shiny chrome shield adorning the front bumper of the new Passat lies a greatly improved vehicle with class-leading technology. The sixth-generation Passat will offer luxury sedan features such as an electronic parking brake, smart key with push-button start, automatic distance cruise control, DVD navigation, and a 600-watt stereo system. The new mid-size sedan also borrows VW's Climatronic climate-control system from the bigger (and less successful) Phaeton. And for the businessperson on the go, the Passat will feature a power supply to keep a laptop running while on the road.
Adaptive bi-xenon headlamps and LED taillights are found at the corners of an elegant body. Some of us actually think the Passat has a more attractive physique than its Audi A6 cousin, which costs tens of thousands of dollars more.
Upon introduction, the Passat with be offered exclusively with Volkswagen's new 2.0-liter FSI turbo four-cylinder, pushing out 197 hp, but look for a 276-hp 3.6-liter model to follow. The new Passat goes on sale in Europe in March, but don't look for it here until fall as a 2006 model. Prices should be a bit higher than present models.