The European version of the Volkswagen Passat is set to get a facelift for the 2019 model year, bringing it more in line with the new look of the new Volkswagen Arteon and maybe even bring some new updated engines and technology into play as well. It was recently spotted being put through the general testing phase, so it’s time to get the speculation mill running at full speed.

Updated 12/06/2018: The Volkswagen Passat is inching closer to production status and we’ve just updated the gallery below with the latest spy shots.

Spy Shots

2019 Volkswagen Passat caught playing in the snow

2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Spyshots
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2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Spyshots
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2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Design

  • New exterior lights
  • New front fascia
  • New rear fascia
  • Revised wheel designs
2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Spyshots
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The Euro version of the Passat is expected to carry a lot of styling cues from the new Arteon

Before we start to confuse you, the European version of the Passat has been on the market since 2015. Here in the U.S., we’re expecting to see the second-generation model coming in 2020, but don’t get that mixed up with the spy shots you see here – Volkswagen has something else completely in store for us.

With that said, the Euro version of the Passat is expected to carry a lot of styling cues from the new Arteon, especially in the front end. Of course, it won’t get that massive grille that takes up about 90-percent of the Arteon’s nasal landscape, but the grille will grow a bit in size. It looks like the air dam will take a completely different look, with the outside corners angling downward below the corner air intakes. The corner air intakes will also be different. They are quite a bit smaller while being more pronounced and mimicking those of the Arteon. The headlights are also a bit thinner and more sunk into the body, so expect the front fascia to be a bit taller above the intakes. It should make for a drastically different design, however, this is a touchy area and having too much bumper below the headlight could make the front end ugly.

As usual, the side profile won’t change at all.The only difference will be how the headlights terminate at the fenders and how the taillights terminate in the rear quarters. On a side note, Volkswagen must be pushing these prototypes to the limit as this one is sagging in the rear like a 1990 Chevy Caprice with original suspension and 900 pounds of fried-chicken-eating Americans in the back. It’s attached to a trailer and probably has weight in the rear. For those of you unaware, it’s quite common to use even smaller vehicles to tow things in Europe, so this might seem trivial if you’ve never been there but proves VW is remaining vigilant as far as reliability.

2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Spyshots
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You can already see a taillight design that’s eerily similar to those on the Arteon.

Around back, it’s painfully obvious that Volkswagen is trying to hide everything it possibly can. With that in mind, expect a mild revision to the rear fascia and new taillight units. You can already see a taillight design that’s eerily similar to those on the Arteon. I wouldn’t expect to see the rear deck change, but there could be a slight redesign here to help facilitate new lights. Volkswagen doesn’t even have proper exhaust on this mule yet, but expect it to closely resemble the outlets on the Arteon, or basically a reworked version of what’s on the current Passat.

2019 Volkswagen Passat Interior Design

  • Could get an updated infotainment (from the Arteon)
  • different seat design
  • better fitting trim (hopefully)
2018 Volkswagen Arteon
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Interior for 2018 Volkswagen Arteon shown here.

The interior of the current Euro-spec Passat is pretty hard to distinguish from the new Arteon. Sure, there are little differences here and there, but for the most part, it’s largely the same. That tells us one thing – Volkswagen is happy with this interior design as it seriously did a copy and paste maneuver to design the interior of the Arteon – at least from the rear seats forward, anyway. With that said, there won’t be a lot of change happening inside. Expect slightly reworked seats and maybe a few less buttons thanks to a revised infotainment system but there’ won’t be much else to write home about. Passenger space and cargo space will carry over untouched. To put it simply, there will be new software for the infotainment system, maybe a revised instrument cluster and a few other little odds and ins. VW is just trying to freshen up the exterior look to keep the sales coming until the next-gen model makes its debut.

2019 Volkswagen Passat Drivetrain and Performance

  • The GTE Hybrid Could get more all-electric trange
  • a New V-6 Passat Type R could come to life
  • Slight increase in fuel economy possible
2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Spyshots
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The Volkswagen Passat on sale now in Europe offers up six different engines – three gasoline drinkers and three oil burners

The Volkswagen Passat on sale now in Europe offers up six different engines – three gasoline drinkers and three oil burners – that range anywhere from 118 horsepower in the entry-level model to as much as 276 horsepower for the range-topping gasoline model. There’s also the GTE hybrid that pairs the 1.4-liter gas engine to a 115-horsepower electric motor. The question now is, how much of this will change?

Truth be told, there won’t be a lot of change, but there could be a few things coming Europe’s way. Most of the engines will probably carry on unchanged. The GTE Hybrid, however, will likely get a new battery that should boost range and performance a bit. There’s also speculation that VW has been working on a new V-6 that will call the Passat R home. It will feature at least one Turbo and will be considered the range-topping model, most likely with some 310 horsepower on tap. That’s a somewhat conservative figure, of course, but the Golf R delivers just under 310, so it’s questionable as to whether or not VW will want to top that with a Passat R.

The only other big news here is the potential for the Passat to show up with slightly improved emissions and fuel economy thanks to minor tweaks. These won’t be ground-breaking improvements, mind you, but an extra km here or there is nothing to frown about.

2019 Volkswagen Passat Pricing

2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Spyshots
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At this point, pricing for the 2019 model is a mystery, but I wouldn’t expect prices to climb much, if at all. Using Volkswagen’s Germany pricing, the Passat ranges from €31,675 to €34,950. That converts to $37,333 and $41,193, respectively. That’s a far cry from the $22,995 entry price here in the United States, but we’ll leave that story for another time. There GTE currently goes for €44,250 or $52,154. If anything, pricing will increase marginally, maybe by a few hundred Euro for each trim level. The GTE could see a slightly higher price due to the inclusion of a new, larger battery, but we’ll have to see what happens.

2019 Volkswagen Passat Competition

Kia Optima

2016 Kia Optima
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The Kia Optima is a pretty sporty proposition in the midsized segment over in Europe, and that’s exactly why Volkswagen can’t rest between model updates. It’s available in Germany in four different trim levels with the option of two different engines – a 1.7-liter diesel that’s good for about 140 horsepower and a 2.0-liter gasoline engine that’s good for about 160 horsepower. It has a strong look to it, though, and Kia has made the same strides in Europe as it has here in the States, so the interior is pretty nice for a car of this caliber. It actually comes a bit cheaper too, with the entry-level Edition 7 starting out at €25,095 and the range-topping GT Line with that 140-horsepower diesel coming in at €38,190. Those figures compute to $29,582 and $45,034, respectively. The Optima went through its generational shift back in 2016, so it’s still relatively fresh even when staring down the barrel of a slightly revised VW Passat.

Read our full review on the 2018 Kia Optima.

Peugeot 508

2018 Peugeot 508 Exterior Wallpaper quality
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The Peugeot 508 is all-new, and it’s as sexy as they come. It features a striking exterior design and an interior that will make you wonder whether or not you’re in a BMW or Audi. It’s offered with at least three different variations of the BlueHDi diesel and at least one gasoline engine, all of which are paired to the EAT8, eight-speed automatic transmission. Power output ranges anywhere between about 130 horsepower up to 225 horsepower for the gasoline engine. Fuel economy ranges between 3.8l per 100 km and 5.7l per 100km combined, on the European cycle. Pricing for the new 508 has yet to be announced, but this is one to keep your eye on because it comes to put a hurting on everything Volkswagen and its Passat stands for.

Read our full review on the 2018 Peugeot 508.

Final Thoughts

2019 Volkswagen Passat Exterior Spyshots
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At this point, I have to admit that Volkswagen would probably be better off waiting to usher in a new model that try to do another lazy, mild facelift to the current Passat. At this point, models like the Peugeot 508 and the Kia Optima trump it hard and it’ll be a hard sell for anyone who isn’t unbelievably loyal to Volkswagen, especially when you consider the Passat’s high price on the European side of the big pond. I know we have to see it when it finally makes its debut for 2019 but I don’t think some minor Arteon DNA is enough to drive any extra sales Volkswagen’s way. The Passat is in need of a complete remake and a lower price if it wants to compete with some of the other new cars on the market. It will be interesting to see how things turn out.

  • Leave it
    • Won’t change much
    • Still very overpriced
    • Doesn’t standa chance against the Peugeot 508


2016 Volkswagen Passat High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2017 Volkswagen Passat.

2018 Volkswagen Passat GT Exterior
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Under the hood..
There’s a 3.6-liter VR6 V-6

Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Passat GT.

2018 Volkswagen Arteon
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Read our full review on the 2018 Volkswagen Arteon.

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Read more Volkswagen news.

Robert Moore
Robert Moore
Editor-in-Chief and Automotive Expert -
Robert has been an auto enthusiast his entire life. He started working cars at a young age, learning the basics from his father in the home garage on the weekends. As time went on, Robert became more and more interested in cars and convinced his father to teach him how to drive when he was just 13 years old. Robert continued working on cars in his free time and learned as much as he could about engines, transmissions, and car electrical systems, something that only fed his curiosity more and eventually led him to earn a bachelors degree in automotive technology with a primary focus on engine performance and transmission rebuilding.  Read full bio
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