Volkswagen Passat - Driven
Sometimes, a car needs a full redesign to address a fundamental flaw. Perhaps it’s too small, or too big. Maybe its styling is stale or unappealing. Or perhaps its platform can’t support modern needs.
The 2020 Passat has revised interior and exterior styling, more standard features, and an updated engine. That’s a cheaper set of changes than a full redesign, and Volkswagen is passing those savings on to the customer. Is that enough to excuse the Passat’s old bones? Or are you better off opting for a fresher competitor? Here’s what we learned from our time behind the wheel.
2021 Volkswagen Arteon
At a time when the whole world is moving from sedans to crossovers and SUVs – much to the dismay of the car lovers – the Volkswagen Arteon comes as a knight in shining armor. The Arteon was launched as a successor of the Volkswagen Passat CC just three years back, and now VW has given it a mid-cycle refresh with a few tweaks on the outside and many changes on the inside. The German automaker is unearthing the R-Line variant, adding a plug-in trim, and also introducing a shooting brake body style.
2021 Volkswagen Arteon R
The Volkswagen Arteon came to our attention back in 2017, during its unveil at the Geneva Motor Show. Three years into the fastback-shaped sedan’s career, Volkswagen is planning to give the Arteon a well-deserved nip and tuck which would keep customer interest fresh and address the areas that needed further improvements.
With the refreshed Arteon, however, we’re expecting Volkswagen to introduce a spicier, more performance oriented version under its notorious R badge. Our suspicions are backed up by a recent set of spy shots that show a virtually undisguised test mule that wears a lot of R-specific features. Allow us to detail, then.
Update 4/29/2020: The Volkswagen Arteon R was spotted once again, this time sporting a look that represents the upcoming facelift and what we can expect from the new Arteon R. Check it out in our special Spy Shots section below!
2020 Volkswagen Touareg R
The 2020 Volkswagen Touareg R is a high-performance version of the familiar midsize SUV. Unveiled in February 2020, ahead of the Geneva Motor Show, the 2020 Touareg R is the first of its kind to boast an "R" badge. It’s also the first R model with a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and the first range-topping variant of any Volkswagen nameplate to feature electrification.
The 2020 Touareg R also makes the Touareg the third VW nameplate to offer a hybrid model after the Golf and the Passat. Because Volkswagen no longer offers the Touareg in the United States, where it has been replaced by the Atlas, the Touareg R won’t cross the pond to North America. Let’s find out more about this SUV in the review below.
2021 Volkswagen SMV
The 2021 Volkswagen SMV is a brand-new SUV that the German firm will unleash on the Chinese market sometime in 2020. Based on a concept vehicle unveiled at the 2019 Shanghai Auto Show, the SMV is slightly bigger than the Atlas, currently the company’s longest SUV.
Specifically, at 201 inches long the SMV is almost three inches longer than the Atlas, sold as the Teramont in China. The production model doesn’t have an official name yet, but it was spotted testing in cold weather in Sweden. But don’t get your hopes up, although Volkswagen is testing it in Europe, the SMV will be a China-only vehicle. Let’s find out more about it in the speculative review below.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept
Volkswagen will be in attendance at the 2019 SEMA Auto Show, and it’s bringing with it a host of tricked-out SUVs that are built for the American outdoors. Arguably the coolest of these concepts is the Atlas Adventure Concept. It looks the part of an SUV that can handle itself in the Nevada desert with the kind of ease you won’t see from a lot of SUVs offered at SEMA. It comes with a menu of unique equipment, including a clever housing accommodation setup that should make it comfortable for you and yours to enjoy a good night’s sleep under the stars. The Volkswagen Atlas Adventure Concept is one of three Atlas concepts that will be on display at Volkswagen’s booth in the world’s biggest aftermarket auto show.
2019 Volkswagen Atlas Basecamp Concept
As a relative newcomer to the mid-size, seven-seater SUV fold, the Volkswagen Atlas is still getting its feet wet in the segment. Soon enough, though, the Atlas could become more than just a run-to-the-grocery hauler as Volkswagen is set to unveil the Atlas Basecamp Concept at the 2019 New York International Auto Show. The Atlas Basecamp is a trail-ready concept that’s kitted with all sorts of accessories to showcase its understated versatility. The standard Atlas has the makings of a popular SUV, but it’s not as equipped for the outdoors as most people would like it to be. The Atlas Basecamp is an answer to that. It’s unlikely to hit dealerships soon, but its presence in New York next week is a step in the right direction for the SUV’s evolving identity.
2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI35
The new 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is just right. Presented at the 2019 Chicago Motor Show, the new hot Volkswagen compact sedan gained the much-needed overhaul with a fine upgrade that came from none other than the parts bins of the Golf GTI and the Golf R. It is a thoroughly improved car, with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, gasoline engine, a fresh new look, and a far more advanced suspension compared to the lesser units. Let me just say it - rear multi-link. It has it.
With the new model introduced in Chicago, Volkswagen USA officials actually noted that the new car will come with two trim levels, while the limited edition GLI 35 serves as sort of a high-end model of the GLI world.
Now, we’ve already learned a lot about the new Volkswagen Jetta GLI, but what about the Volkswagen Jetta GLI35?
2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI
The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta GLI is the latest performance-oriented version of the compact sedan. It’s based on the seventh-generation Jetta what was unveiled for the 2019 model year, and just like its predecessor, it rides on underpinnings borrowed from the Volkswagen Golf GTI. More aggressive than ever design-wise, the 2020 Jetta GLI is also the most powerful GLI ever built. Powered by a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, it comes with 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. For the first time ever, the Jetta GLI comes close to the Subaru WRX, although it still doesn’t have an all-wheel-drive system. Find out more about the new Jetta GLI in the review below.
For 2018, Volkswagen is introducing a new Passat GT model. The GT introduces some sporty touches to the Passat line. The Passat has mostly been about sensible family transportation until now, excluding the 2003-2004 Passat W8 perhaps. It would have been very easy for Volkswagen to come up with a sporty version of the Passat but they instead have gone for more luxurious models. It looks like Volkswagen is finally dipping their toes into the sports sedan waters to judge the public’s reaction with the Passat GT.
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.
2018 Volkswagen Jetta S by Jamie Orr
Well known Volkswagen enthusiast Jamie Orr thought of a fantastic project with Volkswagen of America - to build an awesome custom Volkswagen Jetta S in six weeks’ time and present it at this year’s SEMA. With the photos of his astounding Jetta bathing the fields of social networks all around the world, I am here to tell you about the tiresome, but fun six-week voyage Orr had to take to finish this project. Right now, the White Silver Jetta S is exposed at the SEMA Motor Show, and it showcases a wide array of aftermarket parts. Orr was directly involved with the development of these parts as they basically did not exist six weeks ago. Not in their physical form, not as 3D rendering pieces on a PC, or even as ideas. Well, right now, they garnish the exterior of possibly the best car Volkswagen showcased at SEMA this year. This all-involving project was focused on crafting aftermarket pieces from the ground up.
2019 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line by H&R Special Springs
H&R Special Springs has been in the business of sports springs and dampers for decades and, from time to time, they bring a car to the SEMA Show as a moving display of their latest performance parts. This time, the Jetta R-Line received the H&R treatment, and it looks quite tasty.
The R-line sits in the middle of the current Jetta lineup with an MSRP of $22,945. It’s, as such, a budget commuter, but that doesn’t mean it forgoes build quality and performance. The seventh-generation compact sedan was chosen by three tuners as the starting point for their 2018 SEMA Show projects, one of them being H&R.
"Straight from the factory, the seventh-generation Jetta’s bold new design grabs people’s attention," said Robert Gal, Senior Manager, Performance & Accessories, Volkswagen Sales & Marketing. "The fact that this group of top tuners and customizers chose it as a canvas for their offerings and creativity is further testament to its appeal."
The German company’s modified Jetta features an eye-catching glossy Habanero orange paint with silver stripes on the sides, gunmetal gray wheels that sit adequately close to the wheel arches thanks to the H&R sporty suspension setup, and add-ons to the bumpers that enhance the car’s athletic appearance.
2018 Volkswagen Atlas by APR
Please welcome the Volkswagen Atlas tuned by APR, a company well known for its Volkswagen Group projects. The new Atlas comes with a series of important upgrades that transform it from a decent, sensible family hauler into a beast-looking machine that feels more like the Hulk with its green vinyl wrap than it does something you’d use to take your kid to soccer training. The American tuning company that’s specialized in Volkswagen cars got its hands on an Atlas powered by a 2.0-liter, four-banger, and it went all Golf R on it, ultimately increasing the power, improving looks, and transforming the decadent machine into a show-off beast.
2018 Volkswagen Jetta Bonneville Salt Flats Record Car
Hot on the wheels of the Volkswagen I.D. R’s record-breaking run at the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb, Volkswagen is setting its sights on a new record, this time at the famous Bonneville Salt Flats in Wendover, Utah. As part of its goal of breaking the Southern California Timing Association’s BGC/G class record, the German automaker is preparing a heavily modified version of the 2019 Volkswagen Jetta. Among the upgrades that will be included is a heavily modified version of VW’s 2.0-liter, turbocharged, EA888 four-cylinder engine.
2018 Volkswagen Arteon R-Line Highlight Concept
Unveiled in 2017 as a replacement for the ill-fated CC, the Arteon keeps Volkswagen active in the rather tiny four-door coupe segment. Sportier than its predecessor and boasting more premium features than ever, the Arteon could finally establish the German firm as a powerful player on the premium market. Now also available in R-Line trim, the Arteon just gained a special paint finish and a set of wheels from Vossen to become the Highlight Concept.
Based on the R-Line model, the Highlight Concept explores the Arteon’s "potential to make a statement on the show field." Granted, the sleek and wide stance give the sedan a unique place among Volkswagen cars, and we will probably see a wide range of aftermarket upgrades at the upcoming tuning shows. Volkswagen’s is far from radical, but it shows what you can do with special paint, a set of custom wheels, and a lowered suspension.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Arteon R-Line Highlight Concept.
2018 Volkswagen Jetta R-Line SoCal Concept
The latest-generation Volkswagen Jetta was unveiled at the 2018 Detroit Auto Show and promises to reshape the affordable compact segment with its design and features. Although it’s slightly cheaper than the outgoing model, it’s decidedly more modern inside the cabin and has enough features to tackle the upper market of the affordable compact segment. It’s plenty powerful too, using a 1.4-liter four-cylinder rated at 147 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. With the sedan arriving at dealers in May 2018, Volkswagen celebrates the new-generation Jetta with a tuned-up model developed by Fifteen52. It’s based on the R-Line model, and it’s called the SoCal Concept.
Inspired by the second-generation Jetta that was built between 1984 and 1992 in Pennsylvania, the SoCal concept is described as a "heritage-based design with modern accents." I can’t really spot those heritage design cues Volkswagen is talking about (I’m probably not old enough), but the concept sedan definitely looks unique. And it’s not too wild either, so the German could offer this four-door in a limited-edition production model. It probably won’t happen, but it remains an interesting take on a popular and affordable model.
Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Jetta R-Line SoCal Concept.
2018 Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept
The Volkswagen Atlas Tanoak Concept wasn’t supposed to appear at the2018 New York Auto Show. But as the story goes, VW execs liked the design study so much it made an 11th-hour decision and brought the Tanoak Concept as a surprise debut. Now that we’ve seen it, we’re glad Volkswagen made the audible because the prototype pickup received such a favorable response that there’s a groundswell of support building on turning the concept car into a full-blown production vehicle. It’s too early to tell if Volkswagen is going to give the people what they want, but don’t be surprised if that light bulb turns on soon.