The New VW Passat Pro Shows Sedans Still Matter Outside America

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As someone who instinctively associates cars with sedans, I find the SUV-obsessed era to be depressing. It doesn’t seem to be a trend that’ll eventually go away but that’s not to say automakers are completely giving up on the once-traditional body style. Take for example Volkswagen, which is about to launch a new Passat sedan in China.

The Passat Pro is actually not the brand’s only midsize sedan in the world’s second-most populous country. There’s also the recently unveiled Magotan, developed by VW with local automaker FAW. This new sedan pictured here comes alive via the joint venture with SAIC. Ahead of its official reveal, the Passat Pro shows off its exterior design in images published on the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology website as part of the car’s homologation process in China.

The design is completely predictable (if not dull as well) since it takes after Europe’s wagon-only Passat. It’s larger than the long-roof model, stretching 197 inches long, 72.8 inches wide, and 58.6 inches tall. The 113-inch wheelbase is also slightly more generous than that of the Passat wagon. It’s available with 17- to 19-inch wheels and weighs 3,483 pounds or 3,703 pounds, depending on the engine and trim level.

As to what makes it earn the “Pro” suffix, you’ll have to ask SAIC VW. The four-door Passat certainly doesn’t look more exciting than the Euro version or the NMS Passat last produced in Chattanooga in early 2022. Although images of the cabin have not been published, chances are it’s shared with the Euro-spec Passat and China-only Magotan. The latter gets an extra screen for the passenger.

While the Euro-spec Passat comes with gasoline, mild-hybrid gasoline, diesel, and plug-in hybrid powertrains, its Chinese cousin keeps it simple with a pair of gas engines. The base 1.5-liter unit is rated at 158 horsepower while the larger 2.0-liter mill produces 217 hp. Both have automatic transmissions and front-wheel drive whereas the European model can be had with AWD.

Would the Passat Pro make sense in the US? Well, the Camry doesn’t have an exciting design either, but people don’t buy one for its appearance. They buy it for its bulletproof reliability, which is something that VW historically hasn’t been able to match. The smaller Jetta is likely enough for the US where we would like to see the regular Golf, not just the GTI and R.

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