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Future models - Volkswagen - Passat

Next Volkswagen Passat pushes into premium

Moving on up: Volkswagen's new-generation Passat offers standard equipment found in more high-end mid-size rivals.

Passat will still take on Mondeo, but VW has Mercedes-Benz C-Class in its sights too

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Volkswagen logo9 Oct 2014

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

THE new Passat will continue to be a rival for mid-size contenders such as the Ford Mondeo, but Volkswagen will pitch high-end variants against more premium fare, including the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

While pricing for the eighth-generation mid-sizer is likely to remain within five per cent of the current model when it launches in Australia in a year, the German car-maker has significantly boosted infotainment and driver aid technology to lure premium buyers.

This includes active safety gear such as City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Monitoring, a system that automatically steers a trailer into a parking spot, virtual instrumentation, Side Assist with traffic alert and independent braking to help avoid collisions backing out, bird’s eye view reverse camera technology and a more sophisticated sat-nav.

Additionally, the latest adaptive damper technology, adaptive cruise control, full LED lighting front and rear, and an automatic parking system will also be made available, while even the standard Trendline model in Europe includes keyless entry and start.

Volkswagen's engineers have ensured the new structure is stiffer to reduce noise paths, reduced drag for quieter air flow and tuned the steering and suspension for a more linear feel across the entire speed spectrum – all hallmarks of luxury vehicles in consumers’ minds, Volkswagen claims. There are more upmarket models available globally, including the newly unveiled GTE petrol-electric hybrid, the 2.0-litre bi-turbo performance diesel and R-Line visual enhancement kit.

Updated versions of the successful crossover-style Alltrack are also in the pipeline, as is another CC offshoot. There are even rumours of a Shooting Brake wagon derivative of the latter, as well as a full four-seater convertible to replace the Eos, which has ceased production.

Volkswagen AG’s global product marketing specialist Christine Roch said 57 per cent of Passat buyers this year are choosing the up-spec variants that compete price-wise against the C-Class and co, compared to 47 per cent in 2007 – the first full year of the last big model change.

Despite the scores of changes designed to improve the Passat’s consumer appeal, Volkswagen says it has managed to contain price increases in Europe to about five per cent.

In Australia, the existing B7 Passat opener – the 118TSI sedan – kicks off from $38,990, plus on-road costs, extending to the $59,240 V6 FSI 4Motion Wagon.

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