The new Passat is made in America, for Americans. Larger, somewhat de-contented, and less expensive, the new Passat, much like the new Jetta, may meet with a tepid response from the reviewing press. Final pricing will be announced in March.
The new Passat is about 3.6 inches longer in wheelbase and 3.9 inches overall, and about a half an inch wider than the European-market Passat. The restyled exterior is sharp, if a bit inoffensive, while the interior looks more like previous-generation VWs, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your perspective.
Three familiar equipment lines are offered: the S, SE, and SEL. The base S gets six airbags, Bluetooth, stability control and other basic safety electronics.
Powertrains will be familiar to anyone with a VW in their past: a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter TDI diesel four-cylinder, a 170-horsepower 2.5 liter five-cylinder gasoline engine, and a 280-horsepower 3.6-liter V-6 good for 0-60mph in 6.5 seconds. The diesel scores 0-60 mph in 9.3 seconds, 1.1 seconds slower than the gas engine. A manual gearbox is standard in both TDI and 2.5-liter models, with an optional six-speed dual-clutch DSG (TDI) or six-speed auto (2.5), while DSG is standard for the V-6.
Check back tomorrow for the live photos as the 2012 Volkswagen Passat sedan makes its official debut at the 2011 North American International Auto Show.