Detroit-bound 2020 Volkswagen Passat takes shape

It's not an all-new model, but it's comprehensively updated.

Volkswagen will unveil the 2020 Passat during the 2019 Detroit auto show. The German firm is keeping full details under wraps until the unveiling, but reports from media outlets who drove pre-production prototypes in Arizona shed valuable insight into what we can expect from the sedan.

The 2020 Passat was again designed specifically for the American market. It's not related to the Passat sold in Europe, and it's not built on the modular MQB platform that underpins a wide variety of cars ranging from the Golf to the Atlas. It's a re-skinned version of the current-generation Passat with a new-look design.

The updates continue under the sheet metal. Motor Authority learned that power comes from an upgraded 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 174 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque, up from 184 in the current car. It spins the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. This powertrain will be the only one offered when the 2020 Passat goes on sale, according to the same report. There won't be a manual transmission, unsurprisingly, and a six-cylinder option is in limbo.

Volkswagen is taking technology seriously. Every Passat regardless of trim level will come with automatic emergency braking, a blind spot monitoring system, and LED headlights. Motor Authority reports adaptive cruise control and active lane assist will be available on some variants, but not on the entry-level model. All told, the line-up will include four trim levels. Pricing hasn't been released yet.

Inside, the Passat receives an eight-inch touch screen compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The seats are new for 2020, too.

Manufactured in Tennessee, the 2020 Volkswagen Passat will make its global debut at the 2019 Detroit auto show. Sales will begin shortly after. Look for more information about the model in the coming weeks. When it lands, it will compete in the same segment as the Honda Accord and the Toyota Camry.

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