Hard to believe the Volkswagen Passat is 50 years old, but look at it this way, Bugs Bunny is over 83 years old and is still going strong after all these years. And like Bugs Bunny, the Passat is reinvented year after year changing and morphing to fit in with the times and consumer buying habits. However, for the Passat, time is slowly catching up with VW’s cash machine… buyer behavior is changing, and changing buying habits make marketing people sweat.
Volkswagen has confirmed what has long been an open secret, the Passat will only be offered as an estate. The saloon/sedan bodystyle is being permanently retired due to low-volume sales. Indeed demand for sedans, in general, is declining except for the premium brands BMW, Mercedes and Audi. People are buying SUVs or sedans/hatchbacks.
The demise of the Passat sedan is at odds with Skoda where the next generation Superb will be offered in both sedan and estate bodystyles. The Superb is a Passat in disguise, it uses the same technology and powertrains. However, the Superb has a neat trick up its sleeves to appeal to buyers… a hatchback rear opening.
The greater practicality of the Superb sedan/hatch will almost certainly lead Volkswagen to develop a Passat sedan-hatch in the near future. For now, the next-generation Passat estate is currently undergoing intense development work in preparation for its retail debut by the end of 2023.
The 8th generation Passat will be powered by 4-cylinder 1.5-liter mild hybrid engines including a pointless 300bhp PHEV variant which has a claimed electric range of 62 miles.