Updated VW Passat GTE launched

Volkswagen has revealed details of a revised Passat, with the saloon and estate set to receive a facelift, increased equipment levels, and an improved GTE plug-in hybrid option.

The Passat GTE will be fitted with a 13 kWh battery - up from the existing 9.9 kWh - which is good for an electric driving range of 34 miles on a single charge, based on the WLTP tests.

There is a new operating mode to make it easier to hold the car's charge for urban driving for example, now with 'E-Mode' for electric power only, 'GTE' for both systems on maximum power, and 'Hybrid' to manage use of both the electric and petrol powertrains automatically.

VW Passat GTE interior

The new Hybrid mode is more versatile than before, with ten scale steps and an '=' setting. Selecting the '=' means that the battery's charge is held, and only that energy that is recuperated can be used.

Selecting the various stages of '^' or 'v' will either charge the battery using the engine or recuperation, the speed depending on the strength of the former, or use it at varying degrees for the latter.

Charging remains on Type 2 with a 3.6 kW on-board charger, and charging times can be programmed via the car or an app, as can pre-conditioning.

The petrol engine part of the powertrain is VW's 1.4 TSI unit, delivering 156 hp to complement the 85 kW (115 hp) electric motor. Power goes through a six-speed DSG gearbox as before.

Other highlights of the Passat range include the introduction of IQ.Drive, a driver assistance system that allows semi-autonomous driving.

Designed for heavy traffic or motorway driving, the combination of adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and other safety systems, will keep the car in a lane and accelerate, brake, or hold speed by itself - though the driver remains in control at all times. VW's IQ.Drive can recognise roundabouts, junctions, and speed limit changes and adjust its settings automatically.

VW Passat GTE rear

Other changes include the introduction of the Digital Cockpit, similar to the Active Info Display found on models such as the Golf and T-Roc already, though a step forward and with sharper graphics. The digital instrument panel can be customised to display standard driving information, media controls, or navigation commands and map, depending on preference.

Styling tweaks, IQ.Light LED matrix headlights, the addition of Apple CarPlay & Android Auto with wireless syncing, and Mobile key - the ability to use a smartphone as a digital key to enter and start the car - are also key changes.

Orders books open in May, with prices and UK specifications set to be announced closer to on-sale date.

Find out more about PHEVs

Chris Lilly

Author:Chris Lilly
Date Updated:6th Feb 2019

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