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2020 Volkswagen Passat is a refreshed sedan in a sea of crossovers

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is replacing the

New Midsize Sedan (NMS)

, aka the


, with, well, a new midsize sedan. Closing the door on the NMS’ longer-than-average eight-year product cycle, the 2020


gets fresh styling, new tech and added safety. But it’s not a complete redesign, however, as it rides on an updated version of the same platform.

Debuting at the

2019 North American International Auto Show

in Detroit, the 2020 Passat follows in the footsteps of its younger compact brother, the


, which started a new generation for the 2019 model year. It has a sharper exterior design than the outgoing model and uses jagged lines and edges to give the otherwise sedate four-door a sportier look. A large widened grille and standard slim LED headlights give the Passat more presence and a lower stance, a theme that is continued in the rear with thin LED tail lamps and prominent badging. Seventeen-inch wheels are standard, with 18-inch and 19-inch available in other trims.

Beneath the hood, not much has changed. The Passat will be offered with the same turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injection four-cylinder TSI engine. Horsepower stays the same at 174, but a new torque converter and updated software will give the car a bit more pep, boosting torque from 184 pound-feet to 207. A six-speed automatic transmission funnels power to the front wheels. According to previous discussions with


, something similar to the

Passat GT

is possible in the future, but there’s no confirmation.

At introduction, Volkswagen says there will be four regular trims, with a fifth Limited trim available only for the vehicle’s launch. Depending on the trim, there are three interior designs available. The interior remains typically tight and simple German, but the dashboard, instrument cluster, and infotainment have been redesigned. Cloth, V-Tex (faux leather), and Nappa leather seats will be offered, with the choice of four color options. Notable options include available front and rear heated seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing windshield wipers, power-folding heated side mirrors, and adaptive cornering headlights.

The biggest change to the infotainment is a new glass-covered look. It still features several smartphone compatibilities, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and MirrorLink. A premium Fender audio system is also available. It comes standard with forward collision warning, blind-spot monitoring, front automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, and rear traffic alert. Adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist, and parking steering assistant are optional.

VW is acting like it still believes the sedan market to be important (see


), but the way it handled this launch makes the uncertainty obvious. The use of an updated platform and an updated powertrain point to cost-saving measures, with greater focus on


, SUVs, and upcoming

electric vehicles

. But even that’s more effort into the sedan segment than some of VW’s competitors here in America.

The 2020 Passat launches later this year, with first deliveries expected in the summer.

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from Autoblog