In combination with a new range of petrol and diesel engines – all lighter than their predecessors – the Passat is consequently notably more efficient than before.
The most economical of the launch models, the Passat 2.0 TDI BMTI, is claimed to average 68.9mpg and emit 106g/km of CO2.
Volkswagen's chairman, Martin Winterkorn, revealed the definitive production version of the new Passat at the company's advanced design studio in Potsdam, Germany, earlier this summer. It appears a good deal less rakish than an early batch of official sketches had suggested but builds on the edgy look of its predecessor, albeit with flatter profile aimed at provided it with added visual length.
“It is designed to be a premium car without premium cost and it is designed to be eye-catching without envy," said Winterkorn. “The new Passat also offers more value for money, because it transfers technologies and features into the mid-range segment, which are normally limited to up-market cars.”
The conspicuously unadorned exterior styling continues the clean and unembellished design language evident on other recent Volkswagen models. It provides the new car with what Volkswagen design boss, Walter d’Silva, describes as a technical inspired appearance that is characterized by short overhangs, subtle crease lines within the body, thin panel gaps and a minimum of detailing.
The technical link is further enforced by distinctive LED tail lamps, which are standard across the range. The headlamps feature either a halogen or LED main beam function, depending on the model. Dynamic Light Assist, which automatically adjusts the high beam without dazzling on-coming traffic, is available among a long list of options.
While its exterior styling reflects a traditionally evolutionary approach, the interior of the new Passat represents a significant break over the old model. In keeping with Volkswagen efforts to provide its new mid-range model with a more upmarket positioning, it receives a stylish new dashboard facia and associated trims that boast higher quality materials than those of the old Passat.
Despite the reduction in external dimensions, Volkswagen claims the eighth-generation Passat possesses greater leg-, head- and shoulder room than the seventh-generation model, both front and rear.
Saloon versions offer up 586-litre boots, 21 litres more than previously, while the estates boast an additional 47 litres, totalling 650 litres. This can be extended to a capacious 1780 litres when the split fold rear seats are folded away.
In place of standard analogue instruments, buyers will be able to option the new car with a configurable 12.3-inch TFT colour monitor that goes under the name Active Info Display. That option will be available later in 2015.
In another first, the new Volkswagen also gains an optional head up display unit that uses a separate glass panel mounted within the top of the dashboard to project relevant information into the driver’s line of sight. The Passat also receives the latest Modular Infotainment System options, including Volkswagen’s Car-Net remote application for in-car connectivity.
Central to the Passat’s premium aspirations is a range of new radar and/or camera based features. Volkswagen has confirmed the new car will offer upgraded versions of the 360 degree Area View and Park Assist functions – the latter allowing the car to automatically park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces. A new Trailer Assist feature also provides assistance when reversing with a trailer for more precise parking.