VW Passat

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VW Passat

This is an all-new VW Passat, which will go on sale next August from about 13,000 but dont get too excited, as it will only be sold in the USA and, later on, China.

Despite its name and similar visual appearance, the car is significantly different from the new VW Passat that is being launched in Europe this month. Some might say thats just as well, too, given that it undercuts Europes entry-level car by around 5000.

The US-market Passat sits on an extended version of the European cars platform, which makes it 10cm longer, 1.3cm wider and therefore more spacious. Every body panel is different and it has a bespoke interior. Much of the cost saving comes from the fact it will be built in the US.

It will be sold with a range-topping 276bhp 3.6-litre V6, along with a 168bhp 2.0-litre petrol expected to be the best-seller and a 138bhp 2.0 litre diesel.

Designed to build market share
Previously known as the NMS or New Medium-sized Saloon while it was being developed, the American Passat is to be launched as part of the VW Groups bid to triple its US sales to 800,000 cars a year by 2018, thereby challenging the likes of Honda and Toyota.

It will replace the current European-spec Passat because VW feels that it is too close in size to the US-market Jetta Sportswagon, which is currently its best-selling model in the United States.

However, despite its low price, VW hasnt followed the example of its US-spec Jetta and fitted less sophisticated suspension to the American Passat; instead, it will keep the same advanced multi-link suspension of the European car.