Volkswagen has released pricing information for the refreshed 2020 Passat it unveiled at the 2019 Detroit Auto Show. Developed specifically for the American market, the firm's biggest sedan carries a base price of $23,915 once dealers add a mandatory $920 destination charge. To add context, the outgoing model starts at $26,190 including an $895 destination charge. It's highly unusual for a new or updated car to cost less than the model it's filling in for.
Volkswagen broke down the 2020 Passat lineup into four trim levels named S, SE, R-Line and SEL. The S model comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, LED lightning all around, automatic headlights, a 6.3-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system, Bluetooth connectivity, manual climate control, a multi-function steering wheel and cloth upholstery. In spite of its entry-level positioning, it also features forward collision warning with pedestrian detection and emergency braking, a blind spot monitoring system, and rear-cross traffic alert. It ticks all of the basic boxes.
Next up in the hierarchy is the SE ($26,765), which gains chrome exterior trim, keyless entry, a push-button ignition, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, rain-sensing wipers, adaptive cruise control, and lane-keeping assist. It's offered with an optional sunroof priced at $995.
The R-Line ($29,565) comes standard with the sunroof, plus an alarm, 19-inch alloy wheels, ambient lighting, a body kit and shift paddles. It's the looker of the range. Finally, the loaded SEL ($32,015) offers features like high-beam assist, specific seats upholstered with leather, a power-adjustable passenger seat, heated rear seats, navigation, parking sensors and a Fender audio system.
The Passat loses the VR6 for the 2020 model year, and it might not get it back. The only engine offered regardless of trim level is a turbocharged, 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 174 horsepower and 206 pound-feet of torque. It spins the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. Official fuel economy figures won't be released until a little bit closer to the model's on-sale date.
Manufactured in Chattanooga, Tennessee, the 2020 Volkswagen Passat will begin arriving in showrooms in the fourth quarter of the year. While its segment is shrinking, it will nonetheless face competition from the Honda Accord, the Toyota Camry and the Hyundai Sonata, among others.