The New Passat Variant – In Depth

Wolfsburg, 25 July 2005 – Volkswagen presents the new Passat Variant. The sixth generation of this bestseller estate car is due to be launched in Germany on August 19, followed by its introduction in many other European markets in Spring 2006 and then in the markets of North America and Japan in mid-December. For 43 years now, the term variant has been the renowned worldwide trademark for Volkswagen estate car models around the globe. The original variant was given the simple name of Type 1500. Eleven years on/later, Volkswagen presented the first of 4.3 million Passat produced to date under the variant label. It was this automobile which catapulted the estate class to the top of the European buyer market. And its boom continues.


Middle-class estate cars experienced a great rise in popularity between 2000 and 2004,i.e. plus six percent in Europe and plus twelve percent in Germany

In the years 2000 to 2004 alone, the market share for estate cars in the Passat segment rose from 21 to 27 percent. The trend in Germany was even more pronounced, with the volume for estate cars in the middle-class segment (the B segment) climbing from 28 to 40 percent in that same period. Right up to the time the last vehicle came off the production either or assembly line, it was the Passat Variant which enjoyed the very top ranking. In 2004, the now superseded Variant of the day then assumed the second ranking on the charts for Western Europe (after it had consistently held the number-1 position over the previous six years). You can’t get more successful than that during a vehicle’s lifecycle.


The Passat Variant sets the new standard for the middle class segment: Premium but affordable – something no other estate car offers

Since the first details about the new Passat Variant emerged, interest by private and commercial buyers immediately exceeded the forecasts. One of the reasons for this positive response may be the fact that the new Passat Variant sets new standards in the middle class segment. Regardless of whether or not one sees this turn of events as welcome, the fact remains that the Passat Variant is the only vehicle in it’s class to compete in both the classic high-volume as well as the premium automobile leagues. The Passat Variant is the only vehicle to request classless acceptance both as a company car and a private vehicle. And the Passat Variant is the only vehicle to appeal to buyers in the premium sector – in terms of comparable size and value – at an attractive introductory price. In this sense, the Passat Variant, with its professional functionality, is a genuine Volkswagen an automobile which, like the Golf and the entire brand, appeals to the widest possible spectrum of buyers.


Four fittings packages, eight engine options, four gearboxes, front and all-wheel drive

The sixth-generation Passat Variant will be available in the four fittings versions Trendline, Comfortline, Sportline and Highline, with even the basic version (Trendline) including series fittings such as an electric stabilisation program, Climatic, six airbags, 16-inch wheels, electric front window lifts, remote-controlled central locking, an electronic parking brake, electromechanical power steering, the Press&Drive comfort ignition system, an unfoldable loading surface, an asymmetrically foldable rear bench (seating surface and backrest; when folded down completely, create a level surface), the cargo area cover and of course roof rails, among other features. Passat Variants ordered with a tow bar also include the electric stabilisation program with a stabiliser for towed vehicles. This feature helps to neutralise the swaying motion to which caravans in particular are susceptible.

A total of eight engine types will be available for the Passat Variant in Europe, with the performance spectrum of these engines ranging from 75 kW / 102 hp to 184 kW / 250 hp. Seven of the available petrol and diesel versions are direct-injection engines, four feature a turbo charger, and all meet the EU-4 standard. The two basic-version engines feature a five-speed gearbox, while all others come with a six-speed one. The DSG and Tiptronic automatic versions likewise feature six speeds. Two of the engines have been newly developed: a 2.0-litre TDI with 125 kW / 170 hp and a standardized maintenance-free diesel particulate filter, and a 3.2-litre V6 FSI provided as a series feature in combination with the direct-shift double-clutch gearbox (DSG) and the 4Motion all-wheel drive.


The Sixth generation more advanced than ever:The new Passat Variant has a look that is more poignant, more powerful, and more compelling

Take the functionality of the Passat Variant and add a new dimension of fascination. This talented Volkswagen displays more emotion and more power than any estate in this series has ever done before – all the while, continuing to produce a refreshingly clear and timeless look on wheels measuring at least 16 inches. One of the distinctive features of this automobile is the strong upward flow of its side contours from front to back as well as the accompanying window design.

The design of the Passat saloon introduced earlier this year enjoys the reputation of being as sophisticated as it is progressive – a prime example being the way the new brand face, i.e. the distinct look of the radiator grille, has been interpreted for this model. While the similarities in the front-end design of the saloon version and the Variant are distinctive, all the other design elements of these two automobiles (the B pillar and beyond) are particularly unique, with the side contours and rear end of this five-door model once more presenting VW design in its best possible form.


More space throughout – The Passat Variant is more than nine centimetres longer than its predecessor

With a length of 4.77 metres and a width of 1.82 metres, this automobile is 9.2 centimetres longer than its predecessor and 7.4 centimetres wider. In this overall length, the Variant conceals a wheelbase of 2.71 metres. Even though the new Variant seems lower and more dynamic than the fifth-generation model, it is actually 1.9 centimetres higher (1.52 metres, including series-fitted roof rails).


Stowage volume between 603 and 1,731 litres with a permissible payload of 638 kg

A great space-to-weight ratio

With its expanded length, width and height, this model now offers even more cargo space and more passenger room. The storage volume up to the cargo area cover/bottom edge of the window is 603 litres (+108 l). The full capacity of this spacious automobile, including the 90 litres of space provided by the spare wheel well, is 1,731 litres (+131 l). The volume of the tank was increased from 62 to 70 litres. The Passat Variant can also take on more weight than its predecessor. With a maximum payload of up to 638 kilograms, that amounts to 43 kg more than the previous model.

To ensure that loading is as simple as possible, the hatchback lifts up to a height of 2.06 metres. The long-cargo channel measures a length of 72 centimetres. The interior cabin affords headroom to the roof lining of 83 centimetres; the width between the wheel wells on either side measures 1 metre. The area of greatest width in the cargo area is 1.3 metres; minimum length: 1.13 metres. When the rear bench is folded down (series bench: 1/3 and 2/3), the cargo area of the Passat Variant features a loading length of 1.96 metres. Another important feature are the seat surfaces and backrests in the rear compartment, which can easily and individually be folded down within a matter of seconds. As an optional extra, Volkswagen also provides a fold-down front-passenger seat in the Trendline model (a series feature in the Comfortline fittings package), thus allowing objects of up to 2.9 metres in length to be stowed in the Passat Variant.


The third-generation Passat was hailed a miracle in space design. Since then, Successor models have regularly transcended the boundaries to the next-higher vehicle class

Passat are known for affording passengers an exceptionally comfortable amount of room, the kind of room not normally associated with middle-class cars. And this model is no exception. The legroom provided for the driver (the area extending from pedal to hip joint) in the new Passat Variant is 1.05 metres. The headspace available to front-seat passengers is 97 centimetres, while back-seat passengers enjoy 98 centimetres. The driver and front-passenger seats are 27 centimetres high, the rear bench measures 31 centimetres in height. Combine all these interior dimensions and what you get is yet another Passat which comes incredibly close to providing the comfort normally found in the next-higher class of vehicles.

Other aspects of the new Passat Variant’s interior also serve to underscore the fact that this Volkswagen is testing the boundaries which conventionally divide this vehicle class from the next. It displays a clear, fresh and sophisticated design, is fitted with high-quality materials, and features technology oriented on people’s desires rather than what is theoretically possible in engineering terms. The aim of this interior design was to create ideal ergonomics and operating comfort. The dominating characteristics of the design are clearly structured functional elements and the apparently effortless infusion of style. The overall impression is that of a space which is as protective as it is exciting, a space which, while it is new, almost immediately evokes feelings of familiarity, approval and timelessness.


A whole array of new systems in the Passat Variant add safety, comfort and driving pleasure

The new generation of Germany’s most successful Variant car possesses the same exciting technology highlights already featured in the saloon version introduced at the start of the year. This five-door version of the Passat, however, also comes with specific new systems and technologies now featured in both vehicle versions.


Newly designed child seats offer even better side support for head and body

Child safety seats

The Passat Variant will be available in the fall, with the option of an newly developed generation of integrated child seats. The system is similar to the one used in the predecessor model, with the seats removable at a touch. Now, however, the side supports can be set in an upright position, thus offering added support. booster pillows have been integrated into the headrest mountings, to offer even more side support. People with children are familiar with the problem that the heads of their sleeping children will often slump most uncomfortably, possibly even dangerously in some circumstances. The boosters serve to enhance both comfort and safety.

The integrated child seats will be available both as a double-system option (on the left and right sides of the rear bench) and as a single-seat solution. They meet the ECE-R44 norm and are suitable for children ages two and up: groups “2” (15 to 25 kg) and “3” (22 to 36 kg).


With its integrated ACC, the Passat Variant automatically pulls the brake on situations that are too close for comfort

The Passat Variant will be available in the fall with automatic cruise control (ACC). The ACC system uses a radar (at an angle of twelve degrees) to monitor the traffic situation for up to 200 metres ahead of the vehicle, thereby ensuring not only an automatically defined safety gap, but also that the stopping distance is shortened (only in models with automatic transmission).

This stopping distance control is the third revolutionary driver-assistance feature (the other two being ABS and the electric stabilisation program) which actively help prevent serious motor-vehicle accidents.

This is how it works: The system operates at speeds up to 210 km/h and two program levels: “normal” and “dynamic”, permanently gauging the situation ahead of the vehicle. Once it identifies the risk of a collision, it initiates two measures within fractions of a second, before the driver himself can react. First, the brake is readied for operation, with the brake pads set against the wheels’ brake discs, to ensure that pedal manipulation is a lot quicker in the event of an all-out braking manoeuvre. Second, the actuation threshold for the hydraulic braking assistant is reduced (adaptive braking assistant). This ensures that maximum braking is more quickly enabled when necessary. Thus, the braking distance can be reduced noticeably, depending on the given situation.


A compact hydro-pneumatic system optimises the comfort and handling properties of the Passat Variant when loaded

Fully automatic level control of the rear axle optimises comfort and safety. The system was designed specifically for this particular vehicle series and is available as an optional extra (not in vehicles with performance running gear). The individual components of this self-pumping, hydro-pneumatic level control system were designed as integral parts of the shock absorbers, so that no additional space was needed to accommodate them. The energy needed for “pumping up” is generated by oscillation between the rear axle and the body during vehicle operation.

Thanks to a deflection rate which the level-control system keeps perpetually constant and to a rear wheelbase height which remains unaffected by vehicle load, the vehicle’s handling properties are substantially more neutral, thereby providing an extra degree of safety alongside the series-fitted electric stabilisation program. Automatic level control additionally has a positive effect on driving comfort.


This bicycle carrier system was recently invented as part of the development work for the new Passat. It is directly attached to the bumper for maximum safety

In its basic design, this new system, available this fall, is similar to those carriers mounted on the tow bar. The new VW carrier, however, no longer requires the effort of fixing it to the tow bar, since it is simply mounted on two pins attached to the specially equipped bumper bar. This solution allows for extremely easy mounting, it is quick and an extremely safe solution given its secure attachment to the vehicle structure in two places. Two quick-lock fixtures enable the bicycle carriers to be folded aside in a matter of seconds for access to the cargo area.


A versatile system comprised of a strap, a telescopic rail and four lashing eyelets to keep luggage securely in place

Boot with cargo management system

The Passat Variant now features a new, specially designed luggage management package for the cargo area surface. The system comprises two rails positioned on the left and the right side of the cargo area interior. These rails can be used to individually fix straps and a telescopic rail into place using variable rod positions, so as to secure luggage, grocery bags, etc. firmly into place. The rails are also fitted with four lashing eyelets which may be individually positioned. It’s as easy as press, shift, done.


The cargo area lid can be opened and closed at the touch of a button, and the angle of the opened hatchback varied

For the first time ever, Volkswagen offers an electrically opening and closing hatchback lid for its Passat Variant. The ultra-flat power unit which operates the hatchback hinges to which the hatchback lid is attached, is mounted into the roof area. The tailgate is manipulated either via a button situated in the driver’s side door panel, via remote control, via a button situated in the hatchback itself or externally by conventional means (a push button situated below the license plate). The angle of the opening, and therefore the height of the hatch lid opening, is infinitely variable – which can be particularly advantageous in confined spaces such as garages, which otherwise pose a higher risk to easily damage- paint work. The system which powers the tailgate, features an integrated warning device. As soon as the hatchback lid encounters an obstacle during the closing operation, it automatically moves the tailgate back in the opposite direction.

Locking and ignition system

A new type of ignition key for added comfort and safety

The remote-controlled ignition and locking system in the Passat Variant has undergone comprehensive re-development. The comfort ignition system “Press & Drive” does not have a conventional key anymore. The transmitter used to centrally lock and unlock the doors is now located, mainly, in a mounting to the right of the steering wheel – the electronic ignition lock. Thus, the vehicle engine can be started by pressing the button on the transmitter. If the Passat is fitted with this lock- and start system, KESSY (Keyless Entry Start and Exit System) featured for the first time in this model – starting the engine will take no more than a push of a integrated key-like button.

Mobile Phone FIXINGS (Premium)

In the Passat Variant, Bluetooth mobile phones are turned into full- fledged car phones

Passat Variant buyers can choose from two optional hands-free systems. Apart from the standard Mobile phone fixing there will be a “premium phone fixing” available this fall. It includes a Bluetooth interface, allowing wireless integration of the driver’s mobile phone into the vehicle and thereby allowing the user to keep it in his or her pocket or bag. A permanently installed phone in the car will assume the mobile telephony functions by tapping in to the driver’s SIM card to obtain the data needed. For the duration of the car phone’s functionality, the driver’s mobile phone will suspend GSM operations, only logging back into the GSM net when the driver gets out of from the Passat and the car phone stops using the SIM data.


New navigation system and

high-end hi-fi sound

Like the saloon before it, the Passat Variant will be available with a choice of different radio-CD and radio-navigation-CD/DVD systems. Each of these systems offers outstanding sound quality, with output ranging from 40 to 600 Watt. Buyers will have the option of incorporating the controls for these systems into the multifunction steering wheel. Two new sound systems and the DVD-radio-navigation system all offer particularly exceptional quality.

Both the new RNS MFD2-DVD high-end navigation system and the top radio-CD system, RCD 500, may be combined either with the VW sound system (250 Watt) or the Dynaudio sound system (600 Watt) both specially developed for this vehicle series.


Power to the fullest for laptops, coolers and other devices; ideally tailored for business and family use

Business travellers as well as young families will welcome the availability of optional 230-volt Euro sockets with 50 Hz alternating voltage which they can use to charge their laptops or connect a cooler. Alternating voltage is generated by a static converter installed into the Passat Variant specifically for this purpose. It can run on 150 Watt continuous output, with even a top output of 300 Watt available for around two minutes. The system comes with a childproof feature as well as features to safeguard the system against general contact and overheating. The power socket is integrated into the rear side of the centre console.


More light, better light, quicker light and safer light (thanks to link-ups plus emergency-brake warning lights)

For this model, substantial improvements have been made to all headlight systems, most notably to the high-beam settings. Steered bi-xenon headlamps also help improve illumination over longer distances. The integrated dynamic cornering light follows the course of the road with a maximum swivel angle of 15 degrees and thus ensures the best-possible illumination at all times. This system is further perfected by an additional static around-the-bend light. Thanks to a transverse positioning angle of around 35 degrees, it offers considerable additional benefit, especially when turning corners at intersections and junctions.

The fact that the LED lamps are part of the overall vehicle network may sound like a given, but it is not. It is not the wiring loom for the headlight, indicator and brake light functions to which we refer, but rather integration into parameters such as braking intensity. This enables the so-called emergency-brake warning light, which is activated as soon as the driver, when travelling at speeds of over 60 km/h, retards speed by more than seven metres per second via the brake pedal or regular ABS engagement exceeds a duration of two seconds.


front, side and side head airbags, front-passenger airbag can be deactivated

The Passat Variant is series-fitted with six airbags (front, side and side head airbags). The front-passenger airbag can also be deactivated when using a child seat.

The Passat Variant is one of the safest automobiles in the world – a fact substantiated by in-house crash tests. And the results produced by the Passat saloon (many design features of which are identical with the Variant) serve to forecast the results for the Variant. Put through the paces


Tire pressure controlled by sensors, and special wheel-and-tire combinations with emergency properties

Tire pressure control system: Separate sensors monitor all the tires and send data telegrams to the so-called comfort-control unit in the Passat Variant. The tire-pressure-control software installed there analyses this data, checking whether any significant deviations have been produced to the pressure level previously set. If there are deviations, a warning signal is transmitted to the instrument panel.

Tires with emergency properties: The 16-inch self-supporting tires (SST) on the “Monza” alloys feature reinforced side panels and enable continued safe travel even if tire pressure is low or tires are completely deflated. Because a loss in pressure of this kind may be difficult or even impossible to perceive (thanks to the tire’s emergency properties), the “Monza” wheel-and-tire combination is series-fitted with a tire-control display feature.


A revolution in the segment of middle-class cars

New functions mean more comfort and added safety

The Passat Variant series has an electronic parking brake, immediately activated at the push of a button. The fact that it is electromechanically controlled and linked to other control devices enables new functions. They include a dynamic emergency brake function and the dynamic initial-drive-off assistant (on upward gradients). The auto-hold function (stopping at traffic lights without the need to keep the foot on the brake) comes standard in models with automatic transmission and towing capabilities and can be ordered for all other models.

All the data and descriptions included in this press folder are valid for the programme of models available for sale in Germany. Different details may apply in other countries. This information may be subject to change or correction.

The terms FSI, TDI and DSG are protected Volkswagen AG trademarks or the trademarks of other companies belonging to the Volkswagen Group in Germany.

For more discussion on this story, click on the link to our discussion forums to the left.
For more photos related to this story, click on the link to our gallery at the right.