Volkswagen Passat GTE Preview
Volkswagen has unveiled the next generation Passat at the Auto Expo 2016 and is expected to replace the existing car soon. Built on the versatile MQB platform, the new Passat was showcased with a plug-in hybrid powertrain.
The new Passat gets the Volkswagen family face with a wide horizontally slatted front grille which fuses into the swept back headlamps. Daytime running lamps have been integrated into the intelligent LED headlamps. While the sleek straight lines remain the same, the new tail lamps look premium. The blue detailing highlights the hybrid powertrain.
The interiors are premium and despite the number of buttons, the dashboard does not look too busy. The analog chronograph sits at the centre of the dashboard that hides the AC vents between the horizontal slats. The instrument cluster is a TFT screen with digital analog dials reading out the speed and the engine revs along with other information. Two electronic trip meters, average speed, average fuel economy, instantaneous fuel economy, gear indicator with shift assist will be standard.
It is a premium D-segment sedan and hence features like dual-zone climate control, cruise control, touch-screen infotainment system, power adjustable front seats will be standard. The music system can be accessed with steering mounted controls and it has Bluetooth, USB and AUX connectivity options. It may retain the automatic parking feature from the outgoing model but will have parking sensors standard across the range. The Passat, like all premium sedans, will offer a safety net of airbags, ABS with EBD, ESP, hill assist et al.
The highlight of the Passat GTE is the plug-in hybrid powertrain that combines a 1.4-litre turbocharged petrol engine with an 113bhp electric motor. The 1.4-litre TSi mill is the same as seen in the current Skoda Octavia and the Volkswagen Jetta and develops 152bhp of power. Together, the power output is rated at 214bhp of power and 400Nm of torque. The front wheels are powered through the seven-speed DSG unit. If you want to go all electric, your driving range is limited to 50kms beyond which you will either have to switch to petrol or find a power source to charge those batteries.
While the infrastructure in India is not very conducive for plug-in hybrids, the success of the similarly priced Toyota Camry Hybrid and the news of the upcoming Honda Accord Hybrid has had a positive effect. The Passat GTE may also get exemptions under the FAME initiative by the Government of India which supports environment-friendly products in the country.