Volkswagen is now testing the next-generation Passat with its production body, which is still heavily disguised. One of Europe’s favorite family vehicles returns in a new set of spy photos and this time around, we have the chance to take a look at the interior.
From what we are able to see, the cabin of the Passat will be completely redesigned and will feature a new dashboard with a cleaner design and more digital gadgets. On the center console, there’s a massive tablet-style screen, very similar to the one in Volkswagen’s ID models. The HVAC controls are integrated into the same module and most likely have a capacitive-touch function. Not the most convenient way of controlling your cabin temperature but it seems that this technology is spreading across products of nearly all Volkswagen Group brands for cost-cutting reasons.
Another major change compared to the outgoing Passat is the gear shifter. Whereas the current model features a conventional lever located on the center console very close to the front armrest, it seems that the new model will switch to a steering column-mounted shifter. From these early photos, the controller looks very similar to what Mercedes-Benz uses in some of its models. The center console, in turn, is still covered with a bolt-on disguise and it’s difficult to tell what hides underneath.
The steering wheel – while different from the current Passat in Europe – looks like a typical Volkswagen steering wheel as seen in the current Golf and the electric models from the ID range. It uses capacitive-touch buttons for the volume, phone control, and probably the cruise control functions. A fully digital instrument cluster can be seen in front of the steering wheel.
The B9 generation of the Passat will grow slightly in its dimensions and will be produced in Slovakia alongside the next-generation Skoda Superb. It is expected to become the last combustion-powered Passat and to be offered only in a wagon form. An all-electric equivalent, tentatively called the Aero B, will be available in the same segment, but probably only as a sedan.