Review: The Improved 2020 Volkswagen Passat Is a Missed Opportunity

When Volkswagen decided to launch the significantly updated 2020 Passat near some of Southern California’s legendary driving roads, it raised a few eyebrows (both of mine). The Passat is no longer our first choice for a midsize sedan we’d hoon up a world-class road like Angeles Crest, but could this midcycle refresh change that?

The 2020 Passat’s dashboard has been adapted to include some Arteon-esque air vents, and the infotainment display is new. At just 6.3 inches, the touchscreen is small for the segment—European Passats can be upgraded to an 8.0-inch display, something that isn’t possible in the North American car thanks to its dated platform. Desirable optional gear includes a Fender audio system, adaptive cruise control (standard on three of four trims), heated front and rear seats, and dual-zone climate control (also standard on three of four trims).