Most significant changes: New turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder replaces five- cylinder
Price change: TBD
On sale: Early August
Which should you buy, 2013 or 2014? The new engine is a compelling reason to wait for the 2014s, but without pricing, it's a tough call.
When Volkswagen's largest sedan was redesigned for 2012, it got a style overhaul as well as significantly larger dimensions. For 2014, the Passat again sees some big changes, and chief among them is a new engine.
A new turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder replaces the Passat's 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine in SEL models and above; VW says it's gradually phasing out the 2.5-liter unit altogether. The 3.6-liter V-6 and 2.0-liter diesel carry over to 2014 models, as do the five-speed manual, six-speed automatic and six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmissions.
The new engine is good for 170 horsepower and 184 pounds-feet of torque. Compared to the 2.5-liter, horsepower is the same, but the 1.8 offers a bit more torque. Fuel-economy figures haven't been released, but the "new engine is expected to offer significant highway fuel mileage gains over the 2.5-liter unit," Volkswagen said in a statement.
The 2014 Passat also now uses electro-mechanical steering, instead of the previous hydraulic setup. Also new for 2014 is the VW Car-Net connection service system. Like GM's OnStar safety and communication system, Car-Net offers crash notification, roadside assistance and stolen vehicle location services. Through a smartphone app, users can also remotely start their vehicle, set boundary and speed alerts and get a vehicle health report. In the 2014 Passat, the system will be available on the Wolfsburg Edition trim and higher; VW told us it will release system pricing later this week.
Other model-year 2014 changes include more available features for the SE model, such as a backup camera, two-tone seats and keyless access with push-button start. Wolfsburg Edition cars get a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and parking brake for 2014. VW says a Sport trim will join the lineup later in the year but was mum on details.
Pricing for the 2014 Passat will be released closer to the sedan’s early August on-sale date.