What are the differences between the European and American Passat (and why are they different)?

By Product Expert | Posted in FAQs, Just for Fun, VW Passat on Tuesday, April 21st, 2020 at 8:57 am
2020 Volkswagen Passat, American version, cruises along a wet highway.

We love the 2020 Volkswagen Passat. For the latest iteration, VW has blessed the U.S. market with fresh styling, an updated interior, and new technology features. This always-great model got even better for 2020.

But did you know that 2020 VW Passat that Volkswagen sells to its European market is a substantially different vehicle? Read on to find out the differences between the American and European Passat, and just why these differences may exist.



European Vs. American 2020 Volkswagen Passat

A green 2020 Volkswagen Passat, European station wagon version, parked outside a modern resort with a surfboard on its roof.
The European 2020 Passat, station wagon model.

The European incarnation of the 2020 Volkswagen Passat gets different styling, different engines, and different technology than its American counterpart. It has a newer infotainment system, and receives the addition of a virtual cockpit nestled in its gauge cluster. However, the European 2020 Passat is also significantly more expensive than the American incarnation.

Exclusive assistance tech on the European Passat includes the Travel Assist feature, which will autonomously control some elements of the driving experience when going at highway speeds. The European Passat also comes in both a sedan and wagon variant, while the US version comes only as a sedan.

Read More: What’s new in the 2020 Volkswagen Passat?

Why does Volkswagen sell different Passat models in Europe and America?

We can only theorize that the reason for selling different models to different markets is the perceived differing demands of those respective markets. Volkswagen wants to sell cars that people are going to buy, after all, and it seems they don’t think Americans would spring for the more upscale, yet more expensive, European Passat model. It’s also well-established that Americans are not big buyers of station wagons, while in Europe, the wagon model of the Passat outsells the sedan two-to-one.

The segment occupied by the Passat in Europe is actually similar to the one occupied by the 2020 Arteon in the US. The 2020 Volkswagen Arteon has a longer, wider body than the American Passat, with a more modern design and a sleek, four-door setup that actually functions as a hatchback. It comes with a powerful engine and generous array of standard features.

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