New VW Passat is bigger and cheaper

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by Lord Blackadder, Jan 10, 2011.

  1. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #1
    Volkswagen has taken a new direction with the design of their Passat.

    Whereas most automakers are putting more thought into bringing more and better small cars to the market these days, Volkswagen is making their new Passat bigger and a lot cheaper.

    The engine choices remain good, especially the rare diesel option, but how are they going to shave $7000 off the base price of the Passat AND make it larger without turning it into just another Camry/Malibu/Taurus/Impala/Accord soulless bore-fest McSedan?

    Volkswagen's following in the US is built on buyers looking for a more European-flavored car. Volkswagen, however, now seem intent on making their lineup more "American". This seems sure to alienate Volkswagen's core buyers in the US.
     
  2. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #2
    I am curious as to why diesel never caught on in the US despite most automakers producing diesel models.
     
  3. iJohnHenry macrumors P6

    iJohnHenry

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    #3
    The engines last longer. ;)
     
  4. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #4
    The diesel saga is a story for another thread...but VW is one of the few car manufacturers selling vehicles in the US with a diesel.

    Its worth pointing out that the current Jetta also follows the Cheaper+Bigger philosophy, although it will be sold in Europe as well as North America. I should also note that this new American Passat is not related to the previous generation Passat. The current Euro Passat is a facelifted version of the previous car. The new American Passat is a new design that will be sold only in North America and China. So we now have two "Passats" in the market that are actually different cars, though they are sold in different markets.

    I hope they don't give the Golf the Cheaper+Bigger treatment as well...
     
  5. NickZac macrumors 68000

    NickZac

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    #5
    It looks good. The size increase is really interesting, but the odds of it gaining major popularity across Europe and the US is not very likely as the cars sold in Europe and America have always been amusingly different and almost complete opposites. I bet the Passat will also see the Chinese market as well. VW has had diesels for year (as has MB) and I see a lot of them chugging along.
     
  6. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #6
    Sadly, that is exactly what they are doing. Have you seen the new US market Jetta? They stripped out a lot of the options that used to be standard, lowered the quality of the interior, and made a lot of other cuts in order to lower the price. That "under $16k" price they brag about has the ancient and underpowered 2.0L naturally aspirated four (used to be the 2.5L 5), a solid rear axle (used to be independent rear suspension), and rear drum brakes.

    VW figured out that bigger sells better in the mid-size four door sedan market, so they bumped it up. They decontented a bit, and they also moved production to the US. I guess VW has decided to move from "affordable German luxury" back to "The people's car".
     
  7. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #7
    It's a shame, really, because they are removing the very qualities that would make me shop for a VW. I would prefer a Golf though. As I said above, I wonder if Golf will maintain its more European character, or if it too will be dumbed-down and upsized.
     
  8. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #8
    They make not tinker with it too much, though they did try to take it a bit down market in its last revision. They may just stick to the four door sedans, since they tend to be the biggest sellers. The ironic part is that people laughed when VW tried to move upscale in the 90s, more into the luxury market. Now people are giving them flak for trying to make their stuff more affordable.
     
  9. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #9
    Back in the 90s, auto magazines in the US criticized the Jetta for being too small (similar criticisms were leveled at the underrated Mondeo sold here as the Contour). I always like the in-between size of the Jetta, but apparently most Americans prefer larger cars.

    I would like to think I'm wrong, but most Americans seem to correlate size and quality, i.e. bigger cars are better. People can't understand why anyone would buy a smaller car when a bigger one could be had at the same price.
     
  10. Kebabselector macrumors 68030

    Kebabselector

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    #10
    Reminds me, must get my old Passat looked at. Needs a service anyway - they can look at the brake failure message i'm getting (probably a sensor as it only happens when cold and turning left!)

    Anyway as for the new US model, looks like a bit of the current Polo/Golf styling (EU models anyway - not sure about US versions of them) is going on. Not too sure if I like it, however as I've not got the money and I live on another continent it's not an issue at the moment.
     
  11. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #11
    well, i'm just about to buy a Jetta Sportwagon Diesel. This model wasn't updated but still remains the only station wagon with decent space, price and gas mileage in the USA. I would go for a Passat but it's too big for our driveway and no Diesel Wagon available.

    The car market here just plain sucks. There are not many useful models available. Mostly gas guzzling garbage or expensive luxury trash SUV's. Well each people gets the cars that they deserve..........
     
  12. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #12
    I'm not a one-dimensional eco-freak, but I would like to see more economical cars on the road. A couple years ago I was in the market for a used car and was shopping for either a Golf TDI or Golf 1.8 T. Very different engines, but both gave something - in one case good economy, in the other case good performance. I ended up being unable to find either and got a Subaru Forester.

    I'm still hoping Subaru make good on their original promise of bringing the diesel over to the US.

    Still, some of the new small cars coming to the US are promising.
     
  13. andiwm2003 macrumors 601

    andiwm2003

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    #13
    Neither am I. It's just that so many models don't come to the US market although they are innovative and successful in Europe. Mostly hatchbacks, wagons and modern crossovers (e.g. Ford Kuga) are missing. Even premium cars from Mercedes or BMW often come only in quite unattractive versions.

    And the engine choices suck because there are so many stupid people here who believe only a V6 or a V8 is a good engine while a TDI or a turbocharged 4 cylinder can have the same or better performance. Especially since you can't drive fast here anyway.
     
  14. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #14
    There is hope. One example: I'm no SUV fan, but the new Ford Explorer features engine choices (particularly the turbo 4 cylinder) that should significantly improve fuel economy over previous models. It's at least a small step in the right direction.

    Volkswagen should bring the Polo to the US.
     
  15. Pink∆Floyd macrumors 68020

    Pink∆Floyd

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    #15
    The Passat's headlights look like the Accord's...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  16. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    New Passat, new Jetta... they've obviously established a strong family resemblance, but I think it's taken "conservative good looks" way too far, to the point that these two cars are just too bland. I could change my opinion when I see them in person, but so far I'm not very impressed.

    At least it's more of an effort than the "new" Civic concepts! Holy crap, Honda - what's happened? That Civic was space-age in terms of design when it first came out back in 2005 or so, it was very cool! Now we get this concept that looks like it could've been at SEMA back in 2006. When you tone down the "concept" aspect of this showcar, it's gonna be a very weak mid-cycle enhancement over the current model, definitely not a complete new model in my book. Sorry for going OT, there should be a general NAIAS thread or something...
     
  17. jeffy.dee-lux macrumors 6502a

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    #17
    That's a really good point, I'm surprised they haven't already. Everybody else is all over the b-segment now, and yet I haven't even heard a peep from VW about this possibility.
     
  18. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #18
    I don't care for the front end, but I think it's an improvement. Call me crazy? We're not talking about the Passat CC here, but the one that looks like a Nissan Altima, Honda Accord, Pontiac G8, or another half dozen other cars on the road with almost the exact same body shape.

    It's not that great anyway, the front sucks - it looks way too cheap and undignified for a car of that size, eh whatever.

    I wish car manufacturers would try harder to make their cars look DIFFERENT instead of the same. Yes, I'm a car nerd and I know the difference between a VW and a Honda, but what's scary is Honda doesn't want you to know - **** look at Hyundai, they want you to see the Genesis and think it's a BMW.. that's DUMB!

    So yea, I do see where they're coming from, but the body lines are cleaner and the back door treatment looks a LOT better (they stole it from Audi, for sure) than the giant hoffmeister kink and straight diagonal line down the side.

    As for the new Civic, look at the pieces of platsic/metal they used in between the glass to make em smaller/squarer - it appears they're trying to cut costs in order to make up for the 'expensive' interior. Yep, that's what car design is coming down to - people want fancy interiors and don't care what the outside of the car looks like.

    I kinda like what they did with the sedan, but I hate the hoffmeister kink. It started on Fords in the 50s (I think), and just like flame surfacing was copied by BMW, and should've stayed with BMW lol.
     
  19. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #19
    I don't get it either. Volkswagen is very well placed to hit the ground running with a strong entry into the city car segment, but insteatd they are badge-engineering Chrysler minivans, and turning their Jetta & Passat into bloated, cheap, boring mid-size clones.

    As with those other cars you mentioned, it has no character, and is now just an appliance.

    To be fair, the Genesis proves that Hyundai can match or beat the Japanese in terms of quality and engineering these days. The V8 in the Genesis is a decent motor. And the Genesis Coupe is as good as any Japanese sports coupe in its price range. They have some of the same quirks as Japanese cars (slightly zany styling, a bit sterile), but they are solid machines.

    But it is true that midsize cars (in particular) these days are very boring. And that's precisely why I find this move by VW depressing. There was a time, not long ago, when SAAB, Volvo, VW, and even (though to a lesser extent) Mazda, Nissan, Toyota and Honda made cool and interesting cars. And today, apart from the hybrid craze, cars are about as boring as they've ever been.
     
  20. DakotaGuy macrumors 68040

    DakotaGuy

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    #20
    To understand this you would have to go back to the late 1970's when GM introduced the 5.7L V8 Oldsmobile Diesel. In theory the idea was good. Produce an engine that has much better fuel economy, but still has enough torque to pull around a large car. In reality this engine and other GM passenger car diesels are responsible for scaring away generations of Americans from ever owning a diesel car. I don't think you will find many people from 40 years old and up that are not aware of the GM diesel nightmare. To this day the word diesel and passenger car in the same sentence scares them.

    Today's diesels are much better and are well engineered and should last much longer then 40-50,000 miles, but something so bad in the past can haunt for years to come.
     
  21. steve2112 macrumors 68040

    steve2112

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    #21
    I don't really buy that excuse anymore. The GM diesel fiasco was over 30 years ago, and most modern buys don't even know about it. I think it has more to do with the fact that in the US, diesel is more expensive than gas, sometimes by a wide margin. I know in my area, the difference is 25-30 cents/gallon. Most people don't do the math to realize that the increased mileage and durability can even that out. Also, diesels tend to be more expensive upfront, and price sells.

    As far as the image problem, I think it stems more from people seeing semis and heavy equipment using diesels. Most people associate diesel with semis, heavy duty trucks, and construction equipment. And most of those are loud and belch smoke.
     
  22. JoeG4 macrumors 68030

    JoeG4

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    #22
    I'm pulling this one a bit out of nowhere, but I've once heard that the whole thing with diesel not being popular in the US is a bit of a convenient balance, since you can split petroleum into gas and get diesel as a byproduct, so it's nice to have a balance.
     
  23. Lord Blackadder thread starter macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #24
    For some context on the new Passat, read a review of the new Jetta (like this one) to see how the "decontenting" was done.

    In the case of the Jetta, the decent 5-cylinder base engine was bumped up into the optional category. The "new" base engine is the 115hp SOHC 4-banger that is not fundamentally different from the engines that powered Jettas and Golfs in the 1980s. No joke! They still make the Mk 4 Golf in Mexico, and this engine is pulled straight from the Mk 4 production line.

    The Golf/Jetta/Passat used to be closer to an E-Class or 3 Series than a Civic or Accord. But this shift radically repositions them as a run-of-the-mill grocery getter. Volkswagen wants to more than double their US sales in the next few years...

    ...as I said before, I really hope they don't ruin the Golf too.
     
  24. Russell L macrumors regular

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    #25
    I love my 2003 Passat, which is still going strong (though it was not without its problems). Its size is also perfect for me. I really didn't like the styling of its successor, which just looked too bloated, and the thought of an even larger one just makes me cringe. The new one looks pretty boring and generic, IMO. Guess I'll stick it out with my 2003 a little longer....
     

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