IT'S being trumpeted as a virtually new model, but other than minor styling tweeks you'll be hard pressed to spot the difference between the 2019 Volkswagen Passat and the current eight generation model.
While design changes are limited to the bumpers and lighting units, the big differences are under the skin with what VW describes as "a major technical update" bringing the VW Group's newest high tech driver assistance and infotainment systems into play.
Not least of those is a system called Travel Assist which allows partially automated driving and is capable of steering the car at speeds of up to 130mph. The system incorporates a touch-sensitive steering wheel and an emergency steering assistance function which increases safety when performing evasive manoeuvres by means of braking interventions.
A new, third-generation infotainment system - grandly dubbed the Modular Infotainment Matrix 3 - will also be debuted in the 2019 Passat and includes an integrated SIM card as standard allowing drivers to be permanently on line while on the move.
As well as improved navigation-related services with real-time information the system can be used to access music streaming services, internet radio and online-based voice control, VW's own online services and future cloud-based portable vehicle settings. It will also make it possible to use the smartphones as a "mobile key" for opening and starting the Passat.
The system is closely integrated with the Passat's new Digital Cockpit which features enhanced digital instruments with three different display configurations which can be customised via the new multifunction steering wheel with just one button.
While there are few changes to the available power trains, the most significant under-bonnet development is the fitting of a bigger battery to the plug-in hybrid Passat GTE which provides an enhanced electric drive range of up to 34 miles.
All petrol and diesel engines will be fitted with particulate filters in the 2019 range which will be revealed in both saloon and estate form at the Geneva motor show next month and is expect to go on sale here in late autumn.