If there was ever an engine type best associated with my youth, it was the V6. Most of my parents’ cars had ’em, the car I drove to high school (and bought not long after) had one, my friends’ cars had ’em. It was a V6-filled world — and one that now looks pretty distant in the rear-view.
Volkswagen has let slip details of its 2019 Passat, and the changes coming to the final model year of this generation means another V6 engine option drops from the automotive landscape. That leaves just two models in the non-premium midsize sedan space that still offer six cylinders beneath their hoods, and one of them is on its final pass around the sun.
As reported by The Car Connection, Volkswagen plans to trim its, er, trims for 2019, ditching the base S, high-end SEL Premium, and sportier GT, which had only arrived for the 2018 model year.
Bearing a standard 3.6-liter V6 making 280 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, the GT jazzed up the Passat’s exterior with 19-inch alloys and a smattering of go-fast appearance flourishes. The same engine was optional in the SEL.
In place of these vehicles, VW plans to offer just an SE R-Line (consolidating three trim levels: R-Line, SE, and SE with Technology Package), as well as a Wolfsburg Edition as the entry-level trim. The Wolfsburg comes with 17-inch wheels, push-button ignition, faux leather seats, and a basic level of safety features ( automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring). Optional are 18-inch wheels and a moonroof. Moving up to the SE R-Line nets you LED lights front and rear, 18-inch wheels, upgraded audio and infotainment, and a larger suite of driver-assist features.
The changes are designed to clear the way for a new Passat promised at this January’s Detroit auto show, though VW admits the loss of the V6 isn’t likely to annoy many brand loyalists.
“It has always been a relatively small take rate,” said Mark Gillies, senior manager of product and technology communications at Volkswagen of America, in an email to TTAC.
VW introduced a new base (and now standard) engine for the 2018 model year, dropping the longstanding 1.8-liter turbo four for a 2.0-liter unit generating 174 horses and 184 lb-ft. Given that the 2019 Arteon flagship sedan also carries a standard four-banger, it’s looking like VW’s passenger car line has seen the last of the V6 engine. Gillies wouldn’t speculate on what the future holds, engine-wise.
“As for the [Passat] to be introduced in January, we will be talking about that in due course,” he wrote.
With the Passat and all-new Nissan Altima dropping their optional six-cylinders for 2019, that leaves just the Toyota Camry and Ford Fusion Sport as V6 holdouts in the midsize field, and the latter sedan is now entering its final model year. The Honda Accord dropped its 3.5-liter V6 when the current-generation sedan bowed for 2018, while the Chevrolet Malibu left its V6 behind in 2016. Hyundai, Kia, and Mazda’s V6 engines are ancient history.