1 Aug 1995
By CHRIS HARRIS
VW reintroduced the front-wheel drive Passat range in Australia in August 1995.
But rather than wait for the coming B5 model that transformed the look of mid-sized sedans for years to come, the importers brought the frumpy old B4 model – it was based on a 1988 design – and then proceeded to price it out of the market.
Two plain GL models arrived – an 85kW/166Nm 2.0-litre SOHC 8V four-cylinder unit found in the Golf III, or a 128kW/235Nm 2.8-litre SOHC 12V V6 known to VW fans as the VR6 motor.
Both powerplants were mated to either a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox.
But despite a long equipment list – dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, cruise control, power windows and central locking – the B4 Passat four-door sedan slipped under most buyers’ radar, and off the new-price list, by early 1997.