VOLKSWAGEN Passat 3 Doors

Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures


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VOLKSWAGEN Passat 3 Doors
VOLKSWAGEN Passat 3 Doors   1973 1981
1973 1981

Volkswagen introduced the first Passat generation in 1973, and it was one of the most successful cars ever made by the German carmaker.
In the late ’60s, Volkswagen understood that it wouldn’t survive on the market with only its air-cooled vehicles such as the Beetle, Type III, and the Transporter and tried to expand. The German carmaker already had a good platform from Audi, another German brand acquired from Daimler-Benz in 1965. It was a platform built for a front-wheel-drive vehicle with a water-cooled engine. Volkswagen hired Giorgetto Giugiaro to design the new model, and the result was the Passat first generation. The Passat showed up in 1973 as a sedan and a hatchback with three and five doors.

The Passat coupe featured a front fascia with four round headlights and a black grille with horizontal slats between them. Its raked windshield looked sporty for a regular family vehicle, and its fastback look resembled the sports cars of that era. But between 1973 and 1975, the car featured a trunk lid and a fixed rear window. Only starting with 1975, the carmaker corrected that mistake and changed to a liftgate, which considerably increased the trunk opening.

The interior was adequate for those time standards. It featured a simple, straightforward dashboard with a wood-trims on the front area and a slightly raised area for the instrument panel. Volkswagen installed two large dials, one for the speedometer and the other for the fuel and coolant temperature gauges. In the middle, it placed an analog clock.

Under the hood, Volkswagen placed an Audi-sourced 1.3-liter gasoline engine for the base model and an option for a 1.5-liter unit. Later on, the engine range was enlarged and received higher displacement units and a naturally aspirated diesel. The carmaker axed the three-door version from the Passat range in 1981.

Full Description and Technical Specifications

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