The 1990 VW Passat Was an Oddball When Sedans Were King

That lack of grille wasn't the only strange thing about the new-for-1990 VW midsize sedan.

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When Volkswagen introduced its newly-redesigned B3-generation Passat sedan into the US market in 1990, the automaker wasn't the all-encompassing powerhouse it is here today. The brand was still more of a niche choice for those looking for a new car, and in the case of the Passat, it faced stiff competition.

Cars like the Ford Taurus and Honda Accord dominated the market, so VW needed the Passat to be different to stand out. How? Well, it didn't have a grille, for one thing. The styling choice was a callback to older rear-engine cars of the 1950s and 1960s, though this car was, like most modern VWs, front-engined and front-wheel drive. The 1990 Passat also had a sport button to adjust the shift points of its automatic transmission, and even had adjustable rear seats.

got their hands on a brand-new Passat back in 1990 and loved the way it drove. The German build quality and wonderful seats made it a real contender in the segment, though its high price and lackluster acceleration held it back from becoming a true front-runner. Check out their full video right here.

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