The 2012 Volkswagen Passat stretches the idea of what a VW sedan can be, from the place it's built to its big wheelbase.
In the same size and weight class, there's the current Honda Accord; it hasn't aged as well with its sometimes bizarre styling cues but there's an agility in the base four-cylinder Accord that can't be matched by any car of its size.
The Sonata and Optima are nearly cloned from the same mechanicals: take your pick of the swishy, swoopy Sonata or the vaguely more European Optima, and either way you're getting a huge value, great front-seat space, and standard features left off the base Passat, like a USB port and satellite radio.
The Chevrolet Impala's the granddad in this group, but its immense trunk and cheap street pricing make it worth a look--but while you're looking, the latest Toyota Avalon also excels at the kind of syrupy, plush progress that's the stark opposite of the spare new Passat.
|2012 Volkswagen PassatBrowse Used Listings||2012 Chevrolet ImpalaBrowse Used Listings||2012 Honda Accord SedanBrowse Used Listings||2012 Hyundai SonataBrowse Used Listings||2012 Kia OptimaBrowse Used Listings||2012 Toyota AvalonBrowse Used Listings|
|20 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy||18 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy||20 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy||22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy||19 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy|
|Gas I5||Gas V6||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas I4||Gas V6|
|Mid-Size||Large Cars||Large||Large Cars||Midsize Cars||Large|
|4-Door Sedan 2.5L Manual S PZEV||4-Door Sedan LS Retail||4-Door I4 Manual LX||4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS||4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual LX||4-Door Sedan (Natl)|
|Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive||Front Wheel Drive|
|4 Door Sdn||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||4 Door Sedan||Sedan||4 Door Sedan|