2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. Its Competition

2012 Volkswagen Passat
Marty Padgett Marty Padgett Editorial Director

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 Passat2012 Volkswagen PassatBrowse Used Listings2012 Chevrolet Impala 4-door Sedan LS Retail Angular Front Exterior View2012 Chevrolet ImpalaBrowse Used Listings2011 Honda Accord Sedan 4-door I4 Auto LX Angular Front Exterior View2012 Honda Accord SedanBrowse Used Listings2012 Hyundai Sonata 4-door Sedan 2.4L Auto Limited Side Exterior View2012 Hyundai SonataBrowse Used Listings2012 Kia Optima2012 Kia OptimaBrowse Used Listings2012 Toyota Avalon2012 Toyota AvalonBrowse Used Listings
Quick Specs
7.8
A massive rear seat and better-than-hybrid highway fuel economy mask the slight loss of refinement and nimble road feel in the 2012 Volkswagen Passat.
6.6
The 2012 Impala has a dated design and lacks excitement, but a stronger, smoother powertrain should make its simple layout and excellent interior space more palatable.
8.2
Though the 2012 Honda Accord now has one of the more dated four-door sedan designs--and Bluetooth connectivity remains hard to get--its comfortable interior and perky, refined performance hit the sweet spot for families.
8.6
After more than a decade on the market, the latest Hyundai Sonata's an overnight success--thanks to great gas mileage, grabby styling, and exceptional value for the dollar.
8.6
The basics don't have to be boring: the 2012 Kia Optima evades design and driving boredom with suave looks, good performance and great gas mileage and features.
8.0
A classy, comfortable near-luxury sedan, the 2012 Toyota Avalon has a more modern look but traditional big-car handling and smooth performance.
MSRP From     
$20,590$25,760$21,480$19,795$19,500$33,195
Gas Mileage     
20 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 34 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy
Engine     
Gas I5Gas V6Gas I4Gas I4Gas I4Gas V6
EPA Class     
Mid-SizeLarge CarsLargeLarge CarsMidsize CarsLarge
Style Name     
4-Door Sedan 2.5L Manual S4-Door Sedan LS Retail4-Door I4 Manual LX4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual LX4-Door Sedan (GS)
Drivetrain     
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
555555
Passenger Doors     
N/AN/AN/AN/AN/AN/A
Body Style     
4 Door Sdn4 Door Sedan4 Door Sedan4 Door SedanSedan4 Door Sedan
Transmission     
ManualAutomaticManualManualManualAutomatic
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Chevrolet Impala2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Honda Accord Sedan2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Hyundai Sonata2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Kia Optima2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Toyota Avalon