2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. Its Competition

2012 Volkswagen Passat
Martin Padgett Martin 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 Passat
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2012 Chevrolet Impala 4-door Sedan LS Retail Angular Front Exterior View2012 Chevrolet Impala
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2012 Hyundai Sonata 4-door Sedan 2.4L Auto Limited Side Exterior View2012 Hyundai Sonata
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2012 Kia Optima2012 Kia Optima
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2012 Toyota Avalon2012 Toyota Avalon
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Quick Specs
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.
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.
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.
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.
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    
Gas Mileage    
20 MPG City / 43 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 30 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy22 MPG City / 39 MPG Hwy19 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy
Gas I5Gas V6Gas I4Gas I4Gas V6
EPA Class    
Mid-SizeLarge CarsLarge CarsMidsize CarsLarge
Style Name    
4-Door Sedan 2.5L Manual S PZEV4-Door Sedan LS Retail4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual GLS4-Door Sedan 2.4L Manual LX4-Door Sedan (GS)
Front Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity    
Passenger Doors    
Body Style    
4 Door Sdn4 Door Sedan4 Door SedanSedan4 Door Sedan
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Chevrolet Impala2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Hyundai Sonata2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Kia Optima2012 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2012 Toyota Avalon