2018 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2017 Buick Verano

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Passat offers optional Autonomous Emergency Braking, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Verano offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The Passat has standard post collision braking, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Verano doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Passat SE Technology Package/SEL has standard Park Distance Control to help warn the driver about vehicles, pedestrians or other obstacles behind or in front of their vehicle. The Verano doesn’t offer a front parking aid.

Both the Passat and the Verano have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Passat is safer than the Buick Verano:

 

Passat

Verano

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1 inches

Abdominal Force

136 G’s

195 G’s

Hip Force

247 lbs.

305 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

280

284

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

671 lbs.

733 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Passat the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 120 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Verano has not been fully tested, yet, but doesn’t qualify for 2017 “Top Pick.”

Warranty

The Passat comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Verano’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

The Passat’s corrosion warranty is 4 years longer than the Verano’s (10 vs. 6 years).

Reliability

The Volkswagen Passat’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Verano’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Passat has a standard 140-amp alternator. The Verano’s 130-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Passat has a standard 570-amp battery (640 V6). The Verano’s 512-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Buick vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Buick is ranked 13th.

Engine

The Passat 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 13 lbs.-ft. more torque (184 vs. 171) than the Verano’s 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Passat’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 100 more horsepower (280 vs. 180) and 87 lbs.-ft. more torque (258 vs. 171) than the Verano’s 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Passat V6 is faster than the Buick Verano:

 

Passat

Verano

Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

8.3 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

16.2 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.9 MPH

85.5 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Passat 2.0T gets better fuel mileage than the Verano (25 city/36 hwy vs. 21 city/31 hwy).

The Passat has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Verano (18.5 vs. 15.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Passat offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Verano doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Passat’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Verano:

 

Passat

Verano

Front Rotors

12.3 inches

10.8 inches

Rear Rotors

10.7 inches

10.5 inches

The Passat stops shorter than the Verano:

 

Passat

Verano

 

70 to 0 MPH

169 feet

178 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

124 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Passat R-Line/GT’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 40 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Verano’s optional 45 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Passat R-Line/GT has standard 19-inch wheels. The Verano’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

For superior ride and handling, the Volkswagen Passat has fully independent front and rear suspensions. An independent suspension allows the wheels to follow the road at the best angle for gripping the pavement, without compromising ride comfort. The Buick Verano has a rear torsion beam axle, with a semi-independent rear suspension.

The Passat has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Passat flat and controlled during cornering. The Verano’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

The Passat has vehicle speed-sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Verano doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Passat’s wheelbase is 4.7 inches longer than on the Verano (110.4 inches vs. 105.7 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Passat is 1.8 inches wider in the front and .3 inches wider in the rear than on the Verano.

The Passat SE handles at .83 G’s, while the Verano pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Passat SEL Premium executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Verano (26.9 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 27.4 seconds @ .61 average G’s).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the Passat is rated a Mid-size car by the EPA, while the Verano is rated a Compact.

The Passat has 7.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Verano (102.3 vs. 95).

The Passat has .4 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, 4.4 inches more rear legroom and 4.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the Verano.

Cargo Capacity

The Passat has a much larger trunk than the Verano (15.9 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Passat easier. The Passat’s trunk lift-over height is 28.2 inches, while the Verano’s liftover is 29.4 inches.

With its sedan body style, valet key, locking rear seatbacks and remote trunk release lockout, the Passat offers cargo security. The Verano’s non-lockable folding seat and non-lockable remote release defeat cargo security.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Passat. The Verano doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Passat’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Verano doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics

When three different drivers share the Passat SEL, the memory seats and mirrors make it convenient for all three. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position and outside mirror angle. The Verano doesn’t offer a memory system.

The Passat’s front power windows open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Verano’s power windows’ front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

The Passat has a standard locking fuel door with a remote release located convenient to the driver. A locking fuel door helps prevent vandalism, such as sugar in the tank and fuel theft. The Verano doesn’t offer a locking fuel door.

The Passat SE Technology Package/SEL Premium’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Verano’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Passat R-Line/SE/SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Verano doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Passat’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the Verano’s headlights, which were rated “Fair.”

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Passat (except S/R-Line/GT) offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Verano doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the Passat and the Verano offer available heated front seats. The Passat also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Verano.

Both the Passat and the Verano offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Passat has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Verano doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

A built-in pollen filter removes pollen, exhaust fumes and other pollutants from the Passat’s passenger compartment. This helps prevent lung and/or sinus irritation, which can trigger allergies or asthma. The Verano doesn’t offer a filtration system.

To keep a safe, consistent following distance, the Passat R-Line/SE/GT/SEL Premium has a standard Adaptive Cruise Control, which alters the speed of the vehicle without driver intervention. This allows the driver to use cruise control more safely without constantly having to disengage it when approaching slower traffic. The Verano doesn’t offer an adaptive cruise control.

Bluetooth wireless connectivity is standard on the Passat, connecting the driver and passenger’s cell phones to the vehicle systems. This allows them to use the vehicle’s stereo and hand controls to place calls safely and easily. Bluetooth costs extra on the Verano.

The Passat SEL Premium’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Verano doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Passat owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Passat with a number “3” insurance rate while the Verano is rated higher at a number “8” rate.

The Passat will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Passat will retain 42.97% to 77.66% of its original price after five years, while the Verano only retains 35.39% to 36.82%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Passat is less expensive to operate than the Verano because typical repairs cost much less on the Passat than the Verano, including $153 less for a water pump, $121 less for front brake pads, $175 less for fuel injection, $34 less for a fuel pump and $334 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Volkswagen Passat and the Buick Verano, based on reliability, safety and performance.

Motor Trend selected the Passat as their 2012 Car of the Year. The Verano has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Passat outsold the Buick Verano by almost four to one during 2016.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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