2019 Buick Regal Sportback vs. 2018 Volkswagen Passat

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Regal Sportback offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Passat doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

Both the Regal Sportback and the Passat 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The Regal Sportback comes with free roadside assistance for 6 years 70,000 miles. Buick will send help if you run out of gas, need a jump-start, lock your keys in or need any assistance on the road. Volkswagen doesn’t give free roadside assistance for the Passat.

Buick pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Regal Sportback. Buick will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Volkswagen doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Passat.

There are over 3 times as many Buick dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Regal Sportback’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick third in reliability, above the industry average. With 41 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2018 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 8 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Regal Sportback has more powerful engines than the Passat:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Regal Sportback FWD 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Regal Sportback AWD 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

Regal Sportback GS 3.6 DOHC V6

310 HP

282 lbs.-ft.

Passat 2.0T turbo 4 cyl.

174 HP

184 lbs.-ft.

Passat 3.6 DOHC V6

280 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Car and Driver the Buick Regal Sportback 2.0 Turbo is faster than the Volkswagen Passat V6:

 

Regal

Passat

Zero to 30 MPH

2.2 sec

2.7 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

5.6 sec

6.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

13.8 sec

15.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6.1 sec

6.5 sec

Passing 30 to 50 MPH

2.9 sec

3.2 sec

Passing 50 to 70 MPH

4 sec

4.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

99 MPH

Top Speed

131 MPH

126 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Regal Sportback’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Passat doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Regal Sportback has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Passat doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Buick Regal Sportback, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Passat.

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Regal

Passat

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

10.7 inches

The Regal Sportback stops much shorter than the Passat:

 

Regal

Passat

 

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Regal Sportback has larger standard tires than the Passat (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R17). The Regal Sportback’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Passat (245/45R18 vs. 235/45R18).

The Regal Sportback’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Passat S’ standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Regal Sportback has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Passat S.

Suspension and Handling

The Regal Sportback offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads. The Passat’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Regal Sportback is .7 inches wider in the front and 2 inches wider in the rear than on the Passat.

The Regal Sportback GS handles at .87 G’s, while the Passat SEL Premium pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Regal Sportback AWD uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Passat doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Regal Sportback Essence is quieter than the Passat SEL Premium:

 

Regal Sportback

Passat

At idle

37 dB

40 dB

Full-Throttle

75 dB

78 dB

70 MPH Cruising

70 dB

72 dB

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Regal Sportback a Large car, while the Passat is rated a Mid-size.

Cargo Capacity

The Regal Sportback has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Passat (31.5 vs. 15.9 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Regal Sportback’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Passat’s useful trunk space.

Servicing Ease

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Buick 9th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 22% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Ergonomics

Unlike the driver-only memory seat in the Passat SEL Premium, the Regal Sportback offers an optional driver and passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat and outside mirror angle and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The Regal Sportback (except Base/Preferred)’s optional easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Passat doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Regal Sportback’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Passat does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Regal Sportback GS offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Passat doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Regal Sportback’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Volkswagen only offers heated mirrors on the Passat R-Line/SE/GT/SEL Premium.

The Regal Sportback offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Passat offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Regal Sportback GS keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Passat doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

On extremely cold winter days, the Regal Sportback’s optional (except Base) heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Passat doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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

Model Availability

The Buick Regal comes in four door hatchback and station wagon bodystyles; the Volkswagen Passat isn’t available as a station wagon.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Regal Sportback is less expensive to operate than the Passat because typical repairs cost much less on the Regal Sportback than the Passat, including $103 less for a starter, $79 less for a fuel pump, $105 less for front struts and $430 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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