2019 Mazda 6 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Passat

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Mazda 6 has standard Whiplash Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Passat doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Smart City Brake Support optional in the Mazda 6 as “Superior.” The Passat scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Mazda 6 Signature has a standard 360-degree View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Passat only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Mazda 6 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Mazda 6 is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

 

Mazda 6

Passat

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

130

312

Neck Injury Risk

23%

39%

Neck Stress

266 lbs.

391 lbs.

Neck Compression

24 lbs.

47 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

43/70 lbs.

104/367 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

249

384

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.8 inches

Neck Stress

133 lbs.

297 lbs.

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

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 Mazda 6 is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

 

Mazda 6

Passat

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

380 lbs.

627 lbs.

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

HIC

271

305

Spine Acceleration

36 G’s

44 G’s

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

For its top level performance in IIHS driver-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, its “Good” rating in the new passenger-side small overlap crash test, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Mazda 6 the rating of “Top Pick” for 2019, a rating granted to only 62 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Passat was last qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

The Mazda 6 comes with free roadside assistance for 3 years 36,000 miles. Mazda 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.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 22nd in initial quality. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 24th.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Mazda 14th in reliability. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 19th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Volkswagen is ranked 16th.

Engine

The Mazda 6’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 13 more horsepower (187 vs. 174) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 184) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 76 more horsepower (250 vs. 174) and 126 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 184) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Mazda 6 (except Turbo)’s fuel efficiency. The Passat doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Mazda 6 Touring/Signature’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Passat:

 

Mazda6 Turbo

Passat

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

10.9 inches

10.7 inches

The Mazda 6 stops much shorter than the Passat:

 

Mazda 6

Passat

 

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Mazda 6 has larger tires than the Passat (225/55R17 vs. 215/55R17).

Suspension and Handling

The Mazda 6 has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Passat’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Mazda 6 is .5 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Passat.

The Mazda 6 Touring handles at .87 G’s, while the Passat pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Passat SE R-Line (27.1 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The Mazda 6 (except Sport) offers available 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.

Cargo Capacity

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Mazda 6’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Passat’s useful trunk space.

Ergonomics

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve and Signature have a standard 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Mazda 6’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Passat’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Mazda 6 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Passat doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The Passat (except S/R-Line/GT)’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.

The Mazda 6 Grand Touring/Signature has standard 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 Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature 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 Mazda 6 Grand Touring Reserve/Signature’s standard 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.

The Mazda 6 has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning is only available on the Passat SE R-Line.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Mazda 6 is less expensive to operate than the Passat because it costs $119 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Mazda 6 than the Passat, including $236 less for a water pump, $355 less for a muffler, $480 less for a starter, $145 less for front struts and $395 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda 6 and the Volkswagen Passat, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Mazda 6 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Ten” for 2 of the last 6 years. The Passat has never been a Car and Driver “Top Ten” pick.

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

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