2019 Volkswagen Passat vs. 2019 Audi A4

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Passat and the A4 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, crash mitigating brakes, post-collision automatic braking systems, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen Passat is safer than the Audi A4:

Passat

A4

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Compression

47 lbs.

55 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

104/367 lbs.

431/395 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.8 inches

1 inches

Leg Forces (l/r)

86/37 lbs.

324/341 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 Volkswagen Passat is safer than the Audi A4:

Passat

A4

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

119

172

Chest Movement

.9 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

136 G’s

219 G’s

Hip Force

247 lbs.

308 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

627 lbs.

777 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

305

333

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

47 G’s

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

Warranty

The Passat comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The A4’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 22000 miles sooner.

There are over 2 times as many Volkswagen dealers as there are Audi dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Passat’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Passat has a 140-amp alternator. The A4’s standard 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Passat has a standard 480-amp battery. The A4’s 420-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are better in initial quality than Audi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 24th in initial quality. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Audi is ranked 25th.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Passat uses regular unleaded gasoline. The A4 requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Passat has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the A4 (18.5 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

The Passat stops shorter than the A4:

Passat

A4

60 to 0 MPH

132 feet

135 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

145 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Passat’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the A4’s (36.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Passenger Space

Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Passat a Mid-size car, while the A4 is rated a Compact.

The Passat has 10.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the A4 (102.3 vs. 92).

The Passat has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 1 inch more front shoulder room, .4 inches more rear headroom, 3.4 inches more rear legroom and 2.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the A4.

Cargo Capacity

The Passat has a much larger trunk than the A4 (15.9 vs. 13 cubic feet).

Towing

The Passat has a 1000 lbs. towing capacity. The A4 has no towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Passat SE R-Line has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The A4 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Consumer Reports rated the Passat’s headlight performance “Good,” a higher rating than the A4’s headlights, which were rated “Poor.”

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 A4 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 “1” insurance rate while the A4 is rated higher at a number “5” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Passat is less expensive to operate than the A4 because it costs $54 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Passat than the A4, including $246 less for a water pump, $51 less for front brake pads, $90 less for a starter, $104 less for fuel injection, $107 less for a fuel pump and $437 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Motor Trend selected the Passat as their 2012 Car of the Year. The A4 has never been chosen.

The Volkswagen Passat outsold the Audi A4/S4 by 20% during 2018.

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

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