2020 Buick Regal Sportback vs. 2020 Volkswagen Passat

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/07/13

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.

The Buick Regal Sportback weighs 423 to 945 pounds more than the Volkswagen Passat. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

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Buick’s powertrain warranty covers the Regal Sportback 2 years and 20,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Passat. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 6 years or 70,000 miles. Coverage on the Passat ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Regal Sportback’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Passat’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

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

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Buick vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Buick 11th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 21 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 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 fifth in reliability, above the industry average. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Buick vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Buick 9 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Regal Sportback’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 76 more horsepower (250 vs. 174) and 54 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Regal Sportback’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 76 more horsepower (250 vs. 174) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (295 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Regal Sportback GS’ standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 136 more horsepower (310 vs. 174) and 76 lbs.-ft. more torque (282 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Buick Regal Sportback turbo 4 cyl. is faster than the Volkswagen Passat:

Regal Sportback

Passat

Zero to 30 MPH

2.9 sec

3 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

7 sec

7.9 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

4.4 sec

5.5 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

16 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

97 MPH

91 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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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

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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

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

Regal Sportback

Regal Sportback GS

Passat

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

11.3 inches

12.4 inches

10.7 inches

The Regal Sportback stops much shorter than the Passat:

Regal Sportback

Passat

70 to 0 MPH

162 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

133 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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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).

Suspension and Handling

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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 pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Regal Sportback GS executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Passat R-Line (26.6 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

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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.

Passenger Space

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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

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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. The Passat’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Buick service is better than Volkswagen. J.D. Power ranks Buick 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 26% lower rating, Volkswagen is ranked 18th.

Ergonomics

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Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Passat SEL, 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 power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Passat has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

When the Regal Sportback with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Passat’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Regal Sportback Preferred/Essence/Avenir/GS’ standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to 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 Essence/Avenir/GS’ 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 Regal Sportback GS has standard massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Passat.

The Regal Sportback 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/SEL.

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.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Buick Regal (except Base/Preferred) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Passat doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Model Availability

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

Economic Advantages

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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 $110 less for a starter, $83 less for a fuel pump, $105 less for front struts and $438 less for a timing belt/chain.

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