2020 Chrysler 300 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 2020/03/31

The 300 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints 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 5 points, IIHS rates the Active Braking optional in the 300 as “Superior.” The Passat scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The 300 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 300 and the Passat have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The Chrysler 300 weighs 688 to 1055 pounds more than the Volkswagen Passat. The NHTSA advises that heavier cars are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Chrysler 300 is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

300

Passat

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

131

312

Neck Injury Risk

31%

39%

Neck Stress

280 lbs.

391 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

47 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

203

384

Neck Injury Risk

33%

41%

Neck Stress

143 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 Chrysler 300 is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

300

Passat

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

134

280

Spine Acceleration

50 G’s

61 G’s

Hip Force

350 lbs.

627 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

HIC

302

305

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

Warranty

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Chrysler’s powertrain warranty covers the 300 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Passat. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the Passat ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The 300’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Passat’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

There are almost 4 times as many Chrysler dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the 300’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the 300 has a standard 160-amp alternator (180-amp - 300 optional). The Passat’s 140-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the 300 has a standard 730-amp battery. The Passat’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

The battery on the 300 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the 300’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Passat’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the 300 third among large cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Passat isn’t in the top three in its category.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Chrysler vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Chrysler 8 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The 300’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 118 more horsepower (292 vs. 174) and 54 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The 300S’ standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 126 more horsepower (300 vs. 174) and 58 lbs.-ft. more torque (264 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The 300’s optional 5.7 V8 produces 189 more horsepower (363 vs. 174) and 188 lbs.-ft. more torque (394 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the 300 V8’s fuel efficiency. The Passat doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The 300 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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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Chrysler 300, 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 300’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Passat:

300

300 V8/AWD

Passat

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

13.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

12.6 inches

10.7 inches

The 300 V8/AWD’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Passat are solid, not vented.

The 300 stops much shorter than the Passat:

300

Passat

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

115 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

142 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the 300’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Passat (245/45R20 vs. 235/45R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the 300 offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Passat’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Having a flat tire is dangerous, inconvenient and expensive. The self-sealing tires available on the 300 can automatically seal most punctures up to 3/16 of an inch, effectively preventing most flat tires. The Passat doesn’t offer self-sealing tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The 300 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the 300’s wheelbase is 9.6 inches longer than on the Passat (120 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the 300 is 1.3 inches wider in the front and 2.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Passat.

The 300S handles at .85 G’s, while the Passat R-Line pulls only .80 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The 300S executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Passat R-Line (26.7 seconds @ .66 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the 300 a Large car, while the Passat is rated a Mid-size.

The 300 has 4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Passat (106.3 vs. 102.3).

The 300 has .3 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 1 inch more rear legroom and .7 inches more rear shoulder room than the Passat.

Cargo Capacity

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The 300 has a larger trunk than the Passat (16.3 vs. 15.9 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the 300’s trunk lid uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Passat’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Servicing Ease

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The engine in the 300 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Passat. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because the accessory belts are in front.

Ergonomics

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The 300 (except Base)’s optional easy entry system raises the steering wheel and 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.

On a hot day the 300’s driver can lower the front windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Passat can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

The 300’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Passat’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

A power rear sunshade is optional in the 300 (except Limited) to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Passat doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the 300 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 300’s 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.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the 300 (except Touring/Touring L) 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 300’s optional (except Touring/Touring L) 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 300 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 300 and the Passat offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the 300 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 Chrysler 300 offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) for the front seat. The Passat doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Economic Advantages

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The 300 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the 300 will retain 34.71% to 38.68% of its original price after five years, while the Passat only retains 33.69% to 34.46%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the 300 is less expensive to operate than the Passat because it costs $291 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the 300 than the Passat, including $104 less for a water pump, $516 less for a starter, $30 less for fuel injection, $55 less for a fuel pump and $202 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/03/31

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Chrysler 300 and the Volkswagen Passat, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Chrysler 300 outsold the Volkswagen Passat by over two to one during 2019.

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

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