2020 Dodge Charger 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 2020/04/07

The Charger 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 Forward Collision Warning Plus optional in the Charger as “Superior.” The Passat scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Charger offers optional ParkSense that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Passat doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Charger 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 Charger 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 and rear cross-path warning.

The Dodge Charger weighs 639 to 1064 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 Dodge Charger is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

Charger

Passat

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

95

312

Neck Injury Risk

26%

39%

Neck Stress

230 lbs.

391 lbs.

Neck Compression

41 lbs.

47 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

96

384

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.8 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

41%

Neck Stress

155 lbs.

297 lbs.

Neck Compression

42 lbs.

85 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 Dodge Charger is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

Charger

Passat

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

164

280

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

61 G’s

Hip Force

243 lbs.

627 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

270

305

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

Warranty

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Dodge’s powertrain warranty covers the Charger 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 Charger’s corrosion warranty is unlimited miles longer than the Passat’s (unlimited vs. 100,000 miles).

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

Reliability

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To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Charger has a standard 160-amp alternator (180-amp - Charger AWD/GT/R/T and 220 Scat Pack). The Passat’s 140-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

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

The battery on the Charger is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Charger’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’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Dodge vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Dodge 8th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Dodge vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Dodge 19 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

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The Charger’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 Charger’s optional 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 Charger R/T’s standard 5.7 V8 produces 196 more horsepower (370 vs. 174) and 189 lbs.-ft. more torque (395 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Charger Scat Pack’s standard 6.4 V8 produces 311 more horsepower (485 vs. 174) and 269 lbs.-ft. more torque (475 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 Charger R/T’s fuel efficiency. The Passat doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

The Charger 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 Dodge Charger, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Passat.

The Charger Scat Pack’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Passat doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Charger SXT

Charger Daytona/Widebody

Passat

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

15.4 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.8 inches

10.7 inches

The Charger GT/R/T/SXT 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 Charger stops much shorter than the Passat:

Charger

Passat

70 to 0 MPH

150 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

106 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Charger Scat Pack Widebody’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Passat (305/35R20 vs. 235/45R18).

The Charger Scat Pack Widebody’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 35 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Passat R-Line’s optional 40 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Charger R/T has standard 20-inch wheels. The Passat’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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

The Charger 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 a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Charger’s wheelbase is 9.8 inches longer than on the Passat (120.2 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Charger is 2 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Passat.

The Charger Scat Pack handles at .95 G’s, while the Passat pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Charger Scat Pack executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.8 seconds quicker than the Passat R-Line (25.3 seconds @ .8 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

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To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Charger has liquid-filled engine mounts. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Passat uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

Passenger Space

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

The Charger has 2.4 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Passat (104.7 vs. 102.3).

The Charger has .3 inches more front headroom, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, 1 inch more rear legroom and .9 inches more rear shoulder room than the Passat.

Cargo Capacity

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The Charger has a larger trunk than the Passat (16.5 vs. 15.9 cubic feet).

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Charger’s trunk lid uses concealed beam 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 Charger 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 Charger’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.

The Charger’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.

On a hot day the Charger’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 Charger’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.

When the Charger 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 Charger’s optional rear and 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 Charger 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 Charger’s optional 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 Charger 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 Charger and the Passat offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Charger 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.

Economic Advantages

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The Charger will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Charger will retain 45.05% to 56.91% 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 Charger 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 Charger than the Passat, including $170 less for a water pump, $515 less for a starter, $49 less for fuel injection, $229 less for front struts, $316 less for a timing belt/chain and $11 less for a power steering pump.

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 2020/04/07

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

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Charger second among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Passat isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Dodge Charger outsold the Volkswagen Passat by almost seven to one during 2019.

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

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