2020 Ford Fusion vs. 2019 Volkswagen Passat

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Ford Fusion have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Volkswagen Passat doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

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

The Fusion Titanium offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Passat doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

The Fusion’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Passat doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Fusion and the Passat have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available 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 Ford Fusion is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

Fusion

Passat

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

234

312

Neck Injury Risk

32%

39%

Neck Stress

234 lbs.

391 lbs.

Neck Compression

26 lbs.

47 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 Ford Fusion is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

Fusion

Passat

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

56 G’s

61 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

258

305

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

The Ford Fusion has a better fatality history. The Fusion was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 15% lower per vehicle registered than the Passat, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Warranty

There are almost 5 times as many Ford dealers as there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Fusion’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Fusion has a standard 500-amp battery. The Passat’s 480-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Fusion first among midsize cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Passat isn’t in the top three.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford fourth in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

Engine

The Fusion SE/SEL’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 7 more horsepower (181 vs. 174) and 1 lbs.-ft. more torque (185 vs. 184) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The Fusion Titanium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 71 more horsepower (245 vs. 174) and 91 lbs.-ft. more torque (275 vs. 184) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Fusion ECOBoost FWD’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 Fusion 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.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Ford Fusion higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Volkswagen Passat (3 to 7). This means the Fusion produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Passat every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Fusion stops much shorter than the Passat:

Fusion

Passat

60 to 0 MPH

117 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Fusion 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 Fusion’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Passat doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Fusion’s wheelbase is 1.8 inches longer than on the Passat (112.2 inches vs. 110.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Fusion is .6 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Passat.

The Fusion Titanium executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Passat SE R-Line (27.2 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Fusion uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Passat doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The Fusion has .9 inches more front headroom, 1.9 inches more front legroom and .9 inches more front shoulder room than the Passat.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over trunk design makes loading and unloading the Fusion easier. The Fusion’s trunk lift-over height is 24.4 inches, while the Passat’s liftover is 28.2 inches.

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Fusion’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.

Towing

Maximum trailer towing in the Volkswagen Passat is limited to 1000 pounds. The Fusion offers up to a 2000 lbs. towing capacity.

Ergonomics

The Fusion SEL/Titanium’s standard 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 Fusion’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.

If the windows are left open on the Fusion the driver can close them all from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Passat can’t use the remote to operate the windows.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Passat doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Fusion SE/SEL/Titanium’s exterior PIN entry system. The Passat doesn’t offer an exterior PIN entry system, and its Car-Net can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

The Fusion’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Passat’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

The Fusion SEL/Titanium 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 Fusion Titanium 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 Fusion Titanium’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 Fusion (except S) offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Passat doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

The Fusion will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Fusion will retain 39.28% to 42.37% 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 Fusion is less expensive to operate than the Passat because it costs $236 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Fusion than the Passat, including $287 less for a water pump, $154 less for a muffler, $490 less for a starter, $230 less for a fuel pump, $271 less for front struts and $312 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

The Ford Fusion outsold the Volkswagen Passat by over four to one during 2018.

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

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