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In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Sonata are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Passat doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Automatic Emergency Braking in the Sonata 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 Sonata Limited has standard Reverse Collision-Avoidance Assist 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 Sonata Limited has a standard Around View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Passat only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.
The Sonata’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 Sonata 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.
For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sonata the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Passat has not been fully tested, yet.
The Sonata comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Passat’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.
Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Sonata 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Passat. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Passat ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.
The Sonata’s 7 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Passat runs out after 100,000 miles.
Hyundai pays for scheduled maintenance on the Sonata for 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Volkswagen pays for maintenance for the Passat (3/30,000 vs. 2/20,000).
There are over 29 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Sonata’s warranty.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 42 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 Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 21 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The Sonata SEL Plus/Limited’s standard 1.6 turbo 4-cylinder produces 6 more horsepower (180 vs. 174) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Sonata’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder produces 17 more horsepower (191 vs. 174) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
On the EPA test cycle the Sonata SEL Plus/Limited turbo 4 cyl. gets better fuel mileage than the Passat (27 city/36 hwy vs. 23 city/34 hwy).
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Sonata SE’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.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Hyundai Sonata, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Passat.
For better stopping power the Sonata SEL’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Passat:
The Sonata stops much shorter than the Passat:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sonata’s wheelbase is 1.4 inches longer than on the Passat (111.8 inches vs. 110.4 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sonata is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Passat.
The Sonata Limited handles at .89 G’s, while the Passat pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The Hyundai Sonata may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs up to about 200 pounds less than the Volkswagen Passat.
The design of the Hyundai Sonata amounts to more than styling. The Sonata has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .27 Cd. That is lower than the Passat (.29) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Sonata get better fuel mileage.
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Sonata a Large car, while the Passat is rated a Mid-size.
The Sonata has 2.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Passat (104.4 vs. 102.3).
The Sonata has 1.7 inches more front headroom, 3.7 inches more front legroom and 1 inch more front shoulder room than the Passat.
The Sonata Limited’s standard 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 Sonata Limited has a standard 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 Sonata’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.
The Sonata’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.
When the Sonata Limited 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.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Sonata Limited 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 Sonata’s optional (except SE/SEL Plus) 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.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Sonata (except SE) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Passat doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Sonata Limited’s Remote Smart Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, starting, stopping and changing direction automatically. Remote Smart Parking Assist will park and retrieve your car remotely: press a button and watch it park itself. This is ideal for tight locations. The Passat SEL’s automatic parking system requires operating the brakes and transmission to safely park and it doesn’t offer remote control parking.
The Hyundai Sonata outsold the Volkswagen Passat by over six to one during 2019.
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