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The Stinger has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests 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 6 points, IIHS rates the Autonomous Emergency Braking optional in the Stinger as “Superior.” The Passat scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”
The Stinger offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Passat doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.
The Stinger GT2 has a standard Surround 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 Stinger GT1/GT2’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 Stinger 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, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning and available lane departure warning systems.
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, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Stinger its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 54 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Passat was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.
The Stinger 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.
Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Stinger 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.
There are over 18 percent more Kia dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Stinger’s warranty.
The battery on the Stinger is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the Stinger’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 Stinger third among compact premium cars in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Passat isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 43 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 Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 10th in reliability, above the industry average. With 5 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 18 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.
The Stinger GT-Line’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder produces 81 more horsepower (255 vs. 174) and 54 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder. The Stinger GT’s standard 3.3 turbo V6 produces 191 more horsepower (365 vs. 174) and 170 lbs.-ft. more torque (376 vs. 206) than the Passat’s 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.
In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Stinger’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 Kia Stinger, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Passat.
The Stinger GT/GT1/GT2’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s at 2250 in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Passat doesn’t offer launch control.
For better stopping power the Stinger’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Passat:
The Stinger GT’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 Stinger stops much shorter than the Passat:
70 to 0 MPH
Car and Driver
60 to 0 MPH
60 to 0 MPH (Wet)
For better traction, the Stinger has larger standard tires than the Passat (225/45R18 vs. 215/55R17).
The Stinger GT-Line’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Passat’s standard 55 series tires. The Stinger GT’s 255/35R19 rear tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Passat R-Line’s optional 40 series tires.
For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Stinger GT-Line has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Passat.
The Stinger 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 Stinger 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 Stinger’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the Passat (114.4 inches vs. 110.4 inches).
For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Stinger is .7 inches wider in the front and 3.3 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Passat.
The Stinger GT2 handles at .93 G’s, while the Passat pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.
The Stinger GT executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 3.3 seconds quicker than the Passat R-Line (24.8 seconds @ .79 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).
The Stinger is 3.4 inches shorter than the Passat, making the Stinger easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.
The Stinger has a much larger trunk with its rear seat up than the Passat (23.3 vs. 15.9 cubic feet).
To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Stinger’s hatch uses gas strut supported hinges that don’t intrude into the cargo area. Its intrusive beam hinge reduces the Passat’s useful trunk space.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier, especially for short adults, the Stinger GT2 has a standard power trunk, which opens and closes automatically by pressing a button or just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, completely leaving your hands free. The Passat doesn’t offer a power trunk.
The engine in the Stinger 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.
The Stinger GT1/GT2’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 Stinger GT2 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 Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Stinger’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Passat’s headlights are rated “Poor.”
When the Stinger GT1/GT2 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 Stinger GT1/GT2 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 Stinger GT1/GT2 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 Stinger’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 Stinger 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 Stinger and the Passat offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Stinger 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 Kia Stinger has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Passat doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Stinger will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Stinger will retain 36.32% to 37.7% of its original price after five years, while the Passat only retains 33.69% to 34.46%.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Stinger third among compact premium 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.
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