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For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Volkswagen Passat are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Cadillac CT4 doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.
The Passat has a standard Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The CT4 doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.
Both the Passat and the CT4 have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available lane departure warning systems and rear parking sensors.
For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Passat the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 202 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The CT4 has not been tested, yet.
The Passat’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the CT4’s (7 vs. 6 years).
Volkswagen pays for scheduled maintenance on the Passat for 2 years and 20,000 miles. Volkswagen will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Cadillac only pays for the first scheduled maintenance visit on the CT4.
The Volkswagen Passat’s engine uses a cast iron block for durability, while the CT4’s engines use an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Cadillac is ranked 23rd.
From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Cadillac vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Volkswagen 3 places higher in reliability than Cadillac.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Passat uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CT4 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Passat has 1.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the CT4 (18.5 vs. 17.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.
For better stopping power the Passat’s standard front brake rotors are larger than those on the CT4:
The Passat has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the CT4; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed. Some tire options on the CT4 don’t have a run-flat feature, either.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Passat’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the CT4 (110.4 inches vs. 109.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Passat is 1.8 inches wider in the front than on the CT4.
For better maneuverability, the Passat’s turning circle is .7 feet tighter than the CT4’s (36.4 feet vs. 37.1 feet). The Passat’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the CT4 AWD’s (36.4 feet vs. 38 feet).
Because it has more passenger and cargo room, the EPA rates the Passat a Mid-size car, while the CT4 is rated a Compact.
The Passat has 12.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CT4 (102.3 vs. 90).
The Passat has 1.7 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear headroom, 5.7 inches more rear legroom and 3.1 inches more rear shoulder room than the CT4.
The Passat has a much larger trunk than the CT4 (15.9 vs. 10.7 cubic feet).
To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just kicking your foot under the back bumper can open the Passat SEL’s trunk, leaving your hands completely free. The CT4 doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.
The Passat uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The CT4 uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.
The Passat’s front and rear power windows all open or close with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The CT4’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to close them fully.
If the windows are left open on the Passat the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the CT4 can only close the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.
Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Passat R-Line/SE/SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The CT4 doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.
The CT4 Premium Luxury/Sport’s optional cornering lamps activate a lamp on the front corner when the turn signal is activated. The Passat SEL’s standard adaptive cornering lights turn the actual headlight unit up to several degrees, depending on steering wheel angle and vehicle speed. This lights a significant distance into corners at any speed.
Both the Passat and the CT4 offer available heated front seats. The Passat SEL also has standard heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the CT4.
The Passat SEL’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The CT4 doesn’t offer an automated parking system.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Passat, based on reliability, safety and performance.
Motor Trend selected the Passat as their 2012 Car of the Year. The CT4 has never been chosen.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
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