Toyota Camry vs. Volkswagen Passat

By

Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

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, Automotive Editor - May 25, 2018

The mid-size sedan class is nearly as boring as it gets, but Toyota is trying to inject a little character with its recently redesigned Camry. Volkswagen, however, is perfectly content rolling out its relatively vanilla Passat for yet another year – VW has promised a new Passat for 2019. Despite being stylistically bland, there are some endearing qualities about the Passat, like its turbocharged base engine and German engineering. Are those qualities enough to overcome the perennial bestseller that is the Toyota Camry? Continue reading to find out.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Camry & Passat »

What the Camry Gets Right

The newly redesigned Toyota Camry is one of the sharpest cars in its class, so it easily gets a visual leg up on the Passat. What’s more, this sharp styling makes its way inside the cabin. In addition, the Camry is also superior in terms of safety, as it aced all safety tests it’s gone through, earning a five-star NHTSA rating and a Top Safety Pick Plus designation from the IIHS. And all the safety features that earned it these ratings are standard.

The Camry also takes home the “W” in terms of fuel economy, as its base four-cylinder returns 29 miles per gallon city, 41 highway, and 31 combined. The V6 engine is respectable at 22 mpg city, 33 highway, and 26 combined. What really sets the Camry apart, though, are its hybrid variants. The Camry LE hybrid delivers 51 mpg city, 53 highway, and 52 combined, while the higher-trimmed Camry Hybrid models deliver 44 mpg city, 47 highway, and 46 combined.

In addition to better fuel economy, the Camry’s four-cylinder and V6 engines are more powerful than the Passat’s offerings.

What the Passat Gets Right

While not as stylish, the Passat’s conservative style and high quality will appeal to certain shoppers. And this is compounded by its superior ride quality. Inside, buyers are treated to a better-equipped base trim relative to the rental-fleet-prepped Camry L. The Passat's standard features include 16-inch alloy wheels, a USB port, a five-inch touchscreen, keyless entry, Bluetooth, a rearview camera, and more.

What the Passat lacks in horsepower relative to the Camry, it makes up for in accessibility of the power in the base turbo engine and the GT model’s improved handling. Also, the V6 engine pairs with a dual-clutch transmission for a more engaging drive.

Hauling luggage is the Passat’s forte, as its 15.9 cubic feet of trunk space beat the Camry by 1.8 cubes.

Want a Change? Go VW

While the Passat can’t quite keep pace with the Camry, there's an argument for buying one. Not only is it better for travelers, thanks to its larger trunk, but there are fewer on the road, so you won’t see the same car at every stop light.

Verdict: Toyota Camry

The Toyota Camry walks away from the Passat with a relatively easy victory thanks to its sportier looks, incredible fuel economy, and outstanding safety ratings.

Take a closer look at the Toyota Camry »

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Passat »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Justin Cupler has specialized as an automotive writer since 2009, and has seen himself published in multiple websites and online magazines. In addition to contributing to CarsDirect, Justin also works as editor in chief for a large performance car online publication. His specialty lays in the high-performance realm, but has a deep love and understanding for all things automotive. Prior to being an automotive writer, he was an automotive technician and manager for six years, but spent the majority of his younger life tinkering with classic muscle cars.

Follow On: Google+ | Website