Volkswagen Passat vs. Ford Fusion

By

Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage. 


, Automotive Editor - September 6, 2016

Although sports and luxury cars might get all the attention, it's the family sedan that keeps many automakers in business. It's the type of car that most of us buy, ride in, and live with for a great portion of our lives. Like no other form of transportation, midsize matters.

The Volkswagen Passat is the only European player in this segment, and as such offers unique character and engine choices. The Ford Fusion is the consummate American sedan, with high style and mass appeal that have made it an unqualified success.

We have no complaint with either of them, but which delivers more of what midsize sedan buyers demand?

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

What We Like About the Passat

The VW manages to be straightforward and functional without slipping into blandness. There's a certain European nuance to its family-car identity that is perhaps its strongest selling point. Even so, the Passat caters to American tastes with plenty of room in the backseat and trunk, and an available 280-horsepower V6. Buyers interested in efficiency can stick with the standard 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which achieves 38 mpg on the highway.

From behind the wheel, the Passet feels smaller than it is. German engineering is fully evident in its tight steering and confident ride, which should please drivers who usually find family sedans too soft for their tastes.

What We Like About the Fusion

The Fusion enjoys bold exterior styling that only a class leader can get away with in this conservative segment. The unique look seems appropriate for a car that is indeed a standout by virtue of its advanced technology and spirited performance.

On the road, the Ford always manages to be quiet and composed, imparting the feel of an entry-level luxury car. Wind and engine noise have been all but engineered out at highway speeds. There is no V6 engine option, but the available 2-liter turbo provides almost as much performance as the VW's V6 while using less fuel. Fusions equipped with the 2-liter can get all-wheel drive, which isn't available at all on the Passat.

Breaking the Tie

For those who believe there is no substitute for German engineering, we don't just recommend the Passat, we insist on it. When it comes to uncommitted buyers, the stylish Fusion is more likely to deliver the qualities they care about.

Our Verdict: Ford Fusion

A car for all occasions, the Fusion pleases in every way that counts.

Take a closer look at the Volkswagen Passat >>

Take a closer look at the Ford Fusion >>

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

, Automotive Editor

John Diether has been a professional writer, editor, and producer since 1997. His work can be found on TV, radio, web, and various publications throughout the world.  He is a graduate of Northwestern University and has a 1992 Cadillac Brougham d’Elegance in his garage.