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Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry vs. Volkswagen Passat



  • ssaclubssaclub Posts: 13
    Can you elaborate on what kinds of problems you're seeing with 2003 Accord? A big part of the VW vs. Accord equation is reliability, thanks.
  • babybbabyb Posts: 18
    We have been seeing messages daily from our communication with Honda. The techline wants to know of any problems with excessive windshield noise, moonroof leaks, questions about transmissions (the new 5 speeds). We all know that first year productions have problems, with the exception of the 1997 Honda CR-V.

    I have always been aware of the possible problems with both the 4 and 6 cylinders in the past. I think it will be a question of how the new transmissions hold up. That is what I don't want to wait for. I have gone through tranny problems with a Honda before.
  • I found this topic and thought you guys could help. I'm 16 and will be getting my first car soon. My dad and I have agreed that is should be safe, Japanese or European for reliability, have side air bags, a V6 engine, a sedan, and in the $16500 range. My top choices are: 2000 Accord EX V6, 2001 Millenia S, 1999-2000 Passat V6, 2000 Galant, or a 2000 Camry XLE V6. Can anyone comment on these cars? Should I add any to the list? The Accord seems great, but it doesn't really stand out anywhere (ex: powerfull engine, great handling, great sound system). I'm really not into upgrades.

  • European cars generally are not known for their reliability. Personally I think Mitsu is a notch below Honda/Toyota so I would probably throw out the Galant. The truth of the matter is that none of the cars in your list would be consider an "exciting" car for someone your age. The Accord would probably be my choice. You'd find it to be a very satisfying car, albeit a little bland. Keep in mind the Accord does have an issue with the auto tranny, so before you buy make sure they can provide a history of the repairs to the car and be extra alert as to how the tranny performs during your test drive.
  • trlykatrlyka Posts: 82
    Congrats and welcome to the driving world.

    Although I own a Passat, I too would have to agree with bodydouble in that the Accord would be the most exciting and safe car for you. I also agree with the comments on the Mitsu cars. To me, the Toyota is certainly not a young persons car. I wouldn't want one and I'm 31 yrs. old.


    I never thought I would love my Passat as much as I do.

    Back in May when I was searching for a used car, I had my heart set on a Jetta ('99 and newer) and my budget was $10,000 range. I remember when I first saw the new ones back in late 1998 and I wanted one since. When I started looking, I didn't realize how well they hold their value and I was set back by the cost. Thinking I couldn't afford one, I started looking at American cars since their resale values are usually a lot lower. There was plenty to choose from, but the American cars just didn't excie me enough. In my travels up and down the HWY looking at used cars, I came across a used 1999 Passat GLS V6 with all the trimmings. It was sitting at a gas station. It was being sold by a private owner who lived near by. I stopped and looked thinking it was a Jetta, but it was a Passat. It had about 95-96,000 miles on it. Before calling the owner, I found out that he wanted only $9,500 for it. I came home that night and looked up the value for this car even with 100,000 miles on it and it was still worth well over $12,000. I also did a Carfax report on it. The title was clean. I really didn't (think) I wanted the Passat, but it was a good price and I was running out of time. I hadn't been able to decide on anything and I didn't have a car of my own for about a month now. I test drove it with the mechanic and I fell in Love right then and here. I didn't want him (the mechanic)to know it, but I wanted the car. I told him I would be in touch and went home to think about how much I would offer the owner. I met with him once to discuss the price. I started at $7,500 and he went to $9,000. I was getting help with paying for it, so I could only go to $8,000. I had to drive away since he would only go to $8,500. The windshield needed replacing and we came to an agreement of $8,150.

    I think the car was sitting for a couple of months and probably because of the high mileage. Don't let that scare you if there are maintenance records showing oil changes and other upkeep work. VW like the Japanese cars, build long lasting, reliable and safe cars. I just think the Passat is probably the most "Mature" car of the ones you mentioned. It looks good, it has a great reputation, and it really is fun to drive.

    Good luck on your decision :)
  • I too have always loved VW. When I was in college
    I almost bought a Jetta GLI, 87 and 89. But when it came down to buying I always went with Accord, have owned plenty. The VW were always more fun to drive but I was always worried about their reliabilty record. By viewing the VW owners boards I have heard some long time owners say the same thing,that after a year or 2 things just start happening where the car visits the shop alot. I have 2 friends that own 95 Jettas and they have had their share of problems with the car like computers being replaced, engine modules and the like. And then there is resale where VW normally doesn't do well. To this day I am still in the Honda family, driving 01 Acura TL.
  • Thanks for the advice. I forgot to mention, I'm also looking at the 2000 Maxima. Its got a nice engine and good handling, but jeez those taillights downright suck. The VWs seem to have more problems than Hondas, but still good. Also, does anybody know the general cost of repairs and regular maintenance? I would think it would be cheaper to fix/maintain a Japanese car that a German. What about Toyota/Honda- I hear Toyotas are easier to fix, but not necessarily cheaper.
  • trlykatrlyka Posts: 82
    The guy I bought the '99 Passat from bought a 2002 Maxima. He said he liked it, but he missed his Passat. The Maxima does have a great engine (one of the best 6 cyl.-so I hear). I always liked that about them, but the styling has something to be desired. I feel it's kind of big or bulky as compared to the Honda, Toyota or Passat. Like a line backer as compared to a running back. I like the Passats fit and finish qualities.

    Anyway, you really must test drive each car and see what feels good to you. That's really the way to decide.

    When my Mom was shopping for a new car, we were at a Nissan dealer and I was sitting in a new Altima with a sport package. It was red and black inside. It was really quite neat. I don't like red, so I wouldn't get it, but it was still cool looking. Those cars are pretty reasonable in price. You may find a 2002 leftover in your price range. Even the Sentras are very popular.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    Since you and I are about the same age, I thought I would add my little 5 cents since my two cents are ALWAYS free. I am 16 as well, but I turn 17 this thursday!!!!


    The Millenia is not a bad looking car, plus the reliability on this car has always been pretty good as well. The styling is great, it's roomy enough (to me), and it's pretty powerful (S models)

    I also like the Accord, it's roomy, refined, has great reliability and resale value, and is just a great car but...they are everywhere, and somewhat boring. But I like them, especially the EX models with the stick shift.

    The same can be said about the Camry.

    The Maxima is nice too, it's just as roomy as the Accord/Camry, but it's more fun, and more powerful. I also like the styling, though I seem to be in the minority about that.

    The Passats are nice, I actually stopped tonight and looked at some. I am really considering the Passat, especially a used GLX with 5spd manual. They are very refined, and pretty roomy, but I just don't trust the reliability of them yet. They look good though.

    As for me. I am looking at the new Accord, Camry SE, Altima 2.5s and 3.5se, Maxima Se, Passat GLS or used GLX, and the new Mazda 6. Right now I am leaning toward the Accord EX with leather.

    But from the cars that you are considering, I'd go with the Millenia S or Passat GLSV6.
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    VW has been ranked somewhere around average when it comes to reliability. If you put any weight on Consumer Reports' ratings, the Passat is the most reliable car VW fields today (Jetta and others are ranked as average or less). Maybe it's because it's made in Germany, or maybe because it doesn't use the same parts as the other VWs, but it is more reliable.

    That said, I doubt that the Passat's reliability will come close to, or match that of Honda and Toyota. That is simply not an overriding focus of VW - but if look at the little things about the Passat, it does look more solid in construction, as well as fell.

    Some people give them a lesser ranking than Honda/Toyota. I give them the same if not less than the American Automakers - here's why. Reliability is below average (like Ford/GM), but when it comes to recalls, they have an excellent track record for hiding them. It's just the way they do it here, and in Japan - so Mitsu has zero credibility with me.

    Maintenance-wise, the Honda will be cheaper to work on and repair than the Passat - from the bills I have seen. The more "upscale" a car is, the more likely it is to be more expensive to maintain - that is the nature of the beast.

    Performance wise, driving the Passat will leave you grinning way after you get out of the car. The drive is just untouchable.

    Given your age, you didn't mention whether or not you will be responsible for repairs, insurance, etc. etc. - but if you are responsible for repairs, stick with Honda or Toyota, they are cheaper to repair and less likely to break for a used car.

    It is always important to get repair history of the vehicle in question, as well as having a good mechanic check it over for potential problems. A high mileage car will give you a high-mileage set of repairs, regardless of reliability.

    Lastly, thank your parents for caring enough to spend a lot of $$ to put you in a safe car.
  • The Camry will probably outlast the Passat...because the Camry sits in the garage while I drive the Passat. It's simply a LOT more fun to drive. The Camry has a better reliability record and it's more economical (my Passat is a V6 4Motion (AWD)...but I view it as a driving appliance.

    A wise man once told me "The Japanese make cars for passengers. The Germans make cars for drivers." He was right.
  • Was the wise man a VW ad exec? :)
  • How about considering Passat with 1.8T engine? It pulls just as well as some v6's out there and it is quite fun to drive especially with manual transmission. I do enjoy listening to the turbo spool up in my '00.
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    2000 Toyota Camry XLE V6

    43K summary

    Gas consumed: 1828.434 Gallons
    Cost of Gas: $2910.56
    Average Economy: 23.55 MPG
    Best: 34.3 MPG
    Worst: 16.8 MPG
    Gas Cost per mile: 6.66 cents

    Maintenance Cost: $2388.28
    Maintenance Cost per mile: 5.5 cents

    Miles Covered: 43,670
    Running Cost (Gas + Maintenance): $5298.84
    Running Cost per mile: 12.13 cents

    Bought in November 1999 for $27,538.
    Sold in October 2002 for $16,700.

    Depreciation: $10,838
    Depreciation per mile: 24.8 cents

    Direct Cost of Ownership: 36.93 cents per mile

    Insurance approx. $600 per year for 3 years = $1800
    Insurance per mile: 4.12 cents

    Total Cost of Ownership: 41.05 cents per mile
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    I have a 2002 1.8T Passat with about 6k miles and I consistantly get 30 MPG on the highway averaging between 75-80 mph sometimes with air on.

    In the city my average is about 25 MPG.

    The performance of this car amazes me. It's fast enough so that I was beginning to wonder if it was "chipped" since it was a demo driven by the sales manager, but it still gets great mileage. I buy my 93 octane gas at Sam's Club where it's not much more than regular at other stations.

    I just read an article on the 03' Accord and they said that Honda used the Passat for a benchmark, and they did not quite make it yet. The Passat is still the better car according to this writer.
  • only if you disregard reliability. And, just my personal opinion, but the Passat's (tall and narrow) styling has never bowled me over.
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    One of the things that always surprised me with the Passat, compared to the Accord and Camry, was the amount of thought the engineers put into the ergonomics of the car.

    When you look at the top of the line trim-levels (ie. Passat GLX, Accord EX, Camry XLE), the Passat does come out a lot more expensive than the other two, but it just has those "Luxury" features you wouldn't see in its price range.

    For example, power seats with memory that remember your seating and mirror position based on which remote keyless entry FOB you use.

    The interior is also very tastefully lit up at nights - to the point where you'd just want to take it for a spin at nights to see the well orchestrated night consoles.

    The drive is what many people concentrate on, and even I have to agree, it does outperform the bland driving characteristics of the Camry. Don't get me wrong, the Camry is a beautiful car, and it does drive very well, but the Passsat just drives so much better.

    Shifting for the Passat was a shocking experience for me. I never understood the word "silky shifting" until I drove the 6speed automatic. You can barely tell when it is shifting - and at 190 measly horses, one has to wonder how they managed to do that.

    The only downside I can see with the Passat is the cost. VWs have always been priced higher than their Japanese competitors - which in turn are priced higher than their American competitors. Moving up from a well appointed GLS to a luxury level GLX is a steep price to pay.

    However, a lot of the safety features are tacked on the base GLS trim, and for an extra $280+ you can add on ESP (electronic stabilization program) - making it one of the safest cars on the road.

    But, getting back to the point, VW definitely put a lot of little touches into the Passat, which really adds to the car's value.
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    The other shortfall of the Passat is the measly 190HP V6 engine. It's still a competent and fast engine, but with Honda and Toyota offering engines in the 240HP powerband range, that's kinda skimpy.
  • maple49maple49 Posts: 66
    I don't get the appeal of the Passat. Personally I think it is kind of ugly. I think all those chrome accents look cheesy. The interior is nice but in my opinion no better than the previous generation Accord. I have driven 2 of the 1.8 Turbos and I was not overly impressed. There was a significant lag when the gas pedal was hit. Once the turbo kicked in it did accelerate nicely. The ride and steering were fine but I was not "blown away". Maybe I just expected more based on all the hype.

    I know one experience is not indicative of a consistent pattern but a friend of mine just sold his 2002 Passat (bought in 2001). In a little less than a year the car was at the dealer for about 4 weeks with various problems. They were all electrical (CD player burned out, tail lights did not work, dashboards lights went out, multiple times the car would not start). Fortunatly he was able to sell for only $1000 less than what he paid (not including tax, etc).

    I'm sure many people have great experiences with the Passat. However, I will pass when I make my next purchase.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    Since when does the Passat have a 6-speed auto?

    Must be a typo, because it's 5-speed auto
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