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Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry vs. Volkswagen Passat



  • rcoosrcoos Posts: 167
    Add the Altima to the topic!
  • I don't have that much to spend and I can't imagine buying the base line of any car. Gotta have all the power accessories. I do like the look of the new Altima but have these old memories of the first ones - cheap and slow. Still the Passat seems over-priced.
  • mpgmanmpgman Posts: 723
    Get an Accord DX Value Package for under $16K...some dealers near $15K. You will average around 30 on the highway, have a solid ride in a very safe car, still get something back when you trade, and be riding in perhaps the most pounds of car for the dollar in terms of value and safety on the road. will have to crank your own windows and use a key for the door lock. You will also have to manually adjust your mirrors and not have power seats. But...if you will be the primary and mostly the only driver, it might be well worth it if every last dime matters. Otherwise, get a Hyundai Elantra GT hatch and you will get all of the goodies and leather for the same price with the super warranty to boot!
  • I purchased my '02 xle camry in late january and I am very pleased with it. I never tested the accord because of having bad experiences with a previous one. My first choice was the 5-speed glx passat. It was by far the most fun to drive an had all of the accessories I wanted. The quality was very refined (so is the camry). I had three reasons for not buying it. First, the car is too narrow. I have two adult kids and it was too narrow in back. They had no side-to-side space but was plenty of leg room. Second, the trunk was too small. My family does a long distance summer vacation and there would not be enough room for the family luggage. The finally reason is premium gas (91 octane) is required. I also had a concern about the labor cost and parts of maintaining the car. I have no idea how it compares to Toyota.
  • The Passat is a little narrow. The premium gas is a pain too. Funny thing though, when I test drove a GLX V6 the other day, the sales person pointed out that VW "recommendssssss that you use premium but no one would know if you use 87 octane." They would have said anything to get me to buy that car. I definitely want a Passat over the other two but not sure if it's worth the additional 2 - 4 thousand $$'s. Also, I'm selling a Mercedes 190e 2.6 that seems to have about the same acceleration and lots of the same ammenities. The reason I'm selling is the number of maintenence issues and the cost. If it goes down, you might as well count on $1000 per repair. What a pain
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    consider a Golf or Jetta TDI.

    with the 5-speed manual (Golf), I average 50 mpg on the highway (90% highway). But they would be a bit small (and pricey) for your tastes.
  • jtw229jtw229 Posts: 7
    Just got my latest edition of Consumer Report and tested these three good cars with the following criteria:

    4 points for every much better than average score
    3 for every better than average
    2 for average
    1 for worse than average
    0 for much worse than average.

    Out of a possible of 448 points, these cars scored the following for 1994-2001.

    Camry got 385 for 85.9%
    Accord got 377 for 84.2%
    Maxima got 372 for 83%

    All were considerably higher than every other model that I tested.
  • I want to buy a car and hold it for 15 years if possible. Which car will be most trouble-free long-term: Passat, Camry, or Accord?
  • vchengvcheng Posts: 1,284
    2000 Toyota Camry XLE V6

    30K summary

    Miles Covered: 29,927
    Running Cost : $3,062.24
    Running Cost per mile: 10.23 cents

    Gas consumed: 1274.64 Gallons
    Cost of Gas: $2,052.37
    Average Economy: 23.5 MPG
    Best: 30.2 MPG
    Worst: 16.8 MPG

    Maintenance Cost: $720.98
    Maintenance Cost per mile: 2.4 cents

    Gas Cost: $2052.37
    Gas Cost per mile: 6.85 cents

    Miscellaneous costs: 0.98 cents per mile

    (Still working on Total Cost of Ownership with depreciation and insurance)
  • valleyguyvalleyguy Posts: 11
    Consumer reports has given VWs average and below average in their reliability. Camry and Accord get top rated on reliability.

    I can vouch for the Camry. I have an '85 with 135k and a '92 with 125k. They're incredibly trouble-free.
  • slin1slin1 Posts: 5
    To date, these are all the problems I've had with my 2002 Camry SE (bought Nov 01):

    1. ALL the windows (even the sunroof) squeak, this started happening after a couple hundred miles

    2. Rear discs and pads recently developed very deep (the service mechanic never saw anything like it before) scratches and needed to be replaced

    3. Driver's door rattles when window is down

    4. Dome light blew out one day

    5. Driver's door weather stripping loose and falling off

    6. Just yesterday for the first time, the engine fan came on when I turned the key to accessory mode

    7. Rattles from the dash

    And you wouldn't believe how arrogant the Toyota dealer was about this car, as if it were an Aston Martin or something! How much are we supposed to spend on a decent quality car these days? 30K? 40K? That's ridiculous.
  • subzero206subzero206 Posts: 111
    thats what u get when they stop making them in japan
  • fredvhfredvh Posts: 854
    Edmunds has a new feature called "True Cost To Own". It is listed when one researches out the various vehicles on the new car heading. It is one of the 13 subjects when you click on a particular vehicle. It is very useful when comparing one vehicle to another. "True Cost To Own" takes the purchase price and adds things like depreciation, insurance, license fees, etc. and gives you a figure for 5-yr ownership. They even tailor it to your particular zip code. I tried it on a few vehicles and it is very useful.
  • wolverine_xwolverine_x Posts: 54
    By the looks of the pictures, I think I can safely assume that those who like 2002 Camry styling and Passat styling can be fairly satisfied with the new 2003 accord.

    Really cant wait to see one on the road...

    Here is the link:

    You, bet this is 100% credible spy shots...

  • stantontstantont Posts: 148
    Just about a year ago, I went looking for a new car to replace a 1991 Taurus SHO that was leaking oil, coolant, and Freon after about 140,000 miles (bought used, and the previous owner apparently didn't believe in preventive maintenance).

    I put together a short list of: Accord, Camry, Passat, Taurus, Maxima, Subaru Legacy. I fully expected to buy the Passat after reading all the rave reviews in the car mags, and having a few family and friends who owned them. One afternoon I went out and test drove the Passat turbo4 with stick, the Maxima v6 with stick, and the Taurus v6 with auto. The wife hated the Maxima, and the Taurus felt a bit crude by comparison. The Passat was sweet: good ride and handling, sweet turbomotor, good performance and that farfergnugen (sp?) "feel". The only annoyances were a slight "bog" off the line until the turbo spooled up; and in 5th gear at 75-80 mph, it felt like it wanted one more overdrive gear. On the way home, I said, "I guess we should go back and get the Passat". My wife (wise woman!) replied, "Wait till tomorrow and drive the other three."

    So the next day I drove the Accord EX V6 for several miles (freeway, city streets, and winding road), then drove a new Camry v6 over the exact same course. On the curves where I tossed the Accord around it and felt like it wasn't trying, the Camry rolled the tires over and squealed and REALLY didn't want to be driven like that. I gave the Camry keys back and told the salesman it felt like a Japanese Buick. Thanks, but no thanks. Finally I drove a Legacy wagon over the same route. The practical side of me said the Subaru would be best for carrying bikes and stuff, but that same wise wife said, "You are emotionally attached to your cars. Which one grabbed you and felt like you belonged in it?" "The Accord", I said. "Then that's an easy choice", she replied. "I like it, too."

    The practical side of me said the Accord was as quiet as, or quieter than, the Camry at highway speeds (though not in town), it carried all the stuff in the interior and trunk we needed for even long vacation trips with bikes, etc. The interior was very plush, the 6-CD changer was nice. But more than that, everything felt precise: steering, controls, knobs, etc. Seats were the best of the lot, better (to my rear) than those in the Passat. Performance was not up to the old SHO, but better than all the others except the Maxima. Dashboard ergonomics were superb: everything was in reach and relatively intuitive to operate, probably the best in the auto industry.

    So: 12 months and 20,000 miles later, I love the Accord. It has done everything we have asked, and more, and gracefully. Every time I get in it I have to smile. Is the styling cutting-edge? Nope. But it ages VERY well, like a blue pin-stripe Armani suit, and it will look just as classic when it is 10 or 12 years old. I've added a stiffer rear sway-bar to sharpen handling response, but that's it. At a stoplight it will surprise a lot of folks who don't realize that 10-15% of the Accords out there are v6's. The 4's aren't slow, but the 6's are pretty darned quick.

    Someone asked earlier about gas mileage. The v6 with auto has consistently gotten 28-29 mpg on the highway at 78-80 mph. I've never done an entire tankful of city driving, so I can't comment on that. BTW, the engine must be VERY tight when new: the first tankful on the road got 25 mpg despite driving gently for breakin. Then it slowly climbed for about 5,000 miles.

    Last week, my wife's best friend went car shopping, and drove the Accord and the new Camry. She wanted a car that coddled her and made her feel luxurious. She got the Camry 4cyl.

    As I said, Choices, choices....
  • I must say that my family (on both sides) have had good experiences with Hondas. Altho they, like any car, require more maintenance as they age...we had a 1983 Accord that ran great until 1/2000; a 1989 Accord Sedan with 191K miles whose alternator just went out & we'll "let it go;" a 1989 Coupe that's still running, altho in need bigger-ticket maintenance; and my 1989 Civic Sedan is tooling along great at 125K.
    Yes, there's been some maintenance (some of it major) over the years, and the dark red paint hasn't aged too gracefully.
    We bought a 2001 Accord Sedan last year & honestly love it. The only thing we didn't like was that the green color was too dark (looked black).
  • np1908np1908 Posts: 39
    Saturn is one of the most overlooked sedans in this category. Agreed, nobody can match the established reliability of Accords/Camrys. I recently test drove Camrys/Accords and as a recommendation from a friend, also test drove Saturn 2002 L300. I found it be a quiet, comfortable, nice ride. I am putting it as front-run contender with Accords/Camrys. Saturn is well-known for their customer-focused approach - rated #1 (toppling Lexus) for service, infact the first non-luxury to achieve this status after 16 years! With value pricing, good reliability records with their past models, best-in-town service - I believe, Saturn is worth considering. (I am a present owner of an Accord)
  • sola2000sola2000 Posts: 6
    I recently purchased a new family sedan. Before purchasing the car, I did a lot of research and extensivley test drove many cars, both domestics and imports. I drove the Chevrolet Impala, Dodge Stratus and Intrepid, Ford Taurus, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Galant, Nissan Altima and Maxima, Pontiac Bonneville and Grand Prix, Saturn LS, Toyota Camry and the Volkswagen Passat.

    After driving all those cars I would say, without question, the imports are far superior to the domestics. I remember driving the Chevy Malibu and then going to the Toyota dealer, driving the Camry and being shocked at how much smoother, more refined and better designed and engineered it is than the Chevy or any of the domestics. The same with the VW Passat over the domestics.

    My favorite out of all cars I drove? It was the Passat. I thought it provided the best driving experience. There really is something to that German heritage. The car I actually bought? My second favorite. A 2002 V6 Honda Accord. Why? I keep my cars a long time and I just didn't trust VW's long term reliability. I know with a Honda or Toyota product one is virtually assured bullet proof quality and reliability for years and years, and hundreds of thousands of miles. In the final analysis that can't be said for American or German cars.
  • np1908np1908 Posts: 39

    Pls do not post the "same" post across different boards. It can only make your post, sorry, phony.
    Same post across different boards:
    I test drove Saturn L/Mercury/Ford Taurus/Chevy Malibu/Pontic Grand Prix/ etc. and then went to Toyota Camry and *shocked* how good Camry was..
    (I am not sure how many boards he posted as Edmunds lists only the last 5);

    Pls try to be more objective in your postings and say, what **exactly** you found extra in a Camry against a Chevy/Grand prix. Thx.
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    I think the domestics still have a LONG way to go. Reliability may be improving for the domestics, but the materials, seat fabrics, and styling are still behind IMO. I think the Saturn L-series is the closet import fighter, although I think the Taurus is a pretty good car too. The Grand Am and Bonneville need to lose the cladding that they are famous for. I mean really, that stuff was played out a while ago. Also those rock-hard interior materials are so played. The Camry Accord and EVEN the new cheap-interior Altima are better than the Pontiacs and Chevys, any GM model actually. Of the Chevy models, I think the Malibu beats the Impala. The Regal is cheap, along with the Intrigue, Alero, and of the other models. The materials are just plain flimsy. Door handles are easily breakable, the dash vents can be broken just by using your pinky finger. The dash gaps are very viewable, the screws can be seen where dash pieces are put together. This kind of stuff you just don't see in a Honda, Toyota, Mazda. Maybe a Mitsubishi from time to time, but not much.
    The radio buttons on the stereo are big, cheap looking and feeling and no parts of the dash feel tactile. Unlike a Camry Accord or Passat which have abundant tactile feel.

    FYI, the new l-series looks more like a foregin car than a domestic with the facelift. It looks very Hondaish to me for some reason. The materials are better and the quality has increased. The Saturns aren't as far off the mark as the other domestics. What I don't understand is why so many get offened about this type of matter (most here don't get offened like those at The American car companies want us to buy their cars, but they are unrefined, underfeatured, underpowered(except the Grand Prix/Regal/Intrigue) and overall have lower resale value and reliability. I cannot see myself putting my hard-earned money into a new Chevy/Chrysler/Ford, maybe one day, but right now it's the Japanese are even the Germans who'll get my money. I work to hard to have a car that costs as much as 25K and up, and it have materials as flimsy as a Hyundai Accent Hatchback. Heck the Accent hatchback in some cases STILL beats these cars.

    Futhermore, the American car companies have had more than enough time to catch up. I mean the Accord and Camry have been pretty much ruling since the mid eighties. The Taurus was a big seller and still is, but that's because every fleet dealer has a bunch of them as rentals. The Korean car companies, who were once below the American car companies have passed the American car companies as well. Compare a 2002 Sonata GLS to a 2002 Malibu LS? Who is more refined? Who has higher quality? FoMoCo, DC and GM would rather spend their money on developing new SUVs, and Hybrids. Chevy/Chrysler and Ford continue to call the Japanese cars "Bland" but at least they do what they are supposed to do. Honda may have a new SUV out, but at least they don't forget about the passenger cars. SUVs won't be the trend forever. Remember when the station wagon used to be the fad? I do, the fad died, and is now slowly starting to become a big fad again. SUVs are nice but the American car companies put way too much money into them, while leaving the cars unrefined, and uncompetitive with the competition. The materials alone would keep me from getting any American car. They are just too cheap. Also I personally don't like the styling of most american cars. I'd love to see the Vectra(?) as the new Malibu though(It is coming right?) Now there is a car I'd consider. Also, after driving two very good Honda Accords (a 1991 EX and 1992 DX) there is no way I'd buy a new car today that AT Least didn't have the refinement to match those two great cars. Until the Altima gets a newer interior, I won't buy one, and if I won't buy an Altima for it's interior, you can bet I won't be in ANY GM/DC/Fomoco car anytime soon. I am not biased, I am just a normal person who wants the best bang for my bucks.

    Quality of a car really gives off an impression of the car. If a car has a cheap interior that is viewable each AND EVERYDAY, and shows obvious signs of cost cutting, one could only that parts of the car that aren't so viewable could be cheap, if not cheaper. If the interior is cheap, maybe they cut cost somewhere else too.
  • bsum70bsum70 Posts: 37
    Well said...
    Remember Japanese car was behind in the big 3 in making reliable sedan in the 60s and 70s? Now look who is behind now??
    May be Japanese are behind now on SUV and big truck but that doesn't mean they can't catch up. It is sad and wrong for them to abandon the regular mid size sedan. I heard that all next generation 'American' mid size sedan will based on foreign chassis. I think they should do it the opposite way: spend money and resources to develop chassis here and sent them back elsewhere! I guess global economy just change everything. It is harder and harder (costly) to see anything design and made in the U S of A any more...
  • maxamillion1maxamillion1 Posts: 1,467
    ...but as far as refinement goes, the Japanese rule there also. The Explorer may be the best selling SUV in the class, but just about every magazine will tell you that the Highlander and Pilot are much more refined than ANY Explorer, TrailBlazer and Durango. And if anyone hasn't noticed, the Explorer sells are not as good as they once were, I wonder why?
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    I believe Car & Driver did do a comparison of the Highlander versus the Rendevous versus the Trailblazer, as the Highlander took top honors.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,578
    Excuse me for horning into the middle of this discussion but I just came across an interesting article on the development of the new '04 Accord.

    Evidently Honda's become concerned about the aging
    of the Accord buyer group and the increasingly stodgy image of the car. Focus groups have revealed to Honda that the younger, hipper crowd is drawn to the VW Passat and according to NW they benchmarked that car in both interior/exterior styling, handling and power.

    It makes interesting reading.: NW 8/5/02.

    Similar comments in Automotive News 7/29/02

    Whaddya think?

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • ljgusaljgusa Posts: 6
    Recently we shopped for a family car.

    We test drove cars like 2003 Passat, 2003 Camry XLE V6, 2003 Nissan Maxima SE/GLE ....My wife liked the Camry among all - seat higher, ride quiter and softer. And we actually placed an order for a 2003 CamryXLE with package #7, #8 and heated seat for $26800. But the next day after we left the Toyota dealer, the saleman called and said they made a mistake - he didn't take the #7 into account in calculating the price and wanted to add $700 more! We finally came up with the price $26945 and the saleman acted like he had done us a really big favor. We knew this was almost $800 over invoice so we cancelled the deal later in return of the 'favor'...

    We continued looking for our car (it's really good as there are so many choices and good deals out there right now ....) until we found an ads readed $21750 for a 2002 Honda EX V6.We negociated the price to $21300 and took the car to a spin - it's quicker than Camry and a more firm ride which I liked. And we ended up with taking the Honda home and are very happy that we saved $5700 while we still got a very nice car....
    The style of 2002 Honda model still looks good though people may think it's too plain. Simple and elegant, looks like it doesn't simply get outdated as it ages. No wonder The sales of Honda Accord in July beats Camry!
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    We took a test drive of the two cars and found that:

    Camry Pros:
    Smooth acceleration and shifting.
    Overall good fit and finish.
    OK handling.
    Good styling.
    A lot of bang for the buck.
    Full Size Spare.

    Camry Cons:
    Infamous New model year problems - such as:
    Autotransmission fishes in the 40-50MPH range.
    Reported problems with Brake scratching.
    Reported problems with transmission in a cold start.
    Cheezy Wood Grain interior, A/C vents made of thin plastic - easier to break.
    Interior panels inconsisten - some had LCD panels, others had LED lights - yech.
    Lots of confusing options. Why get an XLE when you can load up an LE with the same options?

    Passat Pros:
    Really, really, really, REALLY fun to drive. I don't know what the Germans do to make it that way, but the driving experience is night and day better.
    Good acceleration, smooth shifting.
    Interior fit and finish is much more refined than the Camry's. Even the wood grain doesn't seem so cheesy (did I mention that I hate wood-grain?).
    Options are less confusing compared to Camry's.
    Full Size Spare.

    Passat Cons:
    Pricey. Very Pricey.
    Monsoon stereo is overrated. It sounded no better than my wife's Premium Cassette player... It could also be because of the drone of the saleman's pitch from the backseat...
    Some reported niggling problems with fragile electrical system.

    Both cars are really good cars, but something in the back of my mind is telling me that both cars aren't necessarily competing on the same category - becuase the Passat GLS V6 is like a loaded V6 Camry XLE - but the Passat GLX is way beyond the Camry, and already in the range of the Avalon or low end Lexus - as it is a very luxurious model.

    I was surprised that the driving experience of the Passat was that good, and the fit and finish couldn't be touched by Toyota. The New Model Release for 2002 has its fair share of problems, but they were a lot less than the Passat's when they redesigned the car - so you know the Camry's reliability will only get better. Comparing the 2003 Passats with the 2002s are a bit unfair, since it is likely that Toyota would have addressed many of the bugs found in the 2002 Camry. Reliability wise, I think both should be even - as it does take a few years to chake down a new model.

    If you are an emotional driver who loves the "driving experience", get the Passat, but the Camry is also a can't lose car IMHO.
  • etcbetcb Posts: 42
    I just got my Passat out of the shop with only 15k mile.. The #3 cylinder power module wwent bad. Rode tlike shi,.. and barely made back to the dealer.. Cover under warrent. otherwise a great German ride.. When I want to be pampered with cofort, I driv emy wifes Camry XLE with leather,.. smooth bif car ride.. I love them both.
    Lifes too short to split hairs over specs..
  • bj02176bj02176 Posts: 115
    If I had to choose between my 1999 Passat and my 2002 Camry, it would be the camry. The Passat had a dash rattle, camry has no rattles. The Passat hesitates shooting across an intersection, the engine stumbles at highway speeds, when cold it would surge, gas mileage on premium was not as good as the Camry, acceleration was about the same as the 4 cyl that I have. It's an overated car( the Passat, not the Camry). When I had it I drove my friend's 2000 Jetta, it's just as good.

    Bottom line the Passat is good but not as good as the better Japanese cars, Honda, Toyota and yes even the Mazda 626 (6 cyl) Yes I have had all of the aforementioned vehicles. Of course maybe the latest Passat has improved outrageously so. However I love that Passat dash vs the Camry's, there is no comparison. And the outlet for AC in the glove compartment to keep your sandwich cold, that's good because that's where the trunk release was, yes in the glove box, or maybe it was the fuel release, can't remember.
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    Sorry to hear about that power module problem.

    I found both cars to be very comparable in performance, however, I don't have the luxury of getting BOTH cars or swapping them out every 5 years - so I have to dig deeper and look at the details to determine which one was "better" for my family.

    Some may say that's splitting hairs, but I just wanted to share the facts and feelings I got when I test drove both vehicles. Nobody should ever buy a car without researching it, giving it a thorough lookover and taking it for a testdrive.
  • After reading the criticism of Camry interiors I must say that while I agree that the LE and XLE interiors have styling cues that can be traced back to Camrys over a decade old (a nice way to say "boring"), the 2002/2003 SE interior is new and IMHO a cut above the other models.

    For full disclosure, I admit that my wife and I just purchased a 2002 SE V6. Our Camry is Salsa Red, has 16" five spoke alloy wheels, black and chrome exterior trim, charcoal black cloth seats with black and grey interior upholstery with gun metal trim accents. The three spoke steering wheel and the control panel, with it's chrome and metallic dials with fluorescent orange lettering/numbering, have a sporty euro look without looking phoney or contrived.

    Take a look at the "Photos + 360" gallery at The SE is not specifically listed, but on the interior pictures there are two shots of a black SE interior, one from the open driver side door, the other looking straight at the steering wheel and control panel. Compare them to the taupe XLE interior shots to see if you agree.

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