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Honda Accord vs. Toyota Camry vs. Volkswagen Passat



  • 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
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    Yes, typo - 5 speed not six.

    Maple - I'm sorry, I should have clarified that it was with the V6 engine, not the 1.8T.

    The Chrome accent changes were one of those things that people either loved a lot, or hated a lot. I happen to fall on the first category, they accentuate the curves and the style a bit better than the earlier style. But that's personal preferrence.

    Interior-wise, I'd still rate the Passat's interior better than the Accord - again, personal taste.

    The achilles heel of the Passat are its electricals, but I've heard that they have brought those gremlins under control - so I'm not surprised that your friend had those problems.

    For a bullet-proof car, an Accord or Camry would be a better bet - but the new redesigns have their own first production year gremlins as well.
  • ghomazghomaz Posts: 68
    Just curious, but if you already had a Camry and you wanted a "driver's car" why did you get a Passat AWD and not a BMW AWD since they are in the same price range? Surely a BMW is a much better handler than a Passat!
  • hiflyerhiflyer Posts: 79
    Yes, a fairly stripped down 180 h.p. 325ix (with one or two options) will retail about the same price as a loaded 190 h.p. GLX 4Motion. The BMW will presumably handle better, but it is also smaller than the Passat (and the Passat arguably offers a better AWD system). Oddly enough, some of the reviews of the 325ix haven't been very flattering.

    So just because a vehicle may offer better handling doesn't make it necessarily better overall.
  • ghomazghomaz Posts: 68
    I guess you're right, though size shouldn't be an issue since steveiowa already has a Camry. But I am guilty of almost the same thing. Since I already have a 2001 Accord LXV6 (rational, value-for-money choice), I bought myself a 1998 Mercedes-Benz starmark certified E320 two weeks ago. I looked at the BMW 5 series also and though the BMW is rated higher, I just loved the solid feel and elegant look of the Benz. Also, the E320's trunk space is much larger!:)
  • i'd go with the Passat if i were you because it's the best car from all 3 we're comparing here for several resons. it has better quality, better interior, better materials, better comfort, better performance, better handling and i could go on and on but i think you get the picture.

    however i'm quite surprised how people talk about the VW brand and have no ideea what they are saying. People, VW changed a lot since the mid 90s and right now they're making one of the best cars in the world believe it or not.

    there's no way that a honda accord be a better car than the passat and if you really think that i suggest you drive a new passat and compare the 2 cars(performance, interior, exterior, handling)
    AND ONLY then if you still think that hondas or the toyotas are better cars (i doubt it) you can actually say that but untill then you're way off on the subject.
  • Reliability, Features, and PRICE!

    The Passat still just has average reliability, the Accord and Camry, on the otherhand, have excellent reliability. The Passat GLS doesn't even offer a power driver's seat, automatic climate control, and some other features. Sure it has some nice interior materials, the styling is nice, but it's getting LONG in the tooth (IMO) and styling and such is VERY subjective. I have an aunt who is 21 years old (I am 17) and she prefers the looks of the Camry, Altima and Accord to the Passat. Roominess is also an area where the Accord and Camry beat the Passat.

    Styling isn't everything, and performance doesn't got to the Passat. Only the 4 cylinder Passats beat the Camry and Accord, the V6 Accord would kill the Passat V6. Heck for the price of a Passat GLS with leahter, I could buy an Accord EXV6. So when it comes to downright value the Accord and Camry are better values, now how much better of a value is up to the person who decides, but personally I think the Accord is a better value than BOTH the Camry and the Passat.
  • ok lets look at the facts here ... looking at the 2002 models of both the passat and the accord(both V6) there's only a 10hp difference between the 2 and btw i still think that the passat could take the accord. the second thing is that looking at the warranties the passat kills the accord in every single one.
    also even though it might not have power driver's seat and automatic climate control they can be ordered as options. neither does the honda have a tiptronic automatic tranny and that german car feel and handling.

    so as i said ... i'd take the passat any day over a camry or an accord.

    oh and i almost forgot ... you dont see a passat every 30 seconds when you drive on the road like you see the accords and the camrys so that gives it quite a unique feeling.
  • talon95talon95 Posts: 1,110
    The last enthusiast magazine test that put the Accord V-6 against the Passat V-6 that I'm aware of was in 2000. Both cars had the same V-6 engines as the 2002 models. Here's their performance results:


    0-30 mph: 2.9 sec.
    0-60 mph: 7.6 sec.
    0-100 mph: 20.6 sec.
    1/4 mile: 16.0 sec. @ 88 mph


    0-30 mph: 3.2 sec.
    0-60 mph: 8.6 sec.
    0-100 mph: 22.8 sec.
    1/4 mile: 16.7 sec. @ 87 mph

    Other tests I've seen place them closer, but if you're talking auto tranny versions, I think it's debatable that the Passat could take the Accord. And that's with the 200 hp. Accord V-6. Of course, with the 2003 Accord with 240 hp., the Passat would be eating the Accord's dust. According to the latest issues of C/D, the 2003 Accord V-6 will even outaccelerate a Passat W-8.

    Other comments from C/D on the 2000 Accord:

    "Superb refinement, excellent performance, a well-designed interior".

    "Everything about the Accord feels finely sculpted and polished."

    As for scoring, the 2 cars tied on the following:

    Engine: 9 (out of 10)
    Transmission: 9
    Brakes: 9
    Handling: 9
    Ride: 9
    Driver comfort: 9
    Fit and finish: 9
    Fun to drive: 9

    If the Passat has "that German car feel and handling", it sure didn't leverage them to beat the Accord in these subjective areas in this test.

    Areas where their scores differed:

    Features and amenities:

    Accord: 9
    Passat: 10


    Accord: 9
    Passat: 8


    Accord: 7
    Passat: 9

    The amenities vs. value is understandable, since the tested Passat GLX was $3300 more expensive than the tested Accord EX.

    Styling? Well, whatever floats your boat. But it turns out that this highly subjective category was primarily responsible for the Passat just squeaking out a 95 to 94 point photo finish over the Accord. The article essentially said as much. They really liked both the Passat and the Accord very much.

    I agree that the Passat is a very nice car, but is it worth the premium over the Accord? That's for each of us to decide, but I'd say no.

    It'll be interesting to see how well the Passat maintains its "bargain Audi" image when the next redesign comes out. Word has it that it will no longer share a platform with the Audi A6 or any Audi, for that matter. The next gen will share a transverse engine platform with the Jetta. It's obvious that many of the qualities that make the Passat such a successful design are an outcome of its Audi heritage. The Jetta is a far more mundane, mainstream design, at least with this generation. So the Passat will lose the "Audi advantage" that it currently enjoys. Instead of being the lower end version of a premium platform, it will be the high end of a mainstream platform. Sounds like just as the Japanese manufacturers are going increasingly upscale, VW is looking to go in the other direction.
  • A power driver's seat and climate control are not optional on the Passat GLS. Never has been. You'd have to get a GLX, which is thousands more than the EXV6 Accord. True, there is only a difference of 10 hp between the 2002 Accord V6 and Passat V6, but I thought we were comparing the 2003 models.
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    It all boils down to personal taste.

    For the 03 models...

    Mine are:
    1. Passat 1.8T
    2. Camry SE
    3. Accord
    4. Altima

    If age matters...I'm 24.
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    The Passat GLXs aren't just power seats, they are also memory seats. The thing that surprised me the most was that the memory seats are TIED to your FOB! So it self-adjusts depending on the driver's FOB! Now, that's neat!

    For the 2003s, I would probably lower the Accord's reliability rating to average - owing to first year production problems - but it will change drastically next year, and the year after.

    IMHO, after looking at all three cars (V6 models - all top trim levels), I would rank them:

    Performance: (Acceleration, HP, et al)
    1 - Accord
    2 - Camry
    3 - Passat

    1 - Camry (2nd production year)
    2.5 - Accord (first production year)
    2.5 - Passat

    Interior: (refinement, style)
    1 - Passat
    2 - Accord
    3 - Camry

    Exterior Sytling (subjective)
    1 - Passat
    2 - Accord
    3 - Camry

    Driving pleasure (again, VERY subjective)
    1 - Passat
    2 - Accord
    3 - Camry

    1 - Camry (can get for less than MSRP)
    2.5 - Passat (you can get good discounts)
    2.5 - Accord (no discounting yet)

    If I had to buy a car today, I would go for the Passat, but in two years, the Accord - definitely.

    Just my two cents.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    just to add:

    smothness of ride:
    (inhibits car sickness)
    1- camry
    2- accord
    3- passat

    storage room
    1- passat (wagon)
    2- camry
    3- accord
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    1.5 - Passat - ESP, side curtain and head airbags
    1.5 - Camry - same
    3 - Accord - no ESP

    ESP = Electronic stabilization program a.k.a. skid control

    However, this might be moot - given how all three cars are really safe to begin with.
  • Which is the better value for someone who doesn't drive much or fast, but is concerned with safety and reliability?

    2003 Passat GL 1.8T/manual (with cold weather package)
    2003 Accord LX/v6 w/side airbags

    I been offered quotes on both that are almost the same.

    Also, everyone keeps talking about the great interior on the Passat, but I wasn't very impressed by the GL's interior. Did they cut corners on GL?

  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    Honda wins on reliability...over VW anyway.
    Is a tie between camry and accord...maybe camry is a little better.

    1.8t engine blows turbos at about 70-80K
  • 8u6hfd8u6hfd Posts: 1,391
    70-80k for turbo life?

    I find that really hard to believe.

    Overall reliability, Honda.

    The Passat GL basically has less features than the GLS.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    I was told that the VW/Audi 1.8T turbo life is about60-80K....from a driver of a TT.

    Frankly, IMHO, turbos should last as long as the
    engine (SAAB's do!).
  • mliongmliong Posts: 231
    If well taken care of, the Turbo engine should last at least 120K miles if not more.

    The problems with Turbos isn't the design, but rather how the user treats it. Turbo engines need about 30sec to 120secs to cool down befor the engine is shut down - depending on how hard you drive it. Otherwise, the oil inside the turbo "cokes" and ruins the turbo - this is the number one issue our VW mechanic tells us as to why the see a Passat in the shop.

    Some also claim that you may also want to wait about 30 secs to let the turbo warm up prior to driving (especially hard driving).

    The GL's interior is like the GLS, but no Wood trim on the 1.8T, only the V6 engines - otherwise, no substantial differences in interior trim.

    The main complaints with Turbo is the start-up and shut-down time, as well as the Turbo lag. If you like to accelerate quickly to speed, Turbo-lag will ruin it for you.

    If you do decide to go Turbo, you will want to mate it with a manual transmission, instead of an automatic.
  • manamalmanamal Posts: 434
    Thanks for the info....In saab turbos (all saab engines are blown), the main thing is to let it cool about 30 seconds after hard driving.

    And, with newer SAABs, the turbo-lag is minimal.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 18,658
    had no problems whatsoever with the turbo or motor. The transaxle and clutch were a another story.

    They didn't even have intercoolers on '86 and '87 Saabs. Those make a big difference cuz heat's the thing that can hurt a turbo. Mechanically they're very simple.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

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