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Audi A4 vs Acura TL vs Volvo S60 vs VW Passat



  • I believe that Edmunds Forum has a remarkable amount of people who don't even bother to test drive cars that they are critiquing. Statements such as Audi =
    Passat or Ford = Volvo, are patently ridiculous. I drove a Passat 2.0 and an A4 2.0 today. These cars are nothing alike. The Passat interior is pleasant but it has a broad dash and somewhat bland design of a family car. It is though a very nice family car and the engine is smooth and responsive. The transmission is also very smooth. The brakes seemed poor. The Audi interior is far superior in that the dash design, plastics, leather, and seat design are all much more high quality than the VW. The Audi interior has that spartan lux and sporty look/feel that Audi has had at least since the Audi 100 that I drove 23 years ago. But the real difference is in the acceleration and shifting. The CVT is flawless and the A4 is much quicker than the Passat at most speeds and appears to have much more low end torque. I have a Saab turbo and until this A4, I have not seen anything beat the Saab 2.0 turbo. The A4 was louder than the Passat, which bothered me.

    I also drove an S40, a great little car with excellent acceleration very close to the new A4 turbo. But the ride is poor and its roof line makes vision diffiicult for me (6-3). I have driven the TSX and the TL. I love the TSX as it is crisp, quick and handles lightly. You do have to rev it (like most VTEC engines). The TL is simply too luxury oriented for me. I really don't think of it as a sporty car. It is fast but does not feel nimble at all. It feels similar to the S60 I have ridden in but not driven.
  • Ooops, sorry. The even bigger difference between the A4 2.0 and the Passat 2.0 was the handling. The Audi (without sport suspension) was crisp, tight and fun. The Passat was pleasant, balanced and performed well but a bit ponderous. Something like the TL.

    BTW, the Audi gets 24/32 and the Passat gets 22/31. Is that difference just from weight?
  • Few randome responses on this topic:

    Volvos are fun cars. If I was in the market for a compact car, it would've easily been the S40 T5. I'm in the mid-sized market, and if the S60 came with a 6 MT, I would've considered it.

    I'm one of those who've said the Passat interior is similar to Audi, and I base that on personal experience, and stand by that comment with one qualification: I base my view on personal experience with a 2001.5 Passat and a 2002 Audi A6. The seats are the same - stitching, stuffing, etc. The gauges and center-stack controls are the same. I could believe that the A4 is firmer riding than the Passat, but do not believe the A6 is firmer. Audi is clearly sportier, but the Passat interior is very well-done and Audi-like.

    You said "The even bigger difference between the A4 2.0 and the Passat 2.0 was the handling"

    Of course the A4 handles better! The Jetta with a sport package probably handles better, too, since the Passat is bigger. The Passat handles more like the A6 b/c it's mroe similar in size to the A6. At least back in '01.5, what Passat did was take a car body similar to the A6, and put in an A4 engine (either the smaller one or the v6 one which was smaller than the v6 in the A6). Because of the larger size, the Passat is less sporty than the A4. Because of the smaller engine, the Passat is less sporty than the A6. Still kicks the crap out of the competition!!!!

    In my mind, it's unfare to compare the A4 and BMW3 series with "competitors" such as the G35, TL and the cars mentioned in this forum. Don't get me wrong, I'm the 1st person to say that you have to compare what you might buy. If it's an apples to oranges comparison, then you need to decide whether you want an apple or an orange. Anyway, all I'm saying is I understand the comparisions b/c of price, but I think that if you're talking about handling and sportiness (and not $$$) the TL, G35, S60, etc should be compared to the A6 and 5-series. Of course, the 5-series might handle better than the G35 and TL, but that's still what the comparison should be.

    Regarding a prior comment that the Passsat handles like a TL, I could agree. I think the TL is a stiffer ride (I have the 6MT w/ summer tires), but I also think I'm at my comfort-limit with the TL. I thought the Passat handled well, as did the S40 (though that is based on a short test-drive in which my main realization was that a compact car was too small for me).
  • I agree on most of what you said. I much prefer the pre 2006 Passat interiors to the current version of the Passat. Regarding handling, the new Passat, while feeling more balanced and solid, is not quite as sporty as the last version. And since the A4 is even more sporty this year (the 1.8 version did not thrill me), there is now a big difference. Hop in a new Passat and you might agree. I compared the Passat to the TL, but I agree with you that the TL is stiffer and sportier. I also think the TL, and the S60 are fantastic deals. As you say, they are comparable, though not quite as sporty, as the 5 series but cost about $15 K less. I think all four cars are super cars and good good deals in their respective niches: small sport sedan (A4), sporty near luxury sedan (TL, S60), sporty family car (Passat).

    Comparos should be:
    A4, 3 series, S40 T5, Mazaspeed 6, IS, C230, TSX, 9-3
    5 series, E series, A6, M45, S60, TL, 9-5, GS300,
    Passat, Mazda 6, Altima SER, Maxima,

    I have no clue what to do with the G35 as that round shift plate is too ugly for anything.
  • I'm enjoying this stream, Ed. You make good points. I'll only counter on your 2nd comp.: 5 series, E series, A6, M45, S60, TL, 9-5, GS300

    I think it should be broken up as follows:

    530 & below (525?); TL; G35; S60; 9-5
    530 & above (545?); A6; M; GS300; RL; S60T5(?)

    I'm not knowledgable with Saab or Mercedes
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    I believe the Mercedes C class would belong in the 530 & below (525?); TL; G35; S60; 9-5 comparo
  • Well I been car shopping for almost 2 long months now, test driving everything I come across and wasn't getting that "I gotta get this car" feeling but I was saving the Acura TL, Volvo S40 awd, 06 Audi A4 quattro, and the Lexus IS250 awd for last cause I kind of figured I wouldnt get that feeling until getting to the main part of my test drive list. I'm currently in Alaska so the rwd 350 was out but when I get stationed back in the lower 48 that is what I want. So anyway test drove the Volvo still nothing. Drove the Acura which was my favorite all around before driving it for the way its packaged but didnt care for it after driving it, it just seemed "heavy" dont ask me what that means. So just yesterday I went to Audi and test drove a 06 2.0 A4 and absolutely loved it it was actually the longest test drive I had ever been on. It was so much fun to drive, loved the way it looks, and feels just so solid and So needless to say all that plus the audi 2 yr leasing special going on right now I opted to not wait for the Lexus 250 and jump on the Audi. I only had to wait 1 more month to drive the Lexus but they wouldnt be able to beat the leasing offer anyway so its Audi for me at least for the next 2 yrs.. Thank you for everyones discussions and opinions on all the vehicles it really helped me narrow thing s down and zone in on which had over all everything I wanted.
    in case you want to know
    06 A4 2.0 quattro
    auto, premium, technology 2, sunroof pkg,cold weather, ocean blue pearl/plat leath
    1080- due at lease inception
    435- a month
    Guess I'll see you all in about 23 months when its time for another vehicle
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    Great post! Now that's how to pick a car, whatever knocks you out. :D
  • bjbird2bjbird2 Posts: 647
    In the October 2005 issue of Car and Driver Magazine, they did a comparo of $35K sports sedans, which included some of the cars in this forum. Their results:

    1. BMW 330i
    2. Lexus IS350
    3. Infiniti G35
    4. Acura TL
    5. Audi A4 3.2 Quattro
    6. Cadillac CTS
    7. Volvo S60R AWD
    8. Saab 9-3 Aero
  • fish8fish8 Posts: 2,282
    That was an interesting article.....They weren't too fond of the A4. They said the A4 was not a big step up from the previous A4 and the other makes improved substantially..........
  • Audi's Achilles' heel is being associated with the least reliable group on the planet - VW Group. The most unreliable vehicles in automotive history...
  • VW Group. The most unreliable vehicles in automotive history...

    That's quite an exageration. VW may have a bad reputation based on now-defunct models, but they've been ave or above ave in recent years, according to consumer reports, that focuses on reliability as opposed to sportiness. From at least 2001 through 2005, the VW Passat was a CR recommended pick for its class. One of the significant factors is reliability.
  • Surely, you didn't recognize the sarcasm in my post (hint: my screen name)... :shades:

    B.T.W. - I currently own 3 VWs (1997 Jetta, 2003 Wolfsburg Jetta, 2003 Passat GLS)
  • You're right, I missed it! :blush: I'm impressed with your collection. I love my TL - quite a blast, but aside from missing certain aspects of my Passat, one of the things Imissed was that my Passat was a "sleaper" car. THose who really know cars know it's a good one. Those who don't, just don't know what they're missing!!! Was real disappointed VW isn't offering the current Passat with both a v6 engine and a 6MT. Maybe in year 2?
  • > Was real disappointed VW isn't offering the current Passat with both a v6 engine and a 6MT. Maybe in year 2?

    We can only hope... :)
  • '05 Passat with the TDI about three months ago. He currently has 5000 miles on it and, as one would expect, his fuel economy has been superb. I think he had rather good timing with his purchase.

    Oh, and so far the car has been great.

  • cpurickcpurick Jacksonville, FLPosts: 28
    I've owned a 2nd Gen A4, an '04 Acura TL, and I've shopped the S40 pretty seriously. I couldn't wait to get rid of the TL, and eventually got back into an Audi. The only other cars that even come close are Mercedes. They're incredibly rigid without being heavy, and there's simply nothing "cheap" anywhere on the car.
  • I can't believe you got rid of your TL so quickly. I love mine - great compromise between comfort and handling; economics and luxury.
  • cpurickcpurick Jacksonville, FLPosts: 28
    'Compromise' -- that's a great word for the TL.

    I didn't think the TL was as tight or as solid-feeling as I had come to expect after owning my previous Audi. I had been led to believe the Japanese luxury brands were comparable to the Germans; I've since reconsidered.

    They're both good cars -- I just think the Audi is a much better car to drive.
  • cpurickcpurick Jacksonville, FLPosts: 28
    "BTW, the Audi gets 24/32 and the Passat gets 22/31. Is that difference just from weight?"

    Actually, I think that's the difference between Audi's CVT and the Passat's Tiptronic.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    I think "compromise" was a poor choice of words, "blend" is better.
  • I think "compromise" was a poor choice of words, "blend" is better.

    6 to one; 1/2 dozen to the other. I think I used the word "compromise," and this might just be a temporary outlook of mine on life, but everything is about compromise, and determining which features are more important. With my TL, I may be giving up RWD accelleration and a smaller car's handling compared to most of its competitors, and may be giving up some luxury compared to Lexis' offerings, but the combo and balance on those things make the TL the perfect compromise for me. I guess "blend" would work, too!!! :D

    BTW, Frisco, anything come to fruition re your search for the perfect car?
  • If you want to use the word "compromise", then by all means, use it. Stick to your guns and don't let anyone dictate to you what's acceptable... :shades:
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    As a lawyer you should know the value of the correct wording, blend is much better than compromise. :P

    I have expanded my search for the perfect car to include the exotic, and unusual, like the alfa. I keep expanding my search, that it's becoming a real chore. I think I am developing a psychlological block. :cry:
  • bodble2bodble2 Posts: 4,519
    Yep, you're right. You must be a linguist!

    "Compromise" has a negative connotation.
  • From what I understand, if you want a reasonably priced, no-frills exotic sports car, the Lotus Elise can't be beat.
  • frisconickfrisconick Posts: 1,275
    My wife thought that the TL had the best blend of sport and lux than any car on the road, and I agree.
  • Thought I mighta caught ya sleepin' on that one!!! ;)
  • patpat Posts: 10,421
    Me? Never!! :P
This discussion has been closed.