2017 Volkswagen Passat vs Audi A4
Can a midsize Volkswagen outrun the luxury Audi? Does size really matter in the sedan market? Let’s compare the 2017 Volkwagen Passat and the Audi A4 to see whether luxury or size will win the day–and which is the better option for you.
2017 Volkswagen Passat vs Audi A4
The Passat is 191.9 inches long, with a total interior passenger volumeof 102 cu.-ft.. The driver and passenger will stay comfortable, with around 42 inches of leg room, while taller passengers in the back may need to sit up straight to make those 39 inches of rear leg room work for them. Surprisingly, the cargo volume of the Passat’s trunk is a hefty 15.9 cu.-ft., which means you may squeeze five people in the car but you won’t have any trouble carrying all of their stuff.
In the smaller Audi A4, front seat riders will notice only an inch less of leg room, but the back seat is where the compact comes into play. Rear seat passengers will only get around 36 inches of room, and the trunk is much smaller as well. The Audi definitely offers less interior room where it matters, which gives the nod here to the Passat.
The exterior of the Volkswagen Passat is fairly conservative, but since its the bestselling Passat in history that must be working for buyers. The lines are timeless, and the design offers the balance of sophistication and sportiness that sedan buyers are looking for.
The Audi A4 is a luxury vehicle, and it looks like it on the outside, with a premium and prestigous presence that’s immediately noticeable. That said, the design isn’t really anything to shout about. The crisp lines and clean overall look is appealing, as are the LED lights. But it’s not much different than the Passat–at a steeper price.
Buyers have a pair of engines to choose from in the Passat, both of which come with a six-speed automatic transmission. The standard powerplant is a 1.8-liter turbo-four, which is a lively unit developing 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. You have to go for the top-of-the-line Passat VR6 to get the other engine, but it’s well worth considering since it’s an excellent 280 horsepower V-6. All Passats are front-wheel drive, with no all-wheel drive option.
All Audi A4s come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine under the hood, but you can choose between two very distinct tunings. In its standard form, the A4 puts out a useful 190 horsepower, but the other version produces a pretty impressive 252 horsepower. You can opt for either manual or dual-clutch automatic transmissions and add all-wheel drive in the Audi, which gives the luxury compact the nod here.
Even though you won’t find any fancy fuel-saving technologies of note added to the Passat’s engine, the VW still manages to deliver pretty decent fuel economy ratings of 23 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway and 27 mpg combined. The least expensive Passat is the 1.8T S Auto, which has an MSRP of just $22,440, while you can pay as much as $33,995 for the DSG V6 SEL Premium.
The Audi is a little better on gas than the Passat, but that’s where any financial reasoning for choosing the A4 over the VW ends. The entry version of the A4 has an MSRP of $34,900, which makes a top-of-the-range 2.0 TFSI Quattro look like good value at $42,350–but since the entry-level Audi is more expensive than the trucked out DSG Passat, we’re giving the VW the budget win here.
Learn More about the Volkswagen Passat
If you want something a little fancy with a prestige badge on the hood, the Audi A4 certainly fits the bill but you will pay a premium price for it. But if you’re looking for a resilient sedan that offers style, substance, and longevity, the 2017 Volkswagen Passat is the better buy.