Pecheles Automotive Compares 2018 Volkswagen Passat VS 2018 Nissan Maxima Near New Bern, NC

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2018 Volkswagen Passat

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2018 Volkswagen Passat

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2018 Nissan Maxima

Safety Comparison

The Passat has standard post collision braking, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Maxima doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

The Passat SEL’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Maxima doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

Both the Passat and the Maxima have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Volkswagen Passat is safer than the Nissan Maxima:







4 Stars

4 Stars

Leg Forces (l/r)

86/37 lbs.

554/51 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Volkswagen Passat is safer than the Nissan Maxima:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Abdominal Force

136 G’s

188 G’s

Hip Force

247 lbs.

286 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars





Into Pole


5 Stars

4 Stars

Max Damage Depth

15 inches

16 inches

Spine Acceleration

44 G’s

53 G’s

Hip Force

671 lbs.

997 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The Passat comes with a full 6-year/72000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire car. The Maxima’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 3 years and 36,000 miles sooner.

The Passat’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Maxima’s (10 vs. 5 years).

Reliability Comparison

The Volkswagen Passat’s engines use a cast iron block for durability, while the Maxima’s engine uses an aluminum block. Aluminum engine blocks are much more prone to warp and crack at high temperatures than cast iron.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Passat’s reliability 29 points higher than the Maxima.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Volkswagen vehicles are more reliable than Nissan vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Volkswagen 25th in reliability. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Nissan is ranked 27th.

Engine Comparison

As tested in Motor Trend the Volkswagen Passat V6 is faster than the Nissan Maxima:




Zero to 60 MPH

5.7 sec

6 sec

Zero to 80 MPH

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14 sec

14.7 sec

Passing 45 to 65 MPH

2.6 sec

2.7 sec

Quarter Mile

14.2 sec

14.5 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

100.9 MPH

99.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Volkswagen Passat uses regular unleaded gasoline (premium recommended with the 3.6 DOHC V6 engine for maximum performance). The Maxima requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Passat stops shorter than the Maxima:





60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Passat’s wheelbase is 1.1 inches longer than on the Maxima (110.4 inches vs. 109.3 inches).

The Passat SE handles at .83 G’s, while the Maxima Platinum pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

For better maneuverability, the Passat’s turning circle is 1.7 feet tighter than the Maxima’s (36.4 feet vs. 38.1 feet).

Chassis Comparison

The Volkswagen Passat may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 50 to 200 pounds less than the Nissan Maxima.

The design of the Volkswagen Passat amounts to more than styling. The Passat has an aerodynamic coefficient of drag of .285 Cd. That is lower than the Maxima (.29 to .3) and many sports cars. A more efficient exterior helps keep the interior quieter and helps the Passat get better fuel mileage.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Passat has 3.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Maxima (102.3 vs. 98.6).

The Passat has .2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.1 inches more rear headroom, 4.9 inches more rear legroom and 1.3 inches more rear shoulder room than the Maxima.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Passat has a much larger trunk than the Maxima (15.9 vs. 14.3 cubic feet).

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Passat’s available trunk can be opened just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Maxima doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its trunk, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The power windows standard on both the Passat and the Maxima have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Passat is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Maxima prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Passat’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Maxima’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the Passat R-Line/SE/SEL to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Maxima doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the Passat (except S/R-Line/GT) offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Maxima doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Both the Passat and the Maxima offer available heated front seats. The Passat also offers optional heated rear seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Maxima.

The Passat SEL Premium’s Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Maxima doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

Insurance will cost less for the Passat owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Passat will cost $2425 to $6521 less than the Maxima over a five-year period.

The Passat will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Passat will retain 42.97% to 77.66% of its original price after five years, while the Maxima only retains 33.86% to 38.67%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Passat is less expensive to operate than the Maxima because typical repairs cost less on the Passat than the Maxima, including $163 less for fuel injection and $200 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Volkswagen Passat will be $14839 to $17158 less than for the Nissan Maxima.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends the Volkswagen Passat, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Nissan Maxima isn't recommended.

Motor Trend selected the Passat as their 2012 Car of the Year. The Maxima has never been chosen.

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