- The Honda Accord and Volkswagen Passat are two competitive midsize sedans
- The Passat got a mid-cycle refresh for 2020 with updated styling and more torque
- The Accord has three engine options, including an efficient hybrid, and the Passat only has one
You have a ton of options when it comes to midsize sedans. This competitive segment has an entry from almost every major car brand and two of the most competitive are the Honda Accord and the Volkswagen Passat. These two sedans have been going head-to-head for decades and they’re both at the top of their game in 2020.
Let’s take a look at what’s similar, what’s different and which is better between the Accord and the Passat.
Both of these sedans fit neatly into the midsize sedan segment, but the Passat is a slightly larger car than the Accord. The Passat is two inches longer and one inch taller than the Accord, but this size difference isn’t significant enough to make much of an impact on maneuverability or how much space it takes up in your garage. See the 2020 Volkswagen Passat models for sale near you
As for styling, the Passat got a facelift for 2020 that gives it a more modern and premium look. It’s still quite conservatively styled in classic VW fashion, but it looks more like the recently redesigned Jetta now which we think is a good thing. The Accord continues into 2020 with no significant changes and it’s still a sharp-looking sedan that no one can accuse of looking boring. See the 2020 Honda Accord models for sale near you
These two sedans are pretty similar in terms of interior space. They’re both quite roomy on the inside and can easily fulfill family car duty with two kids in the back. They also both have above-average-sized trunks for this class so you can haul a lot of stuff while your passengers have plenty of legroom.
The Passat’s 2020 refresh gives it a nicer interior design that is a nice improvement over the 2019 model but is still a bit dated. It’s not a bad or uncomfortable interior, but it has some clear signs that it’s been a while since the Passat got a thorough redesign like the dashboard and the center console. The Accord’s interior is a very nice place to be with a design that uses nicer materials and more modern design than the one in the Passat.
The Accord offers more variety under the hood with three choices of engines while the Passat only has one engine available. It’s worth noting that the Accord is still available with a manual transmission and the Passat is automatic-only. Both cars are front-wheel drive with no all-wheel drive option.
2020 Honda Accord Engines
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four; 252 hp, 273 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy
2.0-liter hybrid inline-four; 143 hp, 129 lb-ft of torque; 48 mpg city city/47 mpg hwy
2020 Volkswagen Passat Engine
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four; 174 hp, 206 lb-ft of torque; up to 23 mpg city/34 mpg hwy
The Passat’s engine is tweaked for 2020 to make more torque and it’s enough to surpass the torque rating of the base engine in the Accord, but the 1.5-liter engine in the Honda still makes more power than the VW. The Accord’s base engine is also significantly more efficient than the Passat, with the Volkswagen being towards the bottom of this segment in terms of fuel economy.
If you crave more performance in your practical family sedan, the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the Accord is an excellent upgrade. Acceleration is strong and fuel economy is still respectable and happens to be identical to that of the Passat with a big difference in performance numbers in favor of the Honda. If fuel economy is your top priority, then the extremely efficient Accord Hybrid is an obvious choice with its combined fuel economy rating of 48 mpg.
When it comes to modern driver assistance technology features, the Accord is a little better-equipped than the Passat. Every 2020 Accord comes standard with automatic high-beams plus the Honda Sensing suite of safety tech which includes forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, lane-departure warning, traffic sign recognition and a road departure mitigation system. Optional safety tech on top of that includes blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, front and rear parking sensors and a head-up display.
The 2020 Passat gets forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and pedestrian detection as standard equipment. Optional safety tech includes lane-keeping assist, adaptive headlights, front and rear parking sensors, parallel park assist and adaptive cruise control.
Every 2020 Passat comes with a 6.3-in touch screen infotainment system which is a little small and a little dated in 2020. However, it does come standard with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay plus satellite radio, HD radio and a USB port. Optional upgrades include navigation, two additional USB ports, Fender premium audio and a Wi-Fi hotspot.
The Accord comes standard with a 7-in infotainment system, but every Accord but the base LX trim upgrades to an 8-in unit with more features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. We really recommend this upgrade if your budget allows it. It has optional upgrades similar to the Passat like a Wi-Fi hotspot, navigation, more USB ports, premium audio and more.
One advantage that the Passat has over the Accord is a lower starting price. The Passat has a starting MSRP of $22,995 and even in the higher trims only gets into the low-$30k range. The Accord starts at $24,020 and can get into the high-$30k range when you add options like engine upgrades and get into the luxurious Touring trim, which is truly like a budget-friendly luxury sedan.
With much more mechanical variety, a nicer interior and an ultra-efficient hybrid option, the Accord is the winner over the Passat. The 2020 update for the Passat does make it a more competitive car than before, but the fact that it still can’t match its Honda rival tells you just how good the Accord is. Find a Honda Accord for sale or Find a Volkswagen Passat for sale