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2021 Toyota Camry vs. 2021 Volkswagen Passat: Which Is Better?

There are no family sedans more mainstream than the 2021 Toyota Camry and the 2021 Volkswagen Passat. Which is better?

Quick Facts

  • The Camry continues to offer impressive all-wheel drive and V6 power options
  • Passat undergoes further refinement after last year’s restyling success

2021 Toyota Camry

Base Price: $23,065 / Read our 2021 Toyota Camry Review

What we like: Elegant exterior styling; multiple engine options including hybrid and V6; AWD is optional for inclement weather driving safety

What we would change: Add Plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrain

Overview: One of America’s top favorite vehicles year after year, few vehicles have Camry’s reputation for reliability and resale value. Available in 13 different trim levels dependent on powertrain choice so no one goes away unhappy when selecting their perfect comfort level. For those looking for sporty handling and overall performance, the TRD option is the one to pick.  The overdrive 8-speed automatic is the only transmission offered.

What’s new for 2021: Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+ combines Emergency Braking; Radar Cruise Control; Lane-keep Assist and Pedestrian Detection technology into one incredible package; new front end styling; new touchscreen infotainment set up

Features and technology: The Toyota Camry can be ordered in either three, four or five trim levels. For V6 buyers there are three levels, XLE, XSE, and TRD. For base four-cylinder engine trim levels, five trim levels for AWD-equipped vehicles, and four trim grades for those ordering the hybrid engine. Each level offers a block of upgrades and packages that feature a group of diverse benefits such as the Driver Assist package that adds Intelligent Clearance Sonar, Rear Cross-traffic Braking Bird’s Eye View Camera, and multi-stage ventilated front seats.

Toyota’s Dynamic Torque-Control system is the brain behind the amazingly efficient and surefooted AWD system that is one of the best in class. The new infotainment system uses a floating 7-inch display (9-inch screen is available) that keeps the driver’s attention high and forward helping the driver stay attentive to changing road conditions for improved overall safety.

What does the future hold: The newest Camry shows the continued dedication to improved safety-focused technology and overall refinement of the model. For these reasons and a lot more, Camry continues to be a leader in the midsize sedan category – something that we see continuing for many years to come. Find a 2021 Toyota Camry for sale near you

2021 Volkswagen Passat

2021 Volkswagen Passat
2021 Volkswagen Passat Starting Price: $27,340 / Read our 2021 Volkswagen Passat Review

What we like: Excellent visibility from all angles; two years of free maintenance; powerful turbocharged engine

What we would change: Only one engine choice available; an AWD option

Overview: The 2021 Volkswagen Passat offers excellent value and excellent safety, two elements that are Volkswagen keystones. The turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine (174 hp / 206 lb-ft torque) is the only option but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing since it does everything well. Handling is good but not very sporty and we would like to see an AWD system optionally available in the near future. The big 6.3-inch infotainment touch screen is fairly intuitive and includes all the key elements such as Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The 4-year/50,000-mile warranty is better than most Midsize vehicles and the two-year free maintenance is a benefit that could help tip the scales in favor of Passat for some buyers.

What’s new for 2021: SE edition gets new 18-inch wheels and standard sunroof; R-Line gets Navigation, Fender premium Audio; Adaptive front lights and Light Assist; SEL trim level dropped

Features and technology: The Passat, Volkswagen’s largest sedan, comes with standard pedestrian and Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross-traffic Alert and Front Traffic Assist making this the safest Passat ever. Volkswagen’s Adaptive Cruise Control reduces driver fatigue, especially on long drives. The turbocharged engine is highly efficient and with 206 lb-ft of torque. The infotainment system that was introduced in last year’s Passat is easy to use and the 400-watt Fender Audio system, heated front, and rear seats and Park Assist are all top-notch.

What does the future hold: Volkswagen is clearly dedicated to continued refinement of the Passat as a key piece of the entire Volkswagen line up. The current Passat exhibits a level of quality fit-and-finish that only helps to ensure durability and fewer trips to the dealership for repairs. Find a 2021 Volkswagen Passat for sale near you

Camry vs. Passat: Strengths comparison

Toyota Camry Benefits: Assorted drivetrain offering including 50mpg hybrid edition; optional AWD that is state-of-the-art

Volkswagen Passat Benefits: Refinement of a second-year model; two-year free maintenance; a torquey turbo 4-cylinder engine

2021 Toyota Camry vs. 2021 Volkswagen Passat: Which is better?

The Passat is a solid choice for those looking for a high quality, durable, technologically current, and safe vehicle with Germanic styling features. However, the Camry is tough to beat with a wide assortment of engine options, AWD option, new Safety Sense 2.5+, and a wide array of trim levels so you can dial in the comfort level to your needs. Toyota Camry is our choice. Find a 2021 Toyota Camry for sale or Find a 2021 Volkswagen Passat for sale

2021 Toyota Camry 2021 VW Passat
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter I4 2.0-liter I4
Horsepower 203 hp @ 6.600 rpm 174 hp at 5,200 rpm
Torque 182 lb-ft @ 5.000 rpm 206 lb-ft at 1,700 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic 6-speed automatic
Fuel Economy 32 mpg (28 city/39 highway) 27 mpg (23 city/34 highway)
Also Available 3.5-liter V6; I4 Hybrid, AWD
Warranty 3 years/36,000 miles 4years/50,000 miles
Powertrain warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 4 years/50,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety 5 stars n/a
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 111.2 inches 110.4 inches
Overall Length 192.2 inches 193.6 inches
Width 72.4 inches 72.2 inches
Height 56.9 inches 58.7 inches
Turning Diameter 37.4 feet 36.4 feet
Headroom, Front 38.3 inches 38.3 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.0 inches 37.8 inches
Legroom, Front 42.1 inches 42.4 inches
Legroom, Rear 38.0 inches 39.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 57.7 inches 56.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.7 inches 57.0 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 100.4 cubic feet 102.0 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 15.1 cubic feet 15.9 cubic feet

Cam Benty
Cam Benty
Cam Benty served as editor-in-chief for a number of automotive and sports-related publications early in his career, including Motor Trend Specials, Hot Rod and SPORT Magazine. After 20 years of experience creating monthly publications, he changed it up a bit, building custom publishing inserts and full-length specialty magazines for major car companies,including Ford, General Motors and Honda. A... Read More about Cam Benty

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