2012 Nissan Altima vs. 2012 Volkswagen Passat: Which One Should I Buy?

Sedans are a special class of vehicle: created to provide a comfortable and often luxurious ride to those who have passed beyond the need to stick to the compact class. These slightly larger vehicles offer options the compacts and subcompacts wouldn’t dream of, and have the associated price tags to match.

When you consider the Nissan Altima versus the Volkswagen Passat, you’re looking at a battle of the beauties. Both vehicles are sleek and lovely with loads of extras, great space available, and plenty of options to enjoy. The Altima isn’t the roomiest of the mid-size sedan offerings, but it is one of the most handsome and certainly the sportiest of the offerings. The Volkswagen Passat’s claims to fame are a massive rear seat and excellent fuel economy and rear-seat leg room.

volkswagen passat 2012
2012 Volkswagen Passat

Fuel Economy

The two models have comparable fuel economy, and at 22/23 mpg city and 32 mpg highway, either is a good option for commuting and tooling around the city. The mid-size sedans are fuel sippers and both get excellent range for their class of vehicle. A bigger fuel tank on the Altima gives you a pretty good bit more distance between fill ups than the 18.5 gallon Passat.

Interior Design

The Passat’s extra leg room and comfy rear seat are balanced by the use of a grainy plastic on the interior as well as excessive wind and road noise that definitely are not optimal. The Altima, on the other hand, can seem a bit tight in the rear seat but boasts a simple, comfortable interior although some materials do look a tad drab. The front seats on the Nissan are larger than average, and make the interior feel even more spacious. Enjoy leather seats on the Nissan, but only as an optional package.

Performance

While both get great gas mileage, neither of the mid-size sedans offer air compressors to maximize power output, making them both feel underpowered. The drivetrain is not good enough for off-road or poor weather driving on either sedan.

Safety Features

Safety features offer no real surprises for the class, with both vehicles offering antilock brakes standard as well as 5 airbags, disc brakes, child door locks and more. However, neither of these sedans offers a roadside assistance program.

You’ll have to consider whether you’re looking for comfort or value when you consider these two fine sedans.


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Attila

19 years of experience
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Attila
19 years of experience
Cadillac SRX V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Edison, New Jersey
Attila was great! Very knowledgeable and actually detected a fault during a pre-purchase inspection that would have cost me later.
Lexus ES350 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Fords, New Jersey
He is very good—offered all the significant details we needed from the inspection. Helped us figure out what needed to be fixed.

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12 years of experience
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12 years of experience
Chevrolet Impala V6-3.6L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Lansdale, Pennsylvania
Shawn was prompt, professional, and delivered the promised service as expected. This was a used vehicle pre-purchase inspection. Shawn also had to drive to multiple locations to perform the inspection, as the address listed that I provided him with was not accurate, but he still made it to the correct location within his time window and completed the inspection.
Toyota Sequoia - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Akron, Pennsylvania
Shawn was very prompt in communicating with me and was good at helping me decide whether to purchase a used car. He help me avoid a car with a repaired rusted frame that could be a danger to my family's safety since we were planning on using the car to tow a travel trailer!

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18 years of experience
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18 years of experience
Honda HR-V L4-1.8L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Warren, New Jersey
Luis was great. He showed up on time, acted professionally, and gave me confidence with a pre-purchase car inspection.
Acura RDX - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - South Hackensack, New Jersey
Luis did a thorough pre-purchase inspection for me, and found several major issues that made me pass on buying the car. Had I purchased the car, I almost certainly would have ended up paying thousands in repairs down the road. Thanks Luis!

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20 years of experience
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20 years of experience
Hyundai Elantra L4-2.0L - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Englewood, Colorado
He did a pre-purchase inspection for me. He was knowledgeable and fast, and knew what he was looking for. I really appreciate all the pictures and documentation he took of the state of the car before purchase. He noted potential issues with the car that I wouldn't have been able to notice. Would recommend.
GMC Savana 1500 - Pre-purchase Car Inspection - Golden, Colorado
I trust Robert. He gave me a list and we will take care of it the week of June 29. I will know then that my vehicle is ready for the winter and is safe to drive. I look forward to getting things ready for another winter of careful driving.

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