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Head-to-Head: Volkwagen Passat vs Toyota Camry

We’re comparing two of the most popular sedans in America to see which is best, the VW Passat or the Toyota Camry.

The Passat vs The Camry: Which Will Win?

media.vw.com | pressroom.toyota.com
media.vw.com | pressroom.toyota.com

These two vehicles have been attracting buyers for decades and as we finish off the 2022 model year, the Passat is ending production while the Camry will soldier on. Since Toyota will have one fewer challenger we think it’s high time that we compare these two sedan giants against one another to find out which one is actually best. To do so we’ll compare specs, driving characteristics, interior comfort, trims, features, and more before crowning a victor.

Specs

2022 Toyota Camry 2.5L I4 - Gold Pony on youtube.com
2022 Toyota Camry 2.5L I4 - Gold Pony on youtube.com

Toyota sells the 2022 Camry with three different engines. The base motor makes 203 or 206-hp depending on the trim level. Above that is a hybrid engine with 208-hp and then there’s a 301-hp V6 to top off the range. The four-cylinder gas burner models are the only ones available with AWD and every other Camry will come with front-wheel drive. Hybrid models use a continuously variable transmission while the non-hybrids send power to the wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The base Camry starts at $26,320 and ascends to a top trim starting price of $33,385. The V6 gets 22 mpg in the city and 33 on the highway. The four-cylinder jumps up to 28 and 39 respectively and neither one is close to the hybrid which gets 51 mpg in the city and 53 on the highway.

2022 Volkswagen Passat 2.0L I4 - media.vw.com
2022 Volkswagen Passat 2.0L I4 - media.vw.com

The 2022 Volkswagen Passat starts at $27,575 which is higher than the Camry but the most expensive VW trim starts at $30,575 which is well below the Camry. Also decidedly different is the powertrain in the Passat. Only one is available and it uses a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic to power the front wheels only. At its peak, it develops 174-hp and 206 lb-ft of torque. It gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway.

Driving Characteristics

2022 Toyota Camry - pressroom.toyota.com
2022 Toyota Camry - pressroom.toyota.com

The Toyota Camry is a fuel-efficient economy-focused sedan first and foremost. Despite that, it’s amazingly stable and composed. It can be in the curves. No, it’s not a real sports sedan, and serious performance enthusiasts will want more, but it’s sincerely good for this class of car. Braking feedback is good and linear and sight lines are great. The steering feels pretty numb in most situations but throw a harder curve at it and it wakes up. Go for the top-of-the-line TRD package and it becomes a sincerely decent performer with good feedback from the suspension and excellent power.

2022 Volkswagen Passat - media.vw.com
2022 Volkswagen Passat - media.vw.com

Volkswagen isn’t really capable of hanging with any of the Camrys. It’s weaker than any Camry and has fewer gears and no available AWD so there’s no redeeming feature. As a complete power unit, it feels underpowered but will still manage to get you from A to B without much concern. Interestingly enough, the steering feedback is better in everyday driving situations than in the Toyota but that’s about where the Passat’s charm ends. If you’re considering both of these cars but your heart is set on the VW, don’t test drive the Toyota.

Interior Comfort

Toyota provides a master class of interior quality with regard to the Camry. It’s comfortable, spacious, and well made. Controls are easily laid out, the switchgear feels pretty good, and the physical seating is very supportive and comfortable. Those who are familiar with Lexus products will appreciate just how close to the ES this car really is. The dash layout is especially similar. In addition, cargo space is decent with 15.1 cu-ft of space in the trunk.

Volkswagen actually does an even better job though with 16 cubic feet of space out back along with a fantastic cabin. The surfaces all feel more premium than in the Camry and the switchgear feels like it was built with military-grade precision. In addition, it feels even more spacious and easier to see out of than in the Toyota. That’s a rare combination and somewhat explains why so many buyers are still so interested in the Passat.

Trims and Features

2022 Toyota Camry XSE - pressroom.toyota.com
2022 Toyota Camry XSE - pressroom.toyota.com

Toyota sells the Camry with a bevy of different trims with a group of different features depending on that trim choice. The LE starts things off with a 203-hp four-cylinder, LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 7-inch infotainment system with Android and Apple connectivity.

Above that is the SE with 18-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, faux leather upholstery, and a trunk-mounted spoiler.

The XLE adds a bit of luxury with a 9-inch infotainment system, heated front seats, leather upholstery, and an improved adaptive cruise control system.

2022 Toyota Camry TRD - pressroom.toyota.com
2022 Toyota Camry TRD - pressroom.toyota.com

XSE buyers will get a combination of luxury and sportiness with 19-inch wheels, dual exhaust, and a black grille.

At the top of the lineup is the TRD with a 301-hp V6, a sport-tuned suspension, a sports exhaust, and special 19-inch wheels.

Every trim aside from the TRD can be optioned with a hybrid engine instead of the V6 or the normal four-cylinder. In addition, every Camry gets a 3-year or 36,000-mile limited warranty along with a 5-year or 60,000-mile powertrain warranty. Two years or 24,000-miles of complimentary maintenance is included too.

2022 Volkswagen Passat R-Line - media.vw.com
2022 Volkswagen Passat R-Line - media.vw.com

Volkswagen offers the Passat in just three trims starting out with the SE which gets 18-inch wheels, LED headlights, LED tail lights, a sunroof, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, and automatic headlights.

Above that is the R-Line with its paddle shifters, 19-inch wheels, adaptive headlights, ambient interior lighting, automatic high beams, integrated navigation, and Fender premium audio system.

2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition - media.vw.com
2022 Volkswagen Passat Limited Edition - media.vw.com

At the top is the Limited Edition with its unique 18-inch wheels, heated sport seats, driver-seat memory functions, and power-folding heated mirrors. Every Passat comes with a four-year or 50,000-mile Limited and powertrain warranty. They also come with two years or 20,000-miles of free maintenance.

The Verdict

2022 Toyota Camry - toyota.com
2022 Toyota Camry - toyota.com

It’s sad to say but the end of the line for the Passat is probably a good thing because it simply can’t hang with cars like the Camry. Toyota offers more options, more power, and better fuel economy all from their thirstiest V6 model. That’s to say nothing of the rest of the lineup which features a hybrid powertrain and a very attractive gas-powered four-cylinder engine. We like both of these cars as somewhat boring but reliable sedans go, but the Camry is a step or two above the Passat.

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Stephen Rivers

Stephen Rivers is a car enthusiast who loves all things built with passion, extending to nearly all car cultures. After obtaining an occupational studies degree in sports medicine, Stephen turned his attention to sports cars. He was employed as an auto shop manager, spent time in auto sales, and worked as a software developer for a racing company, but Stephen began writing about cars over 10 years ago. When he's not in front of a computer screen, he's racing his own Bugeye Subaru WRX in as many autocross and rallycross competitions as he can.

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