Ancira Nissan Compares 2017 Nissan Maxima VS 2017 Volkswagen Passat Near New Braunfels, TX

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2017 Nissan Maxima

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VS

2017 Volkswagen Passat

Safety Comparison

The Maxima has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Passat doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 5 points, IIHS rates the Forward Emergency Braking optional in the Maxima as “Superior.” The Passat scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

The Maxima Platinum has a standard Around View® Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Passat only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

The Maxima Platinum’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Passat doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Maxima and the Passat 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 blind spot warning systems 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 Nissan Maxima is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

 

Maxima

Passat

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

220

312

Neck Injury Risk

23%

39%

Neck Stress

212 lbs.

391 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

129

384

Chest Compression

.7 inches

.8 inches

Neck Injury Risk

37%

41%

Neck Stress

132 lbs.

297 lbs.

Neck Compression

56 lbs.

85 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, results indicate that the Nissan Maxima is safer than the Volkswagen Passat:

 

Maxima

Passat

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

57 G’s

61 G’s

Hip Force

591 lbs.

627 lbs.

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

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, with its optional front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Acceptable” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Maxima its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2017, a rating granted to only 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Passat is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2017.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 64 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Maxima’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Maxima has a standard 150-amp alternator. The Passat’s 140-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are better in initial quality than Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 10th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 13th.

Engine Comparison

The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 130 more horsepower (300 vs. 170) and 77 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 184) than the Passat 1.8T’s standard 1.8 turbo 4 cyl. The Maxima’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (300 vs. 280) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (261 vs. 258) than the Passat’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6.

As tested in Car and Driver the Nissan Maxima is faster than the Volkswagen Passat V6:

 

Maxima

Passat

Zero to 60 MPH

5.9 sec

6.3 sec

Zero to 100 MPH

14.1 sec

15.1 sec

5 to 60 MPH Rolling Start

6 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

14.4 sec

14.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

101 MPH

99 MPH

Top Speed

135 MPH

126 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Maxima gets better fuel mileage than the Passat Auto V6 (21 city/30 hwy vs. 20 city/28 hwy).

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Maxima’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Passat:

 

Maxima

Passat

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12.3 inches

Rear Rotors

12.13 inches

10.7 inches

The Maxima’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Passat are solid, not vented.

The Maxima stops much shorter than the Passat:

 

Maxima

Passat

 

70 to 0 MPH

168 feet

191 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Maxima has larger tires than the Passat (245/45R18 vs. 215/55R17). The Maxima’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Passat (245/45R18 vs. 235/45R18).

The Maxima’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Passat S’ standard 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Maxima has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Passat S.

The Maxima has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Passat doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

The Maxima offers an optional full size spare tire so your trip isn’t interrupted by a flat. A full size spare isn’t available on the Passat, it requires you to depend on a temporary spare, which limits mileage and speed before replacement.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Maxima is .3 inches wider in the front and 1.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Passat.

The Maxima 3.5 SR handles at .87 G’s, while the Passat SEL pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Maxima 3.5 SR executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Passat SE (26.6 seconds @ .69 average G’s vs. 28.1 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

To almost totally eliminate engine vibration in the passenger area, the Maxima has a liquid-filled front engine mount. The liquid helps further dampen engine harshness. The Passat uses conventional solid rubber engine mounts.

The Maxima SL/SR/Platinum uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Passat doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Maxima has 1.1 inches more front headroom and 2.6 inches more front legroom than the Passat.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

To allow full utilization of available cargo room, the Maxima’s trunk lid uses concealed beam hinges that don’t intrude into the trunk. The Passat’s useful trunk space is reduced by its intrusive beam hinge.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Maxima Platinum’s standard easy entry system raises the steering wheel and glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Passat doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The Maxima’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge – which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Passat does not have an oil pressure gauge.

If the front windows are left down on the Maxima the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Passat can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Maxima’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Passat’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Maxima’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Passat’s headlights are rated “Poor.”

A manual rear sunshade is standard in the Maxima Platinum to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Passat doesn’t offer a rear sunshade.

When the Maxima Platinum is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Passat’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Maxima Platinum has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Passat offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

Standard air conditioned seats in the Maxima SR/Platinum keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Passat doesn’t offer air conditioned seats.

On extremely cold Winter days, the Maxima SL/SR/Platinum’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the car heater warms up. The Passat doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Maxima is less expensive to operate than the Passat because it costs $90 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Maxima than the Passat, including $59 less for a water pump, $42 less for an alternator, $20 less for front brake pads, $299 less for a starter, $8 less for a fuel pump, $144 less for front struts and $730 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Maxima first among large cars in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Passat isn’t in the top three in its category.

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