Better engine lineup. The Ford Fusion has a variety of engines to choose from, starting with a base four-cylinder engine with 175 horsepower, two turbo four-cylinder options with 181 and 245 horsepower respectively, a 325-horsepower turbo V6 and a plug-in hybrid. The Passat meanwhile, only has a base 2.0-liter turbo four with 174 horsepower and an optional, 280-horsepower V6.
Better safety score. The independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gives the Fusion a Top Safety Pick rating, something it doesn’t give to the Passat.
All-wheel-drive availability. The Fusion offers buyers an optional all-wheel-drive upgrade whereas the Passat is front-wheel-drive across its entire trim line. This could be an important thing to consider if you live in snowy climates and are looking for all-wheel-drive in your family sedan (the Fusion is one of the only models in this segment to offer AWD).
More upscale feel. The VW Passat brings with it German engineering and build quality that lends a more refined air to the Passat, especially with the interior. It feels a notch above the Ford in terms of quality.
Refined driving habits. Not only does the comfort and build quality of the Passat live up to European expectations but the on-road manners of the Passat are equally upscale. This is a comfortable, engaging sedan to drive for long and short trips alike.
More rear legroom. Though they show up on paper has having nearly identical legroom in the rear seats, Ford and VW measure the distance differently. Don't believe the numbers; the Passat's rear seat is cavernous compared to nearly every other sedan in its segment.
Both of these models are aging relative to rivals like the Honda Accord, Toyota Camry, Hyundai Sonata and Chevy Malibu so be sure to check out those models as well. If you’ve narrowed your list to this VW or this Ford Fusion, both would be a good choice for midsize family sedan fans. If we had to choose one, we like the Fusion’s powertrain choices, impressive safety features and its engaging drive experience. So we say Buy the Fusion.
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