2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI: Wide Grip
September 10, 2014
It's almost an automotive cliché that German cars are "solid," that they deliver a certain gravity of sensory experience that other sedans don't always deliver.
It's the trunk thunk, the door close, the steering wheel feel, the buttons, dials and controls. All those little details add up to the feeling of a well-built car.
Our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI, for example, feels more substantial than other midsize family sedans. Not to say everything else feels cheap. That's not fair or accurate. But one reason for the Passat's tangible something-ness is that it sits on one of the widest contact patches in the segment.
Our Passat wears 235/45/R18 Continental all-season tires. Other midsize sedans vary, but only the Ford Fusion Titanium trim comes with identical-sized tires.
The Honda Accord EX-L sits on 215/55R17 rubber. Opting for the Accord Sport matches our Passat SEL's rubber, but the EX-L trim is a closer overall match to the Passat SEL.
To get almost the same sizes on the Toyota Camry, you need to consider the sporty-ish SE model at 225/45R18.
Tire sizes on other family sedans:
Mazda 6: 225/55R17
Nissan Altima SL: 215/55R17
Hyundai Sonata: 215/55R17
Hyundai Sonata Sport 2.0: 235/45R18
Kia Optima: 225/45R18
Does this ultimately mean anything? Probably not much. But the additional contact patch is handy for spiking the Passat's early torque, 184 pound-feet at 1,500 rpm, and chirping out of the neighborhood. It also makes the Passat look good standing still.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor