The Fielder vs VW Passat B5 wagon
Posted Thursday, February 28 2013 at 02:00
The Toyota Corolla Fielder joins a list of many other popular Toyota models and it comes with modern features introduced in the 1998-2000 models. The VW Passat B5 was a new version of the Passat, based on the Volkswagen Group B5 platform, launched in 1996 in Europe and North America in1997.
Toyota and Volkswagen (VW) are two car manufacturing companies that emerged from the post world two war era. They were set up at a time when there was a need to build cars that the working class person could afford. The cars had to be cheap, solidly built, durable, reliable and economical to run with no ‘thrills’ or ‘frills’.
However, in the last two decades, the global car market shifted its preference to vehicles, which are faster, more economical to run, comfortable and safer while retaining robust reliability. Toyota and VW embarked on transforming their best seller brands. Toyota reviewed the Corolla while VW relaunched the Passat to shed off the old ‘utility only’ image. Both car manufacturers offered sedan (saloon) and wagon (estate) versions with engines ranging 1.6 litre to 2.0 litre.
In this edition of Head-to-head we compare the 2000 Toyota Corolla Fielder wagon 1.8 litre with the Passat B5 1.8 litre wagon. Both cars are sold on the used car market in Uganda.
The Corolla Fielder and VW Passat wagons are stylishly built with more aerodynamic designs. Their engines respond dutifully but not with the thrilling aggression of BMW. However, buyers of these cars are looking for comfortable nice looking cars with ample power, fuel economy and loading space. Fielder and Passat deliver satisfactorily in this regard. Both cars have double overhead camshaft engines with multiple valves per cylinder, which makes them fuel-efficient compared to other cars in their class and size. Fielder’s 1.8 litre engine acceleration is faster and it delivers better fuel economy than the Passat’s 1.8 litre engine.
This is due to the Fielder’s variable valve timing intelligent system (VVTi), which gives it turbo charger like power, while allowing better fuel economy. VVTi automatically varies the timing of the intake valves by adjusting the relationship between the camshaft drive and intake camshaft. This power output and economy is useful if the Fielder wagon is loaded with heavy luggage or equipment and driving on a highway. It should be noted, however, that Passat has a better uphill start when loaded than the Fielder, which is a little sluggish, because Passat has better torque at lower engine revolutions.
The Fielder and Passat front wheel drive systems steer well with a reassuring response and limited under-steer. Front wheel drive and independent suspension makes both cars easier to navigate when driving over wet slippery terrain and on gravel roads.
The Passat suspension torsion bar system works well with its weight-to-body ratio to give it better handling when driving fast around bends similar to those on Mbarara-Masaka highway. You have to ease off the acceleration peddle when driving the Fielder through highway bends.
Safety and comfort
Corolla Fielder and VW Passat have high ratings in international crash and safety tests; they are fitted with reasonable safety features like the driver and passenger airbags, anti-lock brake systems (ABS), which electronically prevent wheel lock and skidding during sudden braking as well as automatic pre-tensioning seat belts. However, the Passat’s safety features are a level higher than the Fielder’s. Passat’s ABS offers electronic brake force distribution (EBD), which goes beyond preventing wheel lock and skidding to provide selective application of brake force to each wheel depending on the terrain condition.
This enhances driver handling and prevents loss of vehicle control due to traction difficulties experienced by one or more wheels. The Passat also offers side airbags and curtain airbags as an available option. The Fielder and Passat offer acceptable standards of comfort features. Bur walnut wood impression, soft fabric upholstery, electric windows and mirrors, air conditioning and CD players are some of the many comfort features available. The Passat provides better legroom for the passengers in the rear seats as a bonus.
Reliability and resale value
The Fielder and Passat are built strong and provide reliable service. However, the long term reliability will be determined by how the owner maintains the car. At mileages beyond 100,000kms, adherence to expensive major service schedules will determine how reliable both cars will be. The post- 100,000kms repairs like suspension overhaul and timing belt replacement for the Passat are more costly.
The Fielder has more affordable suspension parts and has a timing chain you do not have to replace every 100,000kms. While the Fielder’s multiple Toyota parts dealers offer a variety of competitive parts pricing, the VW Passat has two or three independent parts dealers. In the long run, this makes the Passat more difficult to maintain and hence its poorer resale value.
Both the Fielder and Passat are very well built and strong competitors with narrow margins where they beat each other. The Passat gets two star points for better road handling, safety and rear legroom. The Fielder gets three star points to win for better engine performance, long-term reliability in terms of parts pricing and availability as well as a better resale value.