I think we "average" vw owners should remember that the engine choices in our passats are 1.8L and 2.8L. Most of the comparisons I see here (vortex) involve cars w/3.2L v6, 3.5L v6 and, say, 2.4 & 2.5L 4's. Some times c.i.d. and 0-60 and trap speed times seem more important than comfort and groovy german idiosyncracies (sp?) . For instance you have to turn your headlights on and off all by yourself (some luxury cars do that for you, for instance the luxurious dodges#?! mitsubishis, and chevys not to mention caddys. Do 3 series bmws or a4s turn their lights on/off automatically?) not counting drls. There are some other things also.
I don't think these cars are made to be run @ 4-6k rpm all the time. I have owned both 4 cyl and 6cyl and am thoroughly impressed with both. Yes, a maxima has 255 hp,but does it have the fit, finish, quality looking plastics, lovely short looking automatic shifter, or a wagon for that matter? For my MONEY there is no quieter, smoother accelerating and shifting car. Plus both engine setups have more than adequate pickup for the average discerning driver. IMO