Are Volkswagens Good Cars? Is Volkswagen reliable?

Volkswagen, a German household name, has seen a lot of attention in recent years due to emissions scandals. But, do Volkswagens make reliable cars?

Volkswagens have a reputation for being dependable cars in terms of safety, technology and price. There are occasions when you will need to have your Volkswagen serviced or maintained by a trained mechanic. This can dramatically increase the cost of these vehicles.

This guide will show you how reliable Volkswagen's lineup is. You will find some top-rated models, as well as a few to stay away from. 

Índice de Contenido
  1. Are Volkswagens Good Cars?
    1. 1. Safety
    2. 2. Engine
    3. 3. Rust and the Body
    4. 4. Technology and features
    5. 5. Performance
    6. 6. Affordability
    7. 7. Price of ownership
    8. 8. Repair & Maintenance Costs
  2. Volkswagen History
  3. Are Volkswagens Reliable?
  4. Which Volkswagen Problems Are Common?
    1. 1. Oil Leaks
    2. 2. Coolant Leaks
    3. 3. Get Exhaustive Smoke
    4. 4. Concerns about emissions
  5. Most Reliable Volkswagen Models
    1. 2011 Volkswagen Jetta
    2. 2016 Volkswagen Tiguan
    3. 2018 Volkswagen Passat
  6. Least Reliable Volkswagen Models
    1. 2019 Volkswagen Jetta
    2. 2018 Volkswagen Atlas
  7. Is Volkswagen A Good Car To Buy Used?

Are Volkswagens Good Cars?

1. Safety

Numerous Volkswagen models received excellent ratings during crash testing. Many models have five-star rating from The NHTSA Among others, several other people have been awarded the highest designations by the IIHS.

There is a small problem with some of the newer models that prevents them from being awarded the Top Honors. The safety organizations have felt that the newer headlights aren’t offering enough visibility on the side of the road. 

2. Engine

There’s a Volkswagen engine for any need. Older diesel engines and older electric models are available. 

You can drive your Volkswagen to 100,000+ miles with proper maintenance. This is especially true if it has the 1.8L engine. It’s a compact choice but tends to put out more power than 2.5L engines. You also get a lower fuel bill. With newer Volkswagens, it’s a much wider choice of different engines to choose from though.

The Volkswagen diesel engines tend to be more reliable than gasoline engines. Many problems were experienced by the 1.4 TFSI gasoline engine and TSI gasoline motor, such as melted pistons or failing timing chains, among other grave issues.

3. Rust and the Body

Volkswagen is proud to offer 12 years of rust protection, mainly because the majority of the vehicles don’t corrode. A majority of the cars in this lineup won't see rust.

There are some areas that need to be watched. It would be at the back corners of your roof, behind your license plate or at junction with the rear bumper. 

4. Technology and features

Volkswagen is collaborating with other German carmakers in order to offer the most advanced tech features. Many of the latest technologies will be standard on the brand's newest models. 

Additionally, the older models come with some technology found on today’s lineup. It's possible to save money by buying a VW used without losing the quality features that you love. 

5. Performance

Volkswagen offers a wide range of performance options that will suit any budget. You can get a high-powered, efficient sedan from Volkswagen.

There are also fun hatchbacks, SUVs, and sports cars for every lifestyle. What’s most interesting is the latest hybrid and electric lineup that’s geared toward helping the world go green. 

6. Affordability

The Volkswagen brand isn’t the cheapest in the bunch. You will pay much more if you look at it in comparison to similar-sized vehicles.

While it’s not going to be priced as a luxury model would, you can expect to pay for that German engineering. There are still budget-friendly options if you're tight on cash. 

7. Price of ownership

Volkswagen cars have an affordable cost of ownership. You pay the most for your vehicle. This is what the biggest cost of ownership. 

You should also save some fuel costs and enjoy a low depreciation. Overall, VW is an excellent investment. 

8. Repair & Maintenance Costs

Volkswagen has average maintenance and repairs costs. It is possible that the annual cost of repair and maintenance might not be as high as other top-brands.

Regular service is also required. While the problem severity is lower than that of other brands, it can still be very serious. 

READ MORE: 20 Most & Least Expensive Cars to Maintain

Volkswagen History

Vw Camper

Volkswagen was founded by The Deutsche Arbeitsfront (a Nazi trade union group), in 1937 as a vehicle for people. Hitler wanted it to be able to transport two adults and three children. It also had an affordable rear engine that was air-cooled. 

Ferdinand Porsche was the one who designed the first car. A factory was built in KdF Stadt. It is now called Wolfsburg. 

Volkswagen began to supply military vehicles in 1939. To produce these vehicles, the company employed over 15,000 laborers taken from concentration camps. After the bombing of the factory in 1945, American forces took control and gave the area to the British. This was later turned into an maintenance base. 

The factory was originally used by the British Army in 1945 to produce 20,000 vehicles. The factory was offered for free to all automakers around the globe, including Henry Ford. But, nobody wanted it. Volkswagen was then left to wither. 

With that said, it didn’t take long for the company to regain stamina. The Beetle sold one million units by 1955. The Auto Union, which also included Audi, was purchased by Volkswagen in 1964. The purchase enabled VW to make huge technological advances, such as water-cooled motors or front-wheel drives. 

VW was determined to get other brands. The Auto Group bought Bugatti, Lamborghini, and Bentley just before the new millennium. What’s most interesting is the relationship that continued between VW and Porsche. Porsche took VW shares, which were 5% and grew to 20% between 2005 and 2006. It eventually rose to 31%. Porsche then tried to purchase VW, but the conflict broke out. VW bought Porsche in 2012 

In 2015, the massive emissions scandal erupted. In 2015, the automaker was caught using defeat devices during emissions testing to modify its emission levels. To date, more than $20 billion has been paid in fines.  

RELATED: Which Brands Do Volkswagen Own?

Are Volkswagens Reliable?

Volkswagen cars are often listed on the top 25 most reliable vehicles. Consumer Reports placed Volkswagen 24th, which is not far off the top, but it's still in the middle. Also, the company ranks in the bottom half for the J.D. Power Vehicle Dependability Study. 

What’s most important is to research the model itself. Some VW models exceed customers' expectations. Others leave them wondering where the problem is. 

Which Volkswagen Problems Are Common?

1. Oil Leaks

Volkswagen vehicles can suffer from oil leaks, especially if they haven’t been maintained. If the components are weak, oil can seep from them.

It is possible to see the leakage coming from camshaft seals and valve cover gaskets. You might also see a leak from the O-ring, cam chain tensioner gasket or valve cover gasket.

2. Coolant Leaks

Leakage of coolant from the pump can occur. If the parts are worn, it can also leak from their internal bearings and seals. 

The coolant flange could be leaking if steam is visible coming out of the engine. You may need to replace the radiator if you see coolant coming out of the engine. 

Volkswagen's water pumps are usually driven by the timing chain. In the event that the water pump leaks, the timing band may also need to be replaced.

3. Get Exhaustive Smoke

Smoke coming out of the exhaust can indicate a coolant leak. It is possible that your head gasket has failed, and this can cause costly repairs.

There’s also the possibility of a cracked engine block or warped cylinder head. This can lead to oil burning and a cracked engine block. 

4. Concerns about emissions

Some problems with older Volkswagen engines are causing check engine lights. Low fuel consumption and low emissions are the main reasons for this problem. EGR coolers and throttle bodies are notorious for being damaged, which can lead to expensive repairs.

Most Reliable Volkswagen Models

Here’s a list of some common good Volkswagen models. You should choose an engine that is right for you. Before you decide on a engine, make sure to read the reviews from other customers.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta

While the Jetta was always a reliable vehicle, its 2011 model year saw a major redesign. This small car is fuel-efficient and has plenty of horsepower.

It’s also quite comfortable, whether you are sitting in the front or rear seats. It has excellent safety scores so you can travel without worry.

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan

Although the platform is the same as that of the Audi Q3, the Tiguan costs much less. This SUV is sporty, practical and efficient – all wrapped in one.

Standard leatherette seating is available, as well as heated front seats. This means you can still enjoy luxury without spending too much. Plus, it’s rated as one of the most reliable, so you have far less to worry about. 

2018 Volkswagen Passat

2018 saw the introduction of the turbocharged four cylinder as the engine base. It provides plenty of reliability and power. There’s also a GT model available with this lineup. 

Passat has more interior space than Jetta. You also get a wider cargo space, making it more versatile. 

Least Reliable Volkswagen Models

2019 Volkswagen Jetta

Although the Jetta is a beloved car for most of its life, 2019, it appears to be utterly unpopular. Consumer Reports gave the Jetta a reliability score of 1/5, making it the least reliable small car in the entire list.

Although the transmission seems to be faulty, dealers say that it is not a problem. There are also faulty body components that can lead to structural instability.

2018 Volkswagen Atlas

The Atlas hasn’t received good ratings since it was released in 2017, but this particular model is rated the worst. Consumer Reports awarded the Atlas an reliability rating of 1/5.

Excessive engine noise, and faulty fuel injections are the main problems with this SUV. It’s unlikely that the engine is going to hold up across the long haul. 

Is Volkswagen A Good Car To Buy Used?

Volkswagen scores well on reliability and still includes the latest technology. Still, you want to be very careful what model you choose as some aren’t nearly as reliable as they should be. If you do your research, you will find Volkswagens that can continue to run for years.

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