Volkswagen (VW) has a reputation as a manufacturer of high-quality cars. This perceived quality means its cars traditionally cost slightly more than mainstream rivals Ford, Kia, Toyota and Vauxhall, and is often a worthwhile alternative to premium brands such as Audi, BMW, Lexus and Mercedes-Benz.
VW offers a very wide range of models and engine types to suit most budgets and needs, and produces some of the world's best-known cars. Bestselling family favourites include the Golf, Polo and Passat. Crossover and SUV models include the T-Roc, Tiguan and Touareg.
And now its new ID all-electric car range is broadening that appeal. VW says its ID.3 hatchback defines the brand’s new era, following on from the famous VW Beetle of the 1930s and Golf in the 1970s. And its ID.4 electric crossover taps into the current popularity of SUVs.
Volkswagen’s reputation is recovering following the 2015 ‘dieselgate’ scandal, when the company admitted it had cheated official emissions tests. The 'cheat' means that certain diesel-powered cars built between 2009 and 2015 might be more polluting than official figures suggest and may be subject to recall – so bear this in mind if buying a used Volkswagen Group car (that includes Audi, Seat and Skoda, as well as VW).
Dieselgate aside, are VW cars really as reliable as its reputation might suggest? We have the definitive answer - keep reading to find out.
Every year, we run an annual car survey where tens of thousands of people tell us about their current car and how reliable it is. Based on feedback from current Volkswagen owners, we have reliability data for new cars aged up to three years old, and also cars aged between three and eight years old.
Which? members can to unlock the table below and find out just how reliable Volkswagen cars really are.
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Volkswagen car reliability
Ratings and review
Online, we surveyed 47,013 members of the general public covering 55,833 cars. Survey in field December 2019 to February 2020.
In the VW Group portfolio of brands:
The VW ID.3 electric hatchback is priced from around £32,000, slightly more than its all-electric rival, the , which costs from around £28,500. The ID.3 is still much cheaper than the more upmarket (£40,500).
On the flipside, Volkswagens can be rather expensive second-hand buys.
The name Volkswagen means 'people's car' in German, and the company certainly has most of the popular market niches covered.
The easily remains VW's bestselling model, although the smaller offers much of what the Golf can do for less money. Its SUV range starts with the very small and slightly larger . Its smallest car is the .
After discontinuing the and the , Volkswagen isn’t following some other brands in offering hybrid and electric versions of the same car. Instead, it’s preferring to build electric cars from the ground up.
VW's electric cars are separated out as a distinct line-up of cars badged ‘ID’ – meaning ‘Intelligent Design’. This includes the , which is the brand's lead electric car. If you prefer SUV 4x4 styling, consider the mid-size ID.4 crossover.
Outside its ID range, VW's other cars tend to be offered as petrol, diesel and – for newer models – as a mild hybrid (where a small electric motor boosts fuel efficiency) or plug-in-hybrid (which allow you to drive on electric power alone for limited distances, improving overall fuel economy).
For example, the VW Golf is available as a mild hybrid – to find out what effect this has on the Golf's running costs, see our . If you get the Golf's performance version, the , it's also available as a plug-in hybrid.