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Warranty coverage is one consideration when shopping for a new car. Vehicle warranties ensure owners won’t take a significant financial hit if the car develops premature maintenance issues. Hyundai and Kia are known for their excellent coverage. However, one German automaker had the best standard warranty until recently.

Hyundai and Kia offer the best standard warranty 

Hyundai offers a five-year or 60,000-mile (whichever comes first) vehicle warranty. According to Hyundai, new cars also get a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and a 12-month/12,000-mile replacement parts and accessories warranty. In addition, Hyundai owners get an eight-year/80,000-mile federal emissions defect and performance warranty. And hybrid and electric powertrains have a 10-year/100,000-mile hybrid/EV battery warranty.

Like Hyundai, Kia vehicles have a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and a five-year/100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. The powertrain warranty covers damages to the vehicle’s transmission, axle and transaxles, engine, drive shafts, propeller shafts, and differential gear.

The two manufacturers say the warranties cover repairing or replacing any defective components they manufacture or install. Though Kia and Hyundai tout their warranties as America’s best, one German automaker once offered superior coverage.

Volkswagen once offered the most aggressive new-vehicle warranty

A VW ID.1 motor
VW ID MEB Platform | Volkswagen

In 2017, Volkswagen announced a six-year/72,000-mile warranty, fully transferable to subsequent owners. The coverage was twice as long as some rivals’ warranties and the most aggressive in the United States.

According to Motor Authority, VW’s warranty covered the transmission, the powertrain, and, where applicable, the all-wheel-drive system. During the announcement, VW didn’t have a reputation for dependability like some of its rivals, and the German car company introduced the new warranty to change perceptions.

Car and Driver reports that VW’s six-year/72,000-mile warranty covered some of the manufacturer’s 2017’s models and all 2018 and 2019 Volkswagens except the e-Golf. That all-electric car retained a three-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a five-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty. However, the e-Golf’s battery warranty spans eight years or 100,000 miles. 

In 2019, VW reduced the coverage to a shorter, four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. Though Volkswagen’s new coverage is shorter than Hyundai’s, Kia’s, and Mitsubishi’s warranties, it’s better than the three-year/36,000-mile warranties that Chevy, Ford, Toyota, and Honda offer.

VW might have upgraded its warranty to distract from ‘Dieselgate’

Before Volkswagen announced the six-year/72,000-mile warranty, the company was embroiled in a scandal for cheating on diesel emissions tests in 2015. To skirt regulations, VW reportedly installed emissions software in over a half-million diesel models in the United States and nearly 10.5 million worldwide. In the test mode, the vehicle fully complied with all emissions criteria. However, the software would switch to a different mode during everyday driving, changing the fuel pressure, exhaust-gas recirculation, and injection timing. 

Dieselgate” cost Volkswagen $30 billion. Car and Driver notes that VW sued one of its former executives, who was sentenced to federal prison for his role in the scandal. However, many observers speculate that the announcement of a temporary best warranty was a marketing ploy and part of the German automaker’s strategy to recover from the scandal.

Hyundai and Kia have offered the best standard warranties for years. Their coverage spans five years or 60,000 miles, compared to the industry standard of three years or 36,000 miles. However, Volkswagen once offered a six-year/72,000-mile warranty, the most generous the auto industry has seen.


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