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Reliability ratings are key metrics many people consider when shopping for a car. However, reliability varies by the individual vehicle’s specific parts and maintenance history. If Volkswagen is an automaker you’re considering, here are four of the most reliable Volkswagen models. 

Determining the four most reliable Volkswagen models

RepairPal analyzes data for maintenance and repair “cost, frequency, and severity of actual repairs” on 345 unique models to compare and rank vehicles for reliability. Volkswagen ranked above average as a brand, with an average annual repair cost of $676, making its cost of ownership above average. The brand’s vehicles average 0.5 annual visits to the repair shop with an 11% probability of major or severe issues, compared to an overall 0.4 yearly visits with a 12% severe-issue probability across all models.

1. The Volkswagen Jetta is the most reliable Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Jetta is a five-seat compact sedan introduced in 1980. Newer models feature a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 158 hp, an eight-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. The Jetta received its last model update for the 2019 model year. 

RepairPal ranks the Jetta 21st out of 36 compact car models for reliability. The Jetta’s $609 average annual cost for repairs and maintenance makes it more expensive than the average compact car but less than the average vehicle in general. However, the Jetta is less likely to need repairs than the average vehicle, and when it does, those repairs are less likely to be severe. 

2. The Volkswagen Beetle is another great option

Original Volkswagen Beetle production began in 1950 and lasted until 1979. Production of the New Beetle ran from 1997 to 2010, and the Beetle A5 introduced in 2011 was discontinued in 2019. While original Volkswagen Beetles used an air-cooled rear-engine design, newer Beetles featured liquid-cooled front-engine layouts for their compact two-door hatchback or convertible configuration. From 1997 to 2019, Volkswagen used multiple engine variations fueled by gasoline and diesel and mated to automatic and manual transmissions, but they were all front-wheel drive. 

The Volkswagen Beetle ranks three places lower than the Jetta at 24th of 36 for compact cars. However, the Beetle’s $612 annual repair and maintenance cost is only a few dollars more than the Jetta and between the lower average for compact cars and the higher average for all vehicle models. In addition, repair frequency is the same as the average for all vehicle models but higher than the average compact car, with a lower probability of a major repair. 

3. Look at the Volkswagen Passat for reliability

The Volkswagen Passat, introduced in 1973 with its most recent refresh in 2020, is a midsize car with seating for five. The latest Passat uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 174 hp, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Volkswagen discontinued the Passat after the 2022 model year. 

RepairPal ranks the Volkswagen Passat 17th in the list of 24 midsize cars. Like other VW models, the Passat’s average annual repair and maintenance cost is higher than average for its class and below the average of all vehicle models. The Passat’s repair frequency is higher than the class average and the same as the average vehicle’s, but significant repairs are far less likely. 

4. The Volkswagen Golf is a reliable model

The Volkswagen Golf, introduced in 1974, is a compact hatchback that ended its production run after 2021 in favor of revamped Golf R and Golf GTI models in the future. Where the plain VW Golf had a 147-hp 1.4-liter turbo, the new, improved Golf GTI squeezes 241 hp from its turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, and the Golf R makes 315 hp from the same size engine, plus it has AWD. 

Since averages shift based on acquired data, the direct Volkswagen Golf’s repair cost and frequency strongly influence RepairPal’s data. The average VW Golf repairs and maintenance cost is more than other compact cars but less than all vehicle models. The VW Golf’s repair frequency is on par with others in its class and lower than all vehicle models. The Golf’s probability of requiring a significant repair is about average for the compact car class. 

Is a Volkswagen a reliable car?

In general, Volkswagens are as reliable as any other reputable car brand. Every vehicle is subject to mechanical failure due to variations in the manufacturing process, environment, or preventive maintenance. Still, these four VW models hold up as well or better than others in their class. 

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