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Are Volkswagens reliable?

Find out how much you can depend on a Volkswagen to be reliable and safe in our guide

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German manufacturers like Volkswagen have achieved an impressive reputation for producing reliable and well-built cars, and the popularity of VW over the years is a testament to this.

Even used Volkswagen models prioritise high levels of quality and safety, with a range of builds and engines that have been tried and tested over the years.

Choosing a flashy model like a VW can come with a higher price tag, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a reliable car before you make that big purchase.

What makes a vehicle reliable?

A reliable car is one you can trust to stand the test of time with minimal issues, keeping to the normal level of wear and tear that’s expected.

If you’re making regular repairs on your car and they’re not due to normal usage (worn tyres and brakes, for example), you might find that your vehicle is unreliable.

A good standard vehicle should not be breaking down regularly with many faults.

You can also use Euro NCAP ratings to gauge the safety of your car, as this can also be a good indicator of reliability.

A five-star Euro NCAP rating means that your VW car is rated high for safety and will keep yourself and others secure on the roads.

Another good sign of a reliable car is one that achieves impressive fuel efficiency. Cars that are achieving miles-per-gallon figures that indicate reasonable fuel usage make for reliable everyday runners.

Are Volkswagen good cars?

There’s a huge range of Volkswagen models on the market these days, with plenty of choices whether you want a small hatchback, an electric vehicle (EV) or a sizeable SUV.

Founded way back in 1937, VW has been producing vehicles for long enough that you can trust it knows what it’s doing.

It’s now entering into the world of EVs, producing fully-electric and hybrid-powered cars that are seriously impressive and will be tempting for drivers focused on efficiency and environmental impact.

The all-electric VW ID.3 and ID.4 range are definitely ones to watch.

Volkswagen has a few truly iconic models in its lineup, including the VW Golf, Polo, and the famous Beetle.

These are great options for a smaller model that have remained impressive for years.

One of the best-selling VW models in the UK is the Tiguan SUV. This offers plenty of space, comfort and a smooth and stable drive.

a grey vw tiguan driving on a country road


One of the best ways to evaluate the safety of your next car is by checking the Euro NCAP safety rating.

You’ll be able to find a review of plenty of VW models after they’ve undergone crash testing.

The popular Volkswagen Golf scored a full five-star safety rating back in 2022, scoring 88% for adult occupants and 87% for children.

The Polo also scored five stars in 2017, with an even higher 96% for adults and 85% for child occupant safety.

For an electric option, the VW ID.4 received the full five stars. The ID.5 was also awarded five stars, plus a 93% adult occupant rating.

Volkswagen is committed to keeping on top of safety tech, with features like ISOFIX car seat points, crumple zones with a tough safety shell in case of an accident, and up to nine airbags as standard.


The practicality of your Volkswagen will depend on what it is you need it for, as there are a huge range of models to choose from that will suit different needs.

If you’re not ready for something fully electric like the ID.4 and ID.5 models, a plug-in hybrid would be ideal for improving fuel efficiency.

The Golf GTE is perfect for something smaller with a pop of EV power, while the Tiguan offers more space and could be better suited to families.

If it is a family car that you’re after, a VW SUV or crossover would be very on-trend. The T-Roc, T-Cross, and Touareg all make for practical daily drivers that can be relied on.

For a large boot, the VW Polo offers a 351-litre space that’s perfect for those that need a smaller vehicle.

The VW Tiguan Allspace in the five-seat setup offers a 760-litre space, compared to the 230-litre boot in the original Tiguan model.

Features and technology

Like most other manufacturers on the modern market, VW has put a lot into creating an impressive list of tech and features that are installed into its models.

The Volkswagen infotainment system can be accessed by the Media Control app on your smartphone and is invaluable for navigation and media functions.

You can also choose the tech and features you want in your VW model by choosing different trims.

In the Polo lineup, the GTI model is the top spec and offers features like parking sensors, cruise control and the touchscreen audio system.

The newest VW models also get the additional Volkswagen Digital Cockpit Pro, which displays your car’s current statistics on a digital screen behind the wheel.

Interior and exterior

Interior and exterior styling and sizing on VW models also differs with the car that you choose and can be customised even further by choosing trim levels.

In most ranges, the entry-level trims are usually called Life and Active. These models get the standard features you’d want from a Volkswagen and keep the original styling inside and out.

If you prefer a sportier look to your Volkswagen, choosing an R-Line or GT variant will mean you get spicy styling and performance.

GTE, GTI and GTD models are all great options for some extra flair, especially in the iconic Golf lineup.

A Golf GTI will get you additional styling extras like a roof spoiler, side body skirts, and cornering lights.

For an estate look, choosing an Allspace model will get you that stretched and flattened styling.

This is a great alternative to SUV styling like you’d get in the classic Tiguan and ID.4.

Repair and maintenance costs

The close relationship between SEAT, Skoda and VW means there are plenty of parts floating around that work across models with those badges.

In fact, these cars share a lot of the same technology. This means that the tech you’re getting in your VW model is tried and tested across not just VW itself, but two other popular and trusted brands.

The VW Polo are mechanically similar to the SEAT Ibiza and Skoda Fabia, while the VW Up is triplets with the Skoda Citigo and SEAT Mii.

VW parts for repairs and upkeep are also affordable, but reviews state that Volkswagen cars rarely need work outside of normal wear over time.

They’re rated well for reliability, with many models performing above average, and they sit high up on consumer reliability surveys.

Top reliable Volkswagen vehicles

Among VW’s lineup of vehicles, the Up has scored significantly high on reliability surveys, making it one of the most reliable small cars you can purchase.

The VW Golf and Polo are also reliable choices, both maintaining a loyal fanbase over their years of being on the roads.

For something bigger, the VW T-Roc is another choice that has a particularly impressive reputation. It’s quickly gained a reputation as one of the most reliable SUVs you can pick up, with reliability surveys placing right towards the top end of the ratings.

VW has a reliable reputation, so you’ll find that each model in its range can be trusted and relied on as a daily runner.

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