Is used Volkswagen reliable?

I’m considering getting a used Volkswagen Eos as a daily driver. I read a lot of people complain about Volkswagen’s reliability. I wonder if it is true.
I’m planning to own it for 3 to 4 years but I will put about 70k miles on it considering my current driving habit.
I am shopping for used one at around 40 to 50k miles so the car will be at around 120k miles when I am going to trade it in.
Can a Volkswagen be reliable enough to last 120k miles without major repair if I keep up with the general maintenance?

Sure. Will it? Not overly likely. You’re quite likely to have electrical gremlins (this is true of most German cars).

These are mostly rated as below average by Consumer Reports with the exception being the 2010 and newer which are average. One concern that seems to keep cropping up on is the roof leaking and other issues with the folding hardtop. It could last without major repairs but it all depends on how good shape the one you find is in. It is a Golf with a folding hardtop but not nearly as common as a golf so you might have trouble finding someone who knows how to fix anything other than the basic mechanicals which should be standard VW

Ha ha ha . . . !

I believe I just answered the question


Those folding hard tops are FULL of parts to break, become misaligned, etc. Friend had his new BMW totaled after a 5 mph bump in a parking lot.

Conservative Reports has a bit of a love/hate relationship with VW. They almost all get excellent scores on their drive rest, and many have decent or better reliability for the first few years. Now comes the problem. The cars older than that are mostly quite unreliable, but there are at least two possible causes. One is that somewhere around that time VW made some job improves to their cars or the way they put them together. The second possibility is that VW does a good job assembling cars but uses substandard parts that start to fail prematurely after a few years. Before then they are very reliable. I tend to believe explanation two. If you went back a few years you’d find do the same pattern, with decent reliability in newer cars, but far below average in older models. Also, VW, like most big companies has a rolling replacement schedule, so the Passat has rarely been redesigned the same year as the Golf or the Tigers. Technologies are upgraded on models as they are redesigned, with some systems improved mid-career (usually when they’ve been troublesome.)

I would only buy a VW if I had several cars and didn’t rely on the VW, or planned to not keep it very long. The resale values I haven’t kept up on, but it’s my fantasy life and money is no object. For most people my advice is not to buy one unless you can afford the repairs and they offer something you can’t easily get elsewhere, like reasonably priced diesels and the nifty little Jutta Sportwagen, a rare small wagon that isn’t a luxury model. The Acura TSX is a good competitor, similarly priced. No diesel, but that isn’t necessarily bad.

My wife has had good experiences with VW. Her first car was an '85 Golf she drove till it ended up dying in 2010. Two years ago she bought an '08 Jetta, and the only problem its had was the trunk latch breaking.

I would not use the words used Volkswagen and reliable in the same sentence. “Money pit” comes to mind as being more appropriate.

My guess is that you would have some issues along the way and that other brands would be somewhat better if reliability is a major concern. Although it’s a small sample size, I’ll point out that my friends with Audis and VWs have tended to have intermittent electrical glitches that have been hard to track down and repair. I’ll also point out that when I test-drove a new Audi just off the truck a number of years ago, the check-engine light came on during the drive and the radio didn’t work.

Friends and relatives with VW’s mostly have had good or better reliablity but those are 2008-2009 Jetta’s and my Brother’s '09 GTI (previously owned an 85 Jetta) Others likely haven’t been so lucky. An independent VW shop could give you some insight into what kind of repairs the Eos most commonly needs. My brother got some great advice from his shop and has had very little problems with the GTI.

I checked maintenance and repair cost estimates on Edmunds. They estimate repair costs for 2011 MY EOS at $3200 over 5 years. This compares to $2200 for the Accord coupe and Camry sedan. The extra couple hundred bucks a year might be worth it to you to have a more distinctive car. CR repair ratings have compressed so much over the years that it is hard to make informed decisions. Rankings don’t tell you that the difference between worse than average and significantly better than average is about $200/year.

VW’s aren’t really designed to last a long time. I’m not saying this is necessarily a bad thing, just that lasting years and years and miles and miles, it’s not their forte’. They are more for the driver who likes to buy a car, drive it, enjoy it for a few years, use it up, and when/if problems start, sell it and buy another new one. But a gasoline powered VW should last 100,000 - 150,000 miles without too much trouble provided it is well maintained and kept out of the weather in a garage. Diesel VW’s seem to be an exception; they are known to be good for a lot of miles.

As mentioned above, good idea to read-up on the Consumer Reports Used Car Guide says about the particular model and year you are considering. Sometimes there is a problem, but it is in just one system, like the AC, or the automatic transmission. So if you buy one without AC or choose a manual rather than an automatic you can avoid the known problem.

My bigger worry is the complicated roof and trunk, not necessarily that it’s a VW.

Ask yourself, “Why is the seller dumping a low mileage, ‘cool’ car like this Eos?”

The answer is usually that some newer, cooler car has caught his/her eye. Some people are attracted to sparkly things (and can afford them). There may be nothing wrong with the Eos other than that it’s not new and fun anymore.

The answer is its usually a lemon.

“Some people are attracted to sparkly things”

Aren’t crows also attracted to sparkly things?

Sure, and the crow is the official bird of VW. Nah, not really. But I wouldn’t assume this is a lemon. Cars sold mainly as lifestyle accessories are often disposed of because they go out of fashion, or aren’t to the tastes of their owner anymore. The Eos is precisely that sort of car. And I’ve known a few people like that. They know nothing about cars but know what catches their eye. What they can see impressing their equally shallow friends.

Owner reviews of 2008 Eos:

“I read a lot of people complain about Volkswagen’s reliability. I wonder if it is true.”

Honestly, omygod, I think you’ve answered your own question. If a lot of people complain about a car, there’s truth to its reputation. If you do choose to buy an Eos, you’ll be doing so knowing it’s a problem vehicle. And, as already mentioned, a late model low mileage car being back on the lot usually means it has problems… or has been in an accident. Personally, I wouldn’t do it. I’d look for something with a better reputation. Consumer Reports Used Car Buyers’ Guide can give you good comparative information that’ll give you better odds of getting something reliable.