Tell me the worst about VWs

volkswagen
rabbit

#1

I am thinking of buying a Volkwagen Rabbit. The four-door hatchback body style and the easy-to-park-in-tight-spaces length, as well as the price, suit my needs pretty well, but I am aware that VW’s reputation for quality is lower than for many other makes. So how bad are they? Are they improving over time, or getting worse? Are there particular problem areas that require vigilance? How is the warranty service? I’m willing to take a chance, but I don’t want to do something really stupid.


#2

If you are buying a VW Rabbit, then in spite of reported VW quality problems, yours might be a good one if it is still alive now. Opinions run unchecked here on Car Talk and colored by Consumer Reports so you might want to check out www.vwvortex.com for more. Sign up free and post your questions. I have an old Golf; works fine with only occasional trouble that I repair mostly myself with help from my prior experience, repair manuals, Vortex and also the Internet.


#3

Stop by the local bookstore and pick up a Consumer Reports New Car Buyers’ Guide. That’ll give you some concrete data.

  • mountainbike

#4

Consumer reports would be a good source if you were in fact buying “Concrete” but that is about it.

If a VW intrests you get a quality mechanical inspection and do some web searching for VW problems.


#5

I think the OP is considering buying a new Rabbit. It’s what they call a Golf in the US market now. Whether the original Rabbit really deserves a nostalgia nameplate revival is perhaps up for debate.


#6

Reliability was the Volkswagen problem, VW hasn’t fully conquered it yet. A really bad model line will only produce 7% to 10% bad cars. We should say cars with problems instead. Many of these problems aren’t serious and go away when fixed. We don’t always buy cars based on reliability, sometimes we buy what we need no matter who makes it. The automatic rabbit that Consumer Reports tested got 24 MPG overall. It has a 2.5 liter four cylinder engine. You should enjoy driving it. If reliability were our only concern, we would all own a Yaris, cut out the stupid speedometer and glue it in front of the driver and put proper markings on it so we could tell what speed we are driving. Then we would wish that it handled like a Rabbit and had comfortable seats.


#7

Buying a new Rabbit is a gamble, in my opinion. VW reliability has been abysmal for more than 10 years, and whether or not the new models are “better” won’t be known until they have some years and miles on them.

That’s not to say that EVERY VW is unreliable. I’m sure you can find many owners who get years of reliable service from their VWs, and love their cars. I used to be among them, back in the old days when VWs could be counted on to “run forever.” My experience with more recent models, however, has put me firmly in the “never again” category.

As others have suggested, Consumer Reports has extensive information on just about any make and model of vehicle. Take a look at their list of “cars to avoid,” and notice how many VW/Audi models are present. Also look at reliability data and trouble spots, and compare VW to Honda or Toyota.

There are lots of four door hatchbacks for sale these days. The Rabbit is not your only choice. The Mazda3, is highly regarded, the Honda Fit comes to mind, as does the Nissan Versa. To be honest, I’d buy a new Hyundai or Kia before I’d go anywhere near a VW dealer.


#8

but I am aware that VW’s reputation for quality is lower than for many other makes. So how bad are they? Are they improving over time, or getting worse? Are there particular problem areas that require vigilance? How is the warranty service? I’m willing to take a chance, but I don’t want to do something really stupid.

I like cars a lot, but I’m not a professional mechanic or automotive engineer, so that said… There are 2 VWs in my family: a '00 Jetta and an '04 golf. The Jetta has been less than avg reliable. Only about half of the big repairs have been covered by warranty. The golf has had no problems so for knock wood. I attribute that partially to the Jetta being produced in the 1st year of the generation, and the Golf being produced in the 5 year of that generation car.

I’ve found that so far as dealerships go, it’s hit and miss (I think it’s like that with all makes tho). The one that’s 5 miles from home is a nightmare to deal with, but other ones seem to be ok, and very good to work with.

So there’s a fine chance if you buy one it will be rock solid. But there’s a better chance than with other makes that your car will have troubles.

I would suggest that if you test drive the new golf and it REALLY makes you smile, and the price is not a stretch, then get it.


#9

Now be nice, consumer reports knows all about dishwashers too.


#10

Guys, it is a rabbit again:

http://www.vw.com/rabbit/en/us/?sem=36213851


#11

Consumer Reports and other polling organizations leave a lot to be desired for the simple reason that neither them or any of us know the details behind a car complaint.

Aggressive driver causes problems and when warranty does not cover the abuse, who do they get mad at? The dealer, mechanic, VW, and everyone else on the planet except themselves.
Same goes for maintenance work. You would be surprised at the number of people who buy a new car and instantly develop a bad attitude about it when they come back to the dealer the first time for an oil change, maintenance, brake job, etc. and discover that, horrors, THEY have to pay for it.
The car instantly becomes a Lemon in their eyes.

A lady came into the dealer once after sliding her new VW on ice only 2 weeks after buying it. (Towed in)
She went into the ditch and mashed up the right front fender along with tearing up the right front suspension.
She became absolutely livid when told “warranty” was not going to cover this. No matter how much explaining was done to her she just flat could not see this was not a warrantable problem.

Wonder what her responses to a CR or J.D. Powers survey would be?
And she’s one of many.


#12

Although that is true, there are silly people driving VW’s who blame the issues they are responsible for on the car itself.

Of course, there are the same type of silly people driving Hondas and Toyotas. They too say the same things about their cars. And yet Honda and Toyota gets better ratings.

Blaming poor reliability ratings on the customer is something Audi/VW and others have done for years. Doesn’t wash.


#13

Not quite. The mindset of the owners, on average can be different.
A VW owner may tend to be picky and also be a more aggressive type of driver, whereas the Honda or Toyota owner will not be as aggressive a driver. They will also have that mindset of forgiving their car’s sins no matter the cause.

Don’t believe me; go to work in a dealer service dept. for about 10 years and post back.


#14

A VW owner may tend to be picky and also be a more aggressive type of driver, whereas the Honda or Toyota owner will not be as aggressive a driver. They will also have that mindset of forgiving their car’s sins no matter the cause.

LOL, that’s what the “consumer reports people” will never understand. Not everyone uses the “buy it cheap, drive it until it stops moving, throw it away and buy a new appliance” method of ownership. These are the same folks who will brag about how little they have spent on maintenance but will gladly take out another 5 year loan to buy a new disposable car; to each his own, I guess.

Some folks actually expect their autos to operate perfectly and will not be happy with the smallest imperfection, even when they are driven hard. The problem with VW is that it as a relatively inexpensive car with pretty demanding customers. These are the folks who will show up at the dealer complaining about a barely perceptible noise in their new $15K car. The average toyota/honda owner might notice if a wheel falls off.


#15

My main problem with VW is VW them selves. The company does not understand good cust relations. They are typical Germans, never admitting to a problem. Such as the window regulators in the last generation Jetta. They were notoriously bad, it?s a matter of when they go bad not if… Any way VW was constantly saying there is no problem, there is no problem. However then they redesigned the part, all while saying that there was never a problem in the 1st place and refusing to help those people who had the original regulators go bad once the car was out of warranty. I had a friend with a 2000 TDI, and there was a recall on the brake switch. His was working fine, but he had the recall done as a prudent owner should do. 13 months later the new switch failed, and VW refused to cover the repair because the part was only covered for 12 months. This was a federally mandated recalled item, and they refused to fix it again. 1 year later the re-recalled the car my friend called VW told them the story faxed them a copy of the receipt for the 2nd switch… They still decided not to cover it… Just 100?s of stories of poor cust service, on cars with questionable reliability. Honestly I would stay away from them, as I just don?t trust them.


#16

I will say this; as someone who actually worked for VW of course.
The VW reps and service school people I have met and developed a working relationship with and service school instructors have always been of the highest caliber and utter professionals in every sense of the word.

IMHO also, but as someone who has performed countless warranty repairs along with filing and submitting warranty claims, I will state without hesistation that VW’s warranty is one of the better ones around. I’m comparing VW warranty to Honda, Nissan, Subaru, and even SAAB when I say this.

You’re actually making my point here. You’re perfectly willing to rip VW a new one over loose window regulators and brake switches.
Are you also willing to rip a new one in Honda, Subaru, Nissan, or Toyota for a chronic complaint? They do have them; all of them and in every decade.

Compare the VW window regulator problem against this. Which one is worse?


Your opinion of Toyota would be…?


#17

Dude what are you talking about?? I don?t like Toyota either, never said I did. The OP asked about VW so I told them about VW… These were my personal experiences, and those of my very good friend. PS my other good friends father works for VW, and I can tell you some lovely back room stories as well.

In my personal opinion based on my experiences, I would rank VW at the very bottom of the new car manufactures list. Not because of the cars they make, which I believe are nice. But because of the way the company has treated friends and acquaintances of mine. I would not buy one under any circumstance (which sucks because I love the TDI motor). There us just to much bad Mo-Jo between them and me.


#18

“There are lots of four door hatchbacks for sale these days. The Rabbit is not your only choice. The Mazda3, is highly regarded, the Honda Fit comes to mind, as does the Nissan Versa. To be honest, I’d buy a new Hyundai or Kia before I’d go anywhere near a VW dealer.”

Hey you Consumer Report-worshipping Euro-hater, none of these cars your touting are going to be as fun to drive, handle as well or probably be as safe as the Rabbit. The Honda Fit looks like a four door golf cart (my due apologies to Fit owners and golf cart owners.) I would rather have a 24 year old GTI any day of the week than any of the three you mentioned. VW UBER ALLES!

Signed,
The Spirit of Dr. Ferdinand Porsche


#19

The worst you could do is not maintain it and become one of those people who write into CR about how bad your car is after 50k miles on it when the engine seizes up because you were still running with the original factory oil still in it.


#20

Sorry you’re not comprehending what I’m saying.
It would also be interesting to know exactly what all of the VW complaints in your family are about and whether they’re justfiably lousy car problems or owner inflicted. Unfortunately, 90% of the people who abuse a car do not realize it or will even admit to it.
My wife (30 years), and especially my adult daughter, are tough on cars and after all of this time I simply cannot beat it into their heads what they’re doing wrong. Slam on the brakes at a stop, nail the throttle down when accelerating, turn the radio up if the temp gauge climbs, drive 40 miles on a near flat tire (how was I to know it was flat they ask?, are all part of it.

We had a guy buy a new VW, got the oil changed at a Jiffy Lube and sure enough; the drain plug fell out. This led to total destruction of the 17k miles engine (2 rods through the block) and was he mad at Jiffy Lube?
No. He was mad at us (the dealer) and VW.
Personally, I blame the nut behind the wheel on this one. JL screwed up the oil change but this guy is the one who continued to drive it and no way in the world did he not see a flashing red light and hear some very severe knocking at some point before the rods came loose.

Another example? Guy buys a brand new VW and attempts to install his own stereo the next day. It continued to pop fuses instantly due to his grounding of the power antenna lead! His solution? Install heavier fuses until one would not blow. At this point the wire harness went up in smoke. Who was he mad at? The usual; us, the car, and VWOA.

You have not even spelled out who you feel is at fault; the VW dealer or VWOA, of which they are not one and the same.

I can only tell you that VWOA will gladly cover ANY legitimate warranty repair without question and will even go in and cover things under a good-will warranty that they really should not even cover at all, depending on the circumstances.

As I always say on this board; every automotive complaint has a story behind it and seldom is the entire story ever known.

I’m not claiming that VWs are infallible. Of course they’re not. They have problems and recalls just like any other car on the road.
I do take issue with Consumer Reports blindly accepting a complaint from someone at face value. Wonder what kind of vehicle opinions Consumer Reports got from those 2 guys I mentioned? Probably not favorable would be my guess.