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$$ to maintain Volkswagons

I’m comparing cars for purchase. Is a Volkswagon Golf (or, now, Rabbit) going to cost me more to maintain and repair than a Honda Civic hatchback or Ford Focus?

Yes. VW reliability has been on the skids for years. The Ford will be less to repair and maintain than the Civic although I prefer the Civic over the Focus.

I would guess, yes and significantly more in my opinion. The Honda Civic would cost much less. I don’t know much about Ford Focus (I own an '03 Civic) but my take on it is that it would be comparable to the Civic. Really don’t hear much about issues with the Focus or Civic as new cars. When posters ask questions about Civics and Focus they are usually asking about car 10 years old or older.

Questions about VW’s come up frequently (especially for the numbers sold and on the road) and on newer models and often pretty significant problems, ie auto transmissions and electrical issues.

By the way I really like how VW’s drive and the seats, and the clean look of the interiors. But, since you asked about costs and repairs; on that count not so good with VW.


If you think it costs a lot to maintain a “Volkswagon”, you will be shocked to see how much it costs to maintain a VOLKSWAGEN.


Yes, despite their excellent driving dynamics and nice interiors, Volkswagens have historically imposed a high cost for upkeep/repair on their owners, particularly after they pass 50k miles or so.

Also, it’s back to Golf now. I guess after the initial nostalgia people remembered what their old Rabbits were really like!

I’m going to be somewhat more optimistic and say the answer to the question is only “probably”. VW’s reliability in recent times has been sort of a Jekyll and Hyde situation where one example of a particular car may just be one thing after another, but another identical car may be 100% problem free. But their quality has been improving in the last few years and, at least in my opinion, I don’t think their reliability is so bad that you should automatically discount them.

I think the maintenance and repair costs are on par with one another.

The big difference is that the VW’s tend to have more issues along the way. The Golf’s are much better than the Jetta/New Beetle(terrible rap) as they produced mostly in Germany and some in Brazil.

I know a few Golf owners with few problems but Jetta and New Beetle(built in Mexico) terrible. Not sure why the country makes a difference in terms of reliability.

Having friends and colleagues who drive both, I would say that a VW on average would cost between 50 and 100% MORE to keep running for the first 200,000 miles. And it will have twice as many problems.

After that, the Civic would have a lot of life left in it and major repairs would be affordable. The VW is still repairable, but it won’t be economic because of the very high parts prices, and will thus become a money pit.

The Focus would be relatively inexpensive for the first 200,000 miles as well; but after that would go downhill fast.

If you want affordable very long life (300,000 miles+), the Civic and the Toyota Corolla are your best bet in the compacts.

I would not be surprised if the VW ends up being more expensive to maintain. However It may be less than a lot of people expect IF you have a good local independent mechanic who knows VW’s.

Over the last 40 years I have never had a “problem” with any of my VW’s. They all got good maintenance and on occasion they needed a repair. No significant difference than other cars. Your mileage may vary. I likely take better than average care of my cars and that may well be the reason I have had so few problems.

If you really like a VW, I would suggest going for it, but if you are really insecure with the idea of a VW or you tend not to keep the maintenance up on a car, then I suggest looking for something else.

Good luck with your choice.

Maintenance costs are about the same when they kick in, and the VW won’t have any for the first 3 years or 36,000 miles. Compare the Mazda 3 to the Golf and see which you like best. The Golf will probably cost more initially, but free maintenance (oil and filter changes mostly) will decrease that cost some. Look at the service manual and everything in it up to 36,000 miles is free. It should be mostly 3 oil and filter changes and air filter change. It’s probably worth a little less than $1000. Edmunds says to expect to pay about 12% more for repairs.

VDCD, You Beat Me By A Mile.

You gotta pay if you wanna play. But look at Mazda 3, like jt suggested. If you can drive a stick, 2 words come to mind “Speed 3”

“Speed 3”

But compare it to the GTI.

If you are buying used the best buy is the Ford Focus due to heavy depreciation. Even if you hit many repairs you have a substantial premium for both the VW and Honda badge.

Everyone I know who has ever owned a VW, or still owns one, swears they’ll never own another one.


Speed 3:
263hp @ 5500 rpm
280tq @ 3000 rpm
Length: 177.6 in.
Width: 69.7 in.
Height: 57.5 in.
Wheel Base: 103.9 in.
Ground Clearance: 4.7 in.
Turning Circle: 36.1 ft.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Manual: 18 mpg / 25 mpg / 21 mpg

200hp @ 5100 rpm
207tq @ 1800 rpm
Length: 165.8 in.
Width: 70 in.
Height: 57.8 in.
Wheel Base: 101.5 in.
Ground Clearance: 5 in.
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 14.5 gal.
EPA Mileage Estimates: (City/Highway/Combined)
Automatic: 24 mpg / 33 mpg / 27 mpg

GTI wins for fuel mileage, but the Mazda wins for power

The Mazda is heavier than the VW, but still has a better power to weight ratio. The GTI is not as fast as the Speed3, but according to some testers is more refined.

The Mazda should be more reliable as well, but I don’t really know either way. As with all cars, how well it’s maintained will be more indicative on how long it’ll last, and the demographic both cars are aimed at, I wouldn’t want to buy a used one, that’s for sure.