Volkswagen vs. Subarus- which engine lasts longer?

Hello. I am debating whether to buy a Subaru or a Volkswagen. I want a hatchback/wagon design and I like the compactness and gas mileage of the Volkswagen but I have heard they run into engine problems over 50,000+ miles. The other option would be a Subaru Wagon, but because they are All Wheel Drive, they don’t get as good of gas mileage as the Volkswagens. Thoughts or suggestions between the two… or, suggestions on another make and model of wagon that gets good gas mileage and is economical to buy- I am looking at late 90’s/early 2000’s models of cars? Thanks.

Our Subaru is an 03 Legacy wagon. It gets about 24 mpg on average with 85% highway and 15% stop and go. It has 130K on it and we have had no issues with it so far. We follow the maintenance schedule and use the Subaru $2 coolant conditioner as indicated.

When my wife researched changing to a Camry, she found she would gain only one mpg and would give up quite a bit of space. That may have sealed the deal when she wants a new car.

Our only unhappiness is the wind noise with this particular year. It was noisier than the 99 Legacy that we sold.

All said, though, I don’t know if I would buy a four or five year old Subaru, unless the previous owner passed my tire/maintenance quiz and kept extremely good maintenance records. Not everyone understands the Subaru AWD system and the importance of following Subaru guidance to the letter.

I agree with jayhawkroy.
Buying any used car without access to its complete maintenance record is a formula for potential problems. With a Subaru, it can be the formula for very expensive potential problems–and I say that as a long-term very satisfied Subaru owner.

A huge percentage of car owners do not maintain their cars properly, and with an AWD system, that laxity winds up costing BIG bucks in the long run.

Then again, if a VW owner doesn’t use the correct spec motor oil and/or does not change the oil often enough, there is a risk of damaging oil sludge that can definitely kill an engine. Once again, full maintenance records are necessary.

And, of course, on both cars, failure to change the timing belt can essentially destroy the engine.
What to do? Once again, DO NOT buy a used car unless it comes with its maintenance records!

Even though Subaru has a better reliability rating than VW, everything depends upon maintenance.