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VW reliability

Please indulge me as I continue my search for my mid-life crisis car…

I’m looking for a convertible. Affordable. Reasonably reliable. Fun to drive. I’ve rule out the British options (reliability). I like the Miata, but I’m thinking it would be nice to have a back seat (so I can take the grandkids for a ride).

I was looking at a VW Cabriolet (1987) this weekend and was intrigued. But my sense of VWs is they don’t do so hot in the reliability area.

I’m also wondering whether I’d really miss the rear-wheel drive of the Miata?




The VW convertible is a reasonable car to drive, if performance is not a priority. They weigh quite a bit more than the hardtop, but only came with the base engine, IIRC, so fast/sporty they’re not. As for reliability, any 23 year old car will have problems. It would be miles ahead of anything British, but not as reliable as a Miata, in general.

How about a Toyota Solara convertible? Since it’s a Camry it’s as reliable as you can get, and the grandkids can sit in the back seat.

It won’t drive like a Miata, but then neither will anything else.

Consumer Reports consistently rates VW as one of the worst used cars in reliability. I’ve only owned one VW, a Rabbit, and it had a lot of problems, even though I bought it new. I’ll not buy another VW, there are too many reliable alternatives.

I have and still own a VW. I have also owned a Miata. The Miata was right for me at the time and the VW I have now is right for me. No car I have had was totally trouble free, and none including 3 VW with a total of about 5000,000 miles so far, have had any serious or problems.

If you really like the feel and look of the Miata, I suggest you stick with it. The only real problem I had with mine was replacing the top (took me three hard days) It was a fun reliable car.

Both the RX-7 and Miata saved me with their fantastic handling.

The fact that the car is VW is irrelevant to reliability since it is 23 years old.

The car is a hoot to drive as it is a convertible version of the 1984 Rabbit GTI in engine and transmission and suspension.

I would visit and local VW independent to see what they have to say. If one does not exist it may not be the best car to get. The people I know who love VW’s and have some nags go to VW specialists and not dealers or general mechanics.

A convertible so you can take the grand kids that’s fun to drive. This screams Mustang, pick your vintage and price range. Without knowing your price range, it might be more cost effective to buy new, as you never know what the previous owner(s) done to it.

Just a follow up to this question, a year later. I bought the VW and for the most part, it’s been a great fun little car. We’ve put about 2,000 miles on it in the past year. As predicted, there have been some issues. I’ve had to replace the gas tank and I see heater core and master cylinder jobs in my future. But its been extremely reliable and I get thumbs up whenever I drive it around. So far, so good.