All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Stanb Sevento

I have had 12 VWs all bought new over more years than I want to think about, the first was a MK1 Golf Driver bought at a huge discount monthes after production had stopped and the latest is a 2014 Sharan SEL. I have tried to find other makes but apart from 4 years with an early MX5 have always ended up with another VW.

The attraction has been the build quality compared to others, I liked the Ford S Max but the chunks of foam sticking out at the seat hinges when the seat was folded put me off. Honda FR-V fitted the bill at the time but the ugly spot welds in the door shuts and tailgate, and paint so thin the primer showed through on all the surfaces not visible from outside with the doors closed. Carpet not worthy of the name. You get the picture, Im a fussy begger.

A recent look at some possible next cars tells me that things have moved on over the last few years and other makes have cought up. Mazda 6 estate and Toyota Avensis estate are both very well made cars with quality marerials and a lot less evidence of being built down to a price. Add to that the last 3 VWs have had more problems than the first nine added together. My current car the Sharan is outstanding in terms of build quality, best yet, but looking at the Golf estate is good but not so good it stands out as better than the competition they way VWs used to be.

Have other makes cought up or even passed VW?

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Vitesse6

Were they ever as good as they said?

I had a brand new Polo in 1986, within 12 months it was going rusty. When you braked there was a bit of a creak from the front, one of the front suspension mounting points wasn't welded to the body properly, garage fixed that but left loads of electrics disconnected when I got it back. Final straw was a problem with the fuel system that VW were unable to fix. After it conked out on the M62 in a late night snow storm I got rid of it and bought a Peugeot. No trouble at all with that!

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Sulphur Man

Perhaps just read through this thread link below, detailing exasperated VW owners on HJ (its long). I'm not aware of ANY other manufacturer on HJ that has attracted such negative customer feedback. The second to last comment, from a Frazer Radford, is perhaps the most damning of all.

The question should be, 'can VAG catch up with other makes'?

www.honestjohn.co.uk/news/volkswagen-emissions-sca.../

By the way, we've owned a Honda FR-V 1.8iVTEC autio since May 2011. Does it have thin carpet, yes. Does it have hard plastics - yes? Is there visible spot welds - yes. Has it failed in any conceivable way - no, none whatsoever, its totally reliable. Does it stand up to abuse from young children - yes. Is the Honda dealer good - yes, fantastically good.

Hard plastics or hard shoulder. Up to you.

Edited by Sulphur Man on 07/03/2017 at 11:35

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - jc2

The last good VW was air-cooled.

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - skidpan

We have had 6 VAG cars (4 have been VW's) since 1986. Took delivery of the 6th last Wednesday. The first 2 VW's (1986 and 1989) were quite superb but the 1996 VW was a bit rattly and the paint was very soft. We kept it almost 7 years so so I think that suggsts it was not that bad. We had another 1996 VW as well, that had soft paint (it was the same colour as the other 96). We have had a Seat Leon which was magic and now have a Skoda Superb which so far matches my expectations.

All have been 100% reliable.

Our last few visits to VW showrooms have been greeted with total disinterest by the staff but since we like the cars we have bought Seat and Skoda instead. Not only are they cheaper but the dealers want to sell and the cars are pretty much identical to their VW siblings.

If you like the cars buy with confidence. Hope you find an interested VW dealer, if not try Seat or Skoda. But don't forget Audi, sometimes they are better value than VW.

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Engineer Andy

I suppose sometimes you could say - would you want a car with actual quality or the appearance of it? Unfortunately I think VW in particular have been a 'victim' (if that's the right word) of their own success, at least from a marketing standpoint. Everyone remembers (at least if we're old enough!) the 1980s ads with the slogan 'if only everything was reliable as a Volkswagen'.

Seat and especially Skoda have done far better in matching or bettering people's expectations of the sales and ownership experience with the marketing blurb, as others have said, they seem to be more attentive to customers' needs. I can remember people talking about Audi dealerships (staff not giving you the time of day, wanting to talk only about optional extras to get their bonuses up and not what the customer wants to discuss, e.g. second hand deals, test drives, etc) and overall customer services (not listening to complaints or taking them seriously) in the same way as they do about VW now.

The difference is that VW (VAG as a whole), if they're not careful, could face untold $Bns of lawsuits and fines across the world for 'dieselgate', as well as a significant drop off in sales in the longer term once all those unhappy customers who've had 'fixed' cars start changing to other brands (often never to return).

I found my local dealership to be ok (I got a test drive out of them), but I was less than impressed by the lack of any deals for cars, both new or second hand, even around the turn of the year or reg change time, all the while, supersites had identical cars (including new ones [admitedly RHD imports from the EU]) often for several £0000s less. What I did notice was the lack of footfall in the dealerships on the weekend I had the test drive - many more at my local Mazda and Honda dealerships.

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Stanb Sevento

Waw. Do I sence a bit of anti VW vibs in hear ? I had the build quality in mind with the original post rather than reliability but its complety relevent. Twelve cars, a million miles never a breakdown, no calls to the AA. A few problems in the last 7-8 years but nothing that stopped me driving, cant be too bad. Japanes cars are the best for reliability, no question.

A wiley old car trader advised me once saying, if you are thinking of buying a new car dont go to the showroom go look at well used ones first, see how they stand up because that will be your car soon. VWs stand up very well in that test. Other makes that stick in my mind are Toyota, some of the bigger Hondas were above average. The worst exampes were when looking for a Sharan alternative, two MPVs of French origin one with 80K and one with 105K. Really saggy drivers seats and theadbare fabric showing the foam underneath. Unless the driver was wearing sandpaper trousers thats not good enough in my book.

I have always been happy with VAG build quality, they were the first to use contiuous lazer welded bady seams rather than spot welds, gives a very rigid body that reduces rattles and squeeks. Even old ones are'nt rattled. Other makes have likley cought up over the last ten years, I was impressed when I looked at both Toyota and Mazda recently, not looked at others yet.

Having praised VAG I have pretty well made up my mind not to buy another, emissions, not the cheating because they all do it, More the lies, lack of information, the poorly developed fix and their shamefull treatment of their customers that have problems. They need to fix peoples cars properly and give them a good warranty before I will be back.

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 08/03/2017 at 11:30

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Snakey

I've had a few VWs in my time, the earliest being a 1982 Golf and the latest being a 2007 Passat. In all honesty I've found them to be no better and no worse for quality and reliability than the cars that preceeded or suceeded them.

In the case of the last one, the Passat I was glad to see the back of it. Problems with the engine/geabox and creaking rattling dash at 40k miles. And the much maligned Vectra that replaced it felt better built!

The dealers have certainly changed though, the early ones seemed (around here anyway) seemed to have a genuine desire to keep your custom. Now they seem to have inherited the Audi 'stuff you' attitude.

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - badbusdriver

The title of this thread made me laugh!. Im not sure VW's have ever been as good as the many VW affionados would have us believe. The problem is that percieved quality and quality are not the same things. But when it comes to cars, showroom appeal is where people sem to make their minds up. VW's have interiors which look and feel nice, seemingly a cut above the riff raff. I used to work at a VW dealer between 2000 and 2004, and frankly, if you knew where to look, it was not hard to see where in the cars the money had been saved to put in the lovely dashboard and trim!. During my time at this dealer i was reading a magazine which had one of the 'JD power surveys', which looked in detail at each and every car's reliability based on owners reviews and experiences, also how the dealers performed in resolving problems, and also, how satisfied owners were with their cars overall. In this survey, the then current MK4 golf scored pretty poorly, i dont remember exactly how far down the results table the golf came, but i do remember it was slightly BELOW the fiat stilo!. I cut this out and stuck it up on the wall in the valeting bay (sales staff would often let customers view cars in the valeting bay, especially in winter). Needless to say, it didnt last long!.

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Stanb Sevento

"The title of this thread made me laugh!." Well you took it in the spirit intended badbusdrive. Worded to provoke a responce.

I had a Golf GTi colour concept, Mk3 I think it was and it was great, and at the time I think it was top of the pile. You need to look at what the competition was like at the time to put that into context. My original point was that while VWs are still pretty good other makes have cought up and each brand has its strengths. Very few really bad cars now, or maybe there are !!!

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Engineer Andy

The problem always is that people's expreiences are very subjective - anyone (as you did) all through their car owning life without any problems with a particular make, whilst others have had numerous problems. I think what many (including myself) have alluded to is that from larger surveys, VW have done far less well from a reliability standpoint than their own marketing blurb would, like us to believe.

You are correct that reliability of their cars is still good, looking at the raw figures (there's normally about a 10-15% difference between the best and worst manufacturers), however VW's widely publicised cost-cutting over tha last 5-10 years (as Mercedes did 15-odd years ago) has, it appears (to me), lead to a significant increase in faults, warranty claims and now the dieselgate issue, including the what appears to be a poor quality fix (from an engineering/operational perspective) for the engines affected.

I think you possibly are confusing trim quality/fit and finish with engineering quality. Think about this - how many mk4 and 5 Golfs (or older) do you see on the roads these days - there used to be loads about, now (especially the mk4) very few. And yet, still lots of Japanese equivalents (including my own 11yo Mazda3) knocking around, and yet originally sold about a fifth in numbers in the UK. They may have less fancy, hard-wearing plastics and trim materials, but for the most part their engineering is sound, and with a bit of TLC can go on and on. Speaking personally, I know where I'd rather a manufacturer spend their manufacturing budget on if they had to choose one or the other, and it ain't soft-touch plastics and brushed metal trim...

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - badbusdriver

Summed up perfectly Andy!. My mate had a MK3 GTI 16v for years and years, he didnt, as far as i recall, have any issues with it. But then it was looked after and serviced meticulously. Compare that to the MK3 VR6 which 'car' magazine ran as a long term test car. They had so many reliability issues with it, at the end of the time they had it for, they made it a cover star. Only what they put on the cover was a picture of a lemon with wheels and a VW badge!.

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - SteVee

VW still has legions of fans and still makes 'good' cars (and vans - the Transporter has lots of fans). Not for me though, perhaps because of my local dealers; I'd still like a Phaeton V10 diesel - but I can't get it with the one essential option: a driver :-)

Which makes have taken over from VW ? I can't point to any company that has taken over their 'reliable' mantle. Perhaps the whole car industry is moving on before each technology matures.

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - badbusdriver

VW still has legions of fans and still makes 'good' cars (and vans - the Transporter has lots of fans). Not for me though, perhaps because of my local dealers; I'd still like a Phaeton V10 diesel - but I can't get it with the one essential option: a driver :-)

Which makes have taken over from VW ? I can't point to any company that has taken over their 'reliable' mantle. Perhaps the whole car industry is moving on before each technology matures.

Nobody has 'taken over' VW's reliability mantle, because there have always been other makes more reliable than VW.

Honda, toyota, mazda, subaru, daihatsu, nissan (certainly up to the renault partnership) may well have lacked the showroom appeal and soft touch plastics of VW, but they have always been more dependable. Thats not to say VW make bad cars, but it goes back to my earlier post that VW aficianados mistakenly believe VW's are better than anything else simply because they like them.

Incidentally, i also would like to drive a phaeton V10 diesel, but i wouldnt want to own one. The complexity and potential for financial doom if something went wrong would completely put me off actually owning one. Now the '06-'09 honda legend is, if anything, even more complex than the phaeton, but that wouldnt put me off owning one because i would have a LOT more confidence that, assuming the car had fsh, nothing would go wrong!

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Engineer Andy

VW still has legions of fans and still makes 'good' cars (and vans - the Transporter has lots of fans). Not for me though, perhaps because of my local dealers; I'd still like a Phaeton V10 diesel - but I can't get it with the one essential option: a driver :-)

Which makes have taken over from VW ? I can't point to any company that has taken over their 'reliable' mantle. Perhaps the whole car industry is moving on before each technology matures.

In my view its a sign 'o' the times that many manufacturers are not properly testing new technology in their vehicles for long enough (especially used together) to enable then to find and (for the most part) iron iron the faults before bring them to market - its all about being 'the first' to bring some new fancy-pants feature out.

The Japanese and Korean makes are less prone to this, but they still have their off days - even as a big Mazda fan, I was staggered at how they blindly (probably told to by Ford when part owned by them) rebadged the diesel-of-doom engines to use in their ranges 15 years or so ago without seeing if they were reliable first. They're still paying the price reputation-wise for that today - I mean, how many backroomers would recommend a Mazda diesel?

To be honest, this issue (bringing new tech to market before properly beta testing it) is common across whole swathes of commerce these days - mobile phones, computer tech, TVs, PVRs, etc. Almost everything has to have an 'upgrade patch' or suchlike to its software or items subject to recalls due to safety issues (certain brands of clothes driers, kids buggies etc), sometimes within weeks of the product release. I personally blame Mircosoft (just my opinion - don't sue me!), the kings of the update patch...

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Steveieb
My trader friend who claims to have only bought one car which had to be disposed at auction in the last ten years uses the philosophy that out of ten potential buyers Eight would buy a Golf. Has he unearthed the secret of a successful trader?

But Audi started the brilliant marketing scheme called cars for stars. Firstly Lady Diana was loaned ? An Audi 80 cabriolet when she was seeing Charles. Previously she owned a Golf.
Then take a look at Prince Charles he usually arrives in an A6 Avant when on low key visits.

But has Nicola Sturgeon scored an own goal on her passion for all things European by choosing a Lexus for her official vehicle. At least she will turn up on schedule!
All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - Stanb Sevento

Yes I agree with most of what engineer andy saies and there is evidence of cost cutting with a bit of complacency thrown in. I dont agree however that Im confusing fit and finnish for engineering. My origninal post said" build quality" and that includes panel fit, alignment, even shut lines, and a hundred other things, and engineering includes the body shell stiffnes, structural strength, crash worthyness ( a lot of Japanes car were let down by this), not just the oily bits.

I know VAGs reliability is not as good as most Japanese brands, its been like that since I can remember but even they have had their problems in recent years, look at the number of recalls for faulty parts from the top brands in reliability like Toyota and Honda. I suspect the ever increasing complexity of cars with more and more systems being built-in and pushing the boundries in fuel economy, all work against having perfertly faultless cars. Reproduce today a car from the 80s and it could be 99.99% reliable.

Edited by Stanb Sevento on 10/03/2017 at 19:41

All models - Are Volkswagens as good as they used to be. - bazza

Back in the 80s there was nothing to touch the Golf for "feelgood", particularly the Gti, which was by far the most desirable hot hatch. Others were faster but none had the overall classy, solid feel it had. They also had a series of iconic TV adverts that were hugely successful in getting the perception of quality and reliability across. I had my first Golf Mk 2 in 1990 and it definitely felt in a different league to rivals such as Astra, Escort, Corolla. Although I loved that car, it wasn't fast and it wasn't reliable, all 4 doors leaked like a sieve and it failed to start on many damp mornings.

I still like the current VAG offerings, although I am hugely sceptical of their robustness. My Mk2 Octavia has a history of various low level faults, a noisy gearbox and I've just noticed the drivers seat has worn right through,at 84000 miles so much for interior quality! This Mk2 of mine shows many signs of cost-cutting compared to the MK1 . So I won't have another, as it's clear others can build a better car these days. VAG can still build a car with huge showroom appeal, which in these days of brand new PCP deals is what matters, but theyre trading on past reputation I feel. They also drive nicely and feature a lot of high tech- possibly their reliability downfall after a few years of use. Their dealers are rude to the point of plain arrogance, too!

 

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