Ranking 45 Volkswagen Generations by Reliability

Nearly every model can be grouped into generations, which is a collection of years where the cars are continuously produced and very few, if any, changes are made. Sorting models by their generation gives us a clearer roadmap of potential problems.

Manufacturers don't always make it clear when a new generation begins, but we do our best to keep our generation data accurate to better predict problems. Use this information as a guide for making your decisions. Or don't (but you really should).

Rank Model Years Reliability PainRank (?)
45th Jetta Gen 5 2006—2010
24.86
44th Passat Gen 5 2006—2010
19.91
43rd Passat Gen 4 1998—2005
18.95
42nd Jetta Gen 4 2000—2005
18.6
41st Jetta Gen 6 2011—2018
16.95
40th Passat Gen 6 2012—2017
15.26
39th Tiguan Gen 1 2009—2016
13.26
38th CC Gen 1 2009—2017
9.77
37th Routan Gen 1 2009—2014
9.01
36th Golf Gen 6 2010—2013
8.83
35th GTI Gen 6 2009—2014
7.9
34th Beetle Gen 1 1998—2011
7.09
33rd Jetta SportWagen Gen 2 2011—2014
6.78
32nd Atlas Gen 1 2018—2019
5.67
31st Golf Gen 7 2014—2017
4.86
30th Golf GTI Gen 7 2015—2017
4.14
29th Eos Gen 1 2006—2016
4.12
28th Jetta Gen 3 1992—1999
4.02
27th Beetle Gen 2 2012—2018
3.9
26th Touareg Gen 1 2004—2010
3.77
25th Golf Gen 4 1999—2005
3.39
24th GLI Gen 6 2006—2013
3.27
23rd Rabbit Gen 5 2006—2009
2.77
22nd Tiguan Gen 2 2017—2018
1.83
21st Touareg Gen 2 2011—2017
1.78
20th Jetta Hybrid Gen 6 2013—2016
1.57
19th Jetta Gen 7 2019—2019
1.51
18th Cabrio Gen 4 1999—2002
1.17
17th Golf Gen 5 2006—2009
1.1
16th GTI Gen 4 1997—2003
0.76
15th Golf SportWagen Gen 1 2015—2017
0.71
14th Vanagon Gen 3 1981—1990
0.68
13th Golf Gen 3 1992—1998
0.63
12th Jetta Gen 2 1985—1991
0.4
11th Cabrio Gen 3 1995—1998
0.35
10th GTI Gen 5 2004—2008
0.34
9th Passat Gen 3 1990—1997
0.3
8th e-Golf Gen 1 2015—2018
0.26
7th Cabriolet Gen 3 1992—1993
0.23
6th Cabriolet Gen 2 1989—1991
0.17
5th Jetta SportWagen Gen 1 2009—2010
0.13
4th Fox Gen 1 1989—1993
0.12
3rd Golf R Gen 1 2015—2018
0.11
2nd Touareg Hybrid Gen 2 2010—2015
0.08
1st Eurovan Gen 1 2000—2003
0.04

Answers to the most frequently asked questions

What Are Vehicle Generations?

Generations are groups of model years where the vehicles are continuously produced, use similar engineering, and share features. Generational data is not always cut-and-dry – manufacturers might not always release generation information, some generations might last longer in different countries, and various trim levels and model variants can make the whole thing confusing. We do our best but make no guarantees about our generation data. When in doubt, we stick with data about US models.

Why Are Some Vehicles Missing a 1st / 2nd / 3rd Generation?

You might notice that some of our data starts at generation 5, 6, etc. So what happened to the older generations? One of two things. 1. some models have been around a long time and we don’t have any complaint or NHTSA data about them. 2. some new models share the same platform as existing models, so we typically tie them together. For instance, a new hybrid vehicle might be introduced during the 5th generation of its non-hybrid counterpart. We’ll typically start the hybrid’s generation at 5, unless it’s otherwise noted.

What is PainRank™? Where Does it Come From?

PainRank™ is a CarComplaints.com algorithm that uses complaint data from owners (the average mileage of failures, the cost to make repairs, etc), relative complaints analysis, sales numbers, NHTSA data, & owners’ own vehicle rankings to come up with a number representing how much pain a car inflicts on its owners. The higher the PainRank™ score, the more painful a car is to own (typically).