Ranking 44 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.

Is our generation data perfect? Nah. Truth is manufacturers don't always make it clear when a new generation begins. But we do our best to keep our generation data as accurate as possible so we can predict problems and help you out. Use it as a guide for making your decisions. Or don't (but you really should).

Rank Model Years Reliability PainRank (?)
44th Jetta Gen 5 2006—2010
24.79
43rd Passat Gen 5 2006—2010
19.96
42nd Passat Gen 4 1998—2005
18.97
41st Jetta Gen 4 2000—2005
18.63
40th Jetta Gen 6 2011—2018
16.88
39th Passat Gen 6 2012—2017
15.37
38th Tiguan Gen 1 2009—2016
13.26
37th Atlas Gen 1 2018—2018
11.3
36th CC Gen 1 2009—2017
9.8
35th Routan Gen 1 2009—2014
9.07
34th Golf Gen 6 2010—2013
8.85
33rd GTI Gen 6 2009—2014
7.92
32nd Beetle Gen 1 1998—2011
7.1
31st Jetta SportWagen Gen 2 2011—2014
6.8
30th Golf Gen 7 2014—2017
4.91
29th Golf GTI Gen 7 2015—2017
4.17
28th Eos Gen 1 2006—2016
4.13
27th Jetta Gen 3 1992—1999
4.03
26th Beetle Gen 2 2012—2018
3.92
25th Touareg Gen 1 2004—2010
3.78
24th Golf Gen 4 1999—2005
3.4
23rd GLI Gen 6 2006—2013
3.29
22nd Rabbit Gen 5 2006—2009
2.78
21st Touareg Gen 2 2011—2017
1.8
20th Jetta Gen 7 2019—2019
1.6
19th Jetta Hybrid Gen 6 2013—2016
1.57
18th Tiguan Gen 2 2017—2018
1.32
17th Cabrio Gen 4 1999—2002
1.17
16th Golf Gen 5 2006—2009
1.1
15th GTI Gen 4 1997—2003
0.77
14th Golf SportWagen Gen 1 2015—2017
0.77
13th Vanagon Gen 3 1981—1990
0.68
12th Golf Gen 3 1992—1998
0.63
11th Jetta Gen 2 1985—1991
0.4
10th Cabrio Gen 3 1995—1998
0.35
9th e-Golf Gen 1 2015—2017
0.35
8th GTI Gen 5 2004—2008
0.34
7th Passat Gen 3 1990—1997
0.3
6th Cabriolet Gen 3 1992—1993
0.24
5th Cabriolet Gen 2 1989—1991
0.17
4th Jetta SportWagen Gen 1 2009—2010
0.14
3rd Fox Gen 1 1989—1993
0.12
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).