The Volkswagen (VW) brand has been making quality vehicles since 1937, and in 2016 and 2017 was regarded as the largest automaker based on worldwide sale volume. The brand name translates to “the people’s car” in German, and the manufacturer strives to provide something for everyone.

Price/Value

Volkswagen’s goal to provide the “people’s car” has meant that the brand aims to offer a wide selection of different vehicles. Volkswagen provides versatility in its vehicle lineup, including simple, stylish, and bold models from each major product line. These vehicles are fun and responsive, yet they always feel more “premium” than many of their competitors. With new and used vehicles ranging from $18,800 to $37,500, nothing Volkswagen offers is out of your reach.

$15,875 – $27,945 — Jetta

The Jetta is a reliable Volkswagen model featuring an excellent fuel economy and a roomy cabin. The controls are easy to master, making this a vehicle that handles reliably and competently. The Jetta model saw a redesign in its 2019 model year, including perhaps most notably significant fuel economy improvements over previous models. Volkswagen also offers a sportier “GLI” version that shares many components with the VW GTI.

The 2020 Jetta is a solid choice for fuel economy, boasting 30 mpg in the city and 40 mpg on the highway. The Jetta GLI, on the other hand, offers only 25 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, so you may sacrifice something in the way of fuel economy with the added features.

$23,375 -$37,095 — GTI

On the sportier side of the VW spectrum is the GTI. This classy hatchback is a lot more practical than it looks. Its well-finished interior is spacious and comfortable, offering supportive seating and high-quality finishing. Even the basic S model of the GTI has been well-equipped with essential features, including a comprehensive infotainment system that is intuitive.

The GTI is available as either a manual or dual-clutch automatic transmission and offers plenty of purr with its 2.0-liter turbo engine. Despite its fun and sporty nature, the GTI packs surprising fuel economy at 24 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the open road.

You can add a lot of fun features if you want to take this vehicle to the next level, including LED headlights with Adaptive Front Lighting System (AFS), leather seating, panoramic sunroof, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), and touch screen navigation. Although the 2020 GTI Model S is not without its bells and whistles, the GTI SE and GTI Autobahn take things to an entirely new level.

$31,545 – $49,195 — Atlas

If you’re looking for a three-row SUV that handles well and provides comfort and style, the Volkswagen Atlas does not disappoint. The Atlas is available in both a standard model and a cross-sport model, both models offering 21 mpg city and 24 mpg highway. Its recent redesign offers improvements in fuel economy, style, and comfort.

The Cross Sport model offers bold exterior features including R-line design trim, raked roofline, and alternate grille design. This model also features two different engine options, a 2.0L 4-cylinder or 3.6L V6. You can play with the features a little in the Atlas to add LED headlights, dual-zone automatic climate control, 4MOTION all-wheel drive, Park Distance Control, heated front seats, and Volkswagen Car-Net Hotspot depending on how comfortable you like your ride to be.

The essential guide to Volkswagen, "The People's Car"
Depreciation

One of the leading considerations in choosing a vehicle is how the vehicle’s value will change over time. All cars naturally depreciate. Volkswagen has consistently ranked at the very top of vehicle manufacturers in terms of value retention within the first five years of owning them.

Volkswagen is ranked third within seven years of owning a vehicle. This fact suggests that the longer you own your Volkswagen, the better it can perform in terms of holding its value.

Reliability

Volkswagen built its brand on reliability largely during the 1960s and 1970s. It took the title for the most-produced single vehicle make in history away from the Ford Model T. Today; however, competition is fiercer and ranking at the top is more complicated. VW consistently ranks above other German manufacturers like Audi.

According to J.D. Power and Associates, Volkswagen is well within the upper limits alongside trusted brands like Porsche, Chevrolet, and Toyota. However, Volkswagen vehicles are not without their maintenance issues. Most notable about the VW brand is that most problems reported are relatively easy or inexpensive to repair, and Volkswagens spend less time on average in the repair shop than other similarly priced vehicles.

The essential guide to Volkswagen, "The People's Car"
Volkswagen Models

Arteon

With a slightly sportier look than the Jetta, the Arteon is like a coupe-hatchback hybrid that is practical and fun. It offers an optional all-wheel drive, though the standard is front-wheel drive, and both are pleasant to drive. Even at a base price of $35,995, this vehicle comes with a responsive touch screen, climate control, and a great audio system that makes the entire experience feel luxurious.

Atlas

The Atlas is Volkswagen’s sport-utility vehicle, and it is a formidable competitor in its size and weight class. Offering 5,000-lb. towing capacity, third-row seating, and an admirable 20 mpg overall fuel economy, the VW Atlas offers plenty for the price. It handles well considering its size, and the vehicle’s cabin is surprisingly comfortable and quiet once you get inside. This is an excellent A to B vehicle for families.

Jetta

The Jetta has long been Volkswagen’s reliable, dependable sedan. It is small, with simple and clean lines, and it offers excellent fuel economy for a reliable price. The Jetta is easy and fun to drive, making it an excellent choice for new and old drivers alike. Its 34 mpg overall fuel economy makes it an excellent choice for work and school commutes or long drives. Load it up with features or opt for the sporty Jetta GLI to make it all your own.

Tiguan

The Tiguan is considered a small-SUV; however, it is on the larger side of this class. Despite being considered a small SUV, the Tiguan features an optional third-row seat and an incredibly spacious second-row seat. The Tiguan offers better fuel economy compared to the Atlas at around 25 mpg. The Tiguan is also well regarded for its quiet cabin and an extensive suite of features including automatic emergency braking, blind-spot warning, forward collision warning, rear cross-traffic warning, and pedestrian detection, all of which come standard.

The essential guide to Volkswagen, "The People's Car"
Maintenance

The cost of maintaining your Volkswagen will come down to which model you buy and your specific driving habits. If you go to a certified Volkswagen repair facility, you may find that your vehicle runs more smoothly for longer, and your vehicle spends less time in the shop than if you go anywhere else. Volkswagens are not known for requiring more maintenance than other vehicles in their class.

However, if you opt for a more specialized vehicle you may want to go to a specialty repair shop in order to find the parts and repairs you need. You may find a more traditional vehicle such as a Jetta or a Passat to be easier to repair than something more exotic like the Golf R or the GTI Autobahn.

Features

Volkswagen vehicles are not lacking in features, but they do vary from model to model. Common across most models are active safety features, including automatic post-collision braking and tire pressure monitoring, and some models also offer adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assistant, parking assistant, and blind-spot warnings. Volkswagen is also known for providing an extensive suite of technology features, including VW Car-Net, MirrorLink, SiriusXM Satellite Radio, Fender Premium Audio, touchscreen navigation, Android Audio, and Apple Car Play.

Safety

As noted above, there is no shortage of safety features packed into VW vehicles, with the potential to add more as necessary for peace of mind. Are you buying a family vehicle? Consider a model with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist to help prevent distracted driving. Make parking a breeze with blind-spot warnings and parking assist for added peace of mind.

What’s Next?/Future Products

One big future VW product is the ID.3. While this electric car won’t be released in the US, the ID.4 will be. The ID.4 is expected to have a driving range of 310 miles.