Volkswagen Research & Reviews

Overview & Reviews

Average Score

4.30/5 Average
13,906 Total Reviews
Make Overview:

Volkswagen is an automaker based in Germany. Its products typically command a higher price than those of competing models, but the return is a more upscale driving and ownership experience.

In 1934, Ferdinand Porsche was commissioned to build a small, inexpensive car at the request of Adolph Hitler. His answer -- a beetle-shaped sedan that was called a Volkswagen (German for "people's car") -- debuted two years later. Hitler had a town built near the plant for factory workers; he named it Kraft durch Freude Stadt (derived from the Nazi party's motto, "Joy through Strength"), and soon decided that Porsche's creation should be named the KdF-wagen (short for the "Joy through Strength" car). This upset Porsche, who was not political.

World War II delayed production of the vehicle; the factory suffered extensive damage during combat, and was ultimately taken over by the British Army. The company was renamed Volkswagen, and the town at the factory was renamed Wolfsburg (after Werner von Schulenberg of Wolfsburg, who had been forced to surrender his land for the construction of the town and factory). By the end of the 1940s, mass production of the Volkswagen Beetle had begun. The model made its first appearance on U.S. shores in 1949.

The 1950s saw Volkswagen broadening its product range, adding the Bus (Type 2) to its lineup. The Bus, especially, proved quite popular due to its versatility. And the Beetle, which went on to become the best-selling car of all time, quickly showed signs of being an enduring favorite, with more than 1 million models produced at the Wolfsburg factory by 1955. This decade also saw the debut of the Karmann Ghia sports car, which featured a sleek, Italian-designed two-seater body atop a Beetle platform.

Volkswagen's star rose during the 1960s, its success fueled largely by the breakout success of the Beetle. The car benefited from an effective advertising campaign and from an appearance in a popular Disney movie. By the close of the decade, Volkswagen's yearly output of Beetles topped the 1 million mark.

In 1972, with more than 15 million units assembled, the Beetle topped the world production record set by Ford's Model T. Mid-decade saw the launch of a new era of Volkswagens that had front-mounted, water-cooled engines driving the front wheels. The Passat (Dasher in the U.S.) was the first of the new breed and was built using standardized components that could be used interchangeably among other models in the manufacturer's lineup. The Passat was soon joined by the Golf (Rabbit in the U.S.), which met with immediate success. By the end of the decade, the manufacturer's lineup had grown to include the Scirocco sport coupe and the performance-oriented Golf/Rabbit GTI. The Beetle, however, was discontinued for the U.S. market.

The Golf grew in popularity during the '80s, becoming Volkswagen's most popular model. When a second generation of the car was built in 1983, it was crafted in a mostly automated process using robots -- marking the first time robots had been used in vehicle manufacture. By the mid-'80s, the U.S. version traded the Rabbit name for "Golf." The higher-performance Golf GTI helped the manufacturer make waves on the rally circuit. In 1986, Volkswagen Motorsport nabbed the title of Group A World Rally Champions.

Volkswagen saw its sales in the North American market tumble during the early '90s, but by the end of the decade, refocused marketing efforts and an increased emphasis on new products had brought about a turnaround in the company's fortunes. The popular New Beetle helped put the company back on the radar in the United States (though it fared less successfully in European markets). The body style was based on the classic Beetle, and it struck a chord with consumers who still had a place in their hearts for the iconic, cheerful-looking "love bug."

The new millennium saw Volkswagen moving into the luxury segment with the launch of the pricey Phaeton sedan and Touareg SUV. Though well-designed and executed, the Phaeton was a disappointment sales-wise, perhaps signaling unwillingness on the part of consumers to shell out premium dollars for a brand that lacks the cachet of established upscale names like BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Luckily, Volkswagen has seen success with other vehicles in its lineup, which currently includes everything from family-oriented sedans to roomy SUVs. Today, the automaker enjoys a reputation for crafting vehicles that offer refined handling and upscale accommodations.

User Reviews:

Showing 1 through 10 of 13,906.00
  • I love this car! - 2008 Volkswagen EOS
    By -

    This car is fun, fun, fun! I have only had it a week and I can't remember loving any car this much. After purchasing my new Eos I left the dealer with the top down (of course!). I only got about five miles before some guy drove up and yelled, "Nice car!" to me. My daughter is seriously impressed and she has a new BMW 3 series!

  • Nice car - 2004 Volkswagen R32
    By -

    I really love this car

  • It is not your father's VW - 2000 Volkswagen New Beetle
    By -

    I purchased a 1998 Beetle only to have BIG problems with it. By 50,000 miles I had replace 4 headlights, 6 driving lights a brake handle, 5 window switches, 5 inside door handles, 3 radios and a set of brakes and rotors. Then the trouble really started. Two radiator fans, engine fuse box, air conditioner conpresser, computer and more. So, I figured it was just the first year of production, surely they worked out the bugs! NOPE! I got a 2000 Beetle and still had the minor problems plus a new clutch at 30,000 miles.

  • The V8 Rag - 2004 Volkswagen Touareg
    By -

    Excellent ride, excellent comfort, superb handling, quiet, good stereo, my V8 loves to gulp premium fuel

  • TMP's Touareg - 2004 Volkswagen Touareg
    By -

    I love this SUV. I have had a jeep and a QX4. The Touareg handles like a jeep, rides like a sedan and had no road noise as did the QX4. It is comfortable.

  • New Owner - 2004 Volkswagen Touareg
    By -

    Only having the car a week I can only tell you that it has been A BLAST

  • Silverstone Gray - 2004 Volkswagen Passat
    By -

    Ours is one of the first GLS 4Motion Passats in the area. This car is an Audi for thousands less - Tiptronic transmission, leather interior with wood accents, heated seats, excellent materials. The interior has the spaciousness we were seeking, and the features of this midlevel GLS are many. It has enough power to get out of its own way, nice tossability for a car of its size, and great highway manners. Can't wait to take it to Tahoe.

  • Best Fun Value All Around - 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle
    By -

    This bug is amazingly quiet with the top up and has minimal wind turbulence with the top down. Where this car departs from the rest of the herd is its amazingly smooth triptronic 6-speed automatic coupled to the quick/quiet turbo engine. The instrumentation is also one of the best, really like the blue/red lighting and the touch/feel of the controls are just the right size and everything is easily within reach. The editor knocked the car for rear- seat tightness, but who cares. . . my two wire-haired fox terriers love it! Fuel economy is fantastic and I have a heavy foot.

  • very good - 2004 Volkswagen New Beetle
    By -

    I like it, it is funny looking and works well, plus its all convertible-y- ish

  • Love and hateful relationship - 2001 Volkswagen Jetta
    By -

    I got my Jetta in 2011, and it did good for a while but in a year it started having over heating problems. I loved driving it but then in 2013 the coil pack went out, so I just parked it in our yard and drove my 95 Nissan XE. Finally in 2015, I put a new coil pack in it and drove it to the mountains, on my way back the tire blew out and destroyed the front left side Love it and hated it at the same time

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