Audi vs Volkswagen: Which Is More Reliable?

Audi vs Volkswagen Reliability

Although Audis and Volkswagens may trail behind Toyota and Honda in popularity, their unique offerings, like Volkswagen's affordability and Audi's luxurious interiors and Quattro AWD system, make them competitive.

When comparing reliability, Volkswagen edges out Audi with lower maintenance costs, better fuel efficiency, and stronger performance in SUVs and eco-friendly models.

Audi, known for its luxury, focuses on power and speed.

Learn more about Audi vs Volkswagen reliability in our detailed breakdown.

Key Takeaways

  • Volkswagen offers better reliability than Audi, with lower maintenance costs, better fuel efficiency, and a higher ranking in reliability surveys.
  • Audi, while less reliable in comparison, excels in safety features, boasting more vehicles with the IIHS Top Safety Pick award and advanced safety technologies.
  • Audi's vehicles are known for their power and luxury but come with higher repair and maintenance costs due to their complex systems.
  • The choice between Audi and Volkswagen depends on individual preferences for luxury and performance versus cost-effectiveness and reliability.

A Detailed Comparison

Futuristic, traditional styling, dynamism.
Human-centered, digitalized, brand identity.
Gas Mileage 
Higher Safety Ratings
High Safety Ratings
Repair and Maintenance Cost
Engine and Performance
Audi cars have an average lifespan of 10 - 12 years, lasting up to 150,000 - 200,000 miles.
Volkswagen cars last between 100,000 to 200,000 miles, with an average lifespan of 7 - 13 years.

Which is Better?

Audi is owned by Volkswagen. Both cars share a lot of parts, technology, and systems.  Purchasing an Audi is usually considered 'stepping up', compared to Volkswagen. But are they worth the upgrade?

Ultimately, the choice depends on your driving needs and preferences.

There are lots of advantages and disadvantages for each car maker. For instance; most Volkswagens have better gas mileage than Audi vehicles. Yet, Audi records higher safety ratings than Volkswagen.

Audi offers you more tech and better systems but this comes at a much higher cost.

According to RepairPal, Volkswagen has a reliability rating of 3.5/5.0, ranking 12th out of 32 car brands. Audi has a reliability rating of 3.0/5.0, ranking 28th out of 32 brands.

Volkswagen also beats the Audi brand on the 2023 JD Power Dependability survey. But, Audi performs better on the 2023 Consumer Reports survey, ranking 19th, while Volkswagen battles with the 22nd position.


Designs are one of the major factors to consider when comparing the reliability of different car brands.

Even though Audi is a subdivision of Volkswagen, each brand employs different design philosophies.

Volkswagen Design

Volkswagen adopted a new design philosophy that embodies the following values: human-centered, inviting, transparent, responsible, and authentic.

The goal is to transform the brand from just an automaker to one that provides modern mobility services. They integrate smart technology to make things easier and more enjoyable for users.

To achieve this, the Volkswagen design adopts a people-first approach. Their new attitude lays more emphasis on brand differentiation, to build an identity that users can't ignore.

Audi Design

On the other hand, for Audi, design is always about aesthetic intelligence. They use innovative technology and progressive design.

The build quality, beauty, and practicality of these brands also vary in their respective models. You'll need a little research to decide which brand offers vehicles that align with your needs.

It is important to mention that Audi usually gets technology faster than Volkswagen. For instance: the 2022 Audi Q3 comes with a standard Quattro AWD. The Volkswagen Tiguan has an optional 4Motion AWD system.

Winner: Both

Engine and Performance

Whether you choose an Audi or a Volkswagen, you can count on high-performance engines that deliver impressive power and acceleration.

While Audi vehicles make use of the Quattro AWD system, Volkswagen uses the 4 Motion AWD system. Both systems ensure that there is great power delivery across all wheels. This improves traction and enhances the driving experience even in poor road conditions.

Audi has more powerful engines than Volkswagen, with enhanced performance, but Volkswagen takes the win with gas mileage.

For instance, the 2022 Audi A3 2022 boasts 201 hp while the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta has only 158 hp.

Consider the Volkswagen Tiguan vs Audi Q3 engine. The 2022 Audi Q3 and Volkswagen Tiguan record 184hp, but Audi provides an optional engine that delivers 228hp.

The 2022 Audi Q8 which is equipped with a 3.0L engine delivers 335 horsepower, while its Volkswagen counterpart, the Touareg is powered by a 4.0L V8 engine that delivers 280hp.

Winner: Audi

Gas Mileage

With more Volkswagen vehicles boasting better gas mileage, Volkswagen has an advantage over Audi. For instance, with the 2022 Volkswagen Jetta and Audi A3, you get better gas mileage on the Volkswagen than on Audi.

The 2022 Volkswagen Jetta boasts 29/43 MPG for city and highway, while Audi A3 returns 29/38 MPG. This is a similar case with the 2022 Volkswagen Passat and 2022 Audi A4. The Passat boasts of a fuel economy of 24/36 mpg, while Audi A4 returns 26/34 mpg.

Winner: Volkswagen

Safety and Technology

It's a clear win for Audi in terms of safety.

Two Volkswagen vehicles earn the 2024 IIHS Top safety pick (+) award while Audi has five vehicles with the IIHS award. Audi uses a Pre Sense safety system to ensure passenger protection and guarantee peace of mind.

Here's a list of some of the safety features available on an Audi;

  • Adaptive Cruise Control with Stop and Go
  • Active Lane Assist
  • Turn Assist and Collision
  • Traffic Jam Assist
  • Night Vision Assistant
  • Vehicle Exit Assist

Winner: Audi

Repair and Maintenance Costs

If there's one major area in which Volkswagen has a huge advantage over Audi, it is repair and maintenance costs. The complexities of Audi systems make them expensive and challenging to fix.

For instance, you'll likely spend up to $1700 (depending on your region), to fix the alternator of your Audi car. But this costs a meager $200 to do the same on Volkswagen.

According to RepairPal, the average annual repair cost for a Volkswagen is $676, while the average annual repair cost for an Audi is $987.

Winner: Volkswagen


Overall, Volkswagen is more reliable than Audi.

Both Audi and Volkswagen offer high-performance engines. While Audi takes the win with engine power and speed, Volkswagen is a better option for its fuel-efficient systems.

Audi has more reliable safety systems, but Volkswagen leads with cheaper repair and maintenance costs. This sums up to a cheaper overall cost of ownership.

Volkswagen's design is structured to make it a budget-friendly option. But, there's nothing wrong with upgrading to an Audi. This is especially true if you can foot the bills of repairs and maintenance, and deal with the complexities that follow.

Ultimately, the choice between these two brands will depend on individual preferences, and if you're willing to pay the extra price of luxury.

Check out our other reliability comparisons for these brands to learn more about which is best for you:


Frequently Asked Questions

Is Volkswagen or Audi more reliable?

Volkswagen is more reliable than Audi thanks to its lower cost of maintenance and repairs, better gas mileage, and higher rankings in some surveys.

Is Audi reliable?

While Audi has a strong reputation, it is not very high on current reliability ratings. It ranks $19 on the 2023 Consumer Reports Survey.

Is Audi more expensive to maintain than Volkswagen?

Yes, annual maintenance and repair costs are higher for Audi ($987/year) than for Volkswagen ($676/year).

Does Volkswagen have good reliability?

Volkswagen has a decent reliability, scoring 3.5/5 on RepairPal.