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Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI vs. Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport Reliability

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Results are for year ending December 31, 2015. Only successfully completed repairs are currently included in the analysis. Routine maintenance, most wear items, recalls, and problems fixed with just a reflash or warning light reset are not included.
Year Make/Model Repair Trips Per 100 Cars Compared to all models for the same year    
2000 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  13 Golf / GTIs, 4.8 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 150700 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

 

2001 Volkswagen Golf diesel   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  10 Golf diesels, 8.9 months of data per Golf diesel, average 216300 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2001 Volkswagen Golf / GTI 100
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  25 Golf / GTIs, 8.1 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 154800 miles

 

2002 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  15 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 10.5 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 120000 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2002 Volkswagen Golf diesel   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  17 Golf diesels, 9.1 months of data per Golf diesel, average 198900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2002 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  20 Golf / GTIs, 9.0 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 113400 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2003 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  14 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 8.9 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 153800 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2003 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  22 Golf / GTIs, 8.3 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 137400 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2003 Volkswagen Golf diesel 162
100% 100% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  28 Golf diesels, 10.1 months of data per Golf diesel, average 224800 miles

Note high average odometer for the TDI.

 

2004 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  20 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 9.2 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 124600 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2004 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  16 Golf / GTIs, 8.6 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 111800 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2005 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport 75
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 9.3 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 119800 miles

Head gaskets are a common expensive problem with older Subarus.
2005 Volkswagen Golf / GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  11 Golf / GTIs, 7.9 months of data per Golf / GTI, average 131100 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

 

2006 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport 76
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 9.8 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 87300 miles

Head gaskets are a common expensive problem with older Subarus.

 

2007 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  20 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 8.8 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 97200 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2007 Volkswagen GTI 76
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  26 GTIs, 9.8 months of data per GTI, average 98400 miles

Redesigned. Includes the 2006.5 Rabbit and GTI.
2007 Volkswagen Rabbit 2.5 97
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  26 Rabbit 2.5s, 10.0 months of data per Rabbit 2.5, average 106900 miles

Redesigned. Includes the 2006.5 Rabbit and GTI.

 

2008 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport 59
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  30 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 8.9 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 89000 miles

Redesigned for this model year.
2008 Volkswagen R32   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  10 R32s, 10.5 months of data per R32, average 62800 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2008 Volkswagen Rabbit 2.5 60
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  40 Rabbit 2.5s, 7.0 months of data per Rabbit 2.5, average 82800 miles

Average odometer much lower for the R32.
2008 Volkswagen GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  23 GTIs, 10.6 months of data per GTI, average 79500 miles

* Small sample, members only.

 

2009 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport 64
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  25 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 9.8 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 66300 miles
2009 Volkswagen Rabbit 60
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  43 Rabbits, 9.2 months of data per Rabbit, average 71600 miles
2009 Volkswagen GTI 81
70% 70% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 GTIs, 10.5 months of data per GTI, average 69000 miles

 

2010 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  24 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 10.5 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 67500 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2010 Volkswagen GTI 33
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  45 GTIs, 9.8 months of data per GTI, average 57200 miles

Redesigned.
2010 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  20 Golf 2.5s, 9.7 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 53800 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2010 Volkswagen Golf diesel 80
80% 80% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  60 Golf diesels, 9.5 months of data per Golf diesel, average 82800 miles

Redesigned.

 

2011 Subaru Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport 26
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 Impreza / WRX / Outback Sports, 9.7 months of data per Impreza / WRX / Outback Sport, average 40700 miles
2011 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  22 Golf 2.5s, 9.0 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 52500 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2011 Volkswagen GTI 45
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  49 GTIs, 9.3 months of data per GTI, average 47900 miles
2011 Volkswagen Golf diesel 53
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  64 Golf diesels, 9.5 months of data per Golf diesel, average 61900 miles

 

2012 Subaru Impreza 26
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  48 Imprezas, 10.6 months of data per Impreza, average 46300 miles

Impreza redesigned for this model year. Some reports of excessive oil consumption in the Impreza.
2012 Subaru WRX / STI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  15 WRX / STIs, 9.3 months of data per WRX / STI, average 37900 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2012 Volkswagen Golf diesel 39
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  54 Golf diesels, 9.7 months of data per Golf diesel, average 49100 miles
2012 Volkswagen GTI 42
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  75 GTIs, 9.5 months of data per GTI, average 38900 miles
2012 Volkswagen Golf 2.5 43
50% 50% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  29 Golf 2.5s, 9.5 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 36200 miles

 

2013 Subaru Impreza 14
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  58 Imprezas, 8.7 months of data per Impreza, average 30900 miles
2013 Subaru WRX / STI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  10 WRX / STIs, 9.5 months of data per WRX / STI, average 33000 miles

* Very small sample, members only.
2013 Volkswagen Golf diesel 24
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  45 Golf diesels, 10.2 months of data per Golf diesel, average 34900 miles
2013 Volkswagen Golf 2.5   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  19 Golf 2.5s, 9.8 months of data per Golf 2.5, average 32000 miles

* Small sample, members only.
2013 Volkswagen GTI 34
40% 40% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  59 GTIs, 9.6 months of data per GTI, average 26500 miles

 

2014 Subaru Impreza 24
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  49 Imprezas, 10.0 months of data per Impreza, average 19200 miles
2014 Volkswagen Golf diesel 12
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  42 Golf diesels, 9.8 months of data per Golf diesel, average 21000 miles
2014 Volkswagen GTI   small sample, members only   see reported repairs
  11 GTIs, 8.6 months of data per GTI, average 16300 miles

* Very small sample, members only.

 

2015 Subaru Impreza 9
0% 0% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  57 Imprezas, 6.9 months of data per Impreza, average 6700 miles
2015 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R 20
20% 20% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  81 GTI and Golf Rs, 8.7 months of data per GTI and Golf R, average 8600 miles

Redesigned. Golf 1.8T and TDI have a higher repair frequency than the GTI, unclear why. All might have a somewhat common problem with failing AC compressors.
2015 Volkswagen Golf 1.8T 27
30% 30% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  25 Golf 1.8Ts, 8.8 months of data per Golf 1.8T, average 5200 miles

Redesigned. Golf 1.8T and TDI have a higher repair frequency than the GTI, unclear why. All might have a somewhat common problem with failing AC compressors.
2015 Volkswagen Golf diesel 47
60% 60% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  27 Golf diesels, 7.5 months of data per Golf diesel, average 8800 miles

Redesigned. Golf 1.8T and TDI have a higher repair frequency than the GTI, unclear why. All might have a somewhat common problem with failing AC compressors.

 

2016 Volkswagen GTI and Golf R 15
10% 10% Fewest Trips Most Trips
[?] see reported repairs
  35 GTI and Golf Rs, 2.3 months of data per GTI and Golf R, average 1800 miles

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Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI vs. Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport Reliability Comparisons

You won't find Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI or Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport reliability information like this anywhere else. Actual repair frequencies, not just vague dots, to make it clear how much the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI and the Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport truly differ in reliability.

These stats are promptly updated four times a year, to much more closely track Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI and Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport reliability as the cars age. Others tell you how reliable the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI and the Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport were a year ago, when the cars were a year younger and had 12,000 fewer miles on them. Only TrueDelta tells you how reliable the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI and the Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport have been recently.

What People Are Saying about Reliability and the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

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What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI

Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI Reliability and Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2012 2dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
5-speed manual FWD
The car is not old, but so far, so good. Oil changes are required only every 10K miles at first, and the first three are taken care of - not a high-price incentive, certainly, but a nice touch. I haven't had a single cause for alarm so far, and the car operates as it did on the day I bought it. VW has an iffy reputation in the US right now, but it's also said that quality control is best in Wolfsburg, where this car is assembled, and for what its worth, Consumer Reports ranked the MK6 Golf well above average for projected reliability.
2011 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
I've never had any problems whatsoever. Regular oil changes with good-quality products, premium gas, the occasional bottle of techron and she's been good to go for almost 60k now.
2010 4dr Hatch turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed manual FWD
I may be risking jinxing myself, given the brand's reputation, but it's been very reliable for three years now! No major problems, no big out-of-pocket expenses.
2009 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
No complaints once we sorted out a few initial problems. Car is reliable and I would drive it anywhere.
2009 2dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
5-speed manual FWD
No problems so far, the car feels durable and does not creak or make funny noises
2008 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
The 2008 VW GTI is a car that you can't depend on. It has tons of issues that affect a high percentage of owners, which include: Diverter valve failure PCV faliure Cam wear Fuel pump failure Air conditioning failure Misfires Carbon build up Avoid this car at all costs. Don't make the same mistake I did.
2008 2dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L I5
6-speed shiftable automatic FWD
very safe car, rated well in crash ratings, better warrenty than most,
2008 2dr Hatch 250-horsepower 3.2L V6
6-speed automated manual AWD
Rated by Edmunds as a "least cost" vehicle, coming in at a rate below the comparable vehicle costs of operation and ownership
2006 4dr Hatch turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
5-speed manual FWD
The diesel engine is built to last.
2006 4dr Hatch 115-horsepower 2.0L I4
4-speed automatic FWD
We had a very high recommendation from a close friend regarding Golf and we are finding it to be exactly as stated. Solid and reliable, plus easy to drive. We are aware of expensive parts and service but we have not had any repairs to date other than tire
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI Reliability and Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2013 4dr Hatch turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed manual FWD
There is a major potential problem with the Golf TDI in the form of the high pressure fuel pump. The concern is that the Bosch unit does not like American low sulfur diesel fuel because of its relatively lower lubricity compared to Euro diesel fuels available where the car was designed. When the pump fails, it can send metal shavings throughout the fuel system, and require major replacements to the tune of $8-10,000. This is a sword of Damocles hanging over the head of any TDI owner. Three or more design revisions have been implemented, but the problem still shows up. Are you willing to take a chance they finally got it right in your car?
2012 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
My GTI had a water pump failure inside of 20k miles. Other than that, all was good.
2010 4dr Hatch turbocharged 140hp 2.0L I4 Diesel
6-speed automated manual FWD
Do not trust VW to be well built or have dealers that will honor the warranty.
2008 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
The 2008 VW GTI is a car that you can't depend on. It has tons of issues that affect a high percentage of owners, which include: Diverter valve failure PCV faliure Cam wear Fuel pump failure Air conditioning failure Misfires Carbon build up Avoid this car at all costs. Don't make the same mistake I did.
2007 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
OK, everything comes with a price, right? Rattles, bad tranny, warpped timing belt cover, cracked tail light lens. Did I mention the rattles? Know what? I STILL like it. Thank God for warranties.
2007 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
VW needs to address reliability concerns with bulletprood reliability and a good service network.
2007 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
In a year of ownership I have had far more dealership experiences than I care to remember. Lots of check engine lights, parts acting funny, and several parts that have questionable long-term durability.
2007 4dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed manual FWD
Averaging 2 to 3 shop visits per year. Concerns about how much it will cost to own this vehicle over the long haul.
2007 2dr Hatch turbocharged 200hp 2.0L I4
6-speed automated manual FWD
I have had to return to the dealership three times for "Airbag Fault" warnings.
2006 4dr Hatch turbocharged 100hp 1.9L I4 Diesel
5-speed shiftable automatic FWD
Lots of repairs so far, minor and major ones.
 

What Our Members Are Saying about the Reliability and Durability of the Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport

Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport Reliability and Durability: Pros
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2013 4dr Hatch 148-horsepower 2.0L H4
6-speed shiftable CVT AWD
Subaru is legendary for the durability & craftsmanship of the engine, powertrain, and vehicle frame. The interior may not be luxury, but that's fine by me.
2012 4dr Hatch 148-horsepower 2.0L H4
5-speed manual AWD
I do not trust this car on any kind of extended trip. The owner's manual calls for oil changes every 7,500 miles. A synthetic oil is used that makes oil changes expensive. Normally about 3,500 miles after an oil change, your oil light comes on and you have to add oil. On 3 trips of more than 100 miles, this has happened to me. Then you have to locate a Subaru dealer to get the oil they are using. My dealer has given me oil to keep in the car but this is not satisfactory to me. I do not feel the car is reliable and am looking to trade it on something else.
2012 4dr Hatch 148-horsepower 2.0L H4
6-speed shiftable CVT AWD
Ultimately it was Subaru's predicted reliability past 50,000 miles that had us make our final decision between this car and a Volkswagen (Jetta or Passat).
2011 4dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L H4
4-speed shiftable automatic AWD
I have had zero issues with this car, it performs well for me day in and day out without fail. I love it and I am proud to say I own a Subaru.
2010 4dr Hatch turbocharged 265hp 2.5L H4
5-speed manual AWD
I have a lot of friends with Subarus who say nothing but good things. Word-of-mouth is a huge deciding factor here.
2009 4dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L H4
4-speed automatic AWD
No problems so far (I bought the Impreza). This is more based on word of mouth than experience - I know friends who have 200,000+ miles, so durability is certainly achievable in this car.
2009 4dr Hatch turbocharged 265hp 2.5L H4
5-speed manual AWD
It is immensely reliable, especially for a sports car. It always starts right up, never runs hot or rough, has never shown a single leak of any kind, whether fluids leaking from the engine or wind/water leaks inside. It's my trusty steed that never disappoints for security and performance, no matter what the world throws at it. Yes, I've abused it by accodent a few times--foot slipped and popped the clutch, backed up with the hand break on, the long nose and ground effects are very susceptible to high curbs. But all in all, this vehicle has been a solid 9.5. I'd give it a 10, but the stupid "hill assist" that you can't turn off caused me to lose the clutch at 23,000 miles. It's ironic that the people who lose their clutches early on these WRXs are the ones with the most experience--quicker feet than the cutoff on the "hill assist", which wears out the clutch PDQ but with no sign of trouble until it totally fails way too early. It's a very stupid, incredibly annoying feature on a hot sports car that only comes as a stick shift. I understand that this feature can be turned off on the STI, but not the WRX. Grrr.
2009 4dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L H4
5-speed manual AWD
No annoying squeaks, rattles, plastic wearing, etc.
2009 4dr Hatch 170-horsepower 2.5L H4
5-speed manual AWD
No annoying rattles, squeaks, plastic wearing, etc. Well made and tight tolerances.
2008 4dr Hatch turbocharged 224hp 2.5L H4
5-speed manual AWD
Basic maintence is all that needs to be done for the most part. Subaru is an extremely reliable vehicle.
Subaru Impreza / Outback Sport Reliability and Durability: Cons
YearBody/PowertrainComment
2008 4dr Hatch turbocharged 305hp 2.5L H4
6-speed manual AWD
Sub had some issues with the 08 tune for the sti. They where prone to cracking the piston rings in sustained high rpm use. This is not a good thing !! They have since done a service recall to fix this issue.