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Volkswagen Passat Common Problems

Volkswagen Passat on Highway in Turkey

Volkswagen Passat first entered production in 1973 as a follower of their Volkswagen 1600. It is still one of the most successful models and the second best-selling next to Volkswagen Golf.

VW Passat has six generations so far, each with its own set of problems. Some models are more reliable than the rest, and few are better avoided. The latest generation also had a recall related to the Takata airbag inflators.

The most number of problems occurred between the years 2001-2006. The model year 2003 is considered to be the worst year. It was followed by 2002 due to the high repair cost and severity of the issues.

This article takes you through the common problems in a VW Passat and the model years with severe issues.

Is a Volkswagen Passat a Reliable Car?

According to RepairPal, Volkswagen Passat reliability is pretty moderate at 3.5/5, taking 12th place out of 32 car brands. Despite that, it is a good midsize vehicle delivering a comfortable ride, even on bumpy roads. Having said that, it has its downsides too. The infotainment screen is much smaller than its competitors. Its fuel economy and mediocre performance aren’t as great either.

How Many Miles Does a Passat Last?

Much like any other vehicle, your VW Passat will last as long as you take good care of your car. Depending on the maintenance, it can last well into the 100,000-mile mark and even more. An average Passat can reach 100,000 miles in about 7 1/2 years. If your car has been giving you reliable performance, you can drive it for ten years or more.

What Goes Wrong with a Volkswagen Passat?

According to VWProblems, Passat owners have recorded a whopping 926 complaints in all 31 model years. Most of the complaints are related to engine and electrical concerns. Furthermore, the 2003 model year was also plagued with engine failures. 

Common Problems of a Volkswagen Passat

VW Passat is one of the most reliable and dependable in the midsize sedan segment since the 1970s. However, that doesn’t mean that it is out of mistakes. VW Passat has been plagued with issues from the electrical system to the engine and also the power train. Few issues occur only after several years of running while others in the very first year. And then others have forced Volkswagen to issue a recall.

However, the most common issues include:

Loose Timing Chain

Do you hear a rattling sound coming from the engine? Are you having problems starting the car? A loose timing chain may be to blame.

According to Volkswagen, timing chain issues should not arise before 120,000 miles. However, customers have reported issues even at 20,000 miles. As per experts, the cause is the timing chain tensioner failure.

Timing chains connect the crankshaft to the camshaft via guides and tensioners. They also keep the valves of the cylinder in sync with the pistons present in the combustion chamber. Issues with the tensioner can cause the timing chain to become loose. And if this happens, you can expect some serious problems ahead and a possible engine failure.

Signs of loose timing chains include:

  • Engine rattling while starting or idling
  • Trouble starting the car
  • Check engine light
  • Metal trimmings in oil

Class Action Lawsuit

Tired of the repeated issues, the first timing chain lawsuit was filed back in 2016. It was soon followed by 24 more plaintiffs in 17 states and was consolidated in the New Jersey court. Finally, it was settled in 2018, with VW agreeing to a new vehicle limited warranty. The conditions of the claim are:

  • 100% reimbursement if done by an authorized VW dealer. Else, the owners get a refund between $1,100 and $1,500.
  • If you already repaired or replaced the timing chain, you can claim reimbursement. However, the service should have been done within ten years or at 100,000 miles.
  • If not done by an authorized dealer, VW is not responsible for the problems that arise.

Clock Spring Failure

An airbag warning light may be several things. But together with that, are you having problems with your steering wheel buttons? Does your horn trouble you of late? Your clock spring is failing.

Clock springs generally last for a long time, sometimes even the life of the vehicle. However, Volkswagen has been having clock spring issues for quite some time resulting in recalls back in 2015. The scope of the recall included 2010-2014 Passat and few other models. Some Passat owners reported steering issues as early as 80,500 miles.

The clock spring is positioned between the steering column and the steering wheel. It establishes a connection between the wheel and the car’s computers. A faulty clock spring disables the steering wheel airbag, the horn, and the buttons.

As per Volkswagen’s response to the failure, the issues were attributed to the debris contaminating the clock spring. Apart from that, your technician may also be to blame. It is also possible to damage the clock spring when reinstalling the steering wheel. Signs of a clock spring failure include:

  • Reduced steering control
  • Loud popping noises
  • Airbag warning light

Ignition Coil Failure

The ignition coil failure is a common problem among all Volkswagen cars. The truth is, they have had issues with ignition coil and connectors. And these have landed drivers in hot water with no power steering or brakes or even a stalled engine in some cases.

The ignition coil is a crucial part of the ignition system. It converts the voltage (the battery) to energy and feeds it to the spark plug. Unfortunately, Volkswagen has a coil-on-plug design where the coil is situated straight on top of the plug. This system increases the chances of failure creating engine trouble.

Also, the setup sits above the engine, baking in the heat generated. The prolonged exposure to the heat damages the wires and seals, making them brittle.

Signs of ignition coil failure include:

  • Noisy engine cranks
  • Engine backfire or hesitations
  • Startup issues

Continued issues also increase the risk of engine fires. And if it fails when driving, it cuts power to the power steering, engine, and brake assist all at once. With the rising complaints, Volkswagen offered to replace the ignition coils for free.

Oil Sludge

Is your engine starting to overheat? Your engine may be running on oil sludge. As long as you have kept up with your maintenance, you are not to blame.

Engine troubles are fairly standard in Volkswagen, especially in Passat. However, in the 2003 model year, the engine-related issues were caused by oil sludge. It is a thick mixture of oil and contaminants which increases friction and heat. In most cases, you can see the oil pressure light come on after the oil change.

Between the years 1997-2005, VW Passat used a 1.8-liter turbo engine with a 3.7-quart oil capacity. Unfortunately, the small oil supply was in no way enough for the engine. This allowed for oil sludge to form and, when left undetected, can lead to engine failure. This issue generally popped up at around 80-000 miles.

Class Action Lawsuit

Volkswagen admitted the issue in 2004 and offered an extended warranty for eight years. However, the issue was so frequent that it led to a class-action lawsuit in 2005, settled in 2010. If detected early, you can flush the oil sludge and replace the oil pump to prevent the reoccurrence. Else, you may have to have your engine replaced, which is an expensive affair.

Engine Misfire

Another common problem in Volkswagen Passat is the engine misfire. It is seen particularly among the model years 1998-2000, 2002-2010, and 2013. The reason was faulty ignition coils, spark plugs, or ignition wires. Most owners faced it at 88,873 miles, but it also happened at 11,000 miles in some cases.

Signs of an engine misfire include:

  • Engine jerking or shaking
  • Engine sputtering
  • Sudden loss of engine power
  • Check engine light

Replacing the defective components solved the issue. On a positive note, high-quality replacements are available at affordable prices.

Engine Oil Leaks

Engine oil leaks are another common Passat problem. The reason for the leak may be a worn-out camshaft chain tensioner gasket or valve cover gasket. The problem was common in 13 model years from 1998 through to 2010. Most car owners have faced the leak at an average of 102,809 miles in the odometer. However, few faced this as early as 11,555 miles.

Volkswagen Passat Engine Oil Leak

The affected engines include:

  • 1.8-liter four-cylinder turbo
  • 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel turbo
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo
  • 2.0-liter four-cylinder
  • 2.8-liter V6
  • 3.6-liter V6

You may encounter one or both if you have an engine oil leak:

  • The smell of burning oil
  • Oil puddles on the floor

On a positive note, the leak can be fixed by replacing the valve cover gasket with a new one.

Digital Display Failure

Few owners experienced their digital display going dark on the instrument cluster. While some were facing an intermittent failure, others had it stop working without warning. The issue was frequent in 14 model years, including 1995 and 1998 to 2010.

The reason for the failure was attributed to high temperature and humidity. In most cases, the issue was apparent at 134,623 miles, while in others, it was only at 14,000 miles. Therefore, the only solution is to replace the entire instrument cluster.

ABS Control Module Failure

Another expensive issue that Passat owners faced is the ABS control module failure. This problem affected 15 model years, i.e., 1993, 1998 to 2010, and 2012. While the ABS light lit up at an average of 118,896 miles, there have been cases where it happened only at 11,000 miles.

ABS or anti-lock braking system is designed to bring your car to a stop without locking the wheels. As long as the wheels spin, you can retain control. Modern ABS uses a complicated system of electronics and code to make your driving safer.

On the downside, they can fail. And when they fail, all the indicators go on, and the ABS dies on you. Some owners also reported failing brakes, transmission problems, and a loss of power while accelerating.

Signs of the ABS control module failure include:

  • Flashing ABS light
  • Blinking brake light, power steering, oil level, traction control, or engine indicators

Generally, fashing ABS light indicated an ABS control module replacement. However, it is not always the same.

Interior Accessories Malfunction

A majority of the Passat problems in the model year 2013 were issues with the navigation unit. They include:

  • Stereo/ navigation shut down
  • Backup camera taking too long to respond
  • Driver’s door not locking

The only fix for this issue is to replace the faulty parts. For example, owners with door lock problems have to replace their door latch assembly.

Mass Airflow Sensors Failure

Mass airflow sensors(MAF) are an integral part of modern engines. You can see it inside the intake air duct, between the engine and the air filter. MAF helps the engine to achieve a perfect blend of air, fuel, and combustion to run in an efficient manner.

The sensor monitors the air entering the engine, the amount, and the density. It then sends the measurements to the engine control unit. The ECU then uses the measurements to calculate how much fuel the car needs and when.

As with every electronic device, the MAF tends to wear down in all cars. However, with Volkswagen Passat a little more early than acceptable. A dirty air filter will cause a buildup of debris and contaminants on the MAF leading to failure. Signs of a failing mass airflow sensor include:

  • The engine is hard to start
  • Engine stalling or misfiring
  • Reduced acceleration with engine hesitating or jerking
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Bad idle performance
  • Warning lights

While it is easy to clean a mass airflow sensor, sometimes your dealer might prefer to replace it.

Is It Expensive to Fix a Volkswagen Passat?

Volkswagen Passat Repair Cost

Overall, Passat is generally cheaper to maintain. The yearly maintenance is about $639 compared to the average maintenance cost of $651. The price depends on various factors, including your driving record, maintenance, and miles.


There are quite a few problems associated with Volkswagen Passat. Some come into light after years of operation, while others quite early. In some cases, the manufacturers have issued a recall or reimbursements.

However, it goes without saying that it doesn’t affect reliability if you repair a problem in time. And as for recalls, Volkswagen gives you ample time to file your claims.

Even though Passat is plagued with problems, it is still a great car. It has a smooth and comfortable ride, spacious trunk, and roomy seats. As long as you avoid the problem years (like 2002 and 2003), you should be good to go. Moreover, you can avoid high repair costs and keep your car running for a long time.

For over 45 years, Little Germany is a Bosch Authorized Service Center that specializes in full service and repair services for German-made cars such as the VW Passat. Contact Little Germany for all your auto repair needs. If you need service after our normal business hours, please fill out our After-Hours form.

Reliability of a Mini Cooper

Reliability of a Mini Cooper

Reliability of a Mini CooperMini Cooper is one of the most influential vehicles of all time. Invented in 1959, the car hasn’t changed much in 62 years. MINI was a huge part of the UK culture in the 1960’s, so great was its popularity. It continues to be quite a famous brand worldwide and is still seen on the highways.

Mini Cooper is famous for its unmatched driving experience and style. It is a fun-to-drive car with a powerful engine and perfect for the city roads. Having said that, what about its reliability? How dependable are Mini Coopers?

Mini Cooper – A Fun-to-Drive Car

A MINI is a subcompact car known for its size, speed, and unique look. It is a classic British car that has been an iconic vehicle famous worldwide over the years. The very first MINI was launched back in 1959, affordable and better fuel economy than its competitors. There have been various MINI’s over the last few decades; however, the unusual look has remained unchanged and is still a favorite among race car lovers. While Cooper is the most recognized model, there are other vehicle models also to choose from:

  • MINI Convertible
  • Hardtop 2-door and 4-door
  • Countryman SAV
  • Clubman

Though initially owned and operated by the British Motor Corporation (BMC), German manufacturer BMW bought it out in 2000. However, it still operates as an independent brand.

Best Year for a Mini Cooper

According to consumer reports, the best year for a Mini Cooper is from 2018 onwards. MINI improved a lot over the years since its latest major redesign. Moreover, they have worked on their problem areas and have received an above-average reliability score.

Considering first and second-generation Mini Coopers, they can still be reliable. It is just a matter of picking the right car, like the 2006 John Cooper Works GP. Everything about it is unique, right up to the suspension and aerodynamic enhancements. For the first generation, the last two years are considered reliable, especially the R53 Cooper S. However, the best year so far in recent times has been the new 2021 Mini Cooper.

High Mileage for a Mini Cooper

With regular preventive maintenance and general upkeep, your MINI should last you for well over 100,000 miles. This includes timely oil changes and significant services. The high mileage also depends on the wear pattern, if it’s been thrashed, driven on highways or city roads, driven carefully, etc.

Is Mini Cooper a Reliable Car?

Mini Cooper is neither considered reliable nor unreliable. They can be average when it comes to reliability. With a rating of 110, ReliabilityIndex has the brand at the 19th position out of 36. Furthermore, Mini Cooper ranked last in reliability according to Repair Pal with a 3.0 out of 5.0.

According to AutoExpress, 7.3% of the owners have issues with the Mini Coopers. At 29.48%, the engine accounts for most of the issues. You may want to note that, as the years go by, the repairs may be expensive. Repair Pal also notes that Mini Cooper owners are more likely to bring their vehicle in for unscheduled repairs than any other subcompact cars.

The high ownership costs are worth considering before you buy a new or used Mini Cooper. However, according to JD Power MINI brand has come a long way in terms of reliability. The 2020 new MINI has earned the top spot in JD Power’s vehicle dependability list.

Mini Cooper Reliability – Based on Testing by Consumer Reports

Mini Cooper is quite exciting and fun to drive. However, you cannot forget its patchy history and unreliability. According to Consumer Reports, MINI’s inconsistent reliability is due to the lower owner satisfaction rankings and past recalls. Their extensive testing has identified potential 17 trouble spots, including the engine, suspension, and driving system.

Consumer Reports gave Mini Cooper their lowest rankings for their model years 2006–2012. Potential issues in these years include engine cooling and the electrical system. However, over the years, Mini Cooper has significantly improved its designs with increased reliability rankings. The brand underwent a major redesign in 2014, during which period it improved its problematic areas. Since then, Consumer Reports has given MINI an above-average reliability score.

Annual Repair Costs of a Mini CooperAnnual Repair Costs of a MINI

According to Repair Pal, the annual repair costs for a Mini Cooper are $846 (maintenance and repairs both unexpected and expected), while other subcompact cars rack up bills at $456. The frequency of repairs is also higher with a MINI when compared with other brands.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Mini Cooper

With its impressive design and attractive design, a Mini Cooper has quite a big fan following. But how good are Mini Coopers? Here are the pros and cons of a MINI to help you decide for yourself.


  • Fun to Drive: MINI’s are easy to maneuver, quickly go fast, and are powerful. It accelerates from 0–60 mph within 7.4 seconds.
  • Easy to Park: True to its name, the small size makes it easier to park even in cramped spaces.
  • Spacious Cabin: Despite their small size, the MINI’s have spacious interiors, particularly the front cabin, even fitting tall drivers.
  • Good Gas Mileage: Even though it requires premium fuel, it has better gas mileage than other subcompact cars in the same price range.
  • High Resale Value: Assuming the car is in good shape and has no problems, a Mini Cooper has a good resale value.
  • Luxurious Interiors: From the interiors to the technical specifications, nothing about a MINI is cheap. Additionally, the current models come packed with BMW’s iDrive system.
  • Less Maintenance: A Mini Cooper requires less maintenance than its peers. You can even go up to 2 years between oil changes or maintenance. Even then, you can take it to a BMW dealership provided that have a warranty covers it.

Pros and Cons of Owning a Mini CooperCons

  • Expensive: Even though the base model of a MINI is affordable, it doesn’t have any value additions for which you need to buy the more expensive versions, which may not be affordable for some.
  • Expensive Repairs: Once the car is out of warranty, the repairs can be expensive. There are extended warranty options, but they can be expensive too.
  • Expensive Gas: Despite its fuel economy, it uses premium fuel to add up to the cost.
  • Few Dealerships: MINI dealerships are quite few and far between. You have to drive an hour or two to find one. Most local garages are not familiar with the mechanisms of a MINI, so that they may miss identifying the issues.

Mini Cooper Years to Avoid

According to Consumer Reports surveys, Mini Cooper released from 2006–2012 is considered the worst years. Having said that, there have been problems in the earlier 2000’s as well.

First and second-generation MINI’s had quite a few problems, of which the most significant was the transmission malfunction. Others include radiator issues, electric power steering pump problems, and leaking water pump. Most of these issues led to recalls and even lawsuits. However, you may want to avoid 2000–2012 altogether if you are buying a used car.

Common Problems with Mini Coopers

Common Problems with Mini CoopersHere are some of the common problems with Mini Coopers in case you are looking to buy one.

  • Radiator Support Problems: Radiator support is present in the front of the car at a low spot. Furthermore, it is made of plastic. So even a tiny bump can damage it.
  • Loose Timing Chain: The wear and tear in the timing chain and assembly system, the mechanism can be slow and sluggish.
  • Transmission Failure: MINI’s have been plagued with transmission problems. While the manufacturer suggests not to change the transmission fluid, mechanics recommend changing at regular intervals. This has led to issues with many owners.
  • Clutch Failure: Clutch failure is often attributed to extreme wear and tear or sometimes hard use. However, they can lead to serious repairs and hefty charges.
  • Water Pump and Thermostat Housing Leak: Thermostat and water pump are prone to leaking and must be changed every 50,000 miles.
  • Electric Power Steering Pump Problems: The steering pump problem was severe enough to warrant a recall. Low steering fluid and malfunction of the cooling fan is the main reason for this issue.


The reliability of a Mini Cooper often comes into question due to the older models from 2000–2012. However, Mini Cooper’s overall quality has increased tremendously, leading to higher reliability ratings. Every brand in the automobile market has a bad year or two. MINI isn’t any different.

With the many models over the years, there’s bound to be some problems. The most important fact is that the Mini Cooper is improving in terms of reliability and quality. Even though a Mini Cooper has chequered reliability, it still ranks better and is more affordably priced than its competitors. Currently, it is one of the better brands making quality vehicles.

In short, if you are looking for a brand new Mini Cooper, go for the latest version, the 2021 Mini Cooper with a new warranty. But in the case of used cars, skip the years 2000–2012. Also, ensure that the vehicle maintenance is up-to-date.

Little Germany LogoFor over 45 years, Little Germany is a Bosch Authorized Service Center that specializes in full service and repair services for German-made cars. Contact Little Germany for all your auto repair needs (After-Hours form).

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European Car Brands

European Car Brands

European Car Brands

Europe’s auto industry is the backbone of the EU economy. The turnover generated by the sector factors for 7% of the GDP of the European Union. Vehicles produced in Europe are reliable, sustainable, energy-efficient, and safest in the market. So much so that 80% of the growth of the automobile industry happens outside the Union. This article takes you through the various European brands from Germany, Italy, France, and United Kingdom, sports cars, and finally, the most reliable European cars.

Best European Car Brands

European cars have long been considered to be of high quality and a class above other countries. Even though vehicles from Asia and the US dominate the market, they have maintained their high status, thus becoming an important part of the World Car Heritage. They are the epitome of beauty, aesthetics, performance, and class. Here are the top car brands (in no particular order):

  • Volkswagen
  • Renault
  • Peugeot
  • Mercedes
  • BMW

Major Car Brands from Germany

German automotive industry has given birth to many high-performance sports cars and still does. German designed cars have won some of the prestigious awards, including European Car of the year, the International car of the year, World car of the year, amongst many.

  • Volkswagen – Mass Market

One of the largest car manufacturers globally, Volkswagen owns most of the big automobile names in the country. Founded in the year 1937, Volkswagen’s name amounted to more than half of its sales in 2018.

  • Mercedes-Benz – Luxury

Mercedes-Benz the luxury car brand that has quietly revolutionized the German motoring industry in many ways. The brand is a collaboration between Karl Benz and Gottlieb Daimler from the Daimler Motor Company.

  • Audi – Luxury

Audi, the luxury car manufacturer, is known for its innovative technologies(Audi’s Virtual Cockpit) and flawless interiors. The brand is recognizable for its emblem, the 4-rings.

  • BMW – Luxury

Famous for its tagline “Ultimate Driving Machine,” BMW is one of the most diverse luxury car brands in just Germany and the continent. It prides itself on providing the best driving experience. Their emblem reflects the colors of Bavaria.

  • Porsche – Luxury

Known for the legendary Porsche 911, the brand is known for its exclusivity and high performance. The vehicle is known for its classic styling and features that do not change much with each model.

Major Car Brands from the United Kingdom

Being the pioneers of the industrial revolution, some of the much-loved ultra-luxury cars and luxury sports cars are from the United Kingdom. Except for Rolls-Royce, all the vehicles are made in the United Kingdom.

  • Aston Martin – Luxury

Long before its fame, the Aston Martin had a legion of fans in the United Kingdom, starting with James Bond. Their current portfolio includes Vantage and the upcoming Rapide.

  • Bentley – Ultra-Luxury

Synonymous with luxury, Bentley was a fixture among the United Kingdom automobile organizations and pioneers for the 70’s saloon cars. It won the prestigious Le Mans race 5 times between the ’20s and the ’30s.

  • Rolls Royce – Ultra-Luxury

Rolls Royce is the epitome of luxury. Their vehicles are huge, extravagant, and are tailored to the demands of the customers.

Major Car Brands from France

Though France has a long history of manufacturing cars, they were never much about mechanical engineering. But still, they have the most beautiful cars in the country.

  • Peugeot – Mass-Market

The France vehicle manufacturers are the longest-standing car companies dating as far back as Napoleon Bonaparte. They come under the parent company PSA group which holds Citroën, Opel, Groupe PSA, ARAMIS SAS, and more under its umbrella.

  • Renault – Mass-Market

Founded over 120 years ago, the France car company Renault has known for its racing cars as well as their family-oriented vehicles. It has a strategic partnership with Nissan and Mitsubishi, making it the world’s largest seller of light vehicles.

  • Bugatti – Luxury Supercars

Bugatti has the reputation of being the oldest vehicle makers in Italy and the continent dating back to 1909. Its portfolio includes the Bugatti Veyron, the fastest production vehicle.

Major Car Brands from Italy

The racing world would not be the same without cars from Italy. They have a history of building some of the best sports cars.

  • Fiat – Small Cars

Famous for its stylish looks and affordable prices, Fiat also has some sports cars, aka roadsters. Though they lost their place in the last few years, the launch of the Fiat 500 has taken it back to the top.

  • Ferrari – Super Luxury Sports Cars

Founded by Enzo Ferrari in 1939 Ferrari, the car manufacturers from Italy are an embodiment of style and nicknamed the Italian Stallion. They are well known for their sports cars and their F1 racing team.

  • Maserati – Super Luxury Sports Cars

Though primarily associated with luxury cars, Maserati makes luxury vehicles in executive saloons and grand tourers (SUVs) models.

  • Lamborghini – Super Luxury Sports Cars

Designed by Ferruccio Lamborghini, Lamborghini is relatively new in 1963. Synonymous to supercars, the Italian car companies are the pioneers for the concept of a hyperloop.

Which Is Better: Mercedes Benz, BMW or Audi?

To start with, all three are premium luxury brands based out of Germany. Of the three, Benz has a safety record and is known for being reliable. The other two brands not so much with Audi ranking the lowest but has superior features and technology. BMW, on the other hand, is sporty and offers a superior driving experience.

Which Is Faster: Audi or BMW?

BMW is faster due to its edgy and sporty design. On the other hand, Audi tends to be more conservative. Comparing the speeds of the two vehicles of similar configuration, the former is the fastest.

Biggest Car Manufacturer in Europe

Volkswagen group from Germany has long been the biggest European vehicle manufacturers. It is also the parent company for Porsche, Audi, Škoda, SEAT, Bugatti, Bentley, and Lamborghini.

Top-Selling European Car in 2020

Volkswagen Golf is the top-selling car on the continent. Manufactured by VW German carmakers, they sold 312,000 models in the European continent in 2020 alone.

Sports Cars in Europe

Blue BMW Z4Sports cars may be anything from a two-seater to a track car or even a front-engined grand touring coupé. Here’s a list of the best European sports cars:

  • Porsche Boxster
  • Jaguar F-Type
  • Mercedes SLS AMG
  • Audi R8
  • Ferrari 458 Italia
  • Lamborghini Aventador
  • BMW Z4

Most Popular European Car Brands in the US

As of 2020, Volkswagen was first among the best-selling European car brands in the United States. It was closely followed by Mercedes Benz and BMW, all of which are from Germany.

Top 10 Luxury Car Brands from Europe

Luxury cars are known for their powerful engines and impeccable interiors. Whether it is the speed or the performance, luxury vehicles are a class above the rest.

  • Aston Martin
  • Lotus
  • Bentley
  • Bugatti
  • Ferrari
  • Lamborghini
  • Maserati
  • Mercedes-Benz
  • Porsche
  • Rolls-Royce

Are European Cars Reliable?

European cars are the most dependable and mainly reliable through their innovation, technological advancements, styling, and, most importantly, their interiors’ quality.

Most Reliable European Car Brand

The most reliable European car brand is Mercedes Benz, with its quality build and dependability. Their s-class has earned a reputation for being one the safest cars. Another expected brand in the list is Porsche with its 911. But keep in mind that both these cars rely primarily on technologies and hence would require regular maintenance. The unexpected entry in the list is Peugeot with its new launch, Peugeot 3008.

Why Are European Cars So Expensive?

Expensive European Cars - Wallet with Money on FireEuropean cars, particularly those from Germany, are among the most expensive cars. But they are rightly so and for the below factors:

  • Excellent quality of the materials
  • Expensive and exhaustive engineering
  • Valuable brand name
  • Labor costs
  • Exchange rates


There is no doubt that European cars are some of the most beautiful, stylish, and technologically advanced on this side of the continent. The vehicles listed above are not just the peak of beauty but also luxury in most cases. Moreover, driving such beauties gives you an experience matched by nothing else. However, the countries will also have homegrown brands that are not presented in this article. For over 45 years, Little Germany is a Bosch Authorized Service Center that specializes in full service and repair services for German-made cars. Contact Little Germany for all your auto repair needs (After-Hours form).

American Cars vs European Cars

American Cars vs European Cars

American Cars versus European CarsAmerican Cars vs European Cars

While Europe and the U.S. see eye to eye on various things, cars aren’t one of them. Europeans use them to get around, while for Americans, it is a way of life. Hence there are some glaring differences in terms of performance, quality, and design.

American automotive industry is a mixed bag of vehicles from Europe, Asia (Japan and Korea), and indigenous. It is challenging to gauge which vehicle trumps over the other one since the features vary depending on the region.

Our article brings you the ultimate guide, comparing European, American and Japanese vehicles.

Are European Cars Better than American Cars?

European cars are better than their American counterparts.

Here are a few reasons why you should go for a European car:

  • They have better fuel efficiency owing to higher gas costs.
  • European cars are technologically advanced.
  • They are aesthetically appealing and have attractive and smooth exteriors.
  • They can last for a long period of time hence has a good resale value.
  • European cars are known for their comfort and pleasant driving experience.

Why Do European Vehicles Look Different?

There are some fundamental differences between the cars from the two continents.

Here are a few basics:

  • European vehicles are built smaller than Americans due to their smaller roads.
  • American cars are stylish and contemporary, and more utility-based. But, those from Europe are more sophisticated. They focus on styling, aesthetics, and overall design.
  • Even though Americans love power, it is the European vehicles that shine at high speeds.
  • Americans prefer automatic vehicles while Europeans the manual stick variant.

Why Does European Car Have a Small Engine?

A smaller engine is more fuel-efficient and lighter. More than performance, Europeans are more concerned about being energy efficient, which is the case with the engines.

Besides, cars in Europe are compact; hence the small engines make more sense.

Which Is the Best European Car?

Cars from Europe are more famous since they are more reliable and give a good value in terms of safety and price.

Here are the top vehicles of 2020:

  • Volkswagen Arteon SE
  • Audi A4 Technik 2.0 TFSi
  • Jaguar XE P300
  • Volkswagen Jetta GLi
  • BMW 740i

Can the U.S. Adopt Europe’s Fuel-Efficient Vehicles?

No! It’s not possible for the US to adopt Europe’s fuel-efficient vehicles since certain aspects of the European models would not work in the US.

  • Price: Vehicles in Europe are expensive
  • Power: The average European vehicle doesn’t pack as much power

Are Foreign Vehicles More Expensive to Maintain?

Yes! Foreign vehicles are more expensive to maintain. If your car is foreign made and imported to the US, its spare parts have to arrive from its place of origin. Moreover, not all mechanics would have the skills to tackle the issue. You need specially trained mechanics with high labor charges.

For foreign automakers established in the US, spares should not be a problem since they would be available with dealerships and certified mechanics.

Why Does Europe Drive Small Cars?

Generally, Europe has narrow, winding roads, especially in the historical cities, five-seven hundred years old. In few places, medieval streets still exist, making it difficult for vehicles. Hence cars across Europe are small to make driving in these lanes easier.

Also, they have stringent policies when it comes to energy-efficient cars.

Why Aren’t European Cars Big Sellers in America?

The expectation of an average American is quite different from that in Europe. They love the bigger vehicles like large trucks, crossovers, and family cars.

Here are some of the reasons why European models aren’t a big hit.

  • Dual government regulations
  • They love big vehicles.
  • Thirst for power
  • More expensive than homegrown models
  • Value for money

What Is the Cheapest Foreign Car to Maintain?

Foreign cars are expensive to maintain. The high price comes down to the spare parts and qualified mechanics. With that in mind, the cheapest foreign cars to maintain are from Japan.

  • Nissan Pathfinder 2014
  • Kia Soul 2016
  • Toyota Corolla 2013
  • Honda Accord 2016
  • Toyota Camry 2015

What Is the Most Popular European Car Brand?

Volkswagen Group seems to be the most popular European brand recently, followed by Renault, Ford, and Peugeot.

Who Is the Biggest Car Manufacturer in Europe?

Volkswagen Group seems to be the largest car manufacturer in Europe in terms of raw unit volume. However, it has to be noted that most of their plants are located outside Europe in Asia, Brazil, and the US.

Brands like Volkswagen, Skoda, Audi, Seat, Porsche, and a few more come under the Volkswagen Groups umbrella.

What’s Better a Lexus or Mercedes?

Both Lexus and Mercedes Benz offer opulent and robust vehicles that are rich in features as well. Comparing the both, Mercedes edges out Lexus by just a tiny margin.

If you are looking for pure opulence and luxury, Mercedes is the brand for you. For an affordable upscale quality car, Lexus is the automaker for you.

Which Car Is 100 Percent Made in America?

Determining the origin of a car is a much-complicated process since the supply chain can exist anywhere in the world. Here’s a list of top vehicles whose parts are more or less made in the US.

  • Ford Ranger
  • Jeep Cherokee
  • Tesla Model S
  • Tesla Model 3

What American Car Holds its Value the Best? - Magnifier on German CarWhat American Car Holds its Value the Best?

One of the most important factors influencing an average American when buying a new car is the resale value. When you pool $30,000 for a vehicle, you want something worth a few years on.

Here are a few reliable cars that hold the most value.

  • Nissan Frontier
  • GMC Canyon
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Subaru WRX
  • Toyota 4Runner

Are American Cars More Expensive in Europe?

No! American vehicles are not as expensive as their counterparts in Europe. European car manufacturers ensure that their vehicles are dependable in terms of:

  • Design
  • Styling
  • Quality
  • Performance
  • Engineering

And above all, is the brands. Brand name plays a vital role in influencing the buyers.

Why Is Dodge So Unreliable?

Dodge has ranked at 25 (way closer to the bottom) in 2014 consumer reports regarding reliability. The American automakers have since then vastly improved and are now ranked quite high at 8th position.

It is currently one of the most reliable American brands. The Dodge Challenger and Grand Caravan received above-average ratings.

Why Are American Cars Not Sold in Europe?

American cars are not sold in Europe since they are not as popular as their domestic vehicles.

Here are a few reasons why:

  • American cars have an appetite for fuel.
  • Europe prefers energy-efficient vehicles.
  • Import duty is 10% rather than the 2.5% that the US charges.

Why are American Cars Considered Less Reliable?

America’s love for cars and their need for speed doesn’t translate well to homegrown brands.

  • Vehicles made in America have a high recall rate.
  • The build quality is not as good since they compete to race ahead of their European counterparts.
  • European vehicles are innovative when it comes to styling, which their American counterparts are still to catch up.
  • American vehicles are neither known for their fuel efficiency nor do they make an effort to increase efficiency.

Why Do American Cars Have a Bad Reputation?

Even though it isn’t the case with all the vehicles, American automakers have obtained a bad reputation for the below reasons:

  • American cars are cheap, which translates to low quality. They also have a rep for poor handling. Their parts are cheaply made and put together in an assembly line.
  • American vehicles are bigger than those in European and Asian markets. This also meant that they are also gas guzzlers and not incredibly energy-efficient.

What American Made Car Gets the Best Gas Mileage?

As fuel prices continue to rise, consumers continue to buy vehicles that save gas and are reliable.

Here are a few top vehicles that seem to have hit the nail.

  • Ford Fiesta
  • Chevy Spark
  • Ford Focus
  • Chevy Sonic
  • Chevy Cruze
  • Ford Fusion Hybrid

Why Are Pickup Trucks in the U.S. So Large?

While American cars have long been hated in Europe, it is a mixed bag with pickup trucks. Since most pickup trucks are utilitarian, in the U.S. it is more luxurious.

  • Better than the European models in terms of size and design.
  • Though not as fuel-efficient, they make sense to buy due to the tax breaks.
  • The size works better for work-related purposes.

Are Japanese Cars Better than German Cars? - Japan and Germany FlagsAre Japanese Cars Better than German Cars?

Yes! Japanese cars are considered to be the best among the two when compared.

Japanese automakers are known for:

  • They are built to last long.
  • Reliability
  • Affordability

However, if you prefer features like comfort, speed, performance, and power in your car, you should look for the latter.

Are Japanese Cars Popular in Europe?

Not particularly! Europeans have a remarkably different taste, which translates into vehicles as well. So homegrown vehicles dominate in that region.

However, more and more people prefer Japanese vehicles nowadays.

Are European Cars Safer than Japanese Cars?

Yes! European cars tend to be safer than Japanese cars. They are built to be sturdy with a smooth, controlled ride as well as have shorter braking distances.

Japanese vehicles also have lesser airbags when compared to their European counterparts.

Is it Better to Buy Japanese Vehicles or European Vehicles?

Japanese vehicles are famous for their quality, reliability, and easy maintenance. But European vehicles, on the other hand, offer you power and acceleration.

If you are looking for a new vehicle that won’t breakdown, go for Japanese cars. But, for power, safety, and performance, go for a European make.


Americans love their bigger, spacious vehicles while Europe small vehicles with even smaller engines. Japan, on the other hand, preaches reliability and safety. These traits generally come from the region they originate.

If you compare the three, Europeans easily win with their fuel-efficient, quality cars. American automakers seem to be racing to catch up with their counterparts, sometimes with disastrous results.

But if you wish to have a vehicle that lasts for many years to come, Japanese may be your choice.

For over 45 years, Little Germany is a Bosch Authorized Service Center that specializes in full service and repair services for German-made cars. Contact Little Germany for all your auto repair needs (After-Hours form).

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