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Non-premium brands that have similar 'build quality' to VW?


I’ve been looking at new cars recently and I’ve been wondering if there are any that have comparable build quality to VW. By ‘build quality’, I mostly mean tight fitment of interior parts and a sense of weight or precision in their operation, not reliability.

I also have a related question: does the high build quality in VWs tend to hold up over time, e.g. more resistant to developing rattles?




And Seat…which is also, pretty much, a VW anyway. :slight_smile:


Try Hyundai


I only have first hand experience from one 1997 VW Vento that I had a few years ago, but that thing was still solid at 300 000 km, and not just interior but outside as well. Only sold it because I found a more fun car that I happened to be able to afford at the time.


Really… You’ve disappointed me :stuck_out_tongue:


As someone who has had plenty of VWs in their family (and a slight fanboy) the interior and exterior panel build quality holds up well. Never had an issue with my mom’s newer (2010) Jetta in the interior except for the CD changer on occasion. Which was fixed with a radio reset.

In reality though, almost every major company has a quality made interior now, Fords, Toyotas, Hyundais, etc.

If the interior isn’t a majority cheap plastic and doesn’t feel flimsy it’ll probably do you fine. So just stay away from GM :stuck_out_tongue:


My dad’s old 2009 VW Tiguan had minor issues with the sunroof and some interior panels, but that was all for fitment issues (reliability is another story…)


Got reminded, had a chuckle, guessing you’re referring to this too:


No, I actually drove a new hyundai, and that was my opinion. I didn’t see the video you linked.


Even better then :rofl: I’m impressed by the styling the Koreans have been putting out lately (apart from the Kona lol) but that’s moving away from the aim of this thread…


Hyundai got to premium level in under 20 years, that’s actual progress. BMW got from best cars in class to shit with a badge that mattered long ago in 20 years. There’s all there is to it.


Can agree with this, my brother drove a 2012 Hyundai Elantra for some years and it had a pretty darn solid quality. Granted after a few years a couple of rattles did set in, but that was then. I’ve seen the new Hyundais (when the dealership was having a run-out sale and tried to drag me in to buy a 2016 Elantra for 5k AUD off… if I didn’t already have a perfectly fine car I would have considered…) and they’re right on par with the stuff you pay extra for because it’s Euro badged (at least over here).

Some reviewers have criticised the Hyundai i30 N for having ‘cheap hard plastics’ in their trim. I’m willing to wager even with that it’s going to feel properly put together. Nothing feels cheap like rattles and stuff that doesn’t sit flush, regardless of the material. Now VW doesn’t really have any advantage, especially not over here where we seem to pay 25% more for the same quality but what essentially feels like 25% less engine powering a middle-management office desk. You pay for that purely because it is the ‘industry benchmark’.


Those Hyundais are also way cheaper to run. For context, I work part time doing pizza delivery, and 2 of my coworkers have late 2000s Elantras that they rack up miles on like crazy. There have been guys with Jettas of the same vintage here, and they just couldn’t take the abuse as well as the Hyundais. Not to mention that about 1/4 of the drivers at our store service their own cars, even if they’re newer. So simplicity and ease of maintenance is crucial.

Side note: I believe that reliability (especially in the face of abuse) is more accurate in determining how well a car is built than the grade of materials used and how they feel or look.


In the lovely country of NZ we apparently are trying to beat the USA to eliminating manual transmissions in new cars–the Hyundai i30 cannot be bought in manual at all. Only a few ‘compact car’ sized vehicles at a mass market price point are available with manual: base Toyota Corolla hatch, base Mazda3 2.5 hatch, all variants of Holden (Opel) Astra hatch (plus base sedan), and… base VW Golf hatch. Everything else is auto only. My impression is that out of them the VW has noticeably better build quality, although I haven’t investigated the Corolla or Mazda3 in person (yet). You do get a bit wider selection of manuals when you step down to subcompact/supermini, but of course they have grief handling our crap country roads.


So the biggest engine available to the world is the entry level in NZ?


Mazda, and Toyota for example.


What’s the price comparison between the brands? Round here if you’re buying a base Polo it’s still nowhere near as cheap as the other cheap subcompacts.


I understand where Leedar is coming from.

The interior on the new Golf just feels premium, despite being a somewhat mainstream car.
I haven’t been on the new i30 yet, but the old one felt pretty nice.

However, the term you are looking for to describe this feel is perceived quality. It is one of the main subjective and irrational reasons for preferring one car over another in the showroom, the car just ends up feeling right. Automakers are really pushing towards perceived quality because of that.

I would argue that non-Dacia Renaults and Hyundais are the ones that have come the furthest in recent years both in internal and external quality.


What I meant to say was the lowest spec 2.5; the true base model in NZ is the 2.0.

I can see you on the ‘subjective’, but not the irrational. Some people don’t give a shit what their products feel like to use, but for others it does impact product satisfaction. Personally I am very irritated by rattles, given our common coarse chip roads cause a lot of vibrations which bring them out in your typical Japanese car. I feel like I am willing to sacrifice some reliability and feature set for an improved user experience in other regards.

Sticker prices for the aforementioned compacts are (keeping in mind some brands are more amenable to discounts than others):

  • Toyota Corolla: $27,990 (I think this is a temporary sale price)
  • Mazda3 2.5: $38,395
  • Holden Astra hatch: R $30,990; RS $33,990; RS-V $36,990
  • Astra sedan: $29,490
  • VW Golf: $33,990

The Astra RS is by far the biggest bang for your buck in terms of engine power (147 kW; 200 PS) and feature set, if you can set aside concerns about Opel/GM (which is admittedly difficult), especially since the local dealer already quoted me a price of $32,440 before any haggling.

FTR Polos have a $20,990 sticker price at the moment, with only the base Suzuki Swift having a lower price among subcompact/superminis with a manual trans ($19,990). I believe the normal price when the new Polo comes in will be a couple grand more, which places it squarely in line with the Kia Rio (spec comparison is unknown, of course, although base Rio has pretty modest spec so I’d be surprised if the Polo goes under it).

Also, an aside for people unfamiliar with the NZ car market: we don’t get true poverty spec new cars here like Europe because used Japanese imports are a far better financial proposition for a cheap reliable car. We also subsequently don’t get many factory options, they just chuck a bunch in for ‘free’ at each spec level, so our base models are roughly equivalent to a mid-spec in Europe.