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Best used Volkswagens

There's a VW to suit almost every want and need, particularly on the used market. Here are our top 10 picks, from city cars to SUVs...

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Oliver Young
Published29 February 2024

Best used Volkswagens

Volkswagen, the "people's car". It's a role, perhaps now more than ever, the brand fulfills rather well, especially if you take into account what the used car market currently has to offer. For reasonable money, you have a wide variety of body styles to choose from, including VW city cars, family cars, estate cars, SUVs and more. 

However, there's no reason to be overwhelmed, because we've put together a list of the top 10 used ones you can buy. What's number one? Well, the best used Volkswagen is the Volkswagen Passat Estate, which just so happens to be the 2023 Used Estate Car of the Year


  • Good range of engines
  • Spacious interior and boot
  • Classy interior


  • Slightly unsettled ride
  • Base S trim misses out on some kit

Part of why you'll find the VW Passat Estate so capable is because its boot is colossal, dwarfing that of the BMW 3 Series Touring, for instance; the long load bay created when the rear seats are folded flat means you need never pay for an Ikea delivery again. A low floor makes for easy loading and unloading of cargo and comfortable access for the family hound.

There’s a Passat Estate to suit any weekly routine. If yours involves trips from Exeter to Edinburgh, the 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel goes the distance while keeping fuel bills sensible. If your journeys are short and infrequent, the 1.5-litre petrol engine of the same power is your best bet, and it’s a little cheaper as a used buy.

Our favourite, though, is the plug-in hybrid GTE. With a 154bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre petrol engine allied to a 113bhp electric motor, it’s very nippy when you want it to be; the 0-62mph dash takes 7.6sec. Or, if your commute or school run is short, it’ll tackle it using electric power alone; the GTE’s battery provides an official range of up to 37 miles. If you can charge it regularly, visits to the petrol station could be rare.

We found: 2020 Volkswagen Passat GTE, 48,162 miles, £18,995

Read our full used Volkswagen Passat Estate review

Search for a used Volkswagen Passat Estate for sale 


  • Smooth ride
  • Enjoyable to drive
  • Upmarket interior


  • Not as cheap as some of its rivals
  • Could be more spacious
  • Reliability only average

Very few cars have the classless appeal of the Volkswagen Golf and, with this seventh-generation model, which ran from 2013 up to the beginning of 2020, VW managed to come up with a family car that was not only as multi-talented as its predecessors but also improved on them significantly.

For starters, there’s the range of 1.0, 1.4 and later 1.5-litre turbocharged petrol engines that punch far above their weight in terms of performance yet return impressive fuel efficiency. Then there are the 1.6 and 2.0-litre diesel engines for those who travel on the motorway every day. 

If you do a high mileage – say, 10,000 miles a year or more – you’re probably best off with one of the diesel versions, thanks to their impressive fuel economy. Our favourite is the 2.0 TDI 150.

If you do a lower mileage, though, a petrol version should suit you fine and might pose less of a reliability risk later in life. Petrol-powered Golfs are quieter and smoother to drive, yet are just as punchy and almost as efficient as their diesel brethren. Our favourite among the older cars is the 1.4 TSI 125, and on later cars the 1.5 Evo 130 version.

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI SE Nav, 50,818 miles, £12,830

Read our full used Volkswagen Golf review

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  • Comfortable ride
  • Impressive safety
  • Good boot by class standards


  • Low-rent interior on earlier cars
  • Only top spec gets sat-nav
  • Lumbar support is an option
  • Reliability mixed

Our sincere apologies, but we have some bad news: the Volkswagen T-Roc isn't named after Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson. Instead, its name relates to VW wanting to rock the segment.

The model preceded other small SUVs in the brand's range, including the smaller, chunky VW T-Cross and the also smaller, coupé-style VW Taigo. What's more, its mechanically based on the excellent VW Golf. 

We’d suggest you go for the 114bhp 1.0 petrol, because it’s a nice flexible engine that’s quiet on a cruise and offers good fuel economy. In later models, this became the 109bhp TSI 110. The 2.0 diesel may be a good one to go for if you really must have four-wheel drive, but there aren’t that many on the used market and it can be expensive.

While all T-Rocs come well equipped, the Design model on the earlier cars includes all the niceties of SE but stands out with more distinctive exterior styling, a driver alert system and ambient interior lighting. In later cars, Life would be our choice.

We found: 2019 Volkswagen T-Roc 1.0 TSI Design, 41,498 miles, £14,600

Read our full used Volkswagen T-Roc review

Search for a used Volkswagen Golf for sale 


  • Comfortable ride and fun to drive
  • Economical three-cylinder engine
  • Upmarket interior


  • Some rivals are better value
  • Smaller engines are sluggish
  • Optional automatic gearbox is slow and jerky

Originally launched in 2012 (to critical acclaim) and updated in 2016 and 2020, the little Volkswagen Up has been a big sales success for Volkswagen. For a while now, it's made for a great used buy, too.

The best thing about it is that it's never really felt like a small car – not in the way it drives, the material choices of its interior or the way it rides. It’s only when you get out of it and see how much space is left over in a standard parking space that you remember that you’re in a bantam Volkswagen.

High Up! is the best-equipped version, with heated front seats, electrically operated and heated door mirrors, leather coverings for the steering wheel and handbrake, extra speakers for the stereo and front foglights.

We found: 2018 Volkswagen Up 1.0 TSI High Up!, 41,332 miles, £8995

Read our full used Volkswagen Up review

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  • Good to drive with nippy performance
  • Plenty of range
  • Spacious interior


  • Underwhelming interior quality
  • Questionable reliability
  • Infotainment system misses the mark

The Volkswagen ID 3 is the first-born child of the manufacturer’s expanding all-electric ID series. Launched in 2020, it currently serves as VW’s family electric car, replacing the 2013-2020 Volkswagen e-Golf.

It’s built on a bespoke electric vehicle (EV) platform, meaning the model is green through and through, and there's not a petrol, diesel or hybrid variant in sight. Exciting stuff, we know – especially now examples are common on the used market.

We’d recommend going for a 1ST Edition Pro Power example. These models will be well equipped but, because they were some of the first ID 3s to arrive, are among the cheapest to buy. 

The 1ST Edition Pro Power cars come with 201bhp and a 58kWh battery, which is our recommended option. It has plenty of poke and a praiseworthy range. A 77hWh battery is also available, albeit at a premium of around £5000. 

We found: 2020 Volkswagen ID 3 1ST Edition Pro Power, 52,710 miles, £15,495

Read our full used Volkswagen ID 3 review

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  • Punchy, efficient engines
  • Well equipped
  • Spacious


  • Auto 'box jerky in traffic
  • Potentially only average reliability
  • Not terribly exciting to drive

The Volkswagen Arteon is the answer to this question: what happens if you take a VW Passat and add a splash of added sleekness, a smidgen of extra practicality and a smattering of extra toys? The Arteon replaced the VW Passat CC (latterly just CC) upon its launch in 2017 – in other words, it was a smoother, sharper-suited version of Volkswagen’s slightly dowdy executive car favourite.

But the Arteon broke with the CC in adding an extra door: one at the rear, turning it into a five-door hatchback, or coupé, rather than a four-door saloon.

Unless you demand the extra long-distance fuel economy of the diesel variants, we reckon the Arteon is best served in petrol form – specifically with the 187bhp 2.0-litre unit, which is smooth and quiet, yet effortlessly punchy.

Team that with Elegance trim (it's well equipped and its smaller wheels improve the ride quality) and the Arteon makes for a fast and relaxing executive express. It's also excellent value bought used. 

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI Elegance, 28,511 miles, £19,565

Read our full used Volkswagen Arteon review

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Our pick: 1.0 TSI Life 5dr

0-62mph: 10.8 sec
MPG/range: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 118g/km
Seats: 5
Boot: 351 litres
Insurance group: 9E


  • Supple ride
  • Generous interior space
  • Quiet on the move


  • Seat Ibiza is similar yet more fun
  • Noisy diesel engine
  • Seatbelt issue
  • Reliability a bit mixed

Not to be mixed up with the donut-shaped mint, the clothing line or the horse/water sport, the Volkswagen Polo is a small car through and through. This is the sixth-generation model and – spoiler alert – it's really rather good. It has a smart interior and a comfy ride, for starters, and that's just a taste of its appeal as a used buy.

We’d stick with the mid-range 94bhp 1.0 TSI: it’s a flexible engine and one that shouldn’t cost you too much to run. We’d also suggest going for a Polo that sports the SE trim. It has all the equipment you’ll need and you don’t need to spend a fortune to get it. Higher-spec Polos are good, too – if you manage to find one of the few available for similar money to an SE version.

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI SE, 45,040 miles, £10,495

Read our full used Volkswagen Polo review

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  • Good to drive
  • Refinement
  • Smart interior


  • Rearmost seats in the Allspace model are very tight
  • Handsome, but not very exciting to look at
  • Reliability average

People, quite understandably, were upset when they first heard about the pricing of this second-gen Volkswagen Tiguan. They believed it to be too expensive, particularly in relation to its predecessor.

Now that it's been around for a while, this no longer plagues the Tiguan – the model makes for a very healthy used proposition. There’s also the option of four-wheel drive on most variants and a stretched seven-seater Volkswagen Tiguan Allspace version.

Among many fine engine options, and provided you have no objection to diesel, the 148bhp 2.0 TDI offers such a fine blend of punch and efficiency that it stands out. However, our pick is the petrol, and we'd choose the 148bhp 1.4 TSI in earlier cars, or as it later became the 1.5 TSI 150, because it's more refined than the diesel. Its running costs are also far more sensible than those of the larger 2.0-litre petrol models.

While a Tiguan in SE trim will offer most of the features you could want, we'd suggest that you look for an SE Nav version in order to get sat-nav. It shouldn't be hard to find one, because there are plenty around on the used market.

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan 1.5 TSI SE Nav, 35,500 miles, £16,499

Read our full used Volkswagen Tiguan review

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  • Great handling
  • Strong performance
  • Refined


  • Some rivals offer a fierier drive
  • A little expensive relative to rivals

Ever since its humble beginnings as a go-faster version of the Mk1 Golf, the Volkswagen Golf GTI has consistently delivered all-round competence and a kind of broad appeal that has won it the praise of people the world over. And, in the course of a 40-year-plus life, it’s gone on to spawn many hot hatch rivals, with some even borrowing those same three letters.

The GTI recipe is actually pretty simple: take the standard VW Golf family hatchback – solid, refined and comfortable – and turn up the wick, adding properly increased performance, sharper handling and some subtle visual updates both inside and out to support its heightened sporting air.

Buy the standard Golf GTI and you’ll be happy, but if you can find a car with the Performance Pack, we’d go for that – the premium isn’t huge. It’s a tad more fun and a wee bit nicer to punt down a winding road – in this class, such things are important.

For our money, we’d seek out the six-speed manual version of the car rather than the seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic one. Both are smooth, slick and quick in operation, but the former 'box is more engaging. 

We found: 2019 Volkswagen Golf GTI 2.0 TSI Performance, 17,948 miles, £18,250

Read our full used Volkswagen Golf GTI review

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  • Good to drive
  • Well built cabin
  • Comparatively practical


  • Restricted rear head room
  • Room for only four

Underneath the VW Scirocco's sleek body lies a VW Golf. As such, it's a similarly refined machine. However, it's also different from its mechanical sibling in a few keys ways: exterior design, obviously, but also handling, because the Scirocco is that bit sportier to drive.

To maximise this, the earlier GT and later GTS versions are worth a good look: they feature the Golf GTI's engine under their bonnets. For even more punch, there's the range-topping R model, although we believe some may consider it overkill, especially considering it lacks the Golf R's four-wheel-drive system. That's right, all Sciroccos are front-wheel drives, even if they have north of 250bhp like the R does. 

We found: 2016 Volkswagen Scirocco 2.0 TSI GTS, 47,560 miles, £16,606

Read our full used Volkswagen Scirocco review

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