What automakers to consider when buying a used car?

By Auto Auction Mall Team Updated: 06/09/2023 Posted: 09/05/2018

Let us be frank for a moment. Buying a car can be a tricky decision, especially if you don’t know that much about cars. So, deciding on a vehicle will boil down for many people to the make, model, and year of the car. So, which car brands always deliver on the promise of quality and endurance?

The answer: Toyota and Volkswagen.

These two brands have a long history of dependability and quality. Not only that, but these two automakers are at the top of the market today. They make cars that are among the top 5 most sought after vehicles all over the globe. The Toyota Corolla alone sold over 900,000 units in 2017, and the Volkswagen Golf sold 860,000 units that same year.

Used Toyota Car Auctions

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Toyota first started in 1933 as a division of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, a textile company. Under the leadership of the company owner’s son and Toyota founder Kiichiro Toyoda, the Toyota Model AA was the first vehicle the company produced. Now fast forward three decades, and in the 1960s Toyota is already becoming a worldwide presence with established markets in Thailand and Australia. Since then Toyota has grown to become one of the top brands all over the world and is now headquartered in Toyoda, Japan. In addition to the Toyota brand, Lexus, Ranz, Hino, and Daihatsu brands are owned by the Toyota corporation. The Toyota Corolla has been its best-selling car since the 1980s.

Read more about buying used Lexus cars.

2016 Volkswagen white

Volkswagen traces its roots back to the Second World War under a government division called the German Labor Front. The name of the car company, then a government-owned car corporation, was initially Gesellschaft zur Vorbereitung des Deutschen Volkswagens. However, later in 1937, the name was changed to Volkswagenwerk, which means, “The People’s Car Company”. After the war, the car company had severe disadvantages in the US market due to their ties to the Nazi Party. It was not until the 1960s when their marketing strategy changed and the iconic Beetle was introduced that Volkswagen came into the spotlight. Volkswagen has grown to dominate the car industry, taking many brands under their wings including Audi, Lamborghini, Porsche, and Bentley. Today Volkswagen is headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, and its top-selling vehicle is the Golf, which is the sporty modern-day successor to the Beetle.

Used Volkswagen Car Auctions

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Road testing and Durability

On the road, Toyota tends to perform very well. Their vehicles are known to be sturdy and solid on the road. The more basic models are built for durability and endurance on the road at the expense of comfort. Regarding the Corolla, the earlier models were made strong enough to make very long trips, if not in comfort. The more recent models have shown great advancement in technology with the introduction of much-improved comfort even in basic models. All this is achieved, though, without sacrificing the durability and solid driving that Toyota is known for.

Volkswagen, a German-engineered vehicle, is built for comfort and stability. On the road, Volkswagen shines for its solid and luxury-based driving experience. However, some models are far too comfortable at the expense of other factors and are not as durable as Toyota in the long run. Regarding the Golf model, Volkswagen has designed a vehicle that bridges both comfort and longevity. The Golf is known for being speedy, sturdy, and durable on the road with vehicles lasting many years.


Regarding comfort, the Toyota brand provides comfort at any level of the spectrum. From the most basic compact vehicle like the Prius to the most luxurious SUV highlander, comfort is always present. However, to be one of the best brands of cars to buy, comfort must go beyond just the interior seating and some features. In this Toyota does not fail at all. According to several Automobile Association reviews, the iconic Corolla has provided comfort since well before the turn of the century. Several owners cite that they would not trade their Corolla for any other car as it never fails to drive comfortably, smoothly, and economically. One reviewer described the Corolla as an MPV as it is so reliable and dependable for all of his family’s needs. Expect smooth driving, durable handling, and a comfortable interior, even if it is not leather.

When one talks of Volkswagen, comfort is never questioned. One may argue if there isn’t an uncomfortable Volkswagen on the market today. In contrast to the Toyota vehicles, VW focusses on smooth and delicate instead of durable and steady driving. Most of their cars are so soft to drive that you won’t even feel the bumps on the road, unlike the Toyota vehicles. However, where there is much delicacy, there is also fragility. As stated before, specific VW models do not last long. In contrast, regarding design, interior, and driving experience, VW is arguably superior to Toyota. When you enter a VW, you should expect a unique environment, a sensible steering wheel, and a very quiet and luxurious engine.


On the subject of maintenance, both the Toyota and the VW have a history of having less than usual maintenance requirements. Manufacturers set benchmark prices for a checkup and a revision at your local mechanic, but outside of that, maintenance tends to be very low-cost. However, when an accident occurs, you will begin to see a slight difference in the cost of maintenance between VW and Toyota.

Toyota cars tend to be more economical and fuel-efficient than VW vehicles. It is important to note that some vehicles from both makers are designed for fuel efficiency in the upper 50 mpg spectrum. Due to its fuel economy, more people with lower incomes opt for a Toyota. Likewise, more people from the middle and upper classes tend to opt for a VW. That resulted in greater availability of extra pieces for Toyota vehicles than VW. Also, German vehicles are uniquely engineered compared to other vehicles and tend to be complex to fix and maintain. This all results in higher repair costs for VW vehicles. So, maintenance for Toyota vehicles tends to be lower than VW vehicles. It is important to note, however, that both makers are notorious for making very resistant vehicles that only break if you “break them”.

Cost to Own and Depreciation

Having already spoken of maintenance costs, the only aspect left to consider is purchase pricing and depreciation. So, when it comes to Volkswagen and Toyota, the pricing spectrum can only be set based on the prices of new vehicles.

The cheapest Volkswagen on the market today has an average MSRP of $17,995, but prices can be as low as $15,695 for the most basic models. The Jetta, which comes at that price, has an average of 25-26 mpg combined and runs on a 2.0L engine. This price for a sedan only means that you are looking at a very affordable family car by market standards. Likewise, the Golf TSI model comes at $17,995 with an average fuel economy of 31 mpg combined. This makes this 2-door vehicle still very affordable for its price tag and comfort. The VW has one of the best depreciation rates at roughly around 40% after 34,000 miles or 3 years.

Toyota does come at a cheaper cost with vehicles as low as $14,995. The Yaris, the car at the lowest price point, is a highly economical compact vehicle. It has fuel economy well above 30 mpg, closer to 50, even, depending on the model type. The average cost for a Corolla comes at around $17,995, the same as the VW Golf. The fuel economy on the Corolla is also about the same as the Golf, with averages above the 30 mpg rate. Regarding depreciation, however, the Toyota has a 75% depreciation rate after 34,000 miles or about three years. The depreciation is a worthwhile trade-off depending on the car. Once you buy the Toyota, like the VW, you won’t be looking to sell it any time soon.


So if you are looking for a used vehicle, the best and most dependable brands are VW and Toyota. If you are looking for a vehicle more fit for comfort and style, while being durable and robust, then you will want a Volkswagen. If you are looking for a car fit for everything from family road trips to daily commutes, the Toyota is a better choice. Nonetheless, no matter which brand you go for, both are highly dependable, and you will not regret choosing either one.