Germany’s “Volkswagenwerk” (People’s Car Company) took off in the US until the 1960s. The company was made public, which denationalized it, and an advertising company came up with the nickname “Beetle” to help sell the car’s small size and odd shape to the American public.
Sales took off, and the original Beetle design remained relatively unchanged for nearly 70 years, until worldwide production of the Type 1 finally ceased in 2003 (the last one was made in Mexico). By then, more than 21 million Beetles had been sold worldwide. Responding to consumer demand, VW started introducing sportier models in the early 1970s, with the Rabbit and Golf, and continues to evolve. As newer models are introduced, the safety features that have made VW a reputable choice for decades continue to evolve.
If you’re considering purchasing a new or used VW, these five facts about Volkswagen safety might just convince you.
1. Volkswagens Win Awards for Design and for Safety
Drivers everywhere like Volkswagens. As a matter of fact, 24/7 Wall St. lists three VWs in its report on the best-selling vehicles of all time, listing the Passat, the Beetle and the Golf.
The GTI was an AutoGuide.com nominee in its 2015 Car of the Year list, which touted the hatchback as having “responsive handling, a powerful turbocharged engine and practical cargo storage.”
In taking a look at Volkswagen’s 2015 Jetta, a Kelley Blue Book (KBB) review notes improvements are not limited to new styling and an upgraded interior, but there are also “a number of new safety features including blind-spot detection and forward-collision warning.” Resale values, according to KBB, tend to be highest for diesels in this model.
2. Volkswagen Is Ahead of the Curve on Safety Features
While performance and reliability have always been a hallmark of Volkswagen cars, safety is taken very seriously. The carmaker includes both active and passive safety devices in its vehicles, ranging from anti-lock brakes and anti-slip regulation to electronic stability control, which was introduced years before the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s 2012 mandate.
3. Volkswagens Get Consistently Positive Safety Ratings
In 2016, VW shared a statement from the NHTSA that reported some 2016 VW models had received a top safety ranking of five stars. The cars that made the cut include the Golf SportWagen four-door, the Golf R, the Golf GTI and the standard Golf.
According to the NHTSA, all safety ratings are decided in conjunction with New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), a governmental entity. “NHTSA’s NCAP provides front, side, and rollover test ratings, all aimed at helping consumers in making their vehicle purchasing decisions,” the report explains. “The ratings results are displayed to consumers using an easily recognizable star rating system from one to five, with five being the best a vehicle can achieve.”
U.S. News & World Report published safety information for the 2016 Jetta, including detailed data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The IIHS rated the Jetta “good” for the following safety features:
- Roof strength
- Rear impact protection
- Side impact protection
- Small overlap front tests
- Moderate overlap front tests
4. VWs Are Recommended for Teen Drivers
In a Consumer Reports article from 2015, two VWs as listed as being safe yet affordable: The Rabbit/Golf and the Jetta. With simple controls, great visibility, a giant trunk and lots of power, the Jetta is reliable. As for the hatchback, the Rabbit/Golf, it too is a solid car that’s fun to drive with agile handling and a good ride, making both ideal for teenagers still learning the ropes.
5. Today’s Volkswagens Have Advanced Digital Safety Features
Innovations in safety features are optional on some Volkswagen models. These features often use advanced technology like cameras and sensors to make driving a safer experience. Car dealership Volkswagen of the Woodlands in Texas outlines some of the features found in 2016 VWs, including Touaregs, Golfs, Jettas and even the CC V6 4Motion Executive.
- Park assist — The Parking Steering Assistant takes over the wheel for the driver. The driver is still in charge of stopping or starting the car, but the park assist feature can help with tricky parking situations such as parallel parking.
- Park pilot — The park pilot feature “offers guidelines on the camera screen and will also offer warnings to the driver when the car is getting close to another object.”
- Rear traffic alert — Rear traffic alerts come with a built-in Blind Spot Monitor, which, when combined with the alerts, provides a type of digital third eye for drivers so they can focus on what’s in front of them.
- Lane assist — Lane assist “uses a camera to make sure the car is staying in its lane. Above 40 miles per hour, if the system senses the car is straying out of its lane, the system will provide an audio and visual warning as well as automatically counter steer if needed.”
- Adaptive cruise control — Cruise control is a useful feature for any vehicle, and the VW is no exception. Speed will stay consistent.
- Forward collision warnings — VW drivers will notice their vehicle includes forward collision warnings. With the addition of Autonomous Emergency Braking, stopping the car at a moment’s notice is no problem.