Volkswagen is one of the most iconic and influential automotive brands in the world, with a diverse range of popular models that have captivated drivers for decades. From the classic Beetle to today‘s electric vehicles, Volkswagen‘s lineup showcases the brand‘s spirit of innovation and commitment to excellence in engineering and design.
In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the 17 main types of Volkswagen cars across various categories, including hatchbacks, sedans, crossovers, electric vehicles, vans, and more. Discover the ideal Volkswagen to match your lifestyle and driving needs.
Overview of Volkswagen‘s History and Popularity
Volkswagen, which translates to "people‘s car" in German, was founded in 1937 with the goal of producing affordable and reliable vehicles for the masses. The brand gained worldwide popularity with the launch of the legendary rear-engined Beetle in 1938, which went on to become one of the best-selling cars of all time.
In subsequent decades, Volkswagen evolved its lineup with front-engine, front-wheel drive models like the Golf, Passat, and Jetta, which offered improved performance, safety, and practicality compared to the Beetle. By the 1990s, Volkswagen had firmly established itself as a mainstream brand with a reputation for quality, durability, and appeal.
Today, Volkswagen is one of the top automakers globally, selling over 10 million vehicles per year across 150 countries. The brand continues to win over new generations of drivers with its focus on innovation, sustainability, and delivering exceptional driving experiences suited for every lifestyle. From the compact Polo to the family-focused Atlas crossover, Volkswagen‘s diverse model range offers options for all tastes and budgets.
Next, let‘s take a detailed look at Volkswagen‘s 17 key models across various categories.
The Golf is arguably Volkswagen‘s most iconic model. First introduced in 1974, the Golf helped cement the brand‘s reputation for affordable, front-wheel drive compacts with excellent driving dynamics. Now in its eighth generation, the Golf continues to be one of Volkswagen‘s best-selling models worldwide.
Available as a four-door hatchback and wagon, the compact Golf delivers responsive handling, fuel-efficient engine options, ample cargo space, and Volkswagen‘s trademark build quality. Well-equipped even in base trims, the Golf offers standard features like a 6.5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, rearview camera, and rain-sensing wipers. Performance variants like the sporty GTI and high-performance Golf R add excitement and capability. With its perennial appeal and all-round versatility, the Golf remains a benchmark in the compact hatchback segment.
Starting MSRP: $24,995
Key Features: Turbocharged 4-cylinder engines, front-wheel drive, 5-door hatchback or wagon body styles, 6.5 to 10.3-inch touchscreens, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration, up to 228 horsepower in high-performance Golf R model.
Smaller than the Golf, the Polo is Volkswagen‘s entry-level hatchback model primarily designed for European markets but also sold in select regions worldwide. Known for its value, efficiency, and maneuverability, the Polo is an ideal urban runabout.
Now in its sixth generation, the latest Polo impresses with its upscale interior trim, user-friendly tech, and engaging driving dynamics. Available as a 5-door hatchback, equipment highlights include a glass sunroof, 6.5-inch touchscreen, rearview camera, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking. While Volkswagen offers the Polo with various small gas and diesel engines globally, US buyers can opt for a turbocharged 1.0-liter 3-cylinder gasoline unit. With its blend of style, quality, and efficiency, the Polo is a compelling choice in the subcompact segment.
Starting MSRP: $18,745
Key Features: Subcompact 5-door hatchback, turbo-3 gasoline engine, 6.5-inch touchscreen, forward collision warning, 5-speed manual or 7-speed auto.
The Jetta is Volkswagen‘s popular compact sedan, offering more traditional 3-box styling and expanded rear seat room versus the Golf hatchback. First introduced in 1979, the contemporary Jetta impresses with its combination of sleek looks, rewarding driving dynamics, fuel-efficient turbocharged engines, and user-friendly technology.
Available in S, SE, and SEL trim levels, the Jetta caters well to singles, couples, and small families looking for an affordable, well-equipped daily driver. Generous standard features include a 10.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 6.5-inch touchscreen, blind-spot monitoring, forward collision warning, and LED headlights. Offered exclusively with 8-speed automatic transmission, the Jetta is a smart choice for buyers wanting a practical but entertaining compact sedan.
Starting MSRP: $20,195
Key Features: Compact 4-door sedan, turbo-4 gasoline engines, 8-speed automatic, 10.3-inch digital instrument cluster, blind-spot monitoring, wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto.
Positioned above the Jetta in Volkswagen‘s sedan lineup, the midsize Passat offers enhanced interior room, luxury, and standard features. Now in its eighth generation, the Passat impresses with its tasteful styling, comfortable ride, fuel-efficient turbocharged engines, and generous cabin space.
The Passat particularly suits small families needing extra rear legroom and cargo capacity versus the compact Jetta. Well-equipped even in base form, the Passat comes standard with alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, and a suite of driver assistance features. Higher trim levels add larger alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery, ventilated front seats, and a Fender premium audio system. With its blend of practicality, quality, and value, the Passat remains a compelling midsize sedan choice.
Starting MSRP: $26,295
Key Features: Midsize 4-door sedan, turbo-4 gasoline engines, 6-speed auto, 6.3-inch touchscreen, ventilated front seats on higher trims, spacious rear seat and trunk.
The Arteon represents Volkswagen‘s flagship sedan, offering standout styling and premium features for a refined driving experience. Essentially a sleek fastback evolution of the Passat, the beautifully-designed Arteon turns heads with its flowing roofline and frameless side windows.
Matching its dramatic looks, the well-equipped Arteon pampers drivers with amenities like Nappa leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, ambient interior lighting, and a high-end Harman Kardon audio system. Power comes from an eager turbocharged 2.0-liter engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. With exceptional styling and luxury, the Arteon creates an upscale and engaging experience compared to mainstream midsize sedans.
Starting MSRP: $43,825
Key Features: Premium midsize 4-door fastback sedan, dramatic styling, turbo-4 engine, 8-speed auto, Nappa leather upholstery, ventilated front seats, Harman Kardon premium audio.
Slotted under the Atlas in Volkswagen‘s crossover SUV lineup, the Tiguan delivers car-like driving manners, generous cargo space, and available 3-row seating in a right-sized package. Notably, an extended wheelbase model called the Tiguan L provides even more passenger room and versatility.
Handsome and contemporary inside and out, the Tiguan shines with its responsive turbocharged engine, composed handling, user-friendly tech features, and up to 73.5 cubic feet of cargo space. With available amenities like panoramic sunroof, 12-inch touchscreen, digital cockpit, and heated rear seats, the Tiguan coddles passengers in affordable luxury. This winning blend of style, quality, and practicality makes the Tiguan a standout in the compact crossover segment.
Starting MSRP: $27,190
Key Features: Compact crossover SUV, seating for 5 or 7, turbo-4 engine, 8-speed auto, up to 73.5 cubic feet cargo room, panoramic sunroof, heated rear seats.
As Volkswagen‘s largest SUV, the 3-row Atlas prioritizes family-friendly practicality and comfort. The Atlas impresses with its handsome, rugged styling, stellar interior room, clever storage solutions, and array of family-oriented amenities.
Offered in 7-seat Atlas and 8-seat Atlas Cross Sport body styles, both models keep passengers happy with amenities like heated/ventilated front seats, panoramic sunroof, power liftgate, 12-inch touchscreen, wireless charging, and an 8-speaker Fender audio system. The Atlas also provides confident handling and ample power from its turbocharged engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. For shoppers needing maximum passenger and cargo versatility, the Atlas is a compelling choice.
Starting MSRP: $36,295
Key Features: Midsize 3-row crossover SUV, seating for 7 or 8, turbo-4 base engine or V6 option, 8-speed auto, up to 96.8 cubic feet cargo room, 12-inch touchscreen.
Positioned above the Atlas in luxury and capability, the Touareg large crossover SUV makes a style statement with its muscular design and premium details. The well-appointed interior offers opulent touches like a full digital instrument panel, wood and aluminum trim, Vienna leather seats, heated rear seats, 15-speaker Dynaudio sound system, and 780-watt 12-inch infotainment display.
The Touareg‘s sophisticated air suspension delivers a smooth, quiet ride on-road while providing serious off-road performance thanks to increased ground clearance and four-wheel drive. Motivating this premium crossover is a turbocharged V6 engine and 8-speed automatic transmission. Overall, the Touareg presents an enticing alternative for buyers desiring a lavishly-equipped 3-row SUV with impressive capability.
Starting MSRP: $49,715
Key Features: Large 3-row luxury crossover, premium cabin details, sophisticated air suspension, turbo V6 engine, 780-watt 12-inch touchscreen.
Electric Vehicle Models
The ID.3 ushers in a new era of Volkswagen electric vehicles, delivering zero-emissions driving in a stylish, practical 5-door hatchback form. Sold primarily in Europe, the ID.3‘s exterior features sleek styling with interactive LED lighting elements. Inside, drivers are greeted by Volkswagen‘s cutting-edge digital cockpit system with responsive touch controls.
Available battery sizes up to 77 kWh enable driving ranges between 205-343 miles per charge. Powering the rear wheels is an electric motor available in two strengths: 148 hp or 201 hp. With plenty of range for daily commuting, the ID.3 brings Volkswagen EV driving to the masses in an appealing, usable package.
Starting MSRP: $33,000 (Europe market pricing)
Key Features: Electric 5-door hatchback, rear-wheel drive, digital cockpit, 201 hp max power, up to 343 miles range.
Closely related to the ID.3 hatchback, the ID.4 brings Volkswagen‘s new electric vehicle platform to the hot-selling compact crossover segment. The sleek exterior follows an iconic design language shared with the ID.3, while the modern interior adopts the same minimalist digital cockpit layout.
Offered in rear-wheel drive Pro and dual-motor all-wheel drive Pro S configurations, output ranges from 201-299 hp. Generous 82 kWh battery capacity enables a driving range up to 260 miles on a charge. With its stylish packaging and long-distance capability, the ID.4 promises to make electric SUV ownership more appealing and practical.
Starting MSRP: $41,190
Key Features: Electric compact crossover, RWD or AWD configurations, 201-299 hp output, up to 260 miles range, 82 kWh battery capacity.
Essentially a stylish variant of the ID.4 crossover, the ID.5 features a sloping coupe-like roofline for added aesthetic appeal. The ID.5 shares the same 82 kWh battery pack, electric motor options, and interior technology as the ID.4. However, the ID.5‘s variant exterior styling provides a sleeker, more upscale appearance. Offered overseas in rear-wheel and all-wheel drive configurations, the ID.5 provides a tantalizing preview of Volkswagen‘s upcoming electric vehicles.
Starting MSRP: $46,000 (Europe market pricing)
Key Features: Electric compact crossover coupe, sloping roofline, shares ID.4 mechanicals and interior, RWD and AWD options.
Also known as the Caravelle or Multivan in global markets, the Volkswagen Transporter brings spacious flexibility to commercial and passenger transportation needs. Offered in multiple sizes and configurations as a cargo or passenger van, the Transporter is prized for its cavernous interior and smooth, comfortable ride.
Available in short-wheelbase sizes targeting cargo duties or longer configurations designed for hauling up to seven passengers, the Transporter adopts multiple engine options up to a 201 hp turbo-diesel with 4Motion all-wheel drive. With sturdy construction and endless interior flexibility, the Transporter adapts easily to commercial and family requirements.
Starting MSRP: $44,000 (Europe market pricing)
Key Features: Full-size van, multiple lengths and configurations, available 4Motion AWD, seating for up to 7, multiple gasoline and diesel engines.
Volkswagen Golf SportWagen/Golf Alltrack
The Golf SportWagen and Alltrack variants add wagon practicality and light off-road ability to the standard Golf hatchback formula. Based on the Golf platform, the SportWagen provides a more useful cargo area and driving dynamics that retain the Golf‘s fun spirit. For added capability, the Alltrack brings increased ground clearance, standard 4Motion AWD, and rugged exterior styling.
Both models offer roomy seating for five, generous cargo space, and Golf GTI and Golf R high-performance variants for drivers wanting more excitement. For active families needing extra utility without sacrificing driving enjoyment, the Golf SportWagen and Alltrack are compelling choices.
Starting MSRP: $26,295
Key Features: Golf-based compact wagon, seating for 5, up to 66.5 cubic feet cargo room, 4Motion AWD standard on Alltrack, GTI/Golf R performance variants.
Other Notable Volkswagen Models
Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport
The Atlas Cross Sport takes the family-focused Atlas SUV formula and applies sleeker 5-seat styling. Like the standard Atlas, the Atlas Cross Sport emphasizes passenger comfort, interior versatility, and generous cargo room. With its shorter overall length and sloped rear roofline, the Atlas Cross Sport provides a sportier, more stylish take on Volkswagen‘s popular 3-row SUV.
Starting MSRP: $35,085
Key Features: 5-seat midsize crossover SUV, shorter and lower than Atlas, shared engine and features, turbo-4 or V6 engine, up to 77 cubic feet cargo room.
Slotting under the Tiguan crossover in size, the new Taos targets budget-minded buyers needing a well-equipped, fuel-efficient compact SUV. Sharing its underpinnings with the capable Tharu SUV sold internationally, the Taos impresses with its handsome styling, versatile cargo room, and generous amount of standard tech and safety features. Power comes exclusively from a lively turbocharged 1.5-liter 4-cylinder engine and smooth 8-speed automatic. For affordability and economy in a pint-sized crossover package, the new Taos hits the spot.
Starting MSRP: $24,190
Key Features: Subcompact crossover SUV, seating for 5, turbo-4 engine, 8-speed auto, up to 66 cubic feet cargo room, 10.3-inch digital cockpit.
Volkswagen Arteon Shooting Brake
Essentially a wagon version of the sleek Arteon fastback sedan, the Shooting Brake provides enhanced utility while retaining the Arteon‘s upscale styling. Compared to the Arteon sedan, the wagon body style adds greater cargo versatility thanks to expanded vertical space and folding rear seats. Mechanically similar underneath, available engines include a turbo-4 petrol, plug-in hybrid, and turbo-4 diesel. With avant-garde looks and expanded practicality, the Arteon Shooting Brake brings added flair to the wagon segment.
Starting MSRP: $56,000 (Europe market pricing)
Key Features: Wagon variant of Arteon sedan, wagon body provides extra cargo room, similar engine options and interior features as Arteon sedan.
Volkswagen‘s Forward-Looking Future
In the coming years, Volkswagen aims to solidify its position as a leading producer of sustainable electric mobility. Ambitious goals include selling over one million electric vehicles per year globally by 2025, with plans to eventually phase out combustion engines entirely.
Upcoming additions will expand Volkswagen‘s ID all-electric sub-brand range, including ID.6 and ID.7 SUV models plus ID.Buzz electric microbus concepts. Software and self-driving technology will also play an increasing role as Volkswagen commits billions towards advanced driver assistance development.
While the beloved Beetle and Microbus cemented Volkswagen‘s early popularity, the brand continues to evolve based on innovation, quality, and environmental responsibility. With its strategic vision and diverse model lineup, Volkswagen is poised to delight drivers for decades to come.