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SEAT vs Volkswagen: which is best?

Ellie Dyer-Brown, 1 year ago

5 min read

  • Advice
  • Maintenance
VW Tiguan (Fabian Canela)

WhoCanFixMyCar explores some of the key differences between SEAT and Volkswagen, taking into account maintenance costs and reliability, to determine which car make is best.

SEAT and Volkswagen are two of the most well-known car brands on the road today, and with each offering a range of excellent vehicles, it can be difficult to choose between them - not least because they share so many similarities!

Both brands are owned by the same parent company, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft Group, meaning they have similar components and often use the same technology. But where exactly do these end, and which car brand is better? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this guide.

Guide Contents:

Maintenance Costs

Model Range

Reliability

Warranty and Roadside Assistance

Are SEAT and Volkswagen engines the same?

Which is better, SEAT or Volkswagen?


SEAT vs Volkswagen: Maintenance Costs

When you’re buying a new or even a used car, one of the most important considerations should always be how much it will cost to maintain. This includes servicing, MOTs, vehicle health checks and any small but vital jobs like fluid changes. 

Given that these car brands are known for being so similar, you might expect their maintenance costs to be the same, too, but this isn’t necessarily the case. A small number of differences between makes and models can have a surprisingly large impact on overall maintenance costs.

Below, you can find a table of the average maintenance costs for SEAT and Volkswagen across all models.

ServiceSEATVolkswagen
Full Service£165.85£171.51
MOT£41.01£42.18
Full Service and MOT£196.56£199.08
Interim Service£106.20£111.37
Vehicle Health Check£38.47£45.67
Brake Fluid Change£53.45£54.41

SEAT cars are the cheapest to maintain, with an average service and repair cost of £181.50 - an extremely impressive number! Volkswagen proves to be a little more pricey, with an average cost of £219.92.


SEAT vs Volkswagen: Model Range

SEAT has six key models, including the Mii city car, the iconic Ibiza, New Arona, Ateca, Tarraco and the Leon family.

Volkswagen, on the other hand, has 13 key models, including the Polo, Golf, up!, ID, T-Cross, Taigo, T-Roc, Tiguan, Touareg, Passat, Arteon, Touran and Sharan.


SEAT vs Volkswagen: Reliability

Sometimes, high maintenance costs can be offset by a vehicle’s overall reliability. The less a car is liable to break down or experience a fault, the less often you will have to deal with unexpected repair bills. 

The table below has been created using the What Car? 2021 reliability survey to help you compare across the different makes and models.

Small CarReliability Score
Volkswagen Up94.80%
SEAT Ibiza90.50%
Volkswagen Polo80.60%
Family CarReliability Score
SEAT Leon (petrol)95.10%
SEAT Leon (diesel)94.90%
Volkswagen Golf (petrol)94.60%
Volkswagen Golf (diesel)89.40%
Executive CarReliability Score
Volkswagen Passat95.80%
Small SUVsReliability Score
Volkswagen T-Roc96.30%
SEAT Arona95.20%
Volkswagen T-Cross90%
Family SUVsReliability Score
Volkswagen Tiguan93.70%
SEAT Ateca92.50%
Large SUVsReliability Score
SEAT Tarraco87.50%

Overall, the most reliable car is the Volkswagen T-Roc with a score of 96.3%, followed by the Volkswagen Passat with 95.8%.


SEAT vs Volkswagen: Warranty and Roadside Assistance

Volkswagen’s new car warranty is made up of a two year unlimited mileage manufacturer warranty and a further one year, or 60,000 miles (whichever comes first), warranty. You can choose to extend this warranty, too, with prices starting at £136 per year.

SEAT vehicles come with a three year or 60,000 mile warranty - whichever comes first. If that doesn’t seem like enough, there are warranty extension options which can be discussed with your local dealer. They also have a 3 year paintwork warranty.


Are SEAT and Volkswagen engines the same?

Due to the fact that they are owned by the same parent company, SEAT and Volkswagen do share a number of components, but this doesn’t mean that they are identical when you open the bonnet. In fact, the difference in maintenance costs and reliability scores proves that these two car brands are more like cousins than twins. 

That being said, the Volkswagen Polo is mechanically similar to the SEAT Ibiza, while the Volkswagen Golf is similar to the SEAT Leon. 

The shared technology that is most notable is the MQB platform, a modular toolkit that forms the basis of many VW Group cars. Some of the most iconic models, such as the SEAT Leon and Volkswagen Golf, use this platform.


Which is better, SEAT or Volkswagen?

The average maintenance and repair cost across all SEAT models is £38.42 cheaper than Volkswagen. 

Based on the models included in the reliability survey above, Volkswagen scores an average of 91.9%, whereas SEAT scores 92.61%, putting it into the lead - but only just. 

While SEAT comes out on top if you’re looking for a car that’s both reliable and affordable to maintain, there are so many more factors at play when it comes to choosing the right vehicle for you. Both have strengths and weaknesses, and these will vary from model to model, so the best thing you can do is read as much as possible about each one and come to an informed decision of your own.