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VW v Audi v Seat v Skoda: Which costs the most to maintain?

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Audi, Seat, Skoda and VW - four of the most popular manufacturers on our roads. But which costs the most to maintain?

Compare repair prices for the Audi, SEAT, Skoda and VW of course!

Theoretically, you would expect prices to be near identical, as in many cases they are the same under the hood, but let’s find out what the reality is…

Audi tops the list in terms of cost whereas SEAT comes out the cheapest

Understandably Audi is the most expensive of the four brands (£202.81 average quote), they sit in the premium sector alongside the likes of BMW and Mercedes.

However, Audi is only eight per cent more expensive than the average repair cost across the four brands (£188.22) and 20 per cent more than the least expensive brand, SEAT (£169.06).

The more interesting comparisons come when discounting Audi. VW are 10 per cent more expensive than SEAT and 6 per cent more expensive than Skoda.

Although these three brands have near identical parts under the hood, the cost of maintenance seems to correlate with the popularity of the brand. This suggests brand equity fuels more expensive maintenance costs.

Different brands are more expensive in different segments

When comparing the three volume superminis – Seat Ibiza, Skoda Fabia and VW Polo – the price differential is minimal, just £10 difference between the cheapest (Ibiza £153.52) and the most expensive (Fabia £163.05).

Similarly, the price difference on the high-volume saloon models like the Audi A4, Skoda Octavia, and VW Passat is only £14.

When it comes to hatchbacks, the Audi A3 repair bills are 11 per cent more expensive than the Seat Leon and 7 per cent more expensive than the VW Golf. Interestingly only £8 separates the Golf and the Seat Leon, which is what you would hope for considering when they are stripped down they are essentially the same car.

If you discount Audi, the other three brands battle for price supremacy across different segments, what is driving the price difference? We take a look individual job types to find out…

Routine repair shows Audi is the most expensive

Audi is the most expensive across the routine job categories such as brakes and exhausts, electricals and batteries, servicing and MOT plus steering and suspension. 

The most notable is with brakes and exhausts – on average, pads and discs will cost you an extra £53 for an Audi than they would for a SEAT, £47 more than Skoda and £37 more than VW.

Exhaust fitting will cost you £207 on average for an Audi, 46 per cent more than Skoda (£112), 36 per cent more than SEAT (£132) and 33 per cent more than VW (£138).

VW is well priced for routine work BUT less so for non-routine work

The fact VW comes out more expensive on average than SEAT and Skoda is driven mostly by non-routine work. If you take bodyshop work, the average VW quote is £407 – 25 per cent more than Skoda (£306) and a whopping 35 per cent more than SEAT (£266). In comparison, £4 separates the cheapest (SEAT £191) and most expensive (Skoda £196) for a routine full service and MOT.

Age of vehicle impacts brands in different ways

Prices leap once the car is over three years old for all the brands as mechanical work becomes a requirement. Between three and five years old, SEAT costs jump by 30 per cent, Skoda by 23 per cent, VW by 19 per cent and Audi by 18 per cent.

However, Audi costs continue to soar up to the eight-year mark when they then tail off and plateau. Audi remains the most expensive throughout, whereas SEAT, VW and Skoda all dip in price after five years for a short period.

So, which of the VW brands is the most to maintain?

It’s not great news for Audi drivers as your brand is consistently more expensive than their counterparts. VW is consistently more expensive than the Skoda and SEAT in the first 12 years of ownership. Interesting, considering many of the models are very similar in terms of what is under the hood – brand equity may result in a more expensive product. The question is - are you willing to pay the premium?

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