Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (2022)

The 1.8L TSI engine from the EA888 (that’s “E-A-triple-8”) family was first introduced in 2007 by Audi AG. It replaced the EA1113 series of 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter engines and has been continually refined and modified ever since its introduction.

Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (1)

The 1.8L TSI engine from the EA888 family. Source: EnginesWork.

Despite being originally made for Audi vehicles, the EA888 family is well regarded in the VW community. The the Generation 3 version of the 1.8L TSI takes the crown as the best VW engine on the market. We’ll go over what makes it so special in a bit. But first, let’s scope out the entire EA888 family and see how far they’ve come in just a few short years.

The EA888 VW Engine Family: A Brief History

Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (2)

A 2.0L TSI engine. Source: APR

The EA888 is a family of three- and four-cylinder engines currently used by the Volkswagen Group. This award-winning engine family consists of the 1.8L turbo and a 2.0L turbocharged engine.

Though the original EA888 1.8L TSI was designed by Audi, it is easily one of the best and most well-known VW engines out there. This family features advanced engine technology such as direct fuel injection, thin-walled engine blocks, sintered camshaft loves, variable valve timing, downstream oxygen sensors, exhaust manifolds integrated into the cylinder heads, lightweight internal engine parts, and a port fuel injection to facilitate low load fuel consumption and cold start emissions. Unfortunately, the duel injection system has not been available in North American markets since 2016.


One interesting feature of these engines is that they reach their peak power output very shortly after their peak torque. For example, the 2.0L turbocharged engine reaches peak torque at 4500 RPM and peak power at 4700 RPM. This means that the torque drop-off after the peak is rather steep.

A full list of specifications for the three generations of the 1.8 TSI is below:

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  • Cylinder block material: Cast Iron
  • Cylinder head material: Aluminum
  • Fuel type: Gasoline
  • Fuel system: Direct fuel injection; Direct injection and multi-point injection
  • Configuration: Inline
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Valves per cylinder: 4
  • Valvetrain: DOHC
  • Bore: 82.5 mm (3.25 in)
  • Stroke: 84.1 mm (3.31 in)
  • Displacement: 1,798 cc (109.7 cu in)
  • Type of engine: Four-stroke, turbocharged
  • Compression Ratio: 9.60:1
  • Power: 120-170 HP (88-125kW) at 4,000-6,200 RPM
  • Torque: 170-240 lb-ft (230-320 Nm) at 1,500-4,800 RPM
  • Engine weight: 144 kg (318 lbs.)
  • Firing order: 1-3-4-2
  • Engine oil weight: VW 502 00; SAE 5W-30, 5W-40
  • Engine oil capacity: 4.6 liters for Gen 1 and 2; 5.7 liters for Gen 3
  • Oil change interval, mile: 9,000 (15,000 km) or every 12 months.

Sources: MotorReview; EnginesWork.

Generation 1 (2007 – 2010)

The original generation 1.8 TSI was largely built from scratch and had very little in common with its predecessors when it was first introduced. It was built around a cast-iron cylinder block and crankcase with high durability.

Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (3)

The Gen-1 1.8L TSI EA888 engine. Source: MotorReviewer.

It featured excellent acoustic dampening abilities and vibration reduction thanks to two chain-driven counter-rotating balance shafts. It possesses a 220-mm engine block and a steel crankshaft with eight counterweights, new aluminum-alloy pistons, and 148-mm connecting rods.

The first 1.8 TSI was meant to serve as a substitute for the 2.0L TSI EA113. However, the only feature the two engines really have in common is an 88-mm (3.46”) cylinder spacing.

This debut generation gained BorgWarner KKK K03 turbochargers with water cooling (a notable feature of VW engines), which are placed in a cast-iron exhaust manifold with maximum boost pressure of 8.7 PSI.

Sources: Engineering Explained; MotorReviewer.

Generation 2 (2008 – 2015)

Built to fix some of the bugs uncovered in the first generation, the second 1.8 TSI EA888 engine was initially produced alongside the Gen-1 version but quickly became more popular and widespread. It featured the new steel crankshaft and a reduced diameter of the main journals (from 58 to 52 mm). All of the Gen-2 engines were now are equipped with the variable oil pump. Otherwise, it was largely the same as the Gen-1 engine but with minor changes in small details and ECU tuning.

While the Gen-2 engine is perhaps the most widespread member of this engine family, it also has exhibited several problems that were later fixed in the Gen-3 release. See the end of this article for more details on that.

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Generation 3 (2011 – present)

The third generation of the 1.8 TSI was released for the 2011 model year.

Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (4)

The latest generation of the 1.8L TSI EA 888 engine. Source: APR.


This latest version of the 1.8 TSI was fundamentally redesigned and redeveloped from previous generations of the engine. With a new lightweight cylinder block along with a durable and light crankshaft with only four counterweights, this engine is both lighter than tougher than previous generations. It features redesigned pistons and connecting rods as well as a new 16-valve aluminum DOHC cylinder head with an integrated exhaust manifold.

The Gen-3 1.8L TSI EA888 can be fitted into to the following vehicles:

  • VW Jetta Mk5/Sagitar
  • VW Passat B6
  • VW Passat CC
  • Audi TT Mk2 (8J)
  • Audi 8P A3
  • Audi B7 A4
  • Audi A4 (B8)
  • Audi A5
  • SEAT Leon Mk2 (1P)
  • SEAT Altea XL
  • Skoda Yeti
  • Skoda Octavia Mk2 (1Z, Ming Rui)
  • Skoda Superb Mk2 (3T).
Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (5)

A breakdown of the Gen-3 parts. Source: Green Car Congress.

If that weren’t enough, the Gen-3 engine has been noted for its superior fuel economy. This unit produces a horsepower identical to an outgoing 5-cylinder 2.5L engine while delivering more torque at much fewer revolutions per minute. It offers up to a 17% reduction in fuel consumption relative to other comparable engines. Another key advancement of the Gen-3 1.8 TSI lies in its weight reduction, friction reduction, and exhaust cooling system. This engine also offers quicker response and drivability than prior versions of the engine.

Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (6)

Intake and Injection. Source: Green Car Congress.

The end result is that the engine’s power, torque, and fuel efficiency were all significantly boosted from the Gen-2 version. In this way, it is able to conform to the strict EU6 fuel economy standards that were made mandatory in Europe in 2015.

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According to TestDrivenTV, the Gen-3 1.8L TSI is “now pretty much the backbone of the Volkswagen car line here in North America.” They added that it “is now the base engine for the Golf, the Sportwagon, the Beetle, and the Passat … and though its smaller, it offers the same horsepower as the old 5-cylinder engine” that the 1.8L TSI replaced. Our source especially emphasized the thin-wall casting of the engine, which “allows sections of the block to be less than an eighth of an inch thick.”

This, along with chain-driven balance shafts that offset the vibrations of the main assembly, allows the engine to be lighter than previous generations while retaining the same noise reduction capabilities.

Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (7)

Source: VWVortex.

Unlike previous generations of the engine, the exhaust manifold is cast into its head, which allows the turbocharger to bold directly to it. Its water-cooling capabilities, alongside a relatively short route for fuel to travel to the compressor, gives the engine its low turbo lag and its excellent fuel economy.

It is available in both automatic and manual transmission—either a 5-speed manual or a 6-speed Tiptronic automatic.


Sources: TestDrivenTV.

Volkswagen 1.8L TSI Engine ECU Upgrade

Available from APR, the “ultimate” engine control unit (ECU) upgrade for the 1.8 EA888 Gen-3 engine will dramatically boost the horsepower and torque of your engine at a relatively low price. APR was able to optimize the factory engine management system and increase power and torque without any end-user adjustments.

Which VW Engine is the Best for Your Next Volkswagen Car? (8)

An APR ECU. Source: APR

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If you read our piece on COBB dealers and the COBB Accessport a few weeks ago, this is the same kind of thing here. APR offers an entirely software-based solution. That optimizes engine performance by calibrating the software to suit your specific driving needs. APR’s ECU upgrades are all available in several stages, supporting various octanes with, or without, any hardware modifications.

While the ECU included in the 1.8L TSI is extremely powerful, it is notoriously difficult to master. With the help of APR, you can unlock all the hidden potential of your engine and maximize both power and performance in one neat package.

Source: APR; EnginesWork.

Some VW 1.8 TSI Engine Problems To Be Aware Of

Before concluding, we would be remiss if we didn’t discuss some of the issues that have occasionally been noted with the 1.8 TSI family. These are not major problems by any means, but for the sake of journalistic integrity, let’s go over them anyway.

One occasional issue has been that the timing chain begins to stretch after about 60,000 miles. This may result in noisy and unsteady engine function and, if not repaired, can lead to a serious motor breakdown. Luckily, the Generation 3 1.8 TSI includes an additional tensioner that reduces the chances of this particular malfunction.

The second generation 1.8 TSI tends to have a bit of difficulty with excessive oil use. This is most likely induced by the thin piston rings on the Gen-2 engine. After a certain period of time, the motor starts to use more oil, eventually consuming about 2 liters every 60,000 miles. Luckily, this problem appears to have been resolved in the Gen-3 engine. However, be aware that the Gen-3 engine’s turbocharger actuator should be regulated after the motor runs more than 60,000 miles. Spark plugs should be replaced at the same mile intervals.

Overall, the engines from this family are very reliable with excellent horsepower and torque. Just watch for oil use and timing chain malfunctions on your Gen-2 engine, and you should be good to go.

Source: EngineWorks.


Which VW engine is most reliable? ›

If you're looking for a reliable Volkswagen engine, the 1.8T EA113 and EA888 should be on your watchlist. One Volkswagen engine consistently appears on 'most reliable' discussions and lists: the 1.8T. Haynes calls the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine the best VW engine.

Is the VW 1.4 TSI engine any good? ›

The petrol version of the Volkswagen Golf MK7 is another winner, mixing punch and refinement. This Golf 1.4 TSI can't match the cleanest diesels for emissions, but it's not far off. Smooth power delivery and strong mid-range punch make the most of the Golf's talented chassis, while the DSG box is intuitive and fast.

Is the VW 1.5 TSI engine any good? ›

TSI engines offer an enjoyable and involving drive, while cutting fuel consumption and CO2. Because TSI engines are cleaner, you'll also save on car tax. So they have a smaller impact on the environment, are kinder to your pocket - and, best of all, they're great fun to drive.

What is the most reliable Volkswagen? ›

The Volkswagen Up belongs to the smallest passenger car category – segment A, which is the main reason this car is the most reliable Volkswagen. It received a 94.8% reliability rating from WhatCar?, placing it among the most reliable cheap cars.

Which model of VW is best? ›

Best Volkswagen Cars & SUVs
  • 2022 Volkswagen Golf R. Overview. ...
  • 2023 Volkswagen Golf GTI. Overview. ...
  • 2022 Volkswagen Passat. Overview. ...
  • 2023 Volkswagen Taos. Overview. ...
  • 2023 Volkswagen Jetta. Overview. ...
  • 2023 Volkswagen Atlas Cross Sport. Overview. ...
  • 2023 Volkswagen Arteon. Overview.

Which brand engine is best? ›

Top 10 manufacturers – most reliable engines
ManufacturerFailure Rate
1Honda1 in 344
2Toyota1 in 171
3Mercedes-Benz1 in 119
4Volvo1 in 111
6 more rows
24 Mar 2014

Is TSI better than TDI? ›

Direct injection results in more efficient fuel combustion, allows for improved pulling power and reduces exhaust emissions. While most modern TSI engines are capable of excellent fuel economy of 45mpg or more, they generally fall short of TDI engines, some of which manage over 65mpg.

Are 1.4 engines reliable? ›

Yes, a 1.4 L engine should be good for your first car! However, it's a good idea to steer clear of anything larger than 1.4 L, as it can become expensive to insure vehicles with larger engines, especially for newer drivers.

Is VW Golf 1.4 TSI problems? ›

Some problems include the piston ring land cracking over time which can be expedited by using the incorrect fuel. The CAVD engine must use 98 octane unleaded fuel as lower octane fuel will cause the engine to ping and result in prematurely cracked pistons. Another issue is the timing chain tensioner.

Is the VW 2.0 turbo a good engine? ›

The 2.0T TSI was a fairly reliable engine, but it does have a list of common problems. This article will outline the common VW engine problems and how to detect them. This engine uses direct injection to spray the fuel into the engine's cylinders. The fuel injectors the piece that sprays the fuel.

Is TSI or Tfsi better? ›

The TSI engine is a single-scroll turbocharger design, while the TFSI engine uses a twin-scroll turbocharger. This difference results in different performance characteristics for the two engines. The TSI engine is more efficient and has better throttle response than the TFSI engine.

What is the difference between 1.0 TSI and 1.5 TSI? ›

The 1.0-litre TSI petrol is offered in two states of tune: 95PS/175Nm and 115PS/200Nm. The 1.5-litre TSI has a power output of 150PS/250Nm.

What are common Volkswagen problems? ›

The Most Common Problems With Volkswagen Vehicles
  • Overactive Check Engine Light. ...
  • Oil Problems. ...
  • Coolant Leaks. ...
  • Vehicle Overheating. ...
  • Suspension Issues.
4 Nov 2021

What are the most reliable engines? ›

These Are Some Of The Most Reliable Car Engines Ever Made
  • 10/10 Toyota 2AR-FE Engine.
  • 9/10 Toyota 1ZZ Engine.
  • 8/10 Honda B Series Engine.
  • 7/10 Honda K Series Engine.
  • 6/10 Lexus 1UZFE Engine.
  • 5/10 Lexus 2UR-GSE Engine.
  • 4/10 BMW M57 Diesel Engine.
  • 3/10 Nissan RB26DETT Engine.
5 Jan 2022

What is more reliable Ford or VW? ›

By far and large, Volkswagen will produce a better vehicle, with more quality and better reliability. as long as the car is maintained per owners manual, the car will last a long time the car will start as normal, the doors will retain their seal and close as normal.

Which brand is better Honda or Volkswagen? ›

While either of these vehicles are good buys, the Honda edges out the Volkswagen in this comparison thanks to its reliability and its resale value. While the Jetta is a solid car that offers European driving dynamics, it doesn't offer the variety of body styles and engine options that the Honda offers.

What is better Audi or VW? ›

Volkswagen and Audi are both impressive brands with beautiful luxury vehicles on offer, but when it comes to safety, reliability, and style, Volkswagen just can't be beat.

Is Kia or VW better? ›

To put it simply, Kia offers better options and more choices in its lineup than the Volkswagen brand does. If you're ready to take the plunge into a new Kia vehicle, head over to our our online inventoryto view our lineup of in-stock vehicles at Friendly Kia.

Which car engine has more life? ›

A gasoline-powered vehicle can typically operate for around 200,000 miles before it needs a serious overhaul, or be replaced with a new vehicle. But an amazing fact is that diesel engines can run for 1,000,000-1,500,000 miles before needing any major diesel repairs.

Which car brand has the strongest engine? ›

Bugatti Chiron (8.0 litre W16)

The Bugatti Chiron boasts a four turbo, 8.0-litre W16 engine, which is undoubtedly the fastest in the industry. This engine can produce 187.5 horsepower per litre, totalling 1,479 HP. In addition to that, this car also has an incredible torque of 1,600 Nm at 2,000 to 6,000 rpm.

Which is better GTI or TSI? ›

Which Golf is right for you? -The Golf TSI is the more economical of the two, but still delivers good performance and excellent handling. The GTI offers an extra boost in power (and slightly better fuel economy), along with larger wheels, xenon lights and all-wheel drive availability.

How long does TSI engine last? ›

The average lifespan of the 1.2 TSI engine is 150,000 miles (250,000 km).

Is TSI engine better? ›

Turbo Stratified Injection - TSI

TSI engines are compact, high-powered and use less fuel. TSI technology blends the best of our TDI diesel and FSI (fuel stratified direct injection) petrol engines to give you excellent driveability and outstanding fuel economy.

Does VW 1.4 TSI have a timing belt? ›

The 1.2 TSI, 1.4 TSI and 1.8 TSI turbocharged petrol engines all use timing chains and the rest have timing belts.

What is the difference between a 1.4 and 1.6 engine? ›

An engine with single or multiple cylinders that effectively displaces 1.4 litres of the working fluid (fuel-air mixture) when the piston(s) move from one extremity to the other is a 1.4L or 1400cc engine. If the piston(s) displaces 200cc more, it becomes a 1.6L or 1600cc engine.

Is a 1.4 car engine economical? ›

1.4-1.6 Litre Engines

They're still usually good on the fuel economy front, so you won't have to pay too many visits to the petrol station if you mainly drive around town.

Which Golf is most reliable car? ›

The original Golf model was manufactured to replace the VW Beetle. In 1975, it was sold under the name “Rabbit”. And, as with most things, “new and improved” can be used to describe Volkswagens. Recent CarBuyer research verifies that the Golf Mk6 model is considered more reliable than the Golf Mk5.

Is Golf 1.4 a good car? ›

The powerplant pulls smoothly when you're ambling along, and yet has enough energy to let the car to make darting sprints between city traffic should the need arises. And the best part is, you still get the excellent ride and handling setup that made the new Golf such a media darling.

What cars use the 1.4 TSI engine? ›

1.4 TSI / TFSI otor can be found in a very wide range of models Volkswagen groups - From Polo and Fabia through Octavi and Tiguan to the Alhambra. Unfortunately, after a few months of presence on the market, the first symptoms of a high frequency of failure of this construction began to appear.

How long do Turbos last VW? ›

Turbos are designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle (or around 150,000 miles); however, it's possible for them to wear out over time depending on how hard you drive the car and the original build quality of the turbo.

Is VW 2.0 TDI a good engine? ›

The 2.0 TDI PD engine is praised for outstanding performance and low fuel consumption. The engine is mounted in a wide range of popular Vw Group models.

Why do VW turbos fail? ›

Most failures are caused by the three 'turbo killers' of oil starvation, oil contamination and foreign object damage. More than 90% of turbocharger failures are caused oil related either by oil starvation or oil contamination. Blocked or leaking pipes or lack of priming on fitting usually causes oil starvation.

What does TFSI mean on a Volkswagen? ›

What does TFSi stand for? As just touched on, TFSi is an older generation of engine technology from the VW group, now improved in TSi form. Those four letters stand for 'Turbo Fuel Stratified Injection'.

What does TSI stand for? ›

It stands for Turbocharged Stratified Injection, and in basic terms refers to the engine being turbocharged. It's an evolution of Volkswagen's TFSI (Turbocharged Fuel Stratified Injection).

What does VW TSI stand for? ›

The Volkswagen turbocharged stratified injected (TSI) engine is a lightweight, high-power, fuel-efficient four-cylinder traditional combustion engine. It is found in some form on most Volkswagen vehicles, such as the Atlas, Tiguan, and Passat.

Is 1.5 or 1.0 engine better? ›

It should come as no surprise that the 1.5-litre engine is much better than the 1.0-litre engine. Not only is it more powerful than the 1.0-litre, but it is also much more refined. It offers a smooth linear flow of power, offering a comfortable ride.

Is VW 1.0 TSI engine good? ›

TSI engines do not enjoy a very good reputation - cases of towing the drive chain, cracking of pistons and burning of oil in the amount of more than 1 liter / 1000 km. There are many indications that Volkswagen has drawn conclusions and created a much better generation of engines.

Is a 1.0 TSI engine good? ›

The 1.0 TSI engine on VW Golf is a reliable engine and has received good reviews from drivers. The engine is fuel efficient and delivers good performance, making it a great choice for those looking for an affordable and practical vehicle.

Which VW models are reliable? ›

German car brands are generally known for their quality and longevity and the Volkswagen is no exception to this. Out of all VW models, the Volkswagen Golf is said to be one of the most reliable and a great all-round car for drivers who are looking for comfort, convenience and long term reliability.

What is the most reliable TDI engine? ›

The longest-lasting diesel engine is the 5.9L Cummins 12-Valve 6BT. The engine possesses million-mile durability, with an outstanding 30 horsepower for fast acceleration. It also features up to 440ft-lbs of torque and a high-performance P7100 injection pump.

Is VW 2.0 TSI engine reliable? ›

The 2.0T TSI was a fairly reliable engine, but it does have a list of common problems. This article will outline the common VW engine problems and how to detect them. This engine uses direct injection to spray the fuel into the engine's cylinders. The fuel injectors the piece that sprays the fuel.

Is TSI or TDI better? ›

Direct injection results in more efficient fuel combustion, allows for improved pulling power and reduces exhaust emissions. While most modern TSI engines are capable of excellent fuel economy of 45mpg or more, they generally fall short of TDI engines, some of which manage over 65mpg.

How many miles will a VW engine last? ›

They don't last as long as some brands, but you can expect this car to stick around. According to motorask.com, a Volkswagen that is cared for properly should last 100,000 - 200,000 miles.

Is the VW 2.0 TDI a good engine? ›

The 2.0 TDI PD engine is praised for outstanding performance and low fuel consumption. The engine is mounted in a wide range of popular Vw Group models.

What are the best years of VW diesel? ›

While Volkswagen has produced many very good diesel engines over the years, the “ALH” engine used between 1998 and 2006 is regarded as one of the best.

What diesel does VW recommend? ›

For diesel models, we recommend the use of diesel fuel containing up to 7% Biodiesel.


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