Volkswagen Derby Reviews

1981 Volkswagen Derby LS 1.1 GAS from North America

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1980
First year of ownership2006
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 1.1 GAS Manual
Performance marks 3 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 4 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 1 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.3 / 10
Distance when acquired44000 miles
Most recent distance47000 miles
Previous carToyota Supra

Summary:

Very fun basic commuter

Faults:

Minor body cancer here and there. THE HEATER TAKES FOREVER TO WARM UP.

General Comments:

Honestly a very fun car to have here in the states. I parked my supra bi-turbo and purchased this car. the car is extremely rare here in the states plus it being right hand steer makes it all the more unique. the car is very basic. absolutely no bells or whistles. better suited for side street driving. I think driving her past 60 is a little too sTrenuous. the fuel economy is very good. one fault is the heater takes forever to warm up, but the car is almost older than myself. I would also hate to see the outcome of an accident. here in the states everyone like to drive large trucks and ute's.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 27th February, 2007

1981 Volkswagen Derby GLS 1.3 from UK and Ireland

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.3 Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 6 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired15500 miles
Most recent distance16000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Derby

Summary:

Fantastic fun car to drive, will keep you smiling for days on end!

Faults:

Alternator has failed.

Due to alternator failing, battery has run down.

General Comments:

The Derby is a very comfortable car to drive, the low seating position and large steering wheel make it easy to drive and comfortable.

The looks of the care are beautiful. Everywhere it goes it turns heads.

The interior is very basic, but it has all the right features, including wooden style dash, rev counter and digital clock (baring in mind this is a 23 year old car that's practically state of the art!)

Handling is a bit scary on the original tyres as they are a very thin in width. This is easily sorted by buying new wider wheels when it comes to tire renewal time.

Boot is huge, you could store a few bodies in there.

Rust is a major problem with Derby's or in fact with an Volkswagen of this age, but it is mostly surface rust as the metals used were of a high grade and therefore were less susceptible to car cancer.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th January, 2005

1981 Volkswagen Derby 1.3 from UK and Ireland

Model year1981
Year of manufacture1981
First year of ownership1991
Most recent year of ownership1993
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.0 / 10
Distance when acquired50000 miles
Most recent distance70000 miles

Summary:

Lively, comfortable, but flawed

Faults:

The main problem was overheating, I was told that this was common with VW alloy engines such as the 1.3 unit fitted to the Derby.

The headlights were also terribly weak - a friend that also owned a Derby suffered the same problem, he fitted uprated bulbs, although I don't think these were legal.

During the final year of ownership I used the car relatively little and reliability suffered as a result.

General Comments:

For a small car it was quite good over longish distances due to an engine that was reasonably lively and very good front seats. I regularly made a trip from Birmingham to Plymouth (UK) without problems either from the car or from my body.

The controls all worked well, precisely and with a degree of solidity not present in other small cars I have driven. It was also a decent drive along country roads being agile and responsive to the throttle, although you wouldn't win any hill climbs in one!

Room in, and access to, the back seats is restrictive, but the boot was a decent size and it was OK on petrol.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th November, 2004

1978 Volkswagen Derby LS 1.3 from Norway

Year of manufacture1978
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.3 Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 3 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired88000 miles
Most recent distance112000 miles

Summary:

Manufactured perfection!

Faults:

I have merely changed the dynamo. That's all.

General Comments:

This is a most beautiful, sympathetic, nice, economically clever car! I simply love it! And I have been a Derby-owner for two years now. I would want no other car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th June, 2004

21st Jan 2006, 18:56

I owned a Volkswagen Derby LS in the mid 90's. I can't possibly believe that someone could like it. Oil leaks, faulty ignition, drive shafts. It is horrible to drive, the seats feels like wood. The only good thing about this car is low fuel consumption.

10th Nov 2007, 13:40

I owned two of these cars both in Mars Red both S plate 1978 models and both with 44000 miles on the clock when I bought them. I found them really nice to drive compared with the usual offerings available at the time.

This has encouraged my interest in VWs and I have been the proud owner of a VW Scirocco Mk1 VW Vento 2.0GL automatic, VW Polo on a J plate and also the 1997 model---this was the least reliable and had a new clutch at 66000 and also the ECU unit which was another £400. Now I have a VW Golf GTI Mk3 and that is great fun.

We also have a Skoda Fabia Silverline which is a brilliant, but cheaper VW with a different badge.

Average review marks: 5.6 / 10, based on 7 reviews