"Ok folks you read don't buy a VW because of reliability issues. Well I' am here to tell you if you learn the cars quirks they are a very reliable cars. Why number one the iron cylinder block on the 2.0 engine can't be beat. Quirk number one and two you must change the water pump & timing belt at the same time, figure that in your budget. If you drive normal the timing belt will need changed around 80k to 100k. Or go with VW recommendation which is sooner, but you must change it, as if it fails your engines pistons will hit the valves, and the resulting engine damage is not cheap. Quirk number three if you get the automatic transmission please change the transmission fluid at least every 50k miles, if not sooner in hot areas. The fluid runs very hot and breaks down. The VW car's automatic transmission needs the auto transmission fluid change done, or you will either be buying a transmission, or at minimum about four flushes and the transmission valve body to make the transmission run again when it starts acting up. This is also a been there done that on the automatic transmission, the 95 VW we own. I recommend changing the automatic transmission fluid and filter every fifty thousand miles. Use only the VW transmission fluid. Quirk number four change the oil filter to oil cooler gasket at the same time you do the timing belt. This oil cooler to filter housing gasket is cheap like four bucks, but if you let it fail your oil is out of the engine in say one minute and all over the ground, been there done that, trust me buy the cheap gasket. Quirks five as the VW's age past ten years approaching fifteen years you will need some of the plastic water system fittings that attach to the cooling hoses. Tell tale signs white water stain marks by the cooling hoses to plastic fitting areas. Change the fitting that has the white water stain marks by it if your water level goes down and it is not the radiator of water pump leaking. The cooling system hose go a long way so you can leave them alone a lot of the time unless you see they are drying out and cracked then replace them. VW has the most cars on the road with over two hundred thousand miles is what I have heard. I believe it. I have a 1995, 1998, and 1999 1/2 VW. These cars all have a lot of miles on them, and they drive like the day they left the dealers lot. Also only put in the VW radiator fluid only do not mix no matter what they the auto parts store says. Quirks six flush the brake fluid also regularly. Learn to get your VW up in the air on some of the plastic ramps you can buy at the auto parts stores. Get under there and do your own oil changes, and brake jobs. Of course read all the safety requirements of getting under your car. Quirk seven the rear brakes if disc must have non rusted parking brake cables. If rusted or end boots torn or loose replace parking brake cables, and make sure the rear disc brakes release after releasing parking brake. Get a floor jack jack up the rear of the car use some safety stands under the car try spinning the rear wheels after applying the parking brake then releasing. If stuck do a rear brake job including a caliper change. Check around there are life time calipers at the auto parts stores. You will have a reliable car if you do some of the preventative maintenance and learn the car mechanically. Well this is only my take on the VW cars so follow the manufactures maintenance recommendations at a minimum, and keep an eye out for my experience with the VW cars."
"I love NOT having a carburetor to worry about and I love having the sealed transmission. Don't know why they don't build cars like this in the USA...the parts are a little expensive but they really last if you ever have to replace something...would love to have a new one but haven't worn this one out yet and may never wear it out as long as it still purrs like a kitten."
"Purchased my '97 Golf "Cabrio" back in 2010 with just over 70,000 km on the odometer. It had been a one owner vehicle and I found it on a VW lot where it had been traded in just a few days before for another VW product. This was my "lucky day" as it turned out.
Since owning the vehicle, I have driven it back and forth from British Columbia to Arizona for the past three years and it has never let me down yet. Fuel consumption is marvelous on these trips and even "around town" I still manage to get great gas mileage for a vehicle of this age.
The original "rag" top was replaced by a top quality top last summer as a result of "wear & tear" on the seams and I was advised by the dealer to replace the top rather than repair the old one. As a result, the interior noise when the top is up has been remarkably reduced. In addition, I managed to find a wind screen which cuts both the noise and wind in the passenger compartment to almost nil at highway speeds making it easy to have a normal conversation with my front seat passenger. (No back seat guests on board when the wind screen is in place).
Maintenance wise, the vehicle has not been a problem nor has it been all that expensive to maintain. Having a German mechanic also helps since he is so familiar with Volkswagen products. Other than a new set of tires and brand new wipers, there have been no other replacement parts so far.
Have given a lot of thought to selling or trading my "Cabrio" but that's all it has been so far - just thought. More than likely I will continue to keep the vehicle until it qualifies for "antique" plates in just a few years."
"This little car is so much fun to drive, I absolutely love it! If your asking if I would buy another then that would be a yes. It offers a lot of cool features considering its age, and is a ball to go topless. The top is super easy to put up or down, with a manual or automatic top. We have only had a few problems with it but what do you expect from a 1998, nothing lasts forever. I wish Volkswagen still made it because the Eos is a little pricey, but when you receive the quality that Volkswagen puts into there cars you understand. VW had a winner with the Cabrio."