"This car tricked me. I got caught up in its cuteness and excellent drivability. It really feels like a little go cart and is great for both city and highway driving. Unfortunately, it breaks ALL THE TIME. Had it for just short of three years and I never went more than four months without a repair. The electrical system was all messed up and the engine was in even worse shape. By far the least reliable car I have ever owned and I'm glad I got rid of it."
"I bought this car brand new in 2002. Yes, I have had the typical mass air flow sensor causing the check engine light to go on issue but once they replaced the sensor and all connections, it never came back on. I had an issue with my anti-lock brake system which was fixed by changing the sensor. I have had absolutely no transmission trouble whatsoever. No engine trouble. Recently the car started leaking antifreeze and no one could figure out why. Turns out one of those JiffyLube places replaced my red VW protective antifreeze with regular green antifreeze and it ate through my hoses. I did see someone complain about the cruise control, just this year mine started shutting itself off at random intervals. My heated seats still work lovely and the only time I have a leak is when it has been raining ridiculously heavy and even then only by the door frame. Don't buy this car if you expect any kind of horsepower whatsoever though...it has NONE. Other than these relatively minor issues and basic maintenance, we have had no problems with this car and cannot wait to buy Volkswagen again! Oh, did I mention it has over 150,000 miles on it??"
"This is not the kind of car for people that need to go from point A to point B in a the northern climates. We bought the car from a dealership used with about 65k miles on her.
-Windshield cracked with no apparent impact.
-Power windows act strange.
-Check engine light malfunctions.
-Stalls in rain, snow.
-Won't start in cold weather.
-Lacks the kind of power you'd expect from a weightless car.
-Shakes over 60 mph.
Make sure you get a warranty. Don't expect that to save you from labor costs, which in our case have climbed into the several hundreds alone."
"Windows had some problems from day one. Would go to roll window up, would go up about half way and then go back down so you'd have to start over again.
About 4 years ago radio just stopped working.
About a year later the back window would start going down all by itself when it was a hot day.
2 years ago window regulator went on driver's side door had that replaced, that was about $600.
Window regulator on same side just went again. This time didn't want to pay another $600 and just had the window blocked up. I just want to get rid of this vehicle.
Will not purchase another VW. This was my 2nd. 1st one was great 1994 Golf. But had manual windows. No problems there.
I will say that I love the responsive handling of a VW. I will miss that. Company needs to do something about the electrical issues with the windows. I'm not the only one. I guess if it's not life-threatening it's not worth a recall."
We bought this car new. After 9 years of ownership the average cost of maintenance/repair per year comes out at about $500 (/year). The car has just over 100,000 miles now. We also have a Toyota Echo and that one runs at about $300/year, which has about 175,000 miles. This should give you a point of reference.
The Cabrio still looks good inside and outside. The main things that I have not bothered repairing are:
1. The lock for the top when it's down is broken. So to bring the top back up I have to go to both side of the car and lift it.
2. The remote key is not working anymore so I use the "manual" key to start the car and open doors.
Aside from the above we replaced the belts and pumps around 80,000 miles (tje major ticket item).
Note that we have the GL, which has less electronics than the other models. Less electronics = better on the long term. We also have a manual.