"Since our daughter arrived and we bought a Forrester, our 97 Golf has been downgraded to secondary vehicle. Still a great car though after 117K miles. I took on road trip about a month ago and clocked 36 mpg driving about 65 mph - better than its rating! With a sunroof, you can haul almost anything - 10ft lumber, large area rugs, whatever. Who needs a truck when you can stick it through the sunroof? Bought it new 11 years ago; kept up with regular maintenance and never had a major problem."
"Unless you're using your golf for rally racing or demolition derby it's a very rewarding car. Gas mileage is by far the greatest perk. It's surprisingly roomy; I can fit in all my camping gear for a week in it for two people. As with any car it requires regular maintenance. The ol' girl still has a couple of years in her and the only reason that I wouldn't get another one is because they stopped making them and the new GTIs look a bit smaller. I'll have to upgrade to a toureg."
"I have owned a 97 gti vr6 for about 2years. It has been a blast to drive. The vr6 engine sounds awesome and has great power. Fuel efficiancy is not as good as some vehicles but is still respectible(24mpg mixed town/highway).
The only problem I had with my GTi was its reliability. I tended to break down randomly. This vehicle was well maintained(by dealer before me, and local vw shop by me) and I attribute the failures to be due to the high mileage of the vehicle (198000miles).
That being said, the vehicle has also held up admirably for the mileage present. It still has its original clutch which runs strong, however it will probably need to be replaced in the nex 5000 miles. The interior has held up with little wear and tear.
I would reccomend this car to just about anyone, however make sure you look for one that has had a good history and is not terribly modified, as many of these modifications can reduce reliability."
"the best $15K i've ever spent. been to canada after 176K from Oklahoma. the AC went out after 185K, the first brake job at 105K, the water pump after 115K, but it still got me another 4 hours to my destination packed to the gills, and to work the next day! i love my baby!"
"I love my Golf. The one i have right now is my 3rd so far. I really believe that germany cars are the best and I didn't have any major problems with this car. Fun to drive, easy to park, you can get huge cargo space folding the back seats and you won't be disapointed! Extremely reliable!"
Pros: "MPG, reliability, fun to drive manual tranny"
Cons: "Small cupholders."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"After 215,000 miles, this car still consistently gets 35 mpg on highway. I bought it new in 1995. The only major work it needed was a new A/C compressor at about 198K miles. Otherwise, only routine stuff. It's got THE MOST comfortable seats I've ever sat in (though I wish at times for heated seats....) and I could ride for hours in them. Excellent set of foglights."
Pros: "Best gas economy, safe for family, very roomy."
Cons: "No 4 wheel drive, not very powerful."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Very reliable, best fuel economy ever! Very easy to manuever, very safe passenger vehicle. Very convienant when I needed to haul things in the trunk or with the seats folded down, and still have 3 passengers safely secured and drive long trips without any worrys. Excellent from the factory vehicle alarm system. Volkswagon German manufacturing is all around very useful in my opinion. I only wish it didnt get rear ended and totaled I would still be driving it now, and manual 4 wheel drive would have been the only option to make it a perfect vehicle in my opinion."
"This was the best purchase I have ever made. I bought this one used with 135,000 miles on it for $2,700. I got 7 years out of this car. It has 187,000 miles on it and runs as well as it did on the day in which it was purchased. A DUI crashed into it while I was at work a few weeks ago...The insurance decided to scrap the car. They said the repairs would cost more than just giving me money. There going to give me $1,750. This car is so awesome. I only filled up my tank once in a blue moon and it never broke down on me. Most of the repair work is easy to do yourself and the 5 speed has some pretty fun pick up. I am going to miss this car soooo much!!! I'm probably going to have to get another one. I might even get the same year b/c the mileage isn't as good on the newer ones. GET THIS CAR! The seats even fold down and it turns into a couch so you can watch movies at the drive-in when the hatch is up!!! So many good memories with this car! It's also incredible for city driving...I could fit into every spot that was passed up."
"After almost 11 years, I find the car to be practical, efficient and surprisingly reliable. It drives well, will still return over 30MPG (US), can fit 5 in a pinch and can haul bulky items you could never fit in the trunk of a larger car (fold the rear seats). While it isn't perfect, my Golf has some personality and fun to drive qualities which are lacking in other mainstream small cars - plus its versatility, right-size and low cost of ownership have been extremely pleasing."
"This has been a very trustworthy, sporty, fun car. I have never experienced any major problems in the 13 years I have owned it. I have taken excellent care of it though. I call it my "little champ" because it's been so good to me. I get amazing gas mileage, still to this day."
"This car is so much fun to drive, the VR6 pulls really hard for just a stock 6 cylinder. The inside is very spacious, I put 4 people, 4 bmx bikes, and luggage and took a 12 hour drive to canada, and never once did anyone complain about feeling cramped. It gets awesome gas mileage for what it has for a motor. It handles better than any other car I've driven.
My only complaint, I wish VW made the mk3's like they did the mk2's, as soon as they hit salt, they just rust. But, it's always in the same place, and if you just take some precautionary measures, such as spray the underside of the floors with truck bed liner, good bye rotted floor boards, and wash the thing a couple times a month in the winter, as you should with any car, and no more rear hatch rust."
"obviously all cars have their little problems you must look out for, i would say if you are to buy a higher millage one 110k plus make sure the timing chain and thermostat housing have been replaced, and the trans differential has a bolt kit in it, because if not you may blow your trans slamming gears like i did! but other than that i really love mine, i have a 98 gti vr6, now she just reached 120k miles, and still is running wonderful, and to the VW haters, why do you think we like our cars so much? well there must be something different about VW's, you always hear about how much a vw owner loves their car, and i can say its because gti's are a kick to drive!"
"awesome vehicle., i bought mine used with 97,000 miles on it, i have 205,000 miles now and it still gets atleast 27 mpg. the 2.0l engine runs great and has good pick up in any gear. parking is easy in any parking lot, even the smallest. great car, i have had this car for 7 years and i hope i never have to get rid of mine."
"27mpg city, 30 mpg highway
fun to drive, handles great, very reliable. Always started, I followed service manual and had a tune up every 30K
my only issues are a few "quality" issues. Coolant flange on the head cracked twice in 5 years (plastic). Tilt adjust wheel on the seat cracked(plastic) clam shell cover behind steering wheel broke(plastic), manual window adjustment knob broke off in the door (plastic) a lot of junky plastic on this car!"
"i'm still in love with my '96 GTi, even with 190,000 miles, some rust, and a slowly failing transmission. she starts up every morning and easily gobbles the 90 miles one way into and from work, all while doing 27mpg. i wish she wasn't automatic, but luckily, she is still holding up, and i hope that she will continue to do so.
known affectionately as "the li'l blue bucket," i've put half the miles this car has on her in only 31 months. in that 100k miles, i have sunk $750 into repairs, INCLUDING maintenance.
someday i will upgrade, but it will be another, lower-mileage gti...just like this one."
"Bought new in 1998 and kept it until 2005. I put 105K on it before I sold it. Good solid vehicle and do not regret buying it. Good power, handling and good gas mileage. You can easily get 28-30 MPG on highway if you shift early and are easy on the gas. The problems I encountered with the GTI were not major but Volkswagen needs to improve before I buy another VW. I had both of my electric window motors replaced after about 6 years with the car. After about 80K I was burning about 1 quart of oil every 1000 miles. I took it into the dealership and they told me this was within Volkswagen's standards. Not very happy with that. A quick fix to the problem, I started to use High mileage oil and this cut the oil burning to about 1 quart every 2000 miles. Other than that, I had fun driving the GTI for 8 years and would recommend this vehicle to anyone."
"I bought this car used from an ex-girlfriend. I hate it from a sytle point but it is one heck of a vehicle. The aluminum roof rack is very strong; I've stacked multiple ladders on top of it with no worries at all. The rear seats fold down in a snap and open up a very large cargo space. It gets good gas mileage for its period. It's never failed to get me where I need to go; just minor stuff to keep her going. I just replaced all of the plugs, filters, and O2 sensors and the brakes were overhauled last year, and she has years of service left in her. The interior is in great shape due to the durability of the materials VW built it with. The 2.0 liter engine is not strong but this is not a sports car anyway; it is certainly adequate. The moonroof is a great feature. About my only complaint is a lot of road and air flow noise at highway speeds, but that is expected on such an economy car of this period."