"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."
"I am the original owner of this vehicle and can't tell you how great the past 15 years have been. It's awesome in the snow, great for city driving as well as out of the city. I've hit gas mileage of up to 34mpg (and recently too). If it didn't live with me in the northeast, it could've gone on forever. Rust will be its demise as was my father's '74 bug after 20 years. We can't all be lucky enough to have a garage for the entire lifespan of the car. Highly recommend the mid-90's golfs!!!"
"This is hands down the best car I have ever owned. My car itself has many problems. Bad TPS sensor, O2 sensor, speedo sensor, broken exhaust and needs a timing belt. As is I get 38mpg and the thing still hauls. I'm a little over 6ft and I fit very comfortably. The heated seats kick, as does the radio. I have ran the car completely out of oil 2 times (pinned 5.9K rpm for 4 hours in the snow) and it sill runs. Most reliable car I have ever owned. Can fit all of my stuff and 4 others comfortably. The 2.0 isn't much of a powerhouse(93wHP), but it gets up and goes. The suspension provides an excellent ride quality, and does well in the corners. Only con: Cupholders are useless."
"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!"
"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."
"Bought this car for my son as his first car, and it's been dependable. Few little issues ie: clips on the carberator broke, ignition coil.
But there are so many of them being junked finding parts has been easy and cheap.Since my son likes to tinker, he does his own repairs."
"Overall, Volkswagen GTI's sold to the U.S. market since 1991 have been built in Mexico (or Brazil from 1999 - 2005) and thus quality control has been an issue. Hence why current GTI models as of 2006 and newer are built in Germany. As much fun as my car is to drive, I've had ongoing problems since purchasing it as a 2nd owner initially with 95,000 miles. I have invested $$ to keep the car up to par, but to no avail as minor and major issues keep cropping up. Repairs as well as parts can be expensive so beware if you are financially strapped.
I understand that as any car gets older and and has more mileage, normal wear and tear is normal. Still, compared to contemporary domestic, Japanese and other European models, most Volkswagen models have lagged behind in quality and reliability when you take into consideration the same mileage and years of ownership.
My first car was a 1973 VW Superbeetle and it took me through high school, college and medical school. Superb quality and Superb reliability. It's unfortunate that Volkswagen which wrote the book on quality has now lost that winning formula."
"Bought a '96 with 80k on the clock and 8 years later its turning 200k next tank. Did all the regular maintenance a car would need along the way and its been a great ride. The engine isn't that great in stock form, but very economical. With basic chip, intake, exhaust and lightened flywheel the car really comes alive and achieves a classic peppy hatchback. I recently had the transmission rebuilt and expect to push close to 300k miles before I need another daily driver. Engine is starting to blow a little smoke pulling out of the driveway on some mornings, I'm told new valve stem seals will fix this (easy to reach if you're having a sport cam shaft installed).
Makes a great snow car if you get dedicated winter tires, I've never had a problem driving to the local mountain. Average 35mpg on long distance drives and mid 20s mixed driving. Super easy to work on if you want to DIY. The 4cyl GTI is basic car, with little frills or things to go wrong. Great upright driving position, in supportive comfortable seats, life is great in a GTI!
In the last year I've replaced ignition switch, shifter bushings, e-brake cable, hoses, heater core. Was the first expensive year, everything else has been scheduled maintenance."