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."
"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."
"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."
"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 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!!!"
"The ole VW has 250,000 miles on it and is still going strong. No rust, the seats and interior are good and it drives like new. True I have had to periodically replace parts but its a keeper. We never add oil, when its down a quart we change it with Mobil 1 high mileage and we get 7000 miles between changes. !!! Its still our road trip car and gets 33mpg highway."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"I got this car with a little under 40K on it and at 48K I had to do some basic repairs because it as is per the norm. Other than that this car has been outstanding. Have only had to do your basic repairs without any major issues. I had to replace the clutch cable about 3 years ago and at 10 years old it needs a new gear shifter and bushings, but that has been the only issue in the 6 years I have owned it. Repairs would be expensive, but going to VW ONLY shops helps a lot. They aren't the cheapest for parts, but since they don't need many repairs it isn't an issue.
This car handles like it was glued to the ground (believe me, I have run it like a rally car and it takes whatever I give it). While I would like a little more power out of it, for what it does have it is a little bullet! I love this car and will drive it until I have to push it and then I will buy a new one!"
"I've driven this car 100K fun miles in past 8 years. Needed typical wear & tear repairs (muffler, struts, brakes, etc.) but nothing major and car never stranded me. Parts & repairs generally cheap compared to other vehicles. Zippy car to drive. I average 30mpg and have amazed people with what can fit in the back when seats are down. Would buy again in a heartbeat!"
"eh, a 93 and it still runs. That was good enough for me when i got it four years ago. Mine has manual windows, so i never experienced the problems typically accociated with the window regulator. Every now and again, it hiccups down the expressway, but hey... 191,300 and counting. What more can you ask from an automobile that was engineered to go 70k?
I love my car, would not trade it in my life. Besides, it's got character. The contemporary styling is STILL better looking than the new cars and it's fifteen years old.
change the oil every 3000 with synth (i now use high milage) keep it clean.
Treat it well and it will return the favor."
"This is about as fun as it gets driving a car. Little rattles and squeaks are bothersome. Had 50,000 miles on it when I got it. I've driven it hard for about 5 years and have not had one problem with it. It's a blast to drive and you can beat on it as hard as you want and not worry about it. 9,000 miles in between oil changes with non synthetic oil. If you do have any mechanical problems, be prepared to pay top dollar to get it fixed.
If you want a fun, quick, car that you just put gas in when you need it and don't worry about anything else....then this is your car."