"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!"