"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."
"In the past, I've owned not so sporty cars ('67 Mustang-'72 Granada-'81 Olds wagon) but this 1996 Golf has been the most pleasing, purchsing it BRAND NEW w/ 61 miles on it, great gas mileage, and of course its reliability (early in its life).
As "MCKevROCK from Springfield, IL" (2/5/09) said about the repairs...ignition coil, power steering pump, belts, 1 set of brakes, tie rods, wires, door latch, dipstick stalk, etc. --DEALERS repairs are pricy!! Can't set alarm from outside of Drivers Door--$700+ fix from Dealer (don't understand that cost?) The clutch is slowly going out after 178,000 miles...BUT it still has original Tranny. AND can't forget to mention...the car hasn't pass emissions for the past 4 times (every other year) since 2000. I loved that car, but since it was one of the years VWs were assembled in Mexico, I can forsee more cost, having more than $25K invested in this VW (Leasing for 7 years then opting to purchase it after) it gave me a great run... NOW I own a '93 delSol... which I do recommend, even more than the VW..."
"I've loved my experiences with my GTI. It's not the fastest thing on the road, but it's quick enough to have fun with. It's been extremely reliable, and has had no real mechanical issues to speak of in the time that I've owned it. It looks great, it sounds great, it works when I need it to and it's a ton of fun. What more can you ask from a car?"
"this car is fun and sporty. problem is that is likes to shut off because of problems with the car security system controller. i have replaced it twice, and have continued to have problems off and on for the past 2 years. if you luck out and get a good golf III, then other than this issue this car has had almost NO mechanical problems. let's just say that going 65mph on the highway and having the car shut off randomly is a major safety issue that i have had multiple dealerships in my area check out and they still have not been able to resolve it permanently. good luck and happy driving"
"i bought this car used. only put about 10k on it before the tranny threw a gear (spider gear or something like that) out the back of the housing. it was going to cost as much to fix it as the car was worth. Apparently this was an issue for multiple models for this time period (according to the VW mechanic). Also, it is really "squirrelly" on the freeway and plenty of road noise. for how small this vehicle is, it should have gotten WAY better gas mileage. the best i ever got was 25mpg. oh yeah, since i don't wanna fix it, and i can't really sell it, the junk yard will only give me $150..."
"The car is a decent car.
Pros: reliable engine, comfortable car, roomy, decent trunk space, smooth ride, good mileage.
Cons: body parts falling off, poor paint that wears from heat, sub-par brakes.
Overall, a good car for beginning driver."
"Definitely a fun car to have, and also very practical with its hatchback. Performance is excellent from the VR6, with reasonable economy (25 to 30MPG). reliability is OK, no major problems. But, 'genuine' VW parts can be very expensive. Rust is the main problem here in the northeast; salt & VWs don't mix well."
"1995 Golf Sport 2.0L:
I bought mine with 50k miles on it in '99 and drive it for work every day. The only way you can tell its age is by the many rust spots on the rear hatch. Common problem with the Mexican 95 and 96 cars. Sure, I've had my share of repairs (ignition coil, power steering pump, belts, valve cover and oil pan seals, 4 mufflers, 3 sets of brakes, water pump, shocks, tie rods, wires, shifter fork, door latch, dipstick stalk, etc.) and some options are too expensive to repair (Moonroof, dealer installed cruise) but it still goes!!! Gonna sell this to a friend for $500. I got my money's worth out of it!! I put a Neuspeed strut brace on and it is STILL fun to whip around corners. ANd it still has the ORIGINAL CLUTCH!!! wow."
"I am reluctantly offering my 1997 Golf for sale. I am the original owner and it has been the most reliable car I've owned. It has never broken down. It has been very economical to maintain. Seats are comfortable. There is ample room in the back seat. Visibility is excellent compared to other cars I've driven."
"great car, not may probles, a few minor problems but nothing serious, trunk and glovebox lights dont work and my ignition coil just went but $18 on eBay and its up and running again, mine is lowered with a cat-back exhaust on it so the engine noise is pretty loud but i wouldnt have it any other way! the ride is bumpy but thats what happens when you have cut springs (haha) this is my 3rd vw in 4 years and its my favorite so far!! also with the notorious "2.sl0w" motor in it its allot faster then i ever expected!! i love it!! VW FOR LIFE!!!"
"I have owned this car for almost 2 years now, and i have very little things go wrong with it. the last thing that went wrong was the starter, which will go on anything really, i have 152000 miles on it now and it still gets up and goes. I have done some work to it, and everything i do to it just makes it better and better. i would tell a friend to get one."
"This car is great and lasts a long time. A lot of fun to drive with exceptional "pep". The 5 speed manual is the way to go if you're looking for a fun drive. This car is definately with looking at when deciding on a new car"
"i traded my 98 jetta gt for my 96 golf and never looked back. it's been awesome and have taken it up to the mountains, in to the deserts and everywhere in between. besides some small stuff it's been holding up great. the small frame gets in to the tightest parking spots and fairly good fuel economy too. it's not fast but gets around quickly."