"2001 VW Golf 2.0 GLS 5-speed 89,500 miles
I have shared this vehicle with my wife for the past 5 years and have virtually no complaints. Have I had to replace parts? Of course. Were some of them a tad pricey? Sure. Have some of the Bosche sensors dies prematurely? Yup. This car is not without it's quirks and if you're looking for a maintenance-free vehicle that will cost you almost nothing to keep on the road, then buy Japanese. It's simple. However, if you enjoy the act of driving: coming into corners a little hot, a feeling of being connected to the road through both the steering and drivetrain and enjoy a massive amount of utility all at 30+ mpg than this is the car to buy. There's nothing else on the market that offers this level of fun, economy and utilty even for twice the money. Find yourself an independent mechanic whom you trust and fix issues when they arise. Become his best friend and he'll save you money on parts. If properly maintained, this car should provide you with many, many years of reliable, fun and utilitarian-packed enjoyment. Issues I've found:
- MAF (mass air flow meter) will not last. Since the cars are manufactured in Brazil, these parts are more money and NOT interchangeable with the Jetta or Beetle engines.
- ABS wheel-speed sensor/brake wire sensor
- Window regulators (can buy on eBay or form your local pick-n'-pull
- Catalytic converter may rust from the outside in. Keep clean in winter... road salt will kill this vehicle.
- Shocks will go around 60-80k (especially rear if you haul stuff a lot...which you should since you bought a Golf)
- Lights will blow out... brakelight, headlights, blinkers. All are easy to replace. Do an internet search and you'll be surprised how easy it is.
- I advise against using a reusable air filter like K&N. VW finally admitted that using them is bad... the oil on the cotton filter will foul the MAF ($220 actual cost)
- These engines (2.0L only) eat oil. Top off at 1,500 miles and get regular oil changes at 3,000. The car will run rough and let you know when it needs an oil change.
Pay attention to the vehicle, keep it well-maintained and it will be a wonderful car. After a few years, you'll begin to think about which VW model you'll want next. I personally own a 1999 BMW 328i convertible and get as much enjoyment out of the Golf as I do out of the Bahn-stomper BMW."
Pros: "Safe, never broke down, mpg, affordable maint."
Cons: "I got emotionally attached."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Hands down, I absolutely love this car. That's saying a lot, being that I am a car buff. I bought it used from a certified VW dealer in 2008 with 27k miles. It NEVER broke down. The only thing I needed the warranty for was to replace a wheel barring (~$1k job). The oil is easy to change yourself, as is all other routine maintenance (also affordable at an honest garage). I was in love. It was as fun to drive as a loaded rally car, but not crazy enough to be targeted by police. 4 doors = a must. When the back seats are put down, there's tons of cargo space. Oh, and great speakers. The dash displays are nice too (blue and red color scheme).
If you are worried about driving a small car because of safety, I hear you. However, I commuted 60 miles (hwy) in this car a day and it kept me safe. No blind spots, too. Last month, I got rear ended at a stop light by a big Toyota pickup going 50mph. The kid was texting or something. My Golf was pushed into the Volvo in front of me... and it was totaled. I was well enough to get myself out of the car, but did go to the hospital. If i was in a Civic hatchback, it would have been another story. I miss this car terribly and am grateful it kept me safe (perhaps even saved my life). Those Germans know how to design a good frame and crumple zones..."
"Bought this car in 2003 was 2 years old had 35k miles.
225,000 miles now no major problems other than regular maintenance, front axle broke because of a road hazard.first timing belt change at 190k miles and it still looked like new also replaced the water pump w/the timing belt but it wasnt leaking yet.I did have to replace the front struts but that was after 180k miles, the front wheel bearings went twice so far, and the front doors power windows kept breaking but VW fixed them for free everytime even after the warranty expired because they had a recall on them. Besides that nothing else still original clutch and no signs of going soon, the engine runs quiet and very smooth, chck engine light came on on humid or rainy days because the ignition wires needed replacing. Great car if maintained properly and not abused. I think I'll be good for at least another 100 to 150 K miles.a couple of annoying small problems besides the power windows regulator is the head lights frequent burning, they wont last more than 6 months."
Cons: "suspension too soft, quality of the interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"The car is fun to drive and handles well. The GL model has a softly sprung suspension and it does not do well over roads with pot holes. The gas mileage is good, I seldom have to fill it up. I had to replace the cooling fan and coolant sensor as well as the front strut mounts and left front wheel bearing. Other than that, I've had no other problems. The cooling fan seems to be a common problem based on other reviews that I've read. The beige interior is hard to keep clean and the fabric is pulling away from the front door panels and the head liner is starting to pull away in the front. The estimate for a new headliner and to re upholster the door panels is $300. The battery fails without warning consistently every 4 years as I am on the third battery."
Cons: "Stupid front cup-holder; best MPH only 28 HWY"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this car for 8 years after buying it as a certified used vehicle. Aside from normal wear, and a recent replacement of the catalytic converter (covered by warranty!!), the car has never failed me. Clutch still works great, never turned a break rotor, no electrical issues, ... just absolutely reliable!
This car, with a short wheelbase, 5-speed manual and moon roof is a blast to drive on windy country roads. It hauls a lot when the seats are down, and I have been known to carry four bikes on top and two on the hatch. It looks great with a 17.5 ft kayak on top, too.
This is the fourth Rabbit or Golf that I have owned in 20 yrs, and it really is the best."