"This car was my first new car purchase as a young professional. I did my research and thank goodness for that! This car has always been reliable, I now have a child and feel confident it is safe for her and my family. Best decision. Plus it has a great sporty appearance."
Pros: "engineering, build, handling, fun to drive"
Cons: "slow derfroster, heater controls"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Reliable, fun to drive, excellent fit and finish. A bit tight inside, especially in winter attire. Radio and CD have fine sound. Good snow handling with winter tires. Downside: Diesel takes 10 minutes to warm up in winter, so slow defroster. Heat controls are tiny, hard to read and not intuitive. Diesel fuel costs can cancel out higher mileage ratings."
"I found a dealer demo 2011 Golf with 6k miles on it in the spring of 2012. It was priced about $5,0000 below original sticker price of $21k. The base model lacks interior features like center armrest storage bins and the plastic wheel covers look cheap. It still had bluetooth, heated mirrors and power everything, however.
I last owned a VW about 20 years ago and I missed the handling it had. Something about their combination of steering, braking, suspension and acceleration just wasn't there in the Ford, Dodge or Hondas I've owned more recently.
This Golf has only left me stranded once. The factory battery died in the oppressive August heat of Texas, but it was 3 years old. Thanks to a short commute, I drive less than 10k miles per year and it is mostly city driving. My combined mileage is usually around 22 MPG which I wish was a higher number. The weird 5 cylinder 2.5 engine is no longer offered on new VW's and I think that is a good thing. If I had a long commute I would probably gotten something like a Honda Fit.
The service/oil change intervals are 10k miles and the first three were free. When I hit 40k miles this fall, the dealer says to expect to pay around $500.
There is an independent Audi-VW shop near me that charges about $325 for that service. My car is out of warranty (36 month/30k miles) so I may opt to take it there.
Overall, I am still happy with the driving experience and the fact that I have paid zero for anything except a battery, a tire damaged by road debris, and new wipers. This car is roomy and practical enough for me and I expect with proper maintenance I could keep driving it without major problems at least until it is a decade old."