"I bought this car new and have had it for almost 6 years. As far as reliablility is concerned, this car is the best I have ever owned. I have not had a single problem with this car. No squeaks, no engine problems, no broken off plastic bits, nothing at all...and this car has over 85000 miles! All I do is take it in for its scheduled maintenance and it rewards me with rock solid dependability.
Engine (VR6) is smooth and can move the car quickly when needed. Always sufficient power on tap. Fun car to drive around in.
Interior is elegant and durable. Dash/window sills are still as black as it was when I first bought the car, leather has stayed nice and is of high quality.
If I must find fault with this car...
There might be legroom problems if you happen to be on the tall side. I, however, am 6'3" but don't mind the tight space because I prefer a very forward and upright driving position. Not everyone finds this a comfortable position though.
There are three areas where the car has begun to wear: 1)steering wheel leather has lost its luster 2)side bulster has worn from rubbing when exiting car 3)driver side door handle is peeling a bit from use.
Clutch is a little rubbery and takes a little more effort to shift than other cars (eg Acura), but it's an adjustment that can be easily made after a little time with the car.
Minor problems in my book, and probably common to all cars driven over 85000 miles."
Pros: "Fun to drive, but upgrade the ECU for more power!"
Cons: "Heavy for a small car, expensive, turbo issues."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I leased this car new in 2003 and have loved every mile I've driven it. I made sure it had all of the extras (leather, moon roof, premium sound, cold weather package, etc.) and it was worth every penny. My only serious gripe has been about the turbo. The stock turbo gives the car 180 HP, but is a bit laggy. And actually, mine failed at around 75K miles. Ironically, this was also just after I paid it off, having purchased it off the original lease. Fortunately, I bought an extended warrantee and had it fixed for under a $700. Another minor gripe is the interior. Many parts are PVC plastic, coated with a rubbery finish. After 7-8 years mine started peeling in several places and I've had to buy replacements. Since 2010 I've made some long-overdue upgrades that make the car SO much better: iPod integration, ECU chip upgrade (now pushing 210 HP), much better tires. I also made some easy cosmetic tweaks such as swapping the rear wiper for the sleeker Mark 5 version, getting a shorter antenna mast and swapping the front parking light lenses from amber to crystal. If I would have had the money I would have done all of the above sooner. I love the Long Beach style wheels it came with but would like to get them refurbished and powder coated. I've also purchased glass headlight replacement lenses, but I'm waiting for summer (and a trip to the detail shop) before installing them. I will probably keep this car for another 100K if I can. It's been garaged since new, and I just can't justify a car payment for anything that would compare to it. A 2013 GTI R, or BMW M3 is tempting, but why spend the money? My car is still fun, practical and paid for."
"I have mixed feeling about this car. I love to drive it (very fun), parking is easy, this car is fast yet efficient and good on gas, you get all the German perks without the German price. But when it comes to repairs, the cost to repair is on the pricy side; I don't own a Audi, why do I have to pay the Audi repair costs.? One thing to think of with this car is that, in my opinion, the rubber is cheap and become brittle over time. Parts from a dealer and labor to fix this can pricy. I would recommend this car as it has been reliable and it is safe, for a small car (I put my 3-year old in it without thinking twice) - only thing I don't like is the repairs can be pricy. I have owned this 2002 GTI since 2004 (purchased private party), 7-years, and overall, its good car."
"I bought this car used. It is an absolute joy to drive and I have a big smile on my face everytime I get in. It handles great and when you need a little extra power...it's there. The interior is very comfortable and attractive. I have had problems starting it on very cold mornings and had one (very minor) interior light issue that was easy to fix. Other than that it's been terrific. Would definitely reccomend this car to anyone who wants a sporty, fun-to-drive hatchback with great gas mileage."
"I loved the car for its style and performance. It really is a fun car to drive. You can see and feel the difference in quality versus other brands. However, it continually breaks down on me. 4 days after driving it off the lot, it was a problem. I have owned it for almost 4 years now and only put about 30k on it. It was in the shop twice in the last 4 months, costing me over $2k in shop fees. I love the car, but the maintenance to keep it on the road are no longer worth it."
"great car the 1.8t has tons of torque for such a small car it will get up and go. handling is excellent little body roll slight understeer when pushing hard. breaks are amazing this thing will stop fast with the 312mm front rotors. ride quality is sacrificed for performance.
have had to replace catalytic converter went out the day i got the car. a month later the timing belt broke had the entire top end rebult. then the number 2 coil pack went out 2 days after geting the car back from the timeing belt breaking. all was under an extended warranty. i beleve the previous owners had abused the car and that is why stuff is breaking car had 83000miles on it when bought.
this might sound like a lemon but is what happens when cars are abused. car now has been runing excellent since most bugs have been fixed."
Cons: "Expensive when things break, and they will break"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have had this car for almost 5 years now. The car in it's prime was amazing. It was quick for a little 4 cylinder. It looked nice and had awesome features. Almost immediately after the warranty expired things changed. All of the material in the car has become unglued due to the Florida heat. I had to get the roof and door pannels fixed. At 60k miles the turbo started to give me issues. I was able to drive if for a few months before oil began to leak from the turbo. In the end I had to rebuild the turbo. The car looks awesome, but once that warranty expires you're in for some trouble."
Pros: "fun to drive, looks great, great mpg's for the hp!"
Cons: "Expensive if you cant do maintainance yourself"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I am a car enthusiast, I have owned many cars in the past few years and rarely keep them longer than a year before I get bored, I have had this car for 2 (almost 3)years and it has been nothing but pleasure, I have read where people say the 1.8T is unreliable and such, I disagree, as long as you perform mantainace when you are supposed to, you will not be let down, mine has a stg2 tune on it (which i HIGHLY recommend), it is quick and an absolute blast to drive, i have put over 30k miles on it since i've owned it (over the course of 2 summers, it never sees snow)and never had any problems. It is quick, it has awesome handleing for a fwd car, and gets good mpg's all while looking good, what more can you ask for?"