"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."
"I've had this case 8 years and absolutely love it. It is a little high maintenance due to the need for premium gas and synthetic oil but it's worth it. Mines been a normal 've, with odd quirks. The engine light never gone off lol, but there's nothing wrong with the car. It's been the most reliable car I all conditions, even a paper rout driving 4 hours a day and doing 100 miles a day. I have thought about selling it a couple times for something newer but I work never get the same speed and power for the cost and talk myself out of it every time. It destroys civics, unless they have 5000$ worth of mods. It even keeps up with the majority of muscle cars. It's perfect for the modding types, but really doesn't need anything other then stock power."
"I love the way it looks, but it had a few recall issues the power windows (fell into the doors 3 times). Had problems with the coils (recall) Had problems twice with the air conditoner not working. The plastic trim around the dash and on the inside doors peels away a top layer. The moon roof drains stopped up and flooded the carpet and ceiling liner."
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?"
"I bought this car new while stationed in Germany, and just rolled it past 75K miles. It rolled with the big boys on the autobahn, providing amazing stability and control up to 130 mph. Back in the States now, I still find it a joy to drive and consider it the best new car purchase I've ever made. It's stylish and comfortable, and provides plenty of trunk space too. Its low profile and ample rubber enable it to hug the corners at high speeds and make running the most mundane errands a heart-pumping adrenaline rush. The Monsoon sound system rocks the leather-trimmed cockpit, and the short-throw, 6-speed manual intimately integrates the driver wih the machine. There is no better bargain in the market."
"The 2005 GTI is a ton of fun to drive and it's very economical - great gas milage and very practical for a daily city driver. I don't recommend it on long drives (more than 2 hours) because the seats are sporty "racing type seats" which are great for holding you in while speeding around corners, but not so great for long traveling. I was always very surprised at the amount of space inside the car and trunk,..I could fit 2 to 3 weeks of groceries in the trunk no problem. I also had no trouble fitting plants, soil, and flowers in the trunk. What else can I say, overall, I love this car. I have a 48 month lease on it and I'm considering buying it before the lease is up,...thats how much i like it ;-) I hope this review has been helpful."
"I have owned the car for 7 years its a vr6, this is the VW company's best designed engine or one of the best. Over the 7 years it has been tortured its been raced driven for over 15 hours straight. In 7 years it has cost around 1500 in fixes, including water pump and coil and stuppid sensor going off when there is no porblem at all. BEst car for the money and more, i have raced v-8 and actually beat them."
"Saw this car at the NY Auto Show and fell in love. Called my dealer and got on the waiting list. They got 8 of them in. Out of only 1500 for the U.S., that was pretty good. Picked it up in July 2002 and have had a blast ever since. Upgraded ECU to Revo Stage I after 3 years and car is just better than ever. I am at 56000 miles and on my second set of summer tires. I had faulty coil packs in my first year, but they were all replaced under warranty. Did not have any other major faults with the car. Granted I take good care of it. If you can get one, go for it!"
"The VW GTI has a quality feel to it that similarly grouped sport compacts (i.e Civic Si, Sentra Spec V, Focus SVT, etc.) just can't come close to matching. Comfort and styling are top notch. I am 6'5" and people routinely ask me how I drive such a small car. They can't believe when I tell them it is easily the most comfortable car I have ever driven, and I've driven MANY different cars over the years. Power and handling are more than sufficent for all but the most hard-core. The mid-range toque makes it feel like a big 6 cyl (I have the 1.8t) which is especially noticable in city and traffic driving. 75+ WOT acceleration leaves a little to be desired, but you shouldn't be driving that fast anyway! :) Reliability has been good overall. People talk trash about volkswagen reliability, but other than regualr maintenance I've spent a total of 105$ on repairs in 3 1/2 years. It's no Corolla in the maintenance dept., but that's not what this car is about. Utility is pretty good for a small car, too. The hatch is bigger than it looks and if you need more room just fold the backseat down. I once fit a 27" TV in the box in the back and was still able to close the hatch. I would recommend this car to just about anyone from the kid who just got his license to my grandmother."
"This car has been awesome! My father in law bought it from the dealer and I've had it now for about four years. It's quick, fun, reliable, and economic. Never any major problems. Easy to maintain. It has everything you need. 6 disc cd changer, a great monsoon sound system, HEATED SEATS. (great for cold mornings) Love the five speed transmission. Makes it so fun to drive and very easy in traffic for a manual transmission vehicle. I would recommend this car to anyone. A great car!"
"I bought my 03 GTI new with 14 miles on it, 7 years and 300,000 miles later it still drives as it did new...amazing performance with the miles. I drive approx 1000 miles a week for work and as long as you purchase a set of winter tires and wheels you'll be set. I plan to keep it until 400K if possible. Some earlier year models had electrical issue with them. I have had to perform standard maintenance with it...and 4 windsheilds...Great car, can't say enough nice things about it."
"Great car for the money if you enjoy driving. Wouldn't recommend it if you're just looking for a car to get around in and you don't plan on driving it as it should be driven. There's the Golf for those who just drive point A to B. My only two problems that I've had are on cold, cold mornings it has a difficult time starting and the O2 sensor has went bad three times now. Love this car."
"I love my GTi it is cute, fast and reliable! I haven't had any problems with my car's performance. The only thing I don't like is the internal peeling of all the plastic, like the door handles, media face and the steering wheel is also peeling. Oh and the little top on my stick-shift that tells me where all the gears are fell off. I know these are all cosmetic things and the really do not effect my overall love for my car! I have owned two Jettas before the GTi and it has more leg room than the Jettas!"
"Fast, nimble, maneuverable hatchback, with tons of cargo space and good styling. I have the 2000 VR6. Mechanically, the car has never broken down or left me on the side of the road. However, being a European car any repairs can be expensive. I've had the car 8 years, and now the little things are starting to break. The rear wiper, side mirror controls, cup holder, etc, have broken, and I've gone through more O2 sensors than I can remember. But the engine is still going strong, and it is still a blast to drive. I average 25 mpg combined city/highway, but this car takes only the high octane gas, so it can be pricey to fill up.
Pros: Solid sport hatchback with a (so far) bulletproof engine and great cargo capacity for a compact.
Cons: Takes expensive gas, expensive to repair, Back seat is small.
Final word: It still puts a smile on my face every time I drive it!"
"Bought this car used and without doing my homework. when i got it everything was more then i could ask for in a car. for a stock car it was fast, the interior is untouchable in its class, handles well and looks nice. after a little while the CEL light came on, which i later found out is a regular issue with these cars. i took it to the dealer and just for them to tell me it was an overly sensitive sensor...it cost me $100. not bad. later on that week the check emmissions light came on. again, took to the dealer and they said nothing was wrong. another $100. this light comes and goes now every so often. lastly my wheel started making a weird noise so i researched and found out my wheel bearings were shot in both front wheels. at the dealer they wanted over $1k. i did it myself for less then $250 including parts. great car all in all just know what you're getting yourself into. not for the avg penny pinching young kid."
"After hearing about the GTI's performance abilities I decided to purchase one. Loved it at first, but then problems kicked in. Intake manifold had to be replaced at 16,000 miles(four days in the shop), new battery at 22,00 miles, new starter at 34,000, new catalytic converter at 37,500 and the worst...died on me three times with only 61,000 miles. Dealership could not figure out the cause. Three days later got rid of it...I only had it for three years!!!! The car was great when it was running properly, but otherwise a real piece of junk. No more VW for me. It sure left a bad taste in my mouth."