Maintenance Upgrades = Fantastic daily driver!
By LeaderDesslok on Monday, March 19, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 86,000
overall rating 9 of 10rating details
- Overall Rating
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."
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