"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 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."