I purchased my 1990 VW Fox after college. And I still own it. I have put more than 440,000 + miles on it. Just regular maintance and wear and tear parts (ie...brakes, tires, spark plugs, etc.) No major engine work or transmission work. I am now just starting to overhaul the engine due to low oil pressure. I never had any oil leaks other than once around 225,000 miles the valve cover started leaking. Replace it and was back on the road again. Although parts are getting hard to fine. I have driven this car everywhere, dirt roads, highways, up in the TX, NM, Co. mountains and forest, NM, Az, Tx desert, snow, rain and down on the beach in Tx. Runs like a champ.
Fun car to drive. Very relieable and great gas milage (37mpg). It is easy to work on since I like working on my own cars. The engine sits North/South (Inline) not side ways. Suprisingly the interior has held up well for the amount of miles the car has on it.
My only suggestions would be for better noise insulation in the cabin and a little more HP but Love the car.
My only complaint would be the speedometer. It had to be repaired 3 times. The plasitic gears wear out after about 150,000 miles. Since I have over 440,000 miles, that is the reason it has been repaired 3 times.
Minor electrical problems invariably arise in these older VWs (noises and lights going off for no reason), but at around 150,000 miles, the engine uses no oil and runs the cleanest of any car I've ever seen. After 2,000 miles, the dipstick is still clean. A friend of mine bought a Fox whose odometer was broken at 250,000+ miles, and he drove it for five years that way until the trans eventually started making ugly noises.
Easy to work on. Decent handling. Large trunk.
It's only got 80 hp, so it's kind of a dog, but it cruises well between 70-80 mph at relatively low revs. Its 4- speed trans is strangely well-designed, but speed off the line is an issue.