Overall the 1999 VW golf is a fantastic car. It has the handling of a go-kart, fuel economy like a moped, and acceleration like a puma. The TDI engine is exceptional with its milage and reliability. In burning biodiesel, I expect to reach 300,000 miles without any major issues, if the body lasts that long (salty Maine air, roads).
Phenomenal fuel economy, peppy handling, and it oozes torque. The diesel engine does NOT handle like the diesels we all remember Americans making in the 70's.
The center console is easily replaced with one with cup holders and an armrest, which makes it far more comfortable. The cup holder built into the dash is less than ideal. A sixth gear for highway travel would allow one to drive at 75+ and still break 50 mpg.