My wife and I bought our Golf GLS four-door new in 1999. It only took a couple of months before bizarre problems manifested themselves. Windows that fell into doors, mysterious rattling, seatbelts that refused to work, a radio that went on and off by itself ... plus more serious issues such as transmission problems and sudden brake failure (that's right: failure!), blown head gaskets at 30,000 miles, fluid leaks. Good luck arguing warranty issues with your VW dealer. We spent at least $1000 a year fixing the Golf every year we had it -- factor that in if you buy one. Buy a VW if you're wealthy and/or married to a decent mechanic.
In spite of everything, it is also a good car in its way. Handles extremely well. We love driving it. Great in the snow, especially for a small car. It looks good on the outside -- it did on the inside too until nearly everything fell off or broke.