I've got 221,000 miles on my TDI and it's running like it's got a quarter of the mileage on it. It's a great commuter and the gas mileage is what sells the car. It is a little under powered but for 45 mpg's the sacrifice is well worth it. The looks are good but not everyones cup of tea (I've upgraded a few things here and there and it is quite the little head turner). The interior is much nicer than most American or Japanese cars but it is pretty basic for a German car. The build quality is typical German excellence, rock solid. The drive is nice, great for the highway but not the most fun car to take on twisty roads.
My advice, upgrade a few things and this car will be golden forever.
Original owner blew motor due to low oil and had a brand new 1.9l engine and turbo charger, decarbed, replaced EGR valve, water pump, timing belt and tensioner at 135,000 kms. At 160,00, replaced glow plug harness. 163,000 kms mass air low circuit replaced. I bought it with 172,000 kms on car and 35,000 on new motor. At 223,000 replaced front struts and mounts and sway bar bushing, 226,000 cleaned airtake manifold and carbon, new timing belt, water pump. 242,000 replaced fan motor for heater. At 302,000 engine light remains on and blowing some oil out somewhere and the alternator pully came off. Both are expensive repairs. Uncomfortable seats, and cheaply built - not worth the repair bills.
Good fuel economy, love the heated seats and mirrors.
More comfortable seats, be able to keep headrests on when putting down back seats, a lip over doors to prevent doors and hatchback from freezing. Better radio sound/speakers, interior material better quality, skid plate cover stronger material, electrical/computers system more reliable, rear wiper.
This 2003 Golf TDI is without a doubt THE most fun car to drive of all the cars that I've owned. (Actually, this is car #21). The diesel engine has tons of torque and really runs great matched with the manual transmission. The gears are smooth and shift even better than the Hondas I've owned. This TDI has a nice little wheeze when the turbo is heard, but that is only when the windows are open. I love the moon roof and the Monsoon radio- the best stock radio in any vehicle Ive had. I like the visibility, too. The seats are very comfortable. I get a reliable 45 mpg, and I drive 80 mph. The maintenance has been super low and Ive done most of it myself. I would buy another TDI without a doubt.
Fuel efficient turbo diesel engine. 50 mpg on long trips, 45 around town. Comfortable seats for long trips. Extended refueling capacity, about 750 mi per tankful. Great Monsoon factory stereo. Love the moonroof and the hatchback trunk. This German car is perfect for a daily commuter car.
Light bulbs seem to go out more often than an Asian car, but are a LOT easier to replace, usually a two minute job. Be very careful about choosing the right tires for this car. Mileage decrease if you don't. Get a after market engine skid plate- protects your crankcase better than OEM plastic one.
I have owned my Golf TDI GLS for about 2.5 years and it has been a great car. It's tough, it's fun, it's well built and sturdy, and it is tremendous with fuel mileage. I love everything but the seats. The driver's seat (for me) is not as comfortable as my old Mercedes but, I will find, and pay the expense for, a set of GTI heated leather seats for this car. It's not worth getting rid of the car! I am a taller/big guy and I still fit in this car and it's road handling and performance is magnificent. Buy one of these, you won't regret it! -CR
I used to install stereos as a teenager and the Monsoon stereo is a great sounding system for factory. The only thing I did was cap the door & dash speakers at 100 Hz. I added a removable amped box of 12"s and I have an awesome thumper with no distortion.