I had always wanted a VW Golf and after driving several comparable models, researching (not good enough, apparently) I decided on a 2004 VW Golf GLS. 5 speed tranny, everything else needed was standard - big selling point. The first 30,000 miles clicked by without fail or problems. But along the 32,000 mile mark, my ECT light came on, and after a few trips to a dealer, the problem persisted. The result of the light coming on was that the car operated at around 60% of its power, with cruise not working and as you ascend any hill, you can't even grab a gear to accelerate. Finally sold the car (took a big hit) and bought a Toyota - what I should have done in the first place. No more VWs.
Transmission, fun-to-drive feel, hatchbacks are great!
Better build quality and reliability - tremendous let down when only 37,000 miles gets on the odo and you have a few dealers tell you they can't fix the problem - ECT.