I bought my 2001 GTi with 25,000 miles on it and put another 105,000 miles on it over the course of 5 years.
While it was comfortable to drive and had nice styling, the car completely lacked reliability.
In the 5 years that I owned it, these are the things that broke or degraded prematurely:
Ignition coil wiring harness (degraded insulation)
Timing belt (replaced at 50,000)
Clogged oil pick-up tube
Radiator fan (broke)
Coolant flange (degraded, leaked)
Drivers side seat belt clip (bad sensor)
Automatic transmission (failed at 100,000; rebuilt and failed again at 130,000)
Broken, leaking axle at 130,000
Leaking power steering pump
Nicely designed interior and exterior
Comfortable to drive; Handled well
Better mechanical reliability all around.
I spent almost as much in repairs on the car in the time that I owned it as I had bought the car for.
The transmission problems were lethal to that car.
Flawed transmission design.
VW needs to own up to their vehicle design flaws.
The ignition coil failures were a fiasco.
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