I have wanted an MKIV since they came out. I bought a 2000 in 2012 and was in a total collision 3 weeks later. The other girl went to the hospital I walked away without a scratch. As a former mechanic and mobile electronic technician I can tell you the build quality on this car is amazing. It is extremely safe. The only drawback to the car can be the cost of parts. This is one place where is does not pay to cut corners. There are a huge number of aftermarket companies out there that make replacement parts but when they charge $35 for a part that
VW charges $350 there is a reason. With this car you basically get an AUDI in a VW wrapper. Most of the parts are interchangeable.
Definitely the powertrain on the car. The car is very peppy and handles wonderfully however you can still get 30 mpg with careful driving. It is also very safe. While it may not have many of the safety features that a new car does, the performance of the car will keep you out of a lot of accidents (If you know how to properly drive). If you are in an accident it is extremely safe. Most cars have the outer door skin and then an interior door panel. The VW has a metal panel between the outside and inside panel. VERY SAFE.
There are some items that VW should have recalled and never did. For example the coil pack on this car is prone to failure. VW never issued a recall and to get a decent replacement product it is going to set you back $350+ just in parts. Also the car electronics are temperature sensitive. I have noticed that my trip computer does not like to work when it is extremely cold and then when it gets really warm the LED display becomes hard to read. Also there are some minor things such as the gear for the sunroof is prone to stripping (which makes closing it even manually impossible). the electric window regulator is a nightmare and an expensive fix because it is overly complicated.