The 2002 GTI was my first new vehicle that wasn't American made. I drove a Suburban for years for business and finally got the opportunity to retire the "gas guzzler". I chose the VW GTI based on safety first of all, knowing I wanted a more efficient vehicle...little did I know it would develop into a total passionate love for the little car. The thing fits me like a glove, handles like a dream, and is SO much fun to drive. I got it all paid off a few months ago. I have my eyes on a new one should I ever decide I could bear to part with this one. My 27 year old son says HE MUST buy this one from me when and if I ever do.
I LOVE the indiglo dash lights, "clicky" turn signal, super turn ratio, great mpg for the oopmph, super headlights, seat height adjusts (perfect for tall drivers), excellent control on curvy roads, great AC / heat controls, cool sunroof, easy to use hatchback, and the logical placement of dials and switches.
It needs a better cup holder, better tires, to change the location of the plug for cell phone so it isn't in the ash tray, an added clip on the windshield at lower left to hold permits etc like Volvo has, a hill holder on the clutch like Subaru has, and an upgraded interior such as door handles made of a more durable material so they won't peel.