I've had my '04 GTI since it was new and I've just ticked over the 80k mark (this is my second GTI, after a '02 Tiptronic). It has never once had a mechanical or electrical problem. I've done just about everything in it...5 people and their stuff, track days, commuting, long road trips, backroad drives, snow, rain, sun, traffic, moving...short of towing or off-roading there's nothing it doesn't do competently or better. It's such a delightfully well-built car, it's no surprise that VW didn't actually profit from the MkIV Golf. Yes maintenance is important, but isn't it with every car? Do it on schedule and it's unbeatable!
Great space inside and compact outside, styling is aging well inside and out, interior ergonomics are great, headroom and legroom are great (rear legroom is good for a small car, fits real adults!), gutsy power from pretty much anywhere on the tach, grippy chassis, hugely knowledgeable and well-developed aftermarket and enthusiast base (no question unanswered, no part unmodifiable :) ), great paint quality, good stereo. I'm glad I skipped the sunroof.
In terms of steering quickness, suspension stiffness, bushings, braking capacity...honestly it's about 20% shy all around from where I'd like it. Fortunately the aftermarket is so well developed that you can go through it and turn everything up a couple notches, which is what I'm working on! The mileage (24/30 for me in real driving, 27-28 average) is good but IS starting to look a little low compared to the MY13 cars. Stereo is light on bass (but sounds good otherwise). Wish the seating position was a little lower. While I'm dreaming, popout venting rear windows à la 3-series coupe (with only two windows, it doesn't vent that well). Stronger A/C (gets very cold EVENTUALLY)
Bought this in 09 with 91k, now have 105k. The quality of the interior is top notch, love the feel of the switch gear. Shifting and clutch action on the 5 speed is very smooth. Get around 24mpg mostly city driving, 30mpg hiway. I have the 17" rims which really look sharp. Great stereo too. Only repair besides tires in 2.5 yrs was coil modules that caused it to run like it was on 2 cylinders, was able to limp to shop in that shape. Check engine light is persistent for coolant temp, but confirmed that actual temp matches gauge, not hot. Just enough fun to drive with a couple blasts through 1st & 2nd with great cornering, but not too much power to get in trouble. Broke console hinge
Cornering, stereo, glossy black paint, 17" spoked wheels
My 2004 GTI is number 7 on my list of VWs I have owned. Aside from the ridiculous place of the cup holders (which I am now over) I love all of this car. I have 76k on it now and it runs great. Everyone who complains about the quality of their VW does not follow the directions provided by VW. You must use full synthetic oil, preferably from the approved oil list from VW. You must do routine maintenance when it is supposed to be done. I always do my maintenance on time and I have had a variety of VWs go to nearly 300k miles. Treat the car nicely, drive it nicely, fix whatever breaks. If a person acts like they like the car and takes care of it, it will last.
Fast for stock, the power is there if you need it. Easy to work on with proper guidance from your Bentley manual. Oh did I mention that when driven nicely I am getting 34.3 mpg? All you haters can stop talking smack on mileage now. Proper spark plugs, K&N filter, good oil = 34.3 MPG. No hate!
Although I got used to it, I think the cup holders are silly like EVERYONE else. Come on VW, I love and support you and I have since I was 16 but the price of these keys is ridiculous. 200 for a replacement? That's just crazy.
I love my 2004 GTI as much as when I first bought it. I have owned it for almost five years and put almost 100000 miles on it. It has been in the shop twice for repairs, AC and blown cam gasket, It has never left me on the side of the road.
This has got to be the ugliest car I have ever owned!! However, this little car will pass almost anything on the road. I picked up the car with 7k miles (it now has 60k) and have had no problems, even after having the computer, exhaust and intake re-worked for more power. It loves to be punished! Loads of interior room is a bonus for such a small car. This is my first vw and I must say I'm impressed. Fuel economy is great if you keep your foot out of the turbo, but what fun is that?
Turbo, fuel economy, interior space
Open the engine up and give it more power and better fuel economy from the factory. It also has rear-end float at high speeds, a bit scary!