I have owned the car since 2011. I bought it for the mpg and low emissions. I had heard about the expense of maintaining a volkswagen because of high repair costs but bought it anyway. Within a year the door hinges started squeaking as if the car were 10 years old. After a year, I periodically notice a diesel fumes smell when I start the car. It comes and goes. When I asked the dealer about it, they didn't understand the reason and said they never found it. Finally, a professor at SUNY Morrisville in the Auto Tech school identified that it may be some type of self cleaning filter. There is no repair for it. It just happens. The road noise can hinder conversation. The car has needed more small things done in a shorter time than any other car I've owned. I've had 2 Subarus and Hondas and Toyotas. The dashboard is an odd mix of basic, old fashioned dials and updated more technologically advanced controls. I didn't mind that at first. I figured that's how they kept costs down. If it ain't broken, don't fix it. But the first time I needed to adjust the heating system while driving, I changed my mind. The icons around the dial for heating and AC are small and not easily visible from the driver's seat. They are located at the bottom right of the control panel under the radio. The defrosters are not sturdy or efficient enough for the winter climate where I live, or even spring and summer foggy, humid rainy weather. Windows stay fogged for a long time, and the edges of the front windshield never fully clear of snow or slush. The back seat windows remain fogged. The heated seats are nice. It is not a great snow car despite excellent snow tires. I have learned to avoid particular hilly streets in the snow. I never had to do that with my other cars. It sits very low to the ground which can make exit and entry awkward and gives little clearance for dirt, mud, snow and gravel. The doors are also very heavy. There isn't much headroom but I'm only 5'7" so I fit. My father at 5' 11" did not fit easily. Driver visibility is poor on the right and left of the front windshield. I've had multiple mechanical problems in addition to the door hinges that I did not experience on other cars at the same ages. The car is a difficult to repair. Frequently small parts cannot be acquired individually but must come as part of an entire assembly which elevates the costs of repairs considerably. Add to all of that the deceptions VW deliberately committed regarding emissions standards and the appeal of the car hits rock bottom for me. I will never buy another volkswagen.
This wagon is versatile and refined. We've carried furniture, huge Rubbermaids, not possible with a sedan. Tons of cargo room when you need it, drives just like the sedan when you don't.
Handling is responsive, the steering has a nice feel and heft to it, and the ride is comfortable without being too soft or sloppy.
Supportive seats, perfect driving position. Interior is way too nice for a $20K car.
Strong 5 cylinder engine with lots of torque down low. Gets 29-34 mpg highway. Nice clutch and shifter. Test drove the TDI, nice engine, but didn't feel it was worth the additional $5000.
13,000 miles and no problems yet. As long as it stays reliable, I will have no regrets.
An engaging drive without having to put up with road noise, a cheap interior, or a tinny feel.
Looks and feels more expensive than it is.
Lots of standard features at a reasonable price.
More powerful than Elantra Touring, Matrix, Civic.
More cargo capacity than Mazda3, Matrix, Impreza, xB.
Nicer interior than all of them.
Engine feels a bit sluggish in first gear if you do not launch aggressively.
Base stereo needs work: 8 speakers but sound quality is mediocre (muddy bass, lacks some clarity), volume knob adjusts in big steps so the volume is either too high or too low, fast forward feature for CDs is way too slow.
Since doors automatically lock above 10mph, they should automatically unlock once the engine is turned off.