I have owned my 2003 1.8T 5A GLS wagon since new and now have over 146k miles.
It really is fun to drive and has amazing cargo hauling space.
. . expensive to maintain and gets only about 21 mpg on premium.
Make sure you have a good mechanic.
Mine is one of the best, and I still have a funky/random issue - a beep, blinking dash lights, then a power drop, as if the tranny disconnected with the engine.
As much as I like driving the car, I think I'm going back to Honda when old blue bites the dust.
Of course its looks caught my eye first. Cute, but more than cute - stylish. Some cars have a classic, timeless design like a certain Honda Civic. This generation of Jetta does too.
Bought it used with 21K miles, and gradually fell in love with it. Never got great gas mileage, about 21mpg. But I liked its zippy handling. Great car for city driving (and parking). Very useful cargo area. Rear seat a bit cramped for big adults.
Engine is remarkable. Once, by necessity, drove it 8 miles without oil. Replaced punctured oil pan, added oil, and kept on going.
Difficult to clean the beige interior, so I sold it. Hard to find a car this small on outside, this big on inside, so fun to drive.
What can I say?
I've poured money into this little beast, and everything is still breaking.
If its not a circuit board, its a vacuum hose or an oxygen sensor...
Everything just falls apart on this car, and there seems to be no stopping the decline.
I just rebuilt the transmission, replaced two axels, two boots, the A/C circuit board, the windshield washer pump, the windshield... you name it I'm replacing it.
It drives great, and I loved it for a while... but this thing is high maintenance & annoying.
Not worth the fun drive at all...
I've already dumped an extra $6000.00 into this car, and that's what its worth now....
Leather seats, fast acceleration, great steering, nice styling (before everything starts falling off)
I've had this car for 4 months now and have put over 30,000 km on it driving from Calgary to Saskatoon and Calgary to Vancouver. Car is great for commuting and relatively cheap for regular maintenance. If you can do regular maintenance on a gasser - you can do it on a diesel! Just be sure to use a good diesel fuel additive/fuel filter to prolong the life of your injection pump and take it for a good run regularly to keep the turbo clean and prevent sticking. My injection pump recently went from cheap fuel filter, bad diesel and no fuel additive - $2000 bill, follow the above advice to avoid this costly repair and you'll be happy with the car!
So far, so good with my '03 1.8T manual wagon. I have had other VWs and wanted a small but sporty wagon and I picked this one up certified pre-owned in September 2006 with 34k miles on it. I have had to replace wear and tear items (brakes, etc.) but I have get to have a mechanical problem with it. Sure, it has quirks (sunroof sometimes opens by itself; cupholders are useless but I don't use them anyway; sometimes te rear hatch doesn't like to open). To me, these are minor annoyances that don't impact my love of the car. I plan to run it into the ground since there aren't any fun, small wagons on the market I like (new Jetta too large). So far, so good at 82k miles.
Engine (1.8T)! Good pick-up; I can pass in 5th gear without downshifting; Good clutch and shifter; size of the car; cargo area in the hatch