I have had 2002 and 2001 all get 22-24 mpg driving in suburbs near Boston. Find them on Craigslist for short money. Have a mechanic who knows Cabrios! Top down days are the best, between March and Nov. sometimes can make it to Dec. Being 5'3" having the seat height being adjustable is a good feature. The drive selection display is obstructed by the steering wheel. Handles really well in snow. The main issue is the fact on all 3 Cabrios, when it gets really cold, (under 10 degrees) the door handles don't work. No tension. The only way to get in is using the key in the lock, hold it down for 10 seconds or so, all 4 windows automatically go down! If need be, open the roof to climb in. I have a VW guy who specializes that is a Godsend! The check engine light is a PITA, vacuum hose at the moment. This model has the insulated roof which cuts down the wind noise. Wish they still made them, could use the update in technology. The top end convertible is the EOS, at 40K + out of budget at the moment.
I am only 5'3" and my husband is 5'6" with a 2 year old son so for us it is easy to get in and out of and fit comfortably in but my dad is 6'3" and he can get in and out but I wouldn't suggest this car for larger people. That being said we have no problem with a car seat fitting or using this as our only vehicle. The car has 200,000 miles on it and just regular maintenance is all I need. The electrical is only problematic because only the VW people seem to be able to fix it. That seems to be a problem with many cars these days.
The only problem I have had is that the top is splitting at the seam! All the way across the back and to my dismay I discovered that it is glued!! That is crazy! I have it taped right now but I am going to find out if someone can sew up the seam. So far everyone has said that it won't work, but I'm going to try it anyway! I can't afford a new top(that is probably glued too!) That has been my only disappointment. I've not had any big repairs. It's great in the snow! I can get in and out of everywhere and if I could get another one, I'd upgrade to another one. I've got about 160000 miles on it and I hope it lasts for another 3 to 5 years!
Sew all the seams in the top!!!!!!!
The seat belt needs to be lowered. It wasn't made for short people. I feel like I'm choking all the time.
There are only a few things that I would change. First the power Windows button is too small. The cup holder is set to deep into the consol, which makes it hard to put a med. Size drink in there with the ashtray being directly above it. And sometimes I bump the control for the window wipers when I put in the key into the ignition
The way it handles. I can get 43 miles to the gallon with the top up and the air condtioning off below 70 mph. 34 mpg otherwise