Used 2008 Volkswagen GLI Consumer Reviews
I know the title of the review doesn't seem too impressive, but for all the VW nay-sayers it's saying something. This is my 2nd review on the car, the original being back in 12/2007. My overall stance on the car has not changed in the few years and 60,000 miles that have passed. My car still consumes very little to no oil within the 5k mile oil change intervals and has not had a mechanical break down. Some of the parts on the car have needed to be changed however (trunk gas struts, valve cover gasket & electronic door lock module). If you're looking at one second hand, check for oil leaks or slower performance/lower gas mileage (carbon buildup issue). Still 30ish MPG, still a sweet ride.
I've got a 2008 Jetta GLI since new and now have 250k miles. Although I wish I would've gotten the 4-door hatch (GTI) for more usable space, the trunk on the Jetta is indeed large for a compact car. Pros: power, handling, fun to drive (manual transmission), safety, fuel economy, and insurance costs Cons: firm ride, interior sound (loud with creaks and rattles), premium gasoline required, electrical and misc. problems The car has been pretty reliable with the exception of a catalytic converter failure (around 200k mi) that resulted in need of a tow. There are electrical problems such as the power door locks malfunctioning and light bulbs either burning out frequently or false warnings of bulbs burning out. I did have a fuel pressure sensor switch and PCV valve replaced under warranty. The car requires premium fuel and synthetic oil, which increases the maintenance cost. This car consumes half quart of oil every thousand miles or so nowadays. This car is direct injection so it has dirty intake valve deposit problems (a warning light came on at around 70k for an expensive cleaning I opted not to do). The ignition coils/spark plugs seem to go bad every 60k miles causing cylinder misfire error codes. Thermostat and air conditioning (fan) failed around 100k mi. Some good things are that the brake pads and clutch last forever, I've yet to replace the clutch, and only just replaced the rear brake pads at 150k miles. The front pads were replaced around 75k. This was my first VW and I did love it at first, but will be my last European car. They look and drive great but have many little issues that add up to frustration over time that have led me to seek different pastures for the future.
I loved the car when I first bought it, since I worked for Vw at the time. It handles great and has great throttle response. The color of the gauges at night are super cool. I like the ease of controls from the steering wheel instead of having to fiddle with the main controls. One thing that has bothered me is 8 months ago from July 1st 2009, is that it started having problems. Tonight while coming from work the display said stop engine, oil pressure etc. For an 08 GLI w/ 30K thats awful. Make sure you check you oil people. I drive only 5K per oil change as told to and Somehow I'm on the minimum part of dipstick!!
I've mainly purchased BMWs and Audis, probably a good reason for that. My wife and I test drove the 08 GLI 4dr with DSG. Transmission was fairly jumpy in my mind, breaks were not as solid, and the handling was very loose. Of course I'm coming from a 06 325i and comparing it to this VW. In my mind it isn't as sporty as some people think it is or handles as well. A vehicle that compares well to BMW that is not an Audi or Mercedes, is the 08 Mini Cooper S AM. I was very impressed with this vehicle and probably will purchase one. And I know that VW makes Audi and etc. But transmissions are different, i don't think the DSG compares well enough to Audi's tiptronic nor BWM's SMG. Sorry.
Having owned a myriad of sport sedans, many costing tens of thousands more than this vehicle, I am more than impressed with this car. Excellent performance, including acceleration, braking and handling and the best steering of any car I have ever driven make this VW truly exceptional. It could easily sell for $10K more than the sticker and it would still be worth it.