Okay, I'll be truthful. I've only had the car a few days so I will change the ratings accordingly, but I got it for $300 over invoice and I thought that was a great deal on a car that gets 50mpg on the highway, has a solid interior feeling like a more expensive car, even if a few things need attention, a solid, sporty ride, and the power of the turbodiesel. It amazes me every time I get behind the wheel. I can go up steep mountain grades in 5th gear and it still wants to go faster.
I've got 221,000 miles on my TDI and it's running like it's got a quarter of the mileage on it. It's a great commuter and the gas mileage is what sells the car. It is a little under powered but for 45 mpg's the sacrifice is well worth it. The looks are good but not everyones cup of tea (I've upgraded a few things here and there and it is quite the little head turner). The interior is much nicer than most American or Japanese cars but it is pretty basic for a German car. The build quality is typical German excellence, rock solid. The drive is nice, great for the highway but not the most fun car to take on twisty roads. My advice, upgrade a few things and this car will be golden forever.
Original owner blew motor due to low oil and had a brand new 1.9l engine and turbo charger, decarbed, replaced EGR valve, water pump, timing belt and tensioner at 135,000 kms. At 160,00, replaced glow plug harness. 163,000 kms mass air low circuit replaced. I bought it with 172,000 kms on car and 35,000 on new motor. At 223,000 replaced front struts and mounts and sway bar bushing, 226,000 cleaned airtake manifold and carbon, new timing belt, water pump. 242,000 replaced fan motor for heater. At 302,000 engine light remains on and blowing some oil out somewhere and the alternator pully came off. Both are expensive repairs. Uncomfortable seats, and cheaply built - not worth the repair bills.
This 2003 Golf TDI is without a doubt THE most fun car to drive of all the cars that I've owned. (Actually, this is car #21). The diesel engine has tons of torque and really runs great matched with the manual transmission. The gears are smooth and shift even better than the Hondas I've owned. This TDI has a nice little wheeze when the turbo is heard, but that is only when the windows are open. I love the moon roof and the Monsoon radio- the best stock radio in any vehicle Ive had. I like the visibility, too. The seats are very comfortable. I get a reliable 45 mpg, and I drive 80 mph. The maintenance has been super low and Ive done most of it myself. I would buy another TDI without a doubt.