I bought this car brand new in 2002. At first, everything was great. Good gas mileage. Sporty little car. Great for zipping around town and did well on road trips. However, it started having all sorts of problems after about 18-24 months, beginning with the "small" and annoying (head lights constantly burning out, display lights inexplicably going off and coming on, airbags needed replacement without ever having been used or the car being in an accident). Then, around 65,000 miles, the check engine light was constantly on. Then, the transmission blew and it needed a new timing belt, air sensor, alternator & more. It has cost me thousands to repair and has become a money pit.
I've had my 2003 Golf GLS for 3 years now. I bought it used with 10,200 miles on it. I've put 65,000 miles on it. I like how competent it feels no matter the conditions. It's heavy enough to feel safe on the freeway and light enough to get great mileage. I'm a paint contractor and I haul all my gear in it daily. It holds my Little Giant ladder with just the passenger front seat put down. I've even put 2'x8' wood planks in it and was able to shut the hatch. I call it my "clown car". When we go camping it holds all of our gear with ease...camp kitchen, coolers, coleman stove, sterilite tub, etc. My wife's 2010 Honda Insight can hold about half as much...really! In short...I love this car!
I bought this car at auction in 2009 with 130000 miles on.I paid 2500 dollars (for ,then,6 years old ) Never had any problems with it ,super reliable. Now it has 235000 miles and it still drives good. I used synthetic oil. The fuel pump had to be replaced last year. Other than that only regular maintenance expenses (tires, brakes etc) still has the original clutch .Amazing
Always thought VW were known for their reliabilit.
written on 01-14-2016
When I first bought my Golf it had 70k miles on it and I had every intention of driving it until 300k. Unfortunately at 148k that doesn't seem likely. For the first year i had it it went relatively alright, nothing too big. After that, it was all down hill. Almost all the knobs for the audio adjustments have broken off, the paint on the buttons and controls have all worn off, the ceiling lining it peeling off, the cloth padding on the doors is falling off, the hydraulic hood strut in the back has failed, not to mention the key fob wont unlock the trunk anymore, and that's just to name a few things. So far I've replaced the radiator, had several misfires, replaced 2 of the window clips (which have a history with failing resulting in your window falling off the track), the side mirror cover has fallen off on the highway twice, and not to mention it consumes oil like my gramps consumes whiskey. All in all, I've spent close to what I paid for it maintaining it, and that's only 80k miles in. Currently looking to sell it and get something more reliable.
I bought this car new and have mostly used this for city driving. I haul a lot of stuff. I'm a paint contractor and I do work in decorative concrete. I can fit my little giant ladders inside the vehicle, and other ladders on my roof rack. It handles a lot of sacks of concrete, with no adverse effects on braking, handling. I can get 8' 2x4s in there also. I've gotten 4 sheets of 3/4 ply on the roof and still an easy drive. Its surprising just how much this can haul. This is a fantastic Urban car. The best, imho. Enough power to hit the highways in the burbs. Short enough to parallel park in tight spots. Amble space for groceries. And great mpg for city.