I've had my Golf GLS TDI for three years now and I love it. The diesel engine runs great. I use biodiesel for fuel and average 38-42 miles/gal. The turbo provides quick pick up. The manual transmission is fun to drive. It has enough trunk space for storage. It is the perfect car for day to day commuting and to able to fit into tight parking spaces. As with many VW diesel cars the engines will last forever, but the small electrical components are not reliable.
My Golf 2.0 (2004) Automatic 2 Dr. Hatchback is the best little car I have every owned. I bought the car with only 3000 miles on it--it now has 36,000 and still purrs. It rides clean and very quiet--the interior is pretty--the exterior sporty. NOTHING HAS EVER GONE WRONG WITH MY LITTLE BABY GOLF. I put the gas mileage at around 38 MPG/on HWY-little less in city (I don't do city though) The only item that needed to be replaced from 3000-36,000 miles was my battery because I drive the car from the Pacific Northwest to Arizona at least 3-4 times a year. In AZ the battery gets sucked dry fast in the heat and humidity. Only other car that compares to the Golf was my Honda Odyssey.
I purchased BRAND NEW 04 VW golf and within 10 miles I drove from the dealer ship , i started getting ENGINE PROBLEMS. OUT OF the last 18 DAYS since i bought the car, 15 DAYS car was in SHED. Never expected that buying a brand new car with VW is this STRESSFUL.i filed an official complaint with VW-America, they are dead slow in responding. their Customer service is comparable to the car's engine problems. New car should be problem-free atleast for the first 10 miles. VW buyers, READ as many reviews as possible before you decide on buying this crap.
My friends told me I was crazy to buy a diesel. They were crazy not too. It's a tight, quiet car, very quick and fun to drive. Plus, it always gets over 40 mpg. Not for big families but can carry 5 adults if you have to. Went on a 2000 mile driving trip with 4 adults--we were fine. Great in the snow.
Bought my tdi Golf new in 2004, and currently have 156,000kms on the odometer. The car has always been serviced as required, and only synthetic oil changes every 8000 km. The car is peppy around town, and great on the highways. I drive approx. 40,000 km per year, mostly highway, but also a good portion in city. The car is very reliable, I have never had any problems with it at all. Just had the timing belt replaced as per the schedule. Never had a problem with cold starts. Runs every time. Very reliable even with a full load, and no problems passing going uphill. Great car.