i have owned my gti 4cyl for about 3 years. I have slowly watched it detereorate. ABS suddenly stopped working dash accessory lights blink or short out. Coolant and power steering won't stop leaking despite repairs. Can't drive 30 miles in the rain without it breaking down at least twice, despite repairs. Repairs are COSTLY! I can't even change my own spark plugs or wires due to design. It has about 113,000 mi and I can't wait to get rid of it. Consider this a warning to anyone considering buying one of these.
This is my second VW. I have owned it for it's entire life and have only had minor problems with it, most of which were covered under the warranty. The one disappointment was the radio. I liked the security feature it had, but I had to have it replaced three times. Several VW dealerships I spoke to knew this radio was a lemon, but could offer me only expensive alternatives. I finally replaced it with an aftermarket in dash CD player which is not so great, but it works and it's loud. On the whole, I am happy with my car and I highly recommend VWs.
I bought this car in 2002. I absolutely love VWs, always wanted one.I have had a continuing throttle problem, and transmission proble. Ceiling upholstery is falling. Very recently spent $500 to replace ignition - the key would not turn at all in the ignition, I actully had to have it towed twice to a car repair shop for this problem. Car is very fast for a 4 cylinder. Nice sporty European car - get many looks. I actually love this car. I considered buying a new GTI - but I am now too old for the youthful sports car. The problems that I have with this car have nothing to do with design - but age. FYI - my car only has 82000 miles on a 11 year old car.
I have owned about 5 cars since I was 16 and this is the best so far. It is very reliable and has never let me down. I bought with with 82,000 miles and I am now at 93,000 and I have had no mechanical problems whats so ever. The car is a blast in the rain and in dry conditions. The only complaint I have is the stereo goes into lock mode if you un hook the battery. Then it took me forever to get teh code from the dealer and it ended up not working. I just went aftermarket but it was still a pain.