This is a great car to drive, the VR6 is a excellent. The backseats are almost worthless though. I have kids, so I am getting a larger car, however I am going to keep the GTI. I am going to keep it because when the back seats are folded down you would not believe the utility it has. I have used it to haul 6 full sized railroad ties, 1/2 a pallet of landscaping bricks (a 3/4 ton truck can only carry 1 full pallet), 4x8 peg boards, and I have two 80 lb. Labrador Retrieves - both can sleep comfortably in the back. I bought it with 60,000 miles, and I have put about $2,000 into it, and the used VW warranty has covered about $3,000 in repairs. The car has been solid since 80,000 miles. I have 91,000 on it now.
It is a very fun car to drive, I have had it for more than 8 years, and 145,000 miles, still on original clutch. Never take the car to dealers, always work with local VW mechanic. Maintenance is a little bit high, but it is worth it. I have changed the ECU to after market, the car goes 20% faster and save more gas.
I loved the heck out of this car. If it weren't so small and I didn't have a family now, I would keep it FOREVER. It has been so good to me. It handles really well and feels solid. All the bells and whistles made it really comfortable. The only downside: parts for VWs in general are super expensive. And the engine light comes on for the slightest problems. Oh, and the seats don't recline.
This is, by far, the most unreliable car I have ever owned. I feel compelled to warn people about buying this car. Here's just a small list of the litany of things that went wrong with the car: both electric windows fell off their tracks (expen$ive to fix), the rear window's tube for wiper fluid broke and leaked all over the interior of the car, the catalytic converter malfunctioned (emissions and performance were screwed up), the hatch lock would not lock, the glove box broke--twice, the handles for the seats constantly fell off, the wiring was constantly malfunctioning, the taillights burned out every 3 months on average, brakes torn up, etc. And I'm leaving a lot off this list.
Wonderful little car. Quick, agile, and the sound of the VR6 engine is just beautiful. Pretty solid; I ran it into a ditch pretty hard, tow truck pulled it out and I kept on driving it, ran brilliantly. Even after 150,000 miles it still feels far more solid than my grandmother's Ford Focus. Feels just as good doing 130 as it does 25. Not a head turner, but hey, it's what's on the inside that counts.