I have wanted an MKIV since they came out. I bought a 2000 in 2012 and was in a total collision 3 weeks later. The other girl went to the hospital I walked away without a scratch. As a former mechanic and mobile electronic technician I can tell you the build quality on this car is amazing. It is extremely safe. The only drawback to the car can be the cost of parts. This is one place where is does not pay to cut corners. There are a huge number of aftermarket companies out there that make replacement parts but when they charge $35 for a part that VW charges $350 there is a reason. With this car you basically get an AUDI in a VW wrapper. Most of the parts are interchangeable.
I love my 2001 VW GTI 1.8T GLS. I bought this car brand new and now I have about 171k miles. This car has been a phenomenal experience for me the past 11 years. In spite of what people say about 'electrical problems, etc.' with VWs, this car had none whatsoever. The only things i had to replace since i bought this car were a new alternator (at 125k miles) and a new a/c compressor (at 168k miles). I regularly took this car in for an oil change and check up to VW. I am sad to let this car go and sell it so i can buy an suv since my family is growing into 4! Im thinking about getting VS again!
I bought my MKIV almost a year ago, and cannot sell it to any offer. Between its peppy engine and reliability, I love it. The 1.8t has been nothing but good news, but be warned..Know how to drive and maintain these cars or you will have issues. I put 40k on it in the past year for work and school, going 100+ on most highway journeys, bringing it to 236k. Besides the belt changes done by the previous owner, it's needed very little work. No oil leaks or power loss, or tranny problems yet. The trannys usually cant pass 150k but I guess im lucky. A con is the materials used in the interior. Headliner falling, door panel upholstery falling off, and finish fade. Numerous modifications available
I bought my 2001 GTi with 25,000 miles on it and put another 105,000 miles on it over the course of 5 years. While it was comfortable to drive and had nice styling, the car completely lacked reliability. In the 5 years that I owned it, these are the things that broke or degraded prematurely: PCV tubing Ignition coils Ignition coil wiring harness (degraded insulation) Timing belt (replaced at 50,000) Clogged oil pick-up tube Radiator fan (broke) Coolant flange (degraded, leaked) Drivers side seat belt clip (bad sensor) Automatic transmission (failed at 100,000; rebuilt and failed again at 130,000) Broken, leaking axle at 130,000 Leaking power steering pump Cam tensioner Belt tensioner
Honestly I can say owning the VW GTI VR6 was nothing short of a nightmare. I had purchased the top of the line 2001 in 2011 GLX with less then 140,000 kilometers and was the third owner. Over the span of one year it coast me half its value in repairs for parts that are literally prone to failure. Volkswagen knows this but makes no attempt to fix it, simply Google coil-pack failures for the mk4. As a car it is fun to drive its fun. However its heavy slow and antiquated. The whole VR6 thing is overrated till you hit the highway and the bulk of my driving was city so its a pig on gas, changing the oil is at least a 100 dollar job if you do it right and go full synthetic.