Bought our 2002 TDI in December for our daughter. Two weeks later we discovered it had a messed up transmission. Counting on fuel savings over the next 5 years, we spent $3500 to have the transmission rebuilt. There were alot of rattles in the interior but we planned to address those after recovering from the trani. expense. Last weekend the brakes failed while parking, proceeded to smoke from the rear then caught on fire! A total loss for us however the salvage yard is scoring a good engine. Apparently firewalls work from both directions. I would not recommend this car!!
At 243K, still going strong. Needed new transmission at 230K but likely because I overuse the 5th gear at low speed to improve mileage and wore it out. My only complaint is the interior parts. Rear seat fell apart in the first week. Center console fell apart shortly after. Surprisingly rotten and cheap parts on such a worthy vehicle. Diesel needs to be treated with anti-gel for 3 months of Northeast winter and I had a pre-heater installed after the glow-plugs cooked and were too rusted in to replace. This diesel car had real trouble starting below -10F with glow plugs working and below 20F after they died so a heater really protects battery, starter and engine. Check engine light has been on for last 100k miles but that?s just something you deal with in the age of science and technology. That crap never functions right for 1/2 the life of a vehicle. Still my primary commuter as it gets 45 mpg.
Driving the car is fun, but the electrical components are lousy. My local service department is not very good and is very costly. We have had a lot of trouble with it, nothing with the drivetrain, but lots of little electrical problems.
I've had this car for couple month now and I drive everywhere on it. Even though mine was rebuilt from the ground up after an accident not shown on carfax and it was rebuilt from junk and old parts and silicone glue it holding up marvelously. I mostly drive everything it got out of this little car and let me say it's not just faster than most four cylinders on the road. It beats some v6's because it's stik and it only got 100hp! But I still manage to get 45 mpg consistently, never got less but once got 55 mpg on biodiesel and light driving style (speed limit and slow acceleration tryoing to stay in 5th gear at all speeds (even 30 mph)+ rolling down the hill). the rest sucks alot.
Bought with 88K miles--probably paid too much, but was pressed for time for a move and new job. Purchased knowing would have long daily commute & weekend travel home--excellent mileage on freeway driving, 'tween 46-50 mpg. In town usually around 38-40. Very keen on quick acceleration. Yes, some frustration with electrical, e.g. persistent glow plug light was annoying, but fixable at low price. Sunroof fun and climate control okay. With back seat down good storage capacity. Sound system good, but put in XM receiver and sold off original system at purchase. Very satisfied all in all-but several of the complaints here have some validity in my view.