It drives, smell, looks like its Audi A4 cousin, and just as expensive to run and maintain. It is a great running car, with very good handling characteristics, it has an absolute classic style that I think will never get old. The interior although nice, is made of very poor quality. At the expensive of soft touch and expensive looking coverings, all of that starts to degrade, crack and rub off over time. There are rattles and squeaks happening that I notice does not happen on other cars of this year. The car has great gas mileage, but then its off set by the 1.8 T requires premium gas. It has great space for 5 and loads of head room. It's a great European car if it wasn't for the unreliability, cost of ownership, and expensive fill-ups. You could literally spend $1500 dollars on this car one month and in two months have another bill for 2K. I've had my VW experience so this will probably be the last VW product I purchase, and there is more to life than spending money on fixing a car..lol I rather bite the bullet and buy a Honda.
I bought this car as it looks cool inside and outdoor with super comfy seats. Overall, I have been pleased and I plan on driving it until it dies. Get the V6 engine! Much more reliable than V4. (I've also never used Premium gas. 87 octane works fine.) Interior and exterior has worn well. Seats are comfy. Ride is quite and comfortable. Paint looks great. But I've had electrical issues similar to others: Headlights burn out often, dashboard and panel lights go out. Repairs are expensive, and some maintenance can only be done at dealerships. If you are buying a used one, make sure you are aware of the VW timing belt/water pump replacement at 105,000 mile-- it's $1300.
Unlike the typical 4wd/awd vehicle, this is one that always smoothly applies power to all 4 wheels. It doesn't rely on a slow-responding multi-plate clutch ("computer" systems) or viscous fluid. The even power split prevents slipping from starting, and recovery is easy. Getting a 4-wheel alignment makes a huge difference with this car. The back is roomy. Visibility is great but for the rear head rests sticking up.
This car has been nothing but a major headache. I bought it brand new and within 3 weeks the alternator died and had to be replaced. It was still under warranty so I didn't think much about it. The last 4 years I have spent more on repairs then the car is worth and now the catalytic converters are about to go. Last time I went to my mechanic everyone else waiting for their car owned a 2001 passat and we all shared our horror stories. Recently the drains for the sunroof leaked into the car flooding the electronic brain. Another $2,000 repair. I will never own another VW.