Quite a few things are wrong with the car, but I got I this way. Most aren't fixed yet.
- Vacuum regulator (12L/100km grandma-style driving... ouch!)
- Front right wheel bearing is on it's way, makes a sound like a worn out electric fan, more audible on right-handers, when the weight is to the other side of the car.
- First and second gear syncros are almost completely worn out, I'll drive it that way though - double clutching rules ;)
- There is a little play in the right drive-shaft, gotta replace it soon...
First of all, the car handles GREAT! Too bad you have to turn the steering wheel so much to make a tight turn, but overall, I have no complaints - like someone said, this thing is like a go-kart.
The gearbox isn't the smoothest ever, but the car is old, should be better on newer ones.
The clutch cable needs regular adjustment, the point at wich the clutch engages goes down (pedal-wise) with time, so at some point you start hearing grinding sounds when switching gears, and a little later you just can't switch gears! Fixing this is a no-brainer though.
The interior is very noisy on bumpy roads (otherwise it's nice and functional), as is the engine at speeds above 100km/h - the low 5th gear makes the revs go pretty high. This car is not created for highways, but around town it's hard to beat. Humiliate golf GTi drivers? No problem :).
I was amazed by the spacious interior this small car offers, especially in the back. I am pretty tall (almost 2 meters), so without an adjustable steering wheel my right knee almost touches the wheel, so it's a bit hard to twist my foot for a heel-toe. Otherwise the driving position is very comfortable, and the seats are great.
My car is quite old, and obviously driven enthusiastically in the past, but it's almost impossible to find a decent GTi around here. If you're looking for a reliable car, just get a non-GTi VW Golf or something along that line. This thing is quite fragile, although the bodywork is great, mine is completely rust-free (although it might get rusty after a while if it has been crashed and poorly fixed), and as I hear the engines last for quite a while. All in all, don't buy one in a rush, I got mine like that, and discovered there are much more problems than those that were found before the purchase. Still, I'm satisfied, I got a pretty good car for cheap.
I haven't rated dealer service cause I have no experience with them, except I hear some frightening stories about service bills - here they charge a sack of money for something that can be done for half (or less) the price in an independent garage.
One more thing, I have had the car for just over a month, so if more problems appear (and they will) further down the road (pun intended) I'll just come back and post a comment.