1998 Volkswagen Cabrio GL from North America


All-time favorite car. Fun, fun to drive


I had a weird electrical issue when the car was under the original warranty, and three dealers couldn't find the problem. I took the car to the guy who fixed my sister's Rabbit, and he knew what the problem was without checking the computer. I can't remember the name of the part he replaced, but it had a hairline crack, and when it rained, the car stalled out.

Battery blew up around 60,000 miles and dented the hood. The largest part left from the battery was two inches long -- I have no idea if that was a battery issue or a VW electrical issue. My insurance company took care of it.

Transmission was rebuilt around 135,000. Had the clutch replaced at the same time. It cost about $1700 total.

Right after I had the transmission rebuilt, some kid valet who lied about being able to drive a stick, snapped the cable from the gear shift to the transmission. That was a $19 repair.

Accelerator cable snapped around 125,000.

A/C went out around the same time. Replaced it, but now has a leak that I haven't bothered to look for.

The door latch broke this summer at 193,000 miles. Apparently, the Cabrio used a latch that was not common to other VWs of the era. That was almost $300.

Top lasted for 14 years, but has finally torn at 190,000 plus miles. Will need to replace it next spring.

General Comments:

This is my all-time favorite car. It drives as well today as it did when I drove it off the lot. Still gets 31-32 MPG on the highway. Still fun to drive on curvy roads. Other than the weird initial electrical problem, everything I've replaced has been wear and tear.

The paint has not faded at all, except on the hood that was replaced when the battery exploded. There are some minor rust spots starting to bubble up on the bottom of the driver's side door and near the top of the windshield. The driver's seat needs to be replaced. My very large father drove the car for a year and destroyed the seat.

I wish VW would reconsider selling the new Cabrio in the US. I would much rather buy another Cabrio soft-top than the ugly EOS convertible top that takes up the entire trunk.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th September, 2012

1998 Volkswagen Cabrio GLE 2.0 4 cylinder from North America


The VW Cabrio could have been one of the GREAT cars... but..


I currently have a restored 1988 Suzuki Samurai, and wanted a 2nd car for highway driving and longer trips. Located this one (San Francisco, CA) owner 1998 VW Cabrio on eBay, bought it and flew down to CA to conclude the purchase.

The VW Cabrio was in lovely condition, and I felt quite pleased with finding such a spectacular car as back-up to the Samurai.

WELL, the dealer went to put my luggage into the trunk and it wouldn't open. He worked on that for quite a long while, and I began checking out the interior. Driver's side leather seat was severely cracked, though the passenger and rear seats were fine.

The passenger door handle, containing power window controls, had pulled apart, exposing internal wires. Dash was in excellent condition, as well as all glass, including the soft top rear window.

Meanwhile, I asked to have the car started and to look at the engine bay. Pulled the dip stick, only to find that it had cracked and chipped where the stick slid into the hole. The broken area that was left would not fit into the hole at all, and was quite brittle, dropping little pieces of its end... down into the oil check hole... perhaps getting into the oil going through the engine, I wondered?

When testing the automatic windows, which are supposed to go up and/or down all at once by turning and holding the key in the driver's door lock, we found that they stuck half-way up. Period. Would not move. Literally had to go into the car and operate them one at a time to close them all.

Clearly this VW Cabrio has some rather severe electrical issues? The dip stick splintering pieces of plastic into the oil isn't a good thing, either. The deteriorating interior finish issues could have been addressed, had all else been OK.

But, all this was rather surprising on a much loved one owner car, with only 55,000 miles in 14 years?

I have written this review, even though did not complete the purchase of this vehicle, hoping that it will alert others to potential problems with a used VW Cabrio, which by the way is manufactured in Mexico, not Germany.

And, the trunk was never able to be opened!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th January, 2012