First of all, I have to start stating that this is a follow-up review. I posted the first one with my first impressions of the car, and now, five years later, the real deal.
First of all potential consumers must be warned that the Gol (2008 and before) is an OLD car (speaking from a technologically standpoint). Its platform and engine are from the early 80s or late 70s, so it will not have all the bells and whistles newer cars have.
Things that have gone wrong with the car include a very crappy electrical system: I have replaced all of the light bulbs in the car with higher quality ones.
Reverse light thingie that turns it on had to be replaced too.
The interior tends to develop rattles and squeaks constantly, thanks to the sub standard plastics used in the doors and dashboard. Other squeaking sounds come from the doors hinges and locks, while others come from the suspension. Most of this noises and squeaks can be solved with the use of some lube that could be applied at the factory, making the Volkswagen ownership experience easier to overcome.
The steering wheel deteriorates with time due to the sweat in the driver's hands. The fabric in the seats is highly wear resistant, but does come off the seats and a modification needs to be done there too.
Power locks work erratically, and power windows have some crap aftermarket system that needs to be replaced after 20,000 kms or so.
Seat belt springs become loose after a short time and they no longer retract. In short, the interior lacks and leaves a lot to be desired.
On the outside, paint chips are the norm. It seems to me that the clear coat used is too hard and chips easily when debris or small rocks hit it at highway speeds.
The gearbox and tranny is old too, so there is a significant lag time between one gear and another, and no automatic transmission is offered.
My car came with the sport package (hence its name: Sportline, duh!) and it included a sporty rigid suspension that has contributed enormously to the rattles and squeaks inside the cabin, but to be fair, it makes one of the best handling cars I've driven.
On the bright side, the engine and tranny, despite being old, are very reliable and resilient, and have never showed any signs of trouble.
As a bottom line, the car takes you from point A to B efficiently, but it IS a cheaply made car that has to follow a very strict maintenance schedule in order to be kept in barely decent shape. If it is neglected, it will deteriorate in a sneeze unlike Japanese cars.