This car was family owned from new and had been impeccably serviced every 5,000 miles regardless of cost. Despite this, it was actually less reliable than the similar age and mileage Astra (petrol) that I had before. I'm not sure where VW get their reliability and build quality reputation from, but it's no better than you'd get with a Vauxhall in my experience.
This isn't a performance car, so I'm not going to criticise its painful lack of grunt. To be fair, the engine was very torquey and responsive so it wasn't actually too bad to drive. The 60 mpg it returned was very nice too, especially during the fuel crisis. 500 miles out of a £30 tankful was known regularly.
The rest of it was standard 80's small hatchback stuff. Cheap, creaky, angular interior, tidy front drive handling, so-so cloth seats and unbelievably heavy steering.
Although this was definitely a good economical banger, I felt a bit disappointed that having heard all the stories praising VW's bombproof build and engineering, and with the car having been so well looked after, it was all very creaky and tired inside, and there were quite a lot of problems. Parts from independents tended to be poor quality too, and those from dealers were extortionate.
As I say, this was a decent old runabout, but if I'm in the market for a similar car again, I'll save a few hundred quid and buy an old Astra or Escort, which are just as well made and reliable, as well as being more plentiful and cheaper to fix when they do go wrong.