Oxygen sensor blew for the first time at 1200 miles. Then again at 2500 miles. Then again at 4000 miles. Finally recalled.
Check engine light on every week for any number of reasons.
Airbag light on from about 5,000 miles. I was told by VW that to even diagnose a problem would be a $700 diagnostic fee! Excuse me?! Because I broke the airbags?!
Mass air flow sensor defective. Finally recalled the week after I got rid of the car.
Glove compartment door fell off.
Heated mirrors never worked.
Rear window washer never worked.
Ate headlights and taillights - to the point where I carried extras in the car at all times.
Drank oil like it was german beer. At least a quart every 1000 miles.
Brakes and rotors replaced twice before 40,000 miles.
Windows fell into doors repeatedly - which made the car so much fun to drive in the snow. Finally recalled, and then none of the dealers had replacement parts.
Alarm system useless - car was broken into and the alarm never went off. I had to disarm it to let the police into the vehicle. VW told me "the door needs to be breached" in order for the alarm to go off. I guess throwing a rock through the window doesn't count as a "breach".
Power mirror knob fell off in my hand.
Cup holders broke twice - VW charged $60 to replace.
Dashboard lights only worked when they wanted to.
Sluggish shifting in general - and extreme lag going from park to reverse.
Doors froze shut constantly. Found 1/2 inch of ice inside the drivers door when I took off the door panel to find out what was wrong.
Sludge in motor from time of first oil change at 5,000 miles - which is the VW maintenance schedule. Techs at dealer tried to tell me it was my fault!
Interior trim peeling, cracking and falling off.
Do you like spending time in the waiting room at the dealership service department? Do you like driving crappy rentals while you're waiting for your car to be serviced yet again? Then the VW Golf is the car for you!
Seriously, this car was an absolute nightmare from beginning to end. VW customer service is a joke, and the service techs are rude and condescending. Warranty sucked (2 years/24k miles), not that VW would let you use it anyway. EVERYTHING was due to driver wear and tear or error, and hence not covered by the warranty. Service is expensive and shoddy - parts are never in stock, and it takes forever to get an appointment. Then you get the joy of being treated rudely, or being told that a problem is normal or can't be reproduced by the techs working on your German monster.
VW has serious quality issues they need to address. These cars are unsafe, unreliable and overpriced. In three years of ownership, I had 1/2 dozen recalls, class action lawsuits to cover issues, and more "extended warranties" than I can count.
I am finally ride of my Oktoberfest edition Golf (though I'm quite sure I paid a premium for a Wolfsburg edition), and I'm driving a nice, boring, reliable Saturn again, which I love. Spare yourself the hassle and don't even test drive one of these things.