Recommended, but with reservations
Window regulator broke up at 22,000 miles.
Three glovebox catch failures.
Leaking heater matrix at 34,000 miles.
Leaking rear wash/wipe hose ruined headlining at 39,000 miles.
Computer display at 42,000 miles.
Front CV joints at 46,000 miles.
The fastest four cylinder diesel of its generation and still lovely to drive.
Effortless torque available from idle and a very "petrol-like" throttle response. Goes like the wind if you open it up. Excellent economy (usually over 50 mpg average per tankful unless really booting it). More pleasant to drive than the 150PS version in my opinion, that car being noticeably more coarse and much more "on/off" in its power delivery.
Competent enough handling, but not enough feel to really enjoy it. Rolls a bit, despite "sports suspension". Steering vague, brakes not progressive enough. Struggles for front end grip and traction with the ASR turned off. None of this is a problem in day to day driving, but disappointing for a "GT".
Interior looks expensive, and the ice blue and red dial illumination is hypnotic. Seats are a bit firm and "wooden" feeling, but seem okay for several hours at a time. Build quality no better than average however. Squeaks and creaks at 47,000 miles.
Frankly, the car doesn't make the grade in terms of reliability. Engine is good, but far too many niggling faults for a supposed "quality" product. I've had the contents of the heater matrix pouring into the front footwells, the contents of the washer bottle dribbling through (and staining) the headlining, a broken fuel computer, knocking CV joints and the flimsy plastic glovebox catches seem to last only 6 months. What happened to VW's legendary solidity?
If they built this car properly and didn't penny pinch so badly on some of the components it would be a fabulous car, instead of just a reasonably good one. Recommended, but with reservations.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 6th November, 2005