2003 Volkswagen Golf GTI VR6 from North America


I wish I could have another VR6 in a vacuum storage for when I put this one to rest in 20 years


So far:

Catalytic converter (needs OEM replacement or will throw a code).

Tension pulley (could have blown the head gasket).

Various front suspension and handling.

Rear hatch mechanism (mechanical failed and replaced, then electronic door button and key FOB failed, but able to open using the key).

Rust in the wheel wells (fair warning that between the plastic covering in the wheel well and your rocker panel is a 2 inch gap of space that collects dirt and debris. This area needs to be monitored and cleaned out. I was too late to discover this and I am now in the repair process).

General Comments:

I'm 46 years old and until 5 years ago I delivered pizza as a second job in New England for 17 years. 3rd owner backyard mechanic and I just love this car. True it's expensive to fix, but the problems in my instances were just due to its age and were as likely on any other car. The mileage is still sticker accurate and cylinder compression is as strong as new. I'm not into modifying it. I use it as my daily driver. Were I to still be doing the pizza gig, I would have opted for the non-turbo 4cyl. Since I'm not though I'll pay the extra gas for the sheer pleasure of hearing and feeling the factory designed motor in this thing. Nothing but smiles.

Me and my girl take it camping with all our stuff fitting nicely. Handles awesome in the snow with the extra weight of the VR6 motor over the front wheels. It's nice and small for parking. And she can do some amazing moves through traffic. I love this little car, and will drive her till she turns to dust.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd September, 2017

2003 Volkswagen Golf TDI turbo diesel 1.7 or 1.8 from North America


We like the car and are considering a 2010 diesel Golf, but concerned the price is so much higher


We have had very few problems with this car.

When I first picked up the car when I used the rear window wiper, it labored like it was a dry joint, then loosened up with use.

In the first 40 or 50K miles the horn quit and the relay had to be replaced.

Around 90K miles the glass of the drivers window came off the track and fell down in the door. We had purchased the 100K mile extended warranty and the dealer near my work (50 miles from home) where the window fell out refused to accept the CNA after-market warranty which apparently varies from dealer to dealer. We complained to Volkswagen headquarters by letter, submitted the receipt, and they sent us a check for the repair. I don't remember if there was an apology.

I have had to have the driver window switches replaced because the one-touch works, but bringing the window part way up doesn't, but I tend to play with the switches frequently while driving.

Around 140K the trunk latch motor stopped working and hatch back wouldn't latch.

The biggest headache was the dealer mechanic who works on diesels. When they were doing something on the fuel supply/injectors he overtightened and cracked something. I had several visits back to the dealer and lost about $100 of diesel fuel from leaking, smoking, until they figured out the rails had to be replaced. Even though they caused it around 150K miles, we had to pay for the repair. They only knocked off part of the bill; we paid 75% of it when they admitted they had probably caused it.

General Comments:

The dealer mechanics are a problem.

When it is slow, they find extra things to fix.

When they are busy, they don't do everything they are supposed to do on the checkup. We just had the 180K service and they did not do the serpentine belt, saying it is not due until 195K because we had it done late last time. We checked our bills and this was incorrect, so we plan to nudge them about that next time.

At 120K they told us we had to have our water pump replaced because it was easier then when the belt is off, although we had had no problems with the water pump.

The car got to 135,000 miles and nobody had suggested replacing the brakes. We assumed they look at this as part of deal routine service, but my wife's brakes almost failed at 135K on her 01 Golf, so she asked if mine had been done and they said gee, no. So we ended up with two brake jobs close together, and having to buy new calipers because of the excessive wear.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th June, 2009