Clutch burnt out rather early, right at 48,000 miles. This is odd considering my father and I are the only two drivers, and we are both very gentle and experienced drivers on a manual transmission. The dealership would not replace it under warranty as it is not a part that is covered. This was a $1,300 fix.
Some of the matte finish on the interior bits has started to rub off. It has only happened on the steering column trim and is therefore easy to miss.
Recently, the car had developed a rattling and squeaking noise from the engine, however this is just the result of one of the pulleys, which needs a tightening.
There was a recall on the cars with the Pumpe Duse engine (2004 - 2006 TDI models), however this was covered under warranty.
We have owned this car for five and a half years, and there is very little to indicate that the car isn't still brand new. It's been used for city commutes, long distance road trips, and for hauling music equipment and the car just soaks it all up. Even for a small car, it feels just as rock solid as any German car should.
The interior is functional and efficient, yet a little classier than what you'd find in a Civic or a Sentra. The materials are much nicer and everything just shows a great attention to detail. The factory sound system is impressive, with controls for bass, mids, and treble and great sound throughout. The seats are firm, yet comfortable though I wish leather was available. The velour upholstery is durable and comfortable enough though. Storage space is quite good, and grows tremendously if you fold the seats flat.
Steering effort is just heavy enough to be communicative and the ride is extremely comfortable, however those looking to carve corners will find too much body roll for their tastes.
The best part about the vehicle however, has to be the fuel economy. The best we've averaged was 50 miles per gallon on a trip from Atlanta to Washington D.C. In mixed driving, including a bit of spirited driving, we've averaged an easy 38 miles per gallon. The best part is that it does this without feeling like a slouch. It may only have 100 bhp, however the 177 lb.ft. of torque makes this car extremely peppy. It's easy to pull over and pass on the highway without having to drop down a gear. I won't go as far as to say it is a performance car or a hot hatch, but it certainly does a good job of feeling like it's quick.
I feel this car will go well over 200,000 miles. It offers great fuel economy, decent performance, a comfortable ride, all in a solidly engineered package. For those looking to save on fuel, I'd certainly recommend it over a Prius or one of those other econoboxes. The Golf TDI has quite a lot to offer!