I had a love hate relationship with this car, I loved it when it worked, you can figure out the rest
I never had any problems with the engine or transmission which I assume can be attributed to the fact that the engine and transmission were both replaced at 145K, and I only had the car for 6 thousand miles.
The right side CV joint came unbolted as soon as I purchased the car, at first I just reattached it, but then it actually broke.
Throughout my entire ownership of the vehicle it has perpetually sprung coolant leaks. First it was an upper radiator hose, then it was a gasket in between a hose and the engine block, then it was the radiator itself. Long story short, The hose needed immediate replacement, but I just lived with the faulty gasket and the leaky radiator, refilling my overflow reservoir twice a week.
Two transmission mounts broke, one was a result of the previous mount breaking (added stress to the second one) and me not fixing it right away.
Around half way through my ownership I was driving when my cell phone rang in my pocket. I arched my back so as to put my pocket in a position that I could reach with my hand, when the joint holding up the back of the seat broke.
Around the one year mark of my ownership, all the lights on the car stopped working, with the exception of the brake lights. Apparently the rest are wired in series and it's a christmas tree style search when you get a bad wire someplace. Burnt out bulbs alone won't trigger everything to go out however.
The left rear strut failed towards the end of my ownership and I never replaced it.
In conclusion this car never had what a reasonable person would consider to be a "large" problem. But the noted repairs, combined with oil changes, flat tires, and brake pads, ended up costing me about eight hundred dollars over the course of one year. However the largest cost was getting it towed every time it had a runnability issue away from my house. The biggest problem was that I relied on this car to get me to work and school, and I did a lot of walking over the course of this one year.
When it was working it was a blast to drive, it cornered like a german car should, never had the wheels loose, and I took it up to speed from time to time.
Granted that it is the 8V model, I felt that it could have had a lot more power. The interior was garbage, saggy headliner, easily torn seats, cracks in the dash, and folded unfitted carpet. The insides of these cars do not age well.
Gas mileage was better than your average american car, but keep in mind that if you drive a car quick the numbers plummet. I got 31 on the freeway at 55. And going to and from school, and enjoying my car, I got 21 mpg.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 5th October, 2005