1997 Volkswagen GTI from North America
An unreliable, sporty lemon
I had to repair the clutch right around 78,000 miles.
The parking brake sleeve broke around the same time.
The parking brake does not work well in the winter. When temperatures drop below freezing the parking brake locks onto the disks. I took this to the dealer and he told me it would be cheaper to just leave it in gear and not use the parking brake.
The air conditioner leaks water onto the passenger side foot wells. Therefore, I rarely use it.
One fog light needed to be replaced around 85,000 miles. Ever since then, it will occasionally turn off in cold weather.
The cabin is very loud on the highways. A number of friends have noticed and tried to roll the window up fully, thinking it was partially open.
The door moldings have partially peeled off on both sides of the car. I have seen this problem on other GTIs on the road. It seems to be a poor adhesion problem.
One of the lights on the instrument panel has burned out and will apparently cost a few hundred dollars to replace because the dashboard must be removed.
The clutch boot has recently torn.
I had a muffler issue right around 90,000. This necessitated a new muffler. I had a previous muffler put on right around 60,000 miles.
Currently, I am having issues with the rear shocks. The dealer told me the struts need to be replaced, but cannot determine why the car squeaks very loudly when engaging a right turn.
It has a very good heater and handles really well on turns.
It has very sporty seats.
You can't beat the optional custom Thule roof rack.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 6th October, 2003
21st Apr 2004, 17:14
I have the same car and have not seen any of those problems. It does live in an above freezing environment and only has 70K miles. It should be due for a clutch soon.
3rd Aug 2004, 14:24
My air conditioner was leaking into the passenger foot area as well. It was merely clogged, now I use it all the time.
12th Dec 2005, 22:29
I had same problems. I would add that the hatchback door started to rust when it was 2 years old. I had it fixed and the guy at repair shop told me that all GTIs made in Mexico have this problem. It started to rust in different places later on so I just fixed it myself. I bought it brand new and have never been in accident. My friend who was looking to buy GTI confirmed that when he saw GTIs most of them had rust on the hatchback door.
12th Mar 2007, 23:36
I have 97 gti and couple of mu friends too. the only problem why your hatchback and others is rusted because it wasn't rust proof. I spend every year $100 for the rust proof, maybe it seams a lot, but when you look it now, after 10 years my car has no rust at all.