2004 Volkswagen GTI Reviews

2004 Volkswagen GTI 1.8T from North America

Model year2004
Year of manufacture2004
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 1.8T Manual
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.0 / 10
Distance when acquired15000 miles
Most recent distance41000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Classic

Summary:

Magnificent piece of engineering!

Faults:

The only thing I had to replace on my GTI is the clutch. I blew it doing burnouts!!!

General Comments:

This has got to be the best car by far. I will never purchase another vehicle. This car handles beautifully, accelerates great and hugs the road at extreme speeds. I did 148 mph on the highway with not a single shake or rattle.

These cars are awesome and if anyone disagrees, they're a fool. I would not give this car up for anything in the world.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st July, 2008

2004 Volkswagen GTI GLI 1.8t from North America

Model year2004
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission 1.8t Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
6.4 / 10
Distance when acquired20 miles
Most recent distance62000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen Beetle

Summary:

Fun, but still practical, stylish, but not over-done, well built, but it has some issues

Faults:

I had one coilpack fail at about 40,000 miles.

The brake pedal switch failed at about 25,000 miles.

The Sunroof switch failed the first week that I had the car.

General Comments:

This is my third VW, and favorite so far.

Regarding a previous poster's comments about the interior being "cheap": What planet do you live on? I will openly admin the cars faults, but the interior is absolutely top notch. The seats are comfortable, the upholstery and plastics are better than anything in this price range except Toyota and it's stylish (unlike Toyota) and not too weird (like Honda Civic). After 60,000 miles, I have no squeaks or rattles and only a slightly worn spot in the carpet from my right heel. You can't find a better interior without spending an extra $20,000.

The engine is amazing. It makes power at any speed and gets great gas mileage. Yes, you can find more powerfull engines and more efficient ones, but I don't think there is any other engine on the market that pulls off both this well.

The transmission (manual) is OK, at best. The synchronizers are not up to the task if you shift really quick and the shifter feels like it's connected to the transmission with rubber bands.

The suspension: VW's engineers did a really good job of tuning a bad design. The McP struts in the front are a poor design (although inexpensive) for a car that's "performance oriented". and the torsion beam in the back only belongs on a minivan. Despite that, it handles amazingly well, but it's no S2000...if VW would shave a few hundred pounds and give us a multilink suspension at both ends, the car would be perfect.

I've had 3 minor problems in 60,000 miles. Only 1 of them impacted the drivability of the car, and that one was diagnosed (coilpacks are a very well documented problem) and fixed in 10 min. My previous car was a 20002 VW TDI... I put over 300,000 miles on it and it never once failed to run. Long term use of cheap (87 octane) gas or cheap (non synthetic) oil will cause problems for this engine... the 2.0 engine doesn't have those problems, but it's not nearly as much fun either. VW's (European cars in general) are extremely durable, but not so much reliable... you can buy a Honda or Toyota and drive it for 5 years and probably never go to the dealership, but they basically self destruct at 120,000 miles or so. European cars WILL require an annual trip to the dealership (probably for some crappy electrical problem), but they run forever.

I've heard of major problems with the automatic transmissions, but hey... if you don't want to shift the gears yourself, why did you buy a VW... go get a boring Toyota.

VW's dealerships (service departments in particular) have a bad reputation (as if there are any good ones). It's probably mostly deserved... but there are good ones out there too.

In GTI trim, it's not the cheapest car to actually own... the tires are pricey, it requires synthetic oil and expensive gas. The 2.0 gets the same mileage, but will run on the 87octane stuff, uses cheap oil and sits on much less expensive tires... it you don't mind giving up the engine...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd November, 2006

2nd Nov 2006, 20:19

Yeah, about the Honda's and Toyota's not lasting past 125,000 miles. Your words are "salesman of another company type". In fact the Japanese car will probably last longer. Mine has 243,000 miles on everything original except water pump and clutch pump. I am only 19 and it never lets me down, despite what I have done to it. I have had so many VW's in my family go to the junkyard because of engine, electrical, and chassis problems. We had a 98 Jetta get totalled because the engine fell out of the car and wrecked the transmission at 125,000 miles. You need to do more research before you use this site.

28th Jan 2007, 13:19

I agree with the poster above. I am looking to get a 2003 GTI in the near future because my 1992 prelude has 271,000 miles on it. I have never had my prelude taken to a dealer and it still runs very well.

I really like this review, but please don't comment on other cars if you don't know what you are talking about.

17th Sep 2008, 16:28

In the spring of 2004, I purchased a 1 year old 2003 GTI with 9300 miles on it. This was for my son on his college graduation. We now have only 31000 miles on it. It is a terrific daily driver, plenty of room for his 6'5-6'6" body and versatile - a bike fits in the hatch. Mpg, performance, comfort are all good. My prior 1987 model was trucked off with 382,000 miles - original clutch etc. Only common issue is a leak when we have heavy rains. Currently leaking into hatch area on passenger side. Trying to find problem but no luck as yet. Ideas?

2004 Volkswagen GTI from North America

Model year2004
Year of manufacture2004
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2006
Engine and transmission Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
10.0 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance25000 miles
Previous carVolkswagen GTI

Summary:

Could not be better!

Faults:

Nothing.

General Comments:

Amazing Car! Amazing Handling, Torque and Stylish looks. So much fun to drive and not like any other car, must test-drive it to believe it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th March, 2006

2004 Volkswagen GTI GLS 1.8T from North America

Year of manufacture2004
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2004
Engine and transmission 1.8T Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.6 / 10
Distance when acquired46 miles
Most recent distance9500 miles
Previous carInfiniti G20

Summary:

A turbo lover's dream

Faults:

Slight shimmy in steering wheel during moderate to hard braking. Appeared at about 2000 miles. Dealer checked at 5000 mile oil changer interval, could not reproduce same shimmy. Shimmy has faded to nill.

General Comments:

Superb power-train, the 1.8 Turbo pulls like a freight train.

Second gear synchro takes a beating unless the clutch is completely depressed.

If you are looking at an SVT Focus, Neon SRT-4, Ion Redline, Mazda 3, or a Civic Si. Look at the GTI it is far more comfortable than any of the competition.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th July, 2004

31st Mar 2008, 09:55

Most cars with clutches need to have the clutch pushed all the way for a smooth shift into 2nd.

Average review marks: 8.3 / 10, based on 4 reviews