Hugely fun, solid feeling car. But I don't trust its long term reliability
Misc interior trim falling off (minor).
Two weeks after purchase, the car powered itself down while at speed, forcing me to coast to the side of the road. Mysteriously, it did restart and the problem did not occur again.
Clutch pedal switch failed. Main symptom was failed cruise control. I'm convinced this contributed to poor engine performance as well (engine computer thought car was always in neutral?)
Windows freeze shut, window clips fail causing power windows to fail.
Sunroof drains failed, filling floor with a couple gallons of water. I now have a serious mold/mildew problem that makes the car extremely unpleasant to drive.
Some sensor in the sunroof mechanism keeps it from closing about 1 in 5 times, especially when cold.
I chose this car because:
1) The overall build quality of the car is so much more substantial than Japanese competitors. It is built like a mid size European car. Real door hinges, thicker sheet metal, hydraulic hood lifts, heavier duty components all around. Nothing about the car feels cheap.
2) Turbo, although not crazy fast, is not nearly anemic as the stock engine.
3) Handling is fantastic. I can't even begin to push the car's limits.
HOWEVER, I would advise potential VW buyers to proceed with caution:
1) VWs are "fussy" -- and that's putting it politely. The Japanese would never continue to market a car that floods with water unless you clean your sunroof drains every other week.
2) The Germans are unable to manufacture electronics or plastics. See above comment about engine computer shutting down the car. If you do any work whatsoever on the interior (like installing a stereo), you can expect to have to replace some interior trim pieces. The plastic is extremely brittle and seems designed for "one time use only".
3) Do yourself a favor and be an informed buyer. There are over 1000 service bulletins/recalls for my 2004 Jetta. There are ZERO for the Mazda 3.
4) This is mostly superstition, but try and buy a VW that was assembled in Germany. An interesting note to #3 above is that (I believe) the Mazda 3 is still built in Hiroshima, Japan.
There is so much I love about this car, but the mold currently growing in my carpet because VW can't figure out how to keep water out of the vehicle may be the last straw for me. This wouldn't happen to a Hyundai, for God's sake!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know
Review Date: 1st September, 2007