I bought my girlfriend a 2002 VW Jetta a few months back, and it has been a lemon ever since we bought it.
We drove it for a month with no issues at all, then it began to run hot on a road trip. Got it home, sent it to a shop, to find out the water pump was bad, because it seems VW puts plastic impellers in their water pumps? WHY? Repair business! SERVICE PART MONEY!
While doing the water pump, I had the timing belt replaced, as this is a used car with 130,000 miles on it, and also the thermostat.
Then about 6 weeks after that set of repairs, the car starts slipping a little, you would have to give it long periods to WARM up... then as it got worse and would not shift out of the low gears, you would have to pull over, and the only thing that would work is revving it to about 3000 RPM and holding it there for a few minutes... then it would drive fine.
Soon it began to down shift more and more, often with more and more time needing to be spent "revving it at 3000" or "warming" it up.
Now it has gone out pretty much completely! It will not shift out of first gear.
This was the nicest car my girlfriend ever had, and she was SO proud of it... now she can only look at it!
I would not allow anyone I know to own a VW! I am hoping to do a few small thing to the car and hopefully get it running again... like replace some sensors, or replace the solenoids, transmission fluid and filter... something cheap so she is not just throwing her money out the window! Get this thing running and trade it in. This has been a horrible experience!