Window mechanism and motor on driver's side broke at about 65,000 km. Repair costs €300.
Power steering pump faulty after 50,000 km. Repair costs €500.
Brakes replaced quite early on, and the new brakes became pretty spongy within 10,000km.
Electronic part regulating spark plugs broke at 50,000km. Repair cost €200.
Leak in engine coolant system, which mechanic has worked on now twice and has still not been able to find the origin.
When the car is in second gear sometimes (not very often, but enough to be annoying/dangerous) the engine cuts out.
Sometimes the steering wheel blocks, reason unknown. Have to stop the car and restart the engine. This feature is not particularly safe, though as yet has only happened at very low speeds.
The car handles very nicely and has a firm feel to it, unless driving at higher speeds (more than 120kmh), when it doesn't respond well to brisk manoeuvres. The motor is very smooth, acceleration is good, though on more quick overtaking need to change down a gear. The engine doesn't seem to be fazed by any amount of effort, even making hill starts on very steep inclines the car has no problems.
Inside the driving position is comfortable, even for someone my size (6' 3), though this is at the expense of space for passengers in the back. The seats themselves are comfortable, and both front seats can be angled down at the back (i.e. not lowered completely) for more armchair like position.
Fuel consumption is good, I would guess about 13-14kml on the motorway, but it's not something I really concentrated on. It was low enough not to worry too much about.
Only problem with this car was the amount of things in the engine which ended up breaking, especially as some of them didn't seem to be fixable, at least not at a reasonable price. Some mechanics told me that VW has a policy of using cheap plastic around the engine and bodywork where other companies (and models from the Golf upwards) would use metal. It's an easy ploy to save money, but it means that those parts of the car are less resistant.
This is the only bad experience with VW, and other friends and relatives with other models have not had similar problems. I would have thought this level of problems would have developed at at least double the mileage, but then again this could have been a one-off bad car. There's not much advice I can give on avoiding this as the defects were largely latent and not obvious on a test drive.