A practical, well built, somewhat slow sedan
Head gasket blew at 185000 km.
Plastic thermostat body cracked at 192000 km.
Driver's seat very worn - has become extremely soft and no longer properly supports the driver.
Defroster switch broken <178000 km (didn't work when purchased)
Driver's side switch for passenger side electric window will no longer lower passenger's window - 190000 km.
Factory Alarm no longer sounds, only blinks lights when triggered - 182000 km.
Hall Effect Camshaft Sensor (?) at 185000 km.
Distribution belt, power steering v-belt, alternator poly-ribbed belt replaced as precaution at 183000 km.
The performance of this car is adequate for a driver, passengers, and a little bit of luggage. However, the acceleration suffers a lot as the engine really cannot compensate for the extra weight. It's okay to weigh the car down on a long highway trip, but it can be unnerving driving around the city with a full load and having to negotiate traffic.
For just a driver and one passenger, this car provides more than adequate acceleration for zipping around the city. Fuel economy seems to be extremely affected by how you drive - 11 l/km if you accelerate quickly, 14 l/km on the highway or just being careful and accelerating slowly.
The performance seems to be relatively better on the low end and the torque seems to peter out the engine speed get higher - not a good stop-light racing car.
Handling is quite good and the car feels very stable at 120 km/h. At it's top speed of 167 km/h it vibrates strongly. It's most comfortable cruising at about 95 km/h.
Despite all of the things that have gone wrong with the car, I don't think it's out of line for a car of this age. Furthermore, not one of the problems I have had has left me stranded. The car starts and runs always, no matter what outside temperature is. I feel like the car will keep going for a long time.
I haven't had much experience with Volkswagen dealers here in Chile, but parts are very easy to get for the car and there are lots of competent mechanics who work on Volkswagens. For the do-it-yourself type, the engine bay leaves a lot of room for easy access to the motor - resulting in fewer scraped knuckles.
The cost of repairs seems about average, as is the cost of parts. OEM parts are somewhat more expensive than quality aftermarket parts.
The paint still looks great, especially when carefully waxed and polished. It's got a great shine to it and there's no sign of rust. The issue at this point seems to be that the paint has become brittle and scratches easily, which is somewhat mitigated by waxing it.
The interior is very comfortable, with the exception of the driver's seat which is getting very soft due to the age of the foam backing. It's comfortable for a quick trip, but after about 1.5 hours worth of time it's just not supporting your back enough. The actual upholstery has worn very well and is in good condition. The interior is somewhat plasticky and has a few rattles, but is overall very good and seems quite tasteful. Buttons and switches are well laid out and easy to find. The rear seats are extremely comfortable although for a tall person (1.93 meters) the legroom is not acceptable.
The trunk/boot is absolutely cavernous. Access to the spare tire is also extremely easy, and the spare tire jack that is included seems to be of reasonable quality and facilitates a quick change of tire.
I happen to like the overall styling of the car although it can seem a little dated. It definitely looks newer than 1993.
To sum it up, the car itself is extremely practical, my main complaint is that the engine could be more powerful. For the performance it delivers, the fuel economy is just not up to snuff, although this may reflect the age of the car.
These cars fetch a good price on the used car market here in Chile, with lower kilometer cars fetching a good premium. The resale value is not bad at all. The purchase value is about average - try to find one with fewer km, a record of all the maintenance, and a clean interior.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 1st September, 2003