Getting firsthand information from an actual car owner is one sure way to get an idea of car performance once it leaves the lot. Autobytel features real consumer reviews that give the unbiased experience of a car.
Pros: Warranty and winter package
Advice: Upgrade to the winter packageTest drove the 2001 TDI in Germany and found it had plenty of power to survive and even enjoy the Autobahns. Purchased same featured car in the USA and have no regrets. It isn't about how fast but how far you can go. 1st tank produced 49+mpg with the air conditioner on. Quite, torque, it just isn't a pocket rocket.
Pros: Egronomic controls
Cons: Monsoon radio and speakers cannot be simply updated or changed w/o modifications.
Advice: Listen for rattling noises in the doors (both driver and passenger side).Be sure and test drive all models. That way you can determine gas mileage versus pickup. My recommendation is to buy the 1.8 T since it is the best of both. You get pickup when needed as well as very good gas mileage (24 mpg city/30 mpg highway). I would also recommend if you get the 1.8 T get the sport handling package and the 17' wheels.
Pros: 1.8 T engine
Advice: Test drive first.I have had my 2002 1.8T manual for 4 months. So far there has been no problem except some rattles on bumpy road at the drive's and passenge's doors. It's fun to drive, very comfortable, and safe. With the peppy 1.8T engine it accelerates fast. The fuel economy is quite good - so far it averaged 28-30 MPG with mix driving (10% city and 90% highway). I love the car!
Pros: Peppy 1.8T is great! Heated seats are nice.
Cons: Cupholder location could be better
Advice: Nice car for the money. Very happy with it.Nice solid car for the price. Nice option packages. Drives really well. Virtually no road noise at highway speeds.
Pros: V6 engine
Cons: Gas milage is terrible
Advice: Look into Camry and Accord before buying if you like these cars as well.Test drive different models before buying.
Pros: One touch power window
Cons: No leg room behind.
Advice: Go for Passat if you have to buy VW.Very nice and comfortable. Uses less gas than specified.Power window fell three times into the door.
Pros: the V6 engine
Cons: the gas milage
Advice: Beware of the gas milage claimsThis is a truely comfortable car to drive. I've owned the 4 cylinder also and the V6 is much smoother and quieter and plenty powerful. The fit and finish are excellent, although I have had some problems that are a little concerning to me such as the passenger window falling into the door, and the springs under both seats falling out. Minor, but irritating. The biggest surprise has been that the car does no better than 278 miles on a tank of gas, far short of what was claimed. I drive 148 miles each way to work, and have not gotten 300 miles from a tank yet.