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eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/2/14 2:00 p.m.

I read crankwalk's thread, so I have a bit of fear, plus there is VW's well deserved reputation for unreliability. That said, I test drove a 2014 Wolfsburg GTI yesterday, and came away very impressed. It seemed much more "solid" than anything else I drove, but still nimble. It also felt like a more grown up vehicle than my other top choices of the Focus and Fiesta ST.

The biggest concern I have with it is reliability and longevity. With any luck, I'll be keeping this car longer than others, and would like to get ten years/120K miles of service out of it without any catastrophic failures, and I prefer not to constantly have minor things going wrong. Keeping in mind, I live in the rust belt, and the car will probably be parked outside often.

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
3/2/14 2:07 p.m.

A "solid" feel and good handling have always been VW hallmarks (at least for the GTI), as well as a more "adult" feel compared to most other hot hatches.

Like their Audi stable-mates, VWs are great cars while they're under warranty (if you don't mind leaving them at the dealer for warranty work periodically). After that, not so much. I personally will never buy another one. Wife's Jetta spend more time getting fixed than EVERY other car she's owned combined (early-90s Corolla, Mazda3s, 4Runner). And the Jetta managed to do that in only 2 years before we got rid of it.

Junkyard_Dog
Junkyard_Dog Dork
3/2/14 2:23 p.m.

You're either a "VW person",who loves the way they feel and will put up with anything that goes wrong, or you aren't. My Mom is such a person. The only non-VWs she has owned in the last 40 odd years were a Chevette and an Omni in the 80s....which she got rid of because they broke too often. Dad recently talked her into a Hyundai Accent when her Golf lease was up, but I think she still wants another VW.

Unfortunately the only way to find out what type of person you are is to buy one.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
3/2/14 2:45 p.m.

I really wish they had overcome the issues - I like the look and feel of a couple of their models but as a former Passat owner... I'm gun shy. That car was trouble from the day it left the dealer until the day it left my house. It didn't just break down in little ways... it always needed a tow truck.

I wouldn't own one without a warranty and a good backup car. And a lot of patience.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/2/14 3:23 p.m.

Hmm, not the most positive things to hear, especially since I would hope to hold onto it past the warranty. After driving it, I will admit I understand why people buy them, just not sure my "risk" threshold is high enough.

I liked driving the Fiesta more, but the GTI felt like the best place to spend extended periods of time. The Focus was a bit more "mature" feeling than the Fiesta, but nowhere near the GTI.

Edit: I'm prepared for everything on my list to be more troublesome than the Honda Fit that is being replaced, but just not sure the amount more trouble I'm willing to accept.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
3/2/14 3:48 p.m.

Same boat. The new GTI seems perfect, but really gun-shy about it because of the last 15 years reputation that VW has earned. If they offered a longer (like 100K) warranty, I might jump.

crankwalk
crankwalk HalfDork
3/2/14 4:42 p.m.

I thought if there was one car that VW could get right it was a TDI. That said VW bought it back.

I have friends with GTI's that love them but they put up with the quirkiness. Illimunated CEL on a car with 40k miles on it? Yeah they come and go. MKV GLI eating a cam from the fuel pump,paid out of pocket, then VW reimbursed most of it.

The thing that sucks about VW is that they feel really nice. The company was really nice to me. The techs that worked on it it were really nice. Everybody all the way through returning it and getting my money back were nice. But I was always there.

I realized, man with previous Nissans I had bought new, I didn't know if the corpate people or dealer techs were nice, I was never there.

With VW's it's a gamble. You just have to ask yourself one question. Do ya feel lucky punk?

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
3/2/14 7:11 p.m.

yeah, so why can a subaru- yes, subaru, be so damned reliable (as the red-headed stepchild of the japanese fleet) and BMW/Audi/VW make vehicles leaving so much to be desired.

Personal experience

irish44j
irish44j PowerDork
3/2/14 8:07 p.m.

Because with Subaru you're paying for a reasonably stout drivetrain, basic electronics, and nothing super-fancy. Keeping it simple stupid. But you also get plastic dashboards, squeaks and rattles, and a car that overall isn't "as nice" as a BMW or Audi or VW.

VW you're paying for the niceness of the interior, great suspension designs, etc. Apparently to get that nice stuff in a fairly inexpensive car you just have to give up other nice things....like reliable window motors :)

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/2/14 8:09 p.m.
Teh E36 M3 wrote: yeah, so why can a subaru- yes, subaru, be so damned reliable (as the red-headed stepchild of the japanese fleet) and BMW/Audi/VW make vehicles leaving so much to be desired. Personal experience

I wouldn't put Subaru up as a paragon of reliability. They've had their fair share of issues, too. Although, it does seem less of a gamble to buy one of them vs a VW/Audi. They definitely do not feel as premium. A base GTI seems like a Much nicer place to be than in a base WRX.

Teh E36 M3
Teh E36 M3 SuperDork
3/2/14 9:53 p.m.

That was the point I was making, somewhat ineloquently obviously- Subaru is the japanese version of Audi... but- my '02 WRX wagon (since new) has been that paragon of reliability, and.... I would like to have a wrx/gti- wry performance and gti niceness.

kanaric
kanaric HalfDork
3/2/14 10:09 p.m.
Teh E36 M3 wrote: That was the point I was making, somewhat ineloquently obviously- Subaru is the japanese version of Audi... but- my '02 WRX wagon (since new) has been that paragon of reliability, and.... I would like to have a wrx/gti- wry performance and gti niceness.

Really the only knocks against subaru for reliability is when they are abused, which is true for many cars. Like 2ZZ toyotas have the same oiling issues as Subarus do when you are tracking them so do RB powered Nissans. People usually mod them as well. Driven normally they are reliable.

The problem with VW products is that they fall apart if you just drive 2000 miles a year to your 5 minute drive to work.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory Dork
3/3/14 5:24 a.m.

This is infuriating. How long has VW had this reputation? 10 years? 15? 25?

How can VW survive in this world of Facebook and car discussion forums?

Why cant they just get it together? Shame, could be a real world-beater if they put thier minds to it.

mr2peak
mr2peak HalfDork
3/3/14 5:36 a.m.

If VW starts making amazing cars, why would people buy Audis?

Storz
Storz Dork
3/3/14 6:27 a.m.

I don't know that they really ever deserved the poor rep, we've had an 01 VR6 GTI and an 05 Jetta TDI and neither gave us any issues in several years of ownership. The GTI needed a few things but nothing outside of normal car maintenance stuff for something with 100k on the odo.

imarcr2
imarcr2 New Reader
3/3/14 6:51 a.m.

My wife bought a 2012 GTI new so we are coming up on our two year ownership anniversary. Still love it. Not one issue so far. I am a bit scared of the car out of warrantee, but until I have real reason to worry we are going to enjoy the best car we have ever owned. Torquey, good ride and decent handling. Looks like it costs more. Great seats and overall interior...nice surprises like full size spare.

I think VW is slowly earning its way back to peoples' heart that got them stomped on by the 4th gen GTI

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UltraDork
3/3/14 8:05 a.m.
ebonyandivory wrote: This is infuriating. How long has VW had this reputation? 10 years? 15? 25? How can VW survive in this world of Facebook and car discussion forums? Why cant they just get it together? Shame, could be a real world-beater if they put thier minds to it.

If the domestics didn't go bankrupt after their absurd practices, VW can get away with a bit of insanity. You are selling cars to different types of people though IMO when you look at the two.

Domestics (at the end of the day) have usually been more inexpensive, and if nothing else, extremely reliable. They just sucked in the 80's through most of the 90's. The euro imports were more "luxurious" and possibly better quality in that they didn't fall apart as easily, but they were a bit more expensive and needed more work done to keep them going.

At the end of the day, having worked in a Audi and VW shop, they deserve the reputation they have earned. One or two examples on the interwebs does not change that.

Yani
Yani Reader
3/3/14 8:40 a.m.
imarcr2 wrote: My wife bought a 2012 GTI new so we are coming up on our two year ownership anniversary. Still love it. Not one issue so far. I am a bit scared of the car out of warrantee, but until I have real reason to worry we are going to enjoy the best car we have ever owned. Torquey, good ride and decent handling. Looks like it costs more. Great seats and overall interior...nice surprises like full size spare. I think VW is slowly earning its way back to peoples' heart that got them stomped on by the 4th gen GTI

The thing about the mk6 Golf is that it is just a revised mk5 with some different sheetmetal. The majority of the issues with the mk5 were fixed on the mk6. I also own a mk6 Golf and it's been great aside from niggling issues like wind noise from lousy door seals.

I would recommend a VW with one caveat: you do all your own wrenching. I wouldn't even take it in for the "free services". Other than warranty issues, don't let the monkeys touch your car. VW's downfall is their terrible dealer service. I've been to 4 different dealers in 2 different states for reference. Things like needing a rental car to get your "free" service because they close at 5pm and aren't open Saturdays. Curbing wheels and scratching centercaps doing my free tire rotation, denting my rockers from not properly positioning the lift arms/pads, not reinstalling all the undertray screws so when you get on the highway for the first time it sounds like the thing is coming apart at the seams and then denying that they forgot them and forcing me to buy new fasteners and install them myself, denying that VWoA has ever heard of the drivers seat fraying after 4k miles (just google 'mk6 tdi seat fraying'...).

Aside from dealer related issues I do like the car. It is well built and logical to work on for the most part. You will need torx, hex, and triple square sockets, but the forums (golfmk6.com, and tdiclub.com) have a wealth of knowledge and you can find howto guides with pictures for almost anything. Good luck and may God have mercy on your soul.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker MegaDork
3/3/14 9:43 a.m.
mr2peak wrote: If VW starts making amazing cars, why would people buy Audis?

See... that's the trick. They are great cars. The Passat I had and my sister's S6 traded bursts of awesome for a really short duty cycle. I've never hated a car I likes so much.

ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory Dork
3/3/14 9:45 a.m.

In reply to Datsun1500:

I like this!

orphancars
orphancars Reader
3/3/14 9:51 a.m.

To offset the negatives, here is a positive. Well, 2 positives

Mrs. Orphancars had her Madza 3 5-door totaled in an accident. That car did a stellar job of saving her but no way was Mrs. O going to get another Mazda because dealership. Dealer service was terrible and Mr. O (me) spent quite a few hours chasing squeaks and rattles away from that car.

So we go shopping. Mrs. O wants a wagon and there just aren't that many out there as we all know. It came down to Subaru (Outback) and VW (Jetta Sportwagen TDI). In the end the VW won out. The Outback, while touted as a wagon, is really an SUV of sorts -- it's grown.....BIG! Our last Outback wagon experience was somewhat less than stellar with a coolant leak problem (documented head problem, covered by warranty), fuel smell/leak when cold problem (another documented issue from the factory, also warrantied), but we were willing to give them another try if we liked the car.

The JSW-TDI was purchased in 2010 and now has 50k on it. Apart from being at the dealer for regular scheduled maintenance every 10k, it's been dead-nuts reliable. So much so that I bought a GTI in 2012. The GTI has been more of the same -- reliable and fun to drive....I even took it to a HPDE last year where it was a hoot to drive! Would have been more fun if it were on real tires, but that's my fault, not the car's.

Make no mistake, I did research here and in a few other places before we pulled the trigger on the car. Seems to me that the rep today is based on the cars of ~10 years ago. I think that VW has learned and listened and made changes.

One other thing.....my Dad bought a Pinto around 1976 or so, bought it used. It didn't start in the cold/snow, it rusted, the handle for the sunroof busted off in his hand one day. To this day he says that all Fords are junk. Amazing that Ford is still in business still building that junk, no?

DaveEstey
DaveEstey UberDork
3/3/14 9:58 a.m.

50k miles of reliability isn't exactly setting the bar high, especially given 5 trips to the dealership in that time.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/3/14 10:23 a.m.

In reply to DaveEstey:

I'm assuming he just means the planned maintenance. Oil changes and the like, not taking it in for problems.

VW service/warranty reputation is also a concern. When I buy a new car, part of the reason is I don't feel like doing the work on it myself, until it's out of warranty.

eastsidemav
eastsidemav Dork
3/3/14 11:42 a.m.

Hmm, if I could guarantee I got one of the "good" ones, and that the dealer service would be at least decent, I think the GTI would at least tie the Fiesta ST at the top of the list.

As it stands now, I'm more likely to take a chance on the Ford, since they've put the same engine into gobs of Escapes and Fusions, so for all the beta testing Ford puts their customers through, this is one drivetrain I'm guessing they either have gotten right, or will hash out all the bugs.

Oh, and still a few more cars to test drive and more time to think about it. As much as I'd prefer to buy, if VW comes up with an awesome lease deal that is shorter than the warranty, I might consider leasing.

HiTempguy
HiTempguy UltraDork
3/3/14 11:44 a.m.
Datsun1500 wrote:
HiTempguy wrote: At the end of the day, having worked in a Audi and VW shop, they deserve the reputation they have earned. One or two examples on the interwebs does not change that.
Have you ever noticed the guys working in a BMW shop think BMWs are junk? Ford techs think Fords are junk, etc? If it's what you repair for a living, that's all you see, and get jaded. Most cars are fine as long as you maintain them, most cars break down, if you don't.

I am very not biased vehicle wise. I've owned a little of everything. Its not that VW's/Audi's are junk, its that the E36 M3 that breaks on them is maddening and/or is never really fixed.

My BRAND NEW 2004 Gold 2.sl0w, the throwout bearing exploded and the coolant sensor E36 M3 the bed. When the coolant sensor E36 M3 the bed, the car DIED. WTF? Have a fail safe mode

It's like the spark plug issue on Ford V8's. Is it a big deal? Yes. But its not THAT bad in that you only do it once. VW's/Audi's puke random parts that make no sense and majorly affect the driving experience (spark plugs in the grand scheme of things aren't a big deal breaker. Window regulators are.)

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