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MK VII GTI owner regrets?

The Right Car for Me | TrueDelta

cmaynard

I've been researching this for a while. My needs aren't very much. I just need a daily commuter that can accomodate 1 of 2 passengers plus a dog. This will be my only car, so it has to be able to do everything well. I'm currently driving an '04 Baja Turbo and love it. It's still solid with 94k miles, it's been absolutely reliable, drives through snow like it's not there, and I can pass cars on the highway without downshifting by merely feathering the throttle a little. Plenty of torque while cruising around 3000rpm.

At first I wanted at GT86/BRZ, but 70% of my driving is highway in traffic, and 30% is on poorly maintained B-roads. Never get a chance to race up twisty mountain roads, also the lack of torque (power) seems like it would struggle to pass vehicles at highway speed.

Next candidate was WRX. Plenty of power & AWD, but no longer comes as a hatch. Some reports say the power comes on unevenly and can be a little unnerving, plus it's a little pricey.

Next up, Mazda 3 GT hatch. Love the styling, affordable even when well equipped, comfotable, handling reported to be excellent, super reliable, but a little light on power/torque, and no Apple Car Play/Android Auto.

So that leads me to the VW GTI SE. Restrained German styling, excellent utility, plenty of power for it's size, peak torque under 2000rpm, matured platform, recommended by most everyone as a car that can do everything well, intuitive controls & tech.

So what's NOT to like? Where's the BUT? Consumer Reports rating seem to suggest there are a lot of issues with rattling body panels, doesn't seem to be as prominent an issue according to TrueDelta.

Do you have experience living with a GTI you can share?

Priorities: Materials & workmanship / Powertrain performance / Interior styling

Need minimum of 4 seats

Will consider new cars only

Maximum price: US $ 29000

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Response from LectroFuel

12:06 pm April 1, 2018

I agree that the Toyota 86 would not be a good car for your commute. It is a bumpy ride and loud.

I don't know much about the WRX. I'm not a huge fan of them. Reliability is very spotty with them depending on years, so I'm not sure about a new one.

The Mazda3 is a great car. My son has a 2015. If you are looking for a comfortable commuter, this is not it. If you want something for twisty roads, you would love it. I love the styling, interior quality, and the handling. It is a very fun car, but the ride is bumpy and road noise is loud. This is with the 16 inch wheels. The 18 inch wheels would probably be unbearable. We find the interior to be spacious enough, but that is one of the biggest complaints. The torque actually comes in pretty low for a naturally aspirated engine at 4,000 RPM. It could use more though. I want them to put in the 2.5T from the Mazda6 and CX-9 that makes around 250 hp. The infotainment system is actually pretty good. Mazda hinted that CarPlay will be available for any car with this infotainment system as a retrofitted accessory when they roll out the product. I'm not sure about Android Auto. Car and Driver and Road and Track said the Mazda3 had the best car interior for under $30k. Plus, you get excellent reliability.

I love the GTI. I think it may be a better choice than the Mazda3. The only reason it wouldn't be is reliability. It hasn't been very reliable, but they do have a 6 year/72k mile bumper to bumper warranty standard. I don't have any reliability experience though. From TrueDelta, the safety features and sunroof seem to be the sources of problems.

You need to test drive the Honda Civic Si if you are open to other suggestions. It is turbocharged and has CarPlay and Android Auto. It is available in a sedan or coupe, not a hatch.

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Mazda Mazda3
Volkswagen Golf / Rabbit / GTI
Honda Civic

Response from danlisahall

3:16 pm April 1, 2018

Your 96 Subie has performed admirably. There are many on this site who believe Subaru's are not reliable The will probably be shocked to read that you have an 04 Baja Turbo with 96K that has been absolutely reliable! I am a Subie fan also, have had 3 with very few issues.

Regarding the VW MKVII. Yes, it is an amazingly well balanced, capable small hatch. I went through a similar quandry 1.5 years ago. End up with a 2017 Golf Wolfsburg 1.8T. I think of it as a "GTI-lite". Not quite as fast or good on corners but meets my need well. It has 9,000 miles. So far it has only had to have the fuel door replaced due to jamming. Not a problem I have seen on any Golf forums. Having read 100s & 100s of posts on Mark VII owner's forums, I have the impression that most are quite reliable. But for some reason there are a few that seem "snake-bit". Don't know why but there just seems to a degree of inconsistency. Some would say the same about Subarus

I love the car (so far) and have no regrets. I say get go for the Golf in whatever trim you like

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Response from Suppin

3:28 pm April 1, 2018

I hate to say this but you own what is essentially a modern classic. The Subaru Baja is by all accounts one of the most desired subarus trucklets out there.

https://www.autotrader.com/car-news/the-subaru-baja-is-holding-its-value-ridiculously-well-256614

Make sure you either decide to keep it or let it go to a good home. That car really is a rare bird.

The numbers and reliability on the GTI look unnerving honestly, and you seem to keep your cars for a long while (14 years on the last one). Personally I would go for a Mazda 3 hatchback. It's a good overall car, handles great, and is very reliabile.

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Mazda Mazda3

Response from Dnslater

6:36 pm April 1, 2018

Full disclosure, I drive a 2015 GTI SE. My second VW after 20 years of trouble free Honda/Acura ownership. VW hit a low point 10-15 years ago with reliability and turned many off to the brand. The MK7 and the MQB platform have been very reliable. The 2.0T engine is bulletproof. I have 40,000 miles on mine and have only had one issue, a slow coolant leak caused by a bad gasket that was fixed under warranty. New VW's have longer warranties as others said. 6 years / 72k.

The bad.... As as far as maintenance, they do tend to be a bit more fussy than their Japanese counterparts. More important to follow service intervals. Use approved fluids, etc.... I just had to wait 2 weeks to source a rear wiper from Germany. The ride can be a little rough. Sunroof squeeked a bit until I learned you just need to lube it. Services may cost a bit more, but are at 10,000 mile intervals which is easy to remember. Ride is a little rough with the 18"wheels and 45 series tires. I use snow tires on 16" rims in the winter which helps resist pothole damage.

The good. The engine has wonderful tourque and is a joy to rev. Mine has the dual clutch transmission whichrips off lightning fast shifts. The engine makes decent sounds. The back seats are comfortable for adults. The car gets 36 mpg on the highway. Interior quality is high, with a very German feel to moveable parts. For me it was the best choice. A small, fun car that looks mature, and can family, while getting great mileage. The Mazda 3 is a good alternative with a nice interior and good handling. Power is a bit anemic though.

I do do plan to keep mine for 7-10 years, and hope to pass it down to my son. I know that maintenance will be more involved over that timespan than the Honda's of my past, but for me it is worth it. So far.

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Response from NormT

7:33 pm April 1, 2018

Pretty much what other long term reviews have said. Glad someone has good luck but have yet to see a well made car from Mexico.

https://www.autoblog.com/2016/02/16/volkswagen-gti-long-term-wrap-up-feature/

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Response from Dnslater

11:54 am April 2, 2018

Interesting comment Norm. Most long term reviews loved the GTI. This one did as well. Isn't most Buick production being move to China?

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Response from NormT

9:50 pm April 2, 2018

Autoblog liked the car, not the crappy, build quality of things falling off.

Buick will not build cars here anymore when Acura finally sells more cars than Buick. Until then enjoy your China made electronics .

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Response from LectroFuel

11:37 am April 3, 2018

The Chevy Cruze Hatch and Sonic are produced in Mexico. Honda Fit, HR-V, and some CR-Vs were produced in Mexico and those are reliable. The Kia Fortes and a few Mazda3s are built in Mexico. Four-door crew cab Silverados and Sierras are made in Mexico. I would still be skeptical if I bought one from Mexico if it wasn't a Honda.

Some unreliable ones are the Jetta, Ford Fiesta, RAM trucks, Dodge Journey, and somewhat the Sentra and Golf. The Tacoma has also had jerky transmissions since the start of assembling them in Mexico.

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Response from Dnslater

8:23 pm April 3, 2018

My Mexican made GTI just hit 40,000 miles. Nothing has fallen off or broke. No squeaks or rattles. Norm must not have read the article he linked too. Nothing fell off of their tester either. Last paragraph was this.

"Why would I? It's perfect," I replied. And it is. There is perhaps no car our staff has recommended more over the past year than the GTI. It can be everything to everyone, and it truly checks all the right boxes. Super fun to drive? Relatively affordable? Functional? Efficient? Well-equipped? Well-built? We'd answer yes to all, without hesitation. And even with our tester's small issues, that opinion never changed. Say what you will about Volkswagen, the GTI is still one of the best cars on the road today."

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Response from danlisahall

11:48 pm April 3, 2018

Disclosure: I'm biased; I own a 2017 Golf TSI Wolfsburg and a 2015 Subaru Outback.

Based on Long term tests (between 12K & 40K, the MK VII GTI is a fantastic & reliable rig. Unless you happen to get the odd lemon, chances of it being relatively trouble free the 1st 40,000 look really good. That suggests but doesn't guarantee longer term reliablitity as well. I challenge anyone to find another car that has some many accolades with so few demerits from long term tests. Perhaps current generation Subaru Outback comes close :-)

If you want further proof read the long term reviews summarized below.

https://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2015-volkswagen-gti-long-term-road-test-wrap-up-review Long-Term Road Test Wrap-Up 2015 Volkswagen GTI After 40,000 trouble free miles, it's the car we'd all like to park in our driveways.There's not much in the logbook as far as complaints. One shorter driver complained about her knee hitting the steering column, but moving the steering wheel up and the seat cushion down alleviated the problem. After spending 2800 miles with the GTI, technical assistant Zeb Sadiq had only one complaint: that he didn't own one. Everyone who has driven the GTI since it arrived in California feels exactly the same way. http://www.motortrend.com/cars/volkswagen/gti/2015/2015-volkswagen-golf-gti-review-long-term-verdict The GTI garnered praise from our staffers from the get-go.During its 27,115-mile stay with us, the GTI required just two maintenance visits (the third would've come at around 30,000). http://www.automobilemag.com/news/2015-volkswagen-golf-gti-four-seasons-wrap-up/ So yeah, we had a hard time finding much to complain about during the GTI's 22,909-mile run with us. It averaged just a half tick under its 28 mpg EPA combined rating. The rodent feast was the only real problem we encountered, and you can't fault the car for being delicious. The windscreen picked up a rock chip, which we had filled. We took the GTI in for two checkups, one covered under warranty, and a 20,000-mile service that cost $270.39. There were a few minor callouts, including the somewhat shabby stereo unit, the annoying absence of a USB outlet, and a phantom rattle from the rear hatch that one staffer swears he heard. The GTI is a car that any one of us would happily drop $28,695 on, without question. It's a car Volkswagen needs to relentlessly push as it attempts to get past recent troubles. It's a car that will happily dance with you all day long at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca or any highway, byway, or back road you travel. https://www.edmunds.com/volkswagen/golf-gti/2015/long-term-road-test/wrap-up.html Summing Up after 1 year and 20,700 miles Pros:Still one of the most fun-to-drive small cars on the road, refined ride quality feel great on long road trips, above-average driver seat, top-notch interior materials, more than 400 miles of range on a single tank, solid cargo capacity, minimal maintenance. Cons:Resale value was not as high as competitors. Dual-clutch transmission lags at low speeds. Infotainment glitches came and went sporadically. Bottom Line:The Golf GTI is still a versatile hatchback that is fun to drive fast. Impressive range and seat comfort make it suitable for long distances. Low-speed drivability is hampered by its dual-clutch transmission, but overall this is a car we enjoyed driving both in town and out on the highway. http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2016/05/2015-volkswagen-gti-long-term-final-update-fun-car-buying-scammers/ The automotive media slobberedover the redesigned 2015 Volkswagen GTI sporty hatchback ever since its introduction two years ago. I put 13,500 miles on mine over the pastyear and I agree that it isoneof the great all-around fun cars available today. Aside froman occasional annoying glitch from the entertainment system while playing my iPod (it shows the wrong song name), the VW performed flawlessly. At 13,500 miles, there are nosqueaks or rattles and the engine seems to grow stronger as the miles add up. I have had bad experiences in the pastwith turbocharged motors, but the 210 horsepower mill is very smooth and I have gotten used to itsslight turbo lag. In apreviousupdate, I noted the GTI's thin paint was susceptible to paint chips here in rockyArizona. This still holds true, as evidenced by the 10 or so chips on the hood and front fascia.

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Response from NormT

9:21 am April 4, 2018

The Sonic is made here in the U.S..

"The Sonic will continue to be produced at GM's Lake Orion Assembly in Orion Township." Chevrolet reveals 2017 Sonic hatchback, sedan

Chevrolet reveals 2017 Sonic hatchback, sedan

The youth-oriented car features a tweaked exterior, including redesigned front and rear facias that look less edgy than the current generation

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Response from NormT

9:55 am April 4, 2018

Too many electrical issues with the 2015 GTI including the parking and tire aensors.

"...There was a leak in the air compressor/condenser line ? a new one was installed and the system was recharged, after two trips to the dealership. But then the car started clicking ? another air conditioning-related problem that you can hear in the video above. More fighting with the dealership eventually led to more work being done inside the dash, and for the rest of the year, the GTI remained mostly issue-free.

The only other issue cropped up right at the end ? the low washer fluid warning light would illuminate even when the reservoir was completely full. We turned in the car before having the problem fully evaluated, but we assume it's a faulty sensor, since sometimes it'd be on, other times it'd be off, and the washer fluid tank always had plenty of blue liquid.

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Response from LectroFuel

8:54 pm April 5, 2018

I found from U.S. News that the Sonic is built half in the Orion plant and half in Mexico. It doesn't matter anymore because yesterday they announced that the Impala, Sonic, Ford Fiesta, and Taurus are being discontinued "at the end of their current product cycles." Although I didn't like any of those cars, it's sad to see that it is because people are buying more SUVs.

VW just recently announced that they are going to start building Golfs in Germany.

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Response from NormT

8:04 am April 7, 2018

Sonic productuon in Mexico ended last June. Most Mexican made cars and suvs are the under $19,000 range of economy cars and cuvs. Many made there are not sold in the states due to lesser content required by our market. VAG offers more expensive Mexican assembled vehicles in than most everyone else.

The HR-V had it's quality control problems and so did the Fit.

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