SlickDizzy PowerDork
July 10, 2015 5:30 p.m.

As those of you who read my post in Off Topic know, I'm pretty much stepping away from wrenching on cars as a hobby to focus on more important things for a while. Part of that is deciding what I'm willing to make a payment on that isn't a total penalty box, and oh boy, there are a LOT of CPO GTIs out there for pretty reasonable money. I LOVE the new Mazda 3, but values are still quite strong on the S Touring hatches I so love, and probably will be for a while; the Focus ST is also on the radar, but the value proposition is pretty weak relative to the GTI.

Now, don't get me wrong. I really WANT to like VW. I really do. But the smattering of Mk2s I've had broke like crazy (when they weren't starting on fire). My cherished Mk1 disappeared into the night, never to be seen again. And my experiences with the Mk4 have basically told me that VW is great at making a car with the fit & finish of a brand new Audi, but with reliability that would have been sketchy in the 80's. Long story short, my experiences with VW have not been great. (There's also the Mk3s I've seen that punched out their rusty strut towers, but that's probably a low blow.)

But, hoo boy, that Mk6 is a pretty attractive car, and a hell of a value these days. If VW's dark cloud of reliability issues wasn't looming over me, it'd be a no-brainer. The CPO warranty ain't the best in the biz, but it's not bad either, and at least it's bumper-to-bumper. And I hear quite a lot that VW has changed. Things are better now. No more timing chain tensioner recalls (though the 20 year legacy of those doesn't instill confidence). No more sludge. No more blowing taillights twice a week. Subaru bros seem to have largely taken the place of VW bros as the #1 douchenozzles of the automotive world. Things have changed.

Tell me, GRM. Has VW really changed for the better? Or have they "changed" like that sadistic ex you decide to give "just one more chance" before realizing they've only gotten better at hiding their insanity? Discuss.

chili_head New Reader
July 10, 2015 5:53 p.m.

The wife has a 2010 Wolfsburg Tiguan and it has been pretty flawless. MK5 tech and up seems to be where you want to be. If i was not hell bent on autocrossing my JCW, I would be in a MK6

JoeTR6 Reader
July 10, 2015 6:26 p.m.

My office mate has a Mk6 GTI with around 40k miles and it's been very solid. The only issue was with a DSG repair (wouldn't go into reverse) under warranty that would have cost around $6000. It's hard to tell about the long-term, but it does seem like VW has gotten better. It's certainly better than my Mk3 GTI that had door trim falling off in the first 6 months and lots of little annoying issues. A Golf R is on my short list of cars to drive in about 2 years when I start looking for something new.

Trackmouse Reader
July 10, 2015 7:06 p.m.

If "rumor has it", and "there's always some truth to a lie" hold true, then I would reconsider. I've never owned, nor heard of anyone that likes owning a vw, for more than 100k.

G_Body_Man Dork
July 10, 2015 7:11 p.m.
Trackmouse wrote: If "rumor has it", and "there's always some truth to a lie" hold true, then I would reconsider. I've never owned, nor heard of anyone that likes owning a vw, for more than 100k.

I know someone who loves her Mark 6 Jetta, and she's put on around 100k.

secretariata HalfDork
July 10, 2015 7:16 p.m.

One of my coworkers has a 2012 Tiguan and has had a couple of issues repaired under warranty. One was related to the electric emergency brake not releasing and the other one was a coolant leak (don't remember if the t-stat housing or radiator coolant hose nipple cracked).

flatlander937 Reader
July 10, 2015 7:24 p.m.

I'd stay away from anything with a DSG to lower your chances of a $2k+ repair randomly ruining your week(month?).

And even then set aside for a blown turbo fund. I've seen many different Audis and VWs with the TSI/TSFI motors start consuming oil uncontrollably due to either bad turbo seals or in a few cases blowby past the rings.

Granted none have been GTIs in particular. I lump all the turbo VAG stuff together as "stay away" in my mind.

I work at a big used car dealer, so this is always right after factory warranty is up. That's when big stuff fails.

I really like their diesels but the fuel system self destructing is kind of a barrier to seriously considering one myself.

Also get familiar with intake valve cleaning.

SlickDizzy PowerDork
July 11, 2015 8:42 a.m.

DSG is absolutely not on the table, so that's one worry reduced.

Are the turbo failures and oil consumption possibly related to modern silly 10k OCIs? That's the kind of thing that scares me.

Re: the intake valve cleaning, I have a strange feeling that's going to be a more and more common procedure on EVERY make as direct injection sees increasingly wider adoption.

July 11, 2015 8:46 a.m.

I'll give the same advice I gave my wife when she decided to get a Mk7 GTI about 1.5 months ago. Make sure you get a warranty long enough to cover the time you are making payments, and be prepared to walk away from it once the warranty ends. It'll probably be fine, but the risk of either a catastrophic failure or (more likely) constant nickel and dime issues is higher with a VW than most other non-premium brands.

ShadowSix Dork
July 11, 2015 9:02 a.m.
JoeTR6 wrote: My office mate has a Mk6 GTI with around 40k miles and it's been very solid. The only issue was with a DSG repair (wouldn't go into reverse) under warranty that would have cost around $6000.

Am I just poor, or does a $6,000 repair, even if covered under warranty, take a 40k mile car out of the "very solid" realm?

flatlander937 Reader
July 11, 2015 9:38 a.m.
SlickDizzy wrote: DSG is absolutely not on the table, so that's one worry reduced. Are the turbo failures and oil consumption possibly related to modern silly 10k OCIs? That's the kind of thing that scares me. Re: the intake valve cleaning, I have a strange feeling that's going to be a more and more common procedure on EVERY make as direct injection sees increasingly wider adoption.

The OCI is probably a part of it but that's just speculation.

The problem I think is they just start doing it spontaneously in a few cases I've seen. Go from no real consumption to check it and find the dipstick dry. Obviously if the owners would check every fuel fill up or weekend regularly it could be caught sooner. Honestly I don't even do that on my own cars. But I don't buy known problematic cars

I know the newer Audis have a low oil warning, not all VWs are equipped with it though IIRC.

One odd bit of anecdotal data - I've never seen a problem from a Tiguan. Probably just weird happenstance, but thought I'd mention it.

There were widespread problems with the valve cover with integral PCV system failing before, since been recalled and/or an extended warranty on that part. It's a $200ish part and pretty easy to replace though. To tell if it's bad run at idle, pull the oil cap off. Should be a very slight vacuum, easily remove the cap. If the PCV system failed it will have a ton of vacuum and you'll fight to pull the cap off.

VW technically calls it the CVCV.. Crankcase vent control valve.

Pulling plugs will let you see if the rings are bad, but not if oil is leaking directly into the exhaust turbine side as it will never see the plugs. Watch for excessive smoking when revving(large plumes/puffs) or pull the cat and look for oil sludge build up/varnish.

Adrift
Adrift Reader
July 11, 2015 9:53 a.m.
ShadowSix wrote: Am I just poor, or does a $6,000 repair, even if covered under warranty, take a 40k mile car out of the "very solid" realm?

You read my mind.

That said. The OP is not considering a DSG. So maybe "otherwise" very solid??

Swank Force One MegaDork
July 11, 2015 10:09 a.m.
ShadowSix wrote:
JoeTR6 wrote: My office mate has a Mk6 GTI with around 40k miles and it's been very solid. The only issue was with a DSG repair (wouldn't go into reverse) under warranty that would have cost around $6000.

Am I just poor, or does a $6,000 repair, even if covered under warranty, take a 40k mile car out of the "very solid" realm?

Great car! Might completely hose your savings account inside of 40k miles, though.

Wayslow HalfDork
July 11, 2015 11:44 a.m.

I work with some VAG fanatics. They are forever telling me I'm an idiot for not driving a TDI since I put 50k a year on my car. They tell me what a great car VW is then start talking about $5,000 repair bills like they're no big deal. I think I'll pass. There's an engineering adage that states "We want the most efficient building and we don't care what it costs to build or operate!"

svxsti New Reader
July 11, 2015 11:56 a.m.

So how does everyone feel about those sealed transmissions with the lifetime ATF? I effin hated that, had to do a cold measure and fill on my MK4, funnest to drive, and still couldnt change the filter unless it was rebuilt and VW's paint/corrosion warranty is a sham, yeah I still hate VW for that. Mainly because the european models have serviceable transmissions, so eff us Americans.

Wally MegaDork
July 11, 2015 3:24 p.m.
ShadowSix wrote:
JoeTR6 wrote: My office mate has a Mk6 GTI with around 40k miles and it's been very solid. The only issue was with a DSG repair (wouldn't go into reverse) under warranty that would have cost around $6000.

Am I just poor, or does a $6,000 repair, even if covered under warranty, take a 40k mile car out of the "very solid" realm?

If it was a Chevy or a Toyota certainly but it's S.O.P. On a VW. I know when my mother in law's starts giving her trouble because she starts talking about how much she likes the new whatever VW she picked to replace the current problem. Some of them barely make it out of the loan.

dj06482
dj06482 SuperDork
July 11, 2015 5:47 p.m.

My co-worker (also a car enthusiast) has a Mk5 GTI (manual) that he's owned since new. He has a long commute (around 120 miles per day) and he loves his GTI. I've been pinging him on reliablility since it was new, and he hasn't had any major issues. His car is currently at 120/140k (I can't remember which), and he's added some APR goodies recently (tune, turbo-back exhaust) that have really woken it up.

He's definitely not a VW fanboi (his resto-mod car is an early Mercury Cougar), but he's been impressed. If I was looking into a hot hatch, I wouldn't rule out the GTI.

Not sure how buying one new vs. used compares. I've always preferred to buy a turbo car new, as I think the frequency of oil changes and type of oil (regular vs. synthetic) can play a larger role when the heat of a turbo is added to the equation. I'm not familiar with the VW CPO program, so the warranty that it comes with may alleviate some of those concerns.

JoeTR6 Reader
July 11, 2015 8:51 p.m.
Adrift wrote:
ShadowSix wrote: Am I just poor, or does a $6,000 repair, even if covered under warranty, take a 40k mile car out of the "very solid" realm?

You read my mind.

That said. The OP is not considering a DSG. So maybe "otherwise" very solid??

Sorry, poor choice of words. Yes, that was a bit extreme of a repair. If it had managed to go past the warranty, he probably would not have been happy. I wouldn't get a DSG unless it was covered under extended warranty, and that wouldn't last forever. Moot point now if OP wants a manual. So other than that glaring failure, it's been fine. Then again, it may explode next month.

DirtyBird222 UltraDork
July 11, 2015 9:24 p.m.

I'm kind of in the same boat as the OP. I love how the new GTIs look. I've been considering a cheaper car for a DD so I can upgrade the family truckster. GTIs fall in the same price range as the Civic Si, ST turds, BRZ/FRS, etc.

VW reliability is the looming factor. I was really hoping we got the GTD here.

I worked at a Honda dealer for a long time and I was the go to guy for VW trade ins and therefor the follow-up services if the customer decided to bring them back to our dealer for service after purchase. The headaches and nightmares from VAG products still haunt me to this day. Like the plastic dipstick tube on an A4 the crumbled right into the oil pan.

DirtyBird222 UltraDork
July 11, 2015 9:25 p.m.

Also not all Subaru drivers are flat brimmed dbags like irishj44 :)

bastomatic SuperDork
July 12, 2015 8:15 a.m.

I am looking hard at the newest GTI for my next daily driver. I love the looks, interior, and performance but my wife already knows how poor VW reliability has been, so the "I told you so" factor is there.

I was hoping this thread would allay my fears.

July 13, 2015 8:55 a.m.

My Dad just got a 2012 Jetta wagon TDI with @ 40K miles on it. I have been in it once so far and right now it seems great, I just hope it stays that way.

bravenrace MegaDork
July 13, 2015 9:10 a.m.

I came here to see if there were pictures. There were none.

aw614
aw614 New Reader
July 13, 2015 11:13 a.m.

they have a lot of stupid things go wrong, around 30k a few months back, my HPFP went on my 2011 and now the headliner is falling, wondering what the next thing to go bad.

I think unless I find a TT 3.2 VR6 manual or an older scirocco, I am probably going to be done with VW for new cars

flatlander937 Reader
July 13, 2015 11:28 a.m.

In reply to bravenrace:

Passat 2.0T TSI at 48k miles. Out of warranty from in-service date.

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