As a car to drive and experience my Volkswagen Golf 90TSI Trendline has been fantastic. It is spacious, handles well and has been a real pleasure to use. The problems with this car have been with reliability and electrics.
Our car has had electrical failures every year, totalling six electrical failures inside the warranty period. Boot lights and wipers I can handle, but when you are low on fuel and the electrics to the fuel cap release fail, it is very incapacitating. We've also had batteries dying with little or no warning. But the real gem was the gearbox.
After having driven Mazdas for years, all manuals, with 150,000km or greater on gearboxes before any replacements or real maintenance was required, the Golf made just 43,000km before its gearbox suffered a catastrophic meltdown – later determined to be a worn down clutch.
The car borrowed while the clutch was being seen to was an automatic and it drives beautifully – Volkswagen needs to focus on autos since they seem to have forgotten how to engineer quality manual gearboxes. My next car will be a Toyota or Mazda.
The best parts of the Golf, however, have to be stacks of great features, loads of 'hidden' spots to hide items in the boot and keep it clean and well organised. It's also remarkably spacious for a small car and its fuel efficiency is brilliant (so good it almost compensates for the cost of maintenance).