I have owned this car for several years and bought it second hand with 13,000 miles on the clock on an 03 plate. I have now clocked up just over 100,000 miles in a short space of time doing about 30,000 motorway miles a year and so i am in a position to comment on its pros and cons.
This car is generally quite reliable, it is spacious and comfortable. The alloy wheels distinguish it from the other models and in my opinion look better as they are an inch wider in diameter.
I have not had my car serviced by a vw dealer despite doing a high milage so i have avoided this cost. Instead i have had just the oil changed every 15,000 miles. I have also been able to avoid my cam belt being changed at 60,000 and have been told that they can do 300,000 without this being a problem-(These cars are used extensively by taxi companies and share the same engine as the skoda octavia.)
I have had several problems with my car. I have had an accelerator pedal snap which cost me £150 and i have also had a problem with the plenum chamber filling up with water which had to be drained (£100). There is also a concern with electrical problems. I have found that if you are driving quickly over bumps sometimes this generates a small voltage and this can set off the alternator sensor on the dashboard momentarily. I have had two sets of brake discs and pads on the front due to a pipe being kinked through everyday wear and tear which is a frequent problem apparently. This prevents the pads from retracting from the discs when the brake pedal is released after braking. I have also had issues with the oil and engine management sensors.
Overall, the car can be run cheaply but repairs and parts are expensive. The car is prone to electrical problems but these can be bypassed if you wish to risk leaving them.