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I owned one of these cars for 10 months and in the time it done me pretty well, despite a few problems. Actually thinking about it, it had mor eproblems with it in the 10 months i had it than the 19 yr old peugeot i've had for 2 years. But that doesn't mean i'm advising you to stay clear of this car model, Far from it, I just think that I was just quite unfortunate, The first problem I had was the fault of the previous owner which was a bodged steering pump, so I had to replace that, luckily bought a reconditioned one which cost me £60 plus the cost of some new fluid. So not as bad as the £350 dealers were quoting me.
The second problem was the exhaust blowing, common problem on most older cars (it was an S reg 1999) and then also needed a clutch which was the final point for me selling it because clutches on these cars are quite expensive to replace and that's a job i didn't have the tools or know how to do myself.
Thats enough about the bad points, time for the good stuff, I was pleased with the way it drove, took the bends very nicely and felt very sure footed on the road and in strong crosswinds felt very sturdy, the whole car build screamed quality with the door shuts - there was practically no rust on the whole car and a very straight motor indeed. Performance delivery was a little delayed due to the nature of the 20 valve engine but its alright once you get the revs up, however you do pay for that in fuel when you put the fuel down, I would struggle to see over 35mpg on long journeys and on shorter ones or around town it was around 25-28 so a bit uneconomical really for a car that doesn't have the performance it should be delivering for that economy. My friends '03 Astra GSI is more economical.
Overall I would recommend this car if you can get one thats been looked after
I was shocked when I got mine. All I wanted it to do for me was to be a run-about that could hold the dogs and the kids. How wrong was I? With it's 20 valve turbo-charged engine, it screams refinement and yet also offers one of the best driving experiences around. With an abundance of cup-holders and nearly everything you need, Volkswagen seem to have thought of everything. You just have to touch the pedal and off it goes - flying away! Compared to its sister - the Audi A4 - It's far roomier. Audi take note: You can actually sit in the back as there IS leg room. This car oozes the extreme build quality that Germans never shut-up about. It's a classy ride. Smooth, quiet and also fun to drive, I would recomment this car for any family. Kicks the Mondeo, A4 and Vectra into touch.