I definitely see more Mk4's than I see Mk5's on the road these days.
What you are seeing is the difference between a "Reliable" car, which they are not, and a "Durable" car, which they are. They are built well and with proper care, maintenance, and a few replacement parts, they will continue to go for a long time.
At this point, the Mk4 owners who modified their cars and beat them to hell, and then whined about how they were unreliable, or handled like a bag of dicks, have moved on, and their cars are in the scrap yard.
What are left are people who have a realistic view of what's needed to keep them serviceable, and how to do it.
Still the ultimate Costco trolley. And yes... still on stock(ish) suspension with a half inch lift. It will corner more comfortably and drama free at 11/tents than either of my 2 track cars will at 7/tents.
Since VW produced so many MK4 cars, I think its the mechanically inclined people who are realizing they can buy them for dirt cheap and with a little bit of elbow grease...they could have a nice beater.
There's parts for these things everywhere and not to mention, it seems like almost every MK4 part has been reproduced by some eBay company. Although the quality might not be there, but for cheap parts why not? Same reason people buy harbor freight tools.
Here's my 2003 GLi that gets driven 80 miles day looks like. Also just turned over to 200k this AM.
Tonight........you -Hand Banana
They're simple to work on, cheap to find parts for, and the car structure itself is like a bank vault. Also, they weren't that bad (actually damn good), but the internet can exaggerate things
They're also pretty good in a collision, which was quite new for the era. The New Beetle was the safest small car ever tested and even did exceptionally well in the 5mph "pole" test.
How are the automatics paired with the 2.0? Asking for a friend.
Originally Posted by Boyz in da Park
I used to have a 2003 Jetta Wolfsburg that I bought new and loved it at the time. This is back when VWs were nicer than the comparable cars in their class. They had a solid feel with nice interiors. Times seem to have changed! Even though the Mk4 was generally plagued with problems I never really had too many issues with mine the way others did. With that said, I never see these on the road anymore. It's been a while since I've spotted one in the wild.
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I would agree that they are durable cars, but they definitely need up keep. Most of the ones I see around now are completely beat.
I owned a 20AE GTI during my ****head college years. Got rid of it in 2010 and bought a beater 2003 TDI wagon 18 months ago.
-Purchased for $1200
-Needed a new battery and a vnt actuator right away, plus disassembly.
-Power steering line was leaking, simple fix with welder
After a year, I decided to throw more money at a 230K ****box and...
-Struts/shocks, brakes, rear brake lines, rear brake calipers, control arm bushings, ball joints, tie rods.
-Replaced front half of rockers on each side
-Used replacement fenders, same paint code.
I have put 22K on the car in 18 months. I netted a hand calculated 48 MPG from Buffalo to Lake Placid and back last fall. I usually see around 40, on my short regular commute. I have to get a running start for any overtaking on two lane roads, but other than that the car is a blast. Not really, but its cheap and it gets me and my bikes anywhere I need to go. I also can carry 10' pieces of lumber home from home depot.
My transmission was fine at 166K miles when I sold it. Maybe you/a previous owner liked to powershift it, who knows?
On another note, for those that keep their Mk5s...many junkyards have toooons of cheap parts for this reason. My best score was a 3k mile steering rack for 60 bucks.
If they are bubbling, clean out the debris behind the fender liner, strip away the loose paint and any loose rust. POR those areas well, top coat with undercoat and then rattle can color matched paint. It should last a while. The front of my drivers rocker was eaten away like 6" back. It would catch slush when driving in the winter.
I found fenders on the TDI classifieds on FB. I think I got them for about $150 shipped.
Some dremel work and POR-15, and it's been good since.
I cut trailing edge drains into the fender liner, and mudflaps, so there's somewhere for the sand/silt to go, but it's still protected from direct tire spray.
Its been sitting for 6 months since I picked up a mk7 GTI for a daily. But we're going to get a few things fixed on it and it should be good for a bit again. Its been a great car. I do like the description of them being durable, but not necessarily reliable. We do our own work, so it hasn't been too bad to keep up with the various mk4's we've had, but they certainly aren't problem free. The '99 New Beetle 2.0 5-speed I had was a great and didn't need much (had it 6 1/2 year and 50k before a Prius took it out ). This 20th has definitely required more, but I've also modded it. Its been a really fun car for sure.