Car Critic's Picks: A Holiday From Wishful Thinking

The Volkswagen Golf TDI hatchback, along with its road-slashing GTI cousin, are the best and most timely cars I’ve driven this year.


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I will never buy a German car after seeing my friend's family's experience with his 5 Bahnstormers (2 VWs, 1 BMW, 1 Porsche, 1 Merc). The VWs had the most perplexing electrical problems, worse than the father's '78 Triumph. The BMW and especially the Porsche had the worse construction choices ever (hey, let's use a proprietary tool for everything!). The Merc got totalled when it drove through a puddle because Mercedes, in all their infinite wisdom, decided that the optimal place for an ECU was behind the passenger side wheel well.

Not only is $24,000 not an "only" amount but you will pay so much more for completely random parts such as N74 Wastegate Pressure Regular Valves, the little plastic adjusters on the headlights that, once broken, require removal of the bumper to replace a light, and the multitude of other parts that break on a regular basis. And what's even worse is that it's never the same part twice so each one is more expensive because they can't get the mass production down well enough.