Re: car totaled... what should i get next?
Bummer man, sorry about your loss. I used have a 2001 GTI VR6 when the company I work for was owned by Audi. What a fun car.I used to get a big discount and only leased VW/Audis for about 20K miles so I never had to deal with the repairs. I have heard the long term reliability with the German cars is suspect.
You may want to consider the Mazda 3 hatchback. I have that now and can compare the two.
Both have about the same amount of space and I can haul a 5 piece kit with a 22" bass drum in either. The seats fold down easier in the Mazda so that is more conveniant.
To me the Mazda has a better suspension. A little tighter and sportier. The GTI I had always seemed to have too much body roll.
I liked the VR6 in my GTI better due to the high torque off the line. The 1.8t was good too, but too much turbo lag for me. The 2.3l in the Mazda I have now is good too. Nice mix of acceleration and good gas mileage. I get about 30 mpg with the Mazda. The VR6 used to guzzle it.
I like the interior better on the GTI, but both are decent.
I have/had manual transmissions in both. They were about the same if I remember correctly. Both a little rubbery but overall pretty good and got the job done.
Keep in mind, I'm comparing my old 2001 GTI to the 2007 Mazda 3 hatch I have now. VW changed the GTI in 04 I think. And Mazda will be coming out with a redesigned Mazda 3 this year. The newer GTI I drove felt much more solid than my Mazda and my old GTI. But also, most people compare the GTI to the Mazdaspeed 3, which is much faster than the new GTI. The VR6 is gone now and only a 2.0T is available in the GTI.
Overall though, if you liked the GTI, you probably would like the base Mazda 3 too and like that it is more reliable and cheaper. Very similar cars. I like VW alot, but it seems that Mazda gives you more bang for the buck. I'll be comparing the 2 again when I go for my next vehicle for sure. btw, I have over 30k on my Mazda without a single problem and I know 2 other people who have Mazda 3s with well over 80k with very few problems.