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Volkswagen Cabrio



  • sharrel,

    I would check out the lemon law. My car has been an absolute disaster. I'll now filed for the second time under the lemon law, and I'm going to make them buy the car back. VW people have been unhelpful, useless and at times unpleasent.

  • Beth,

    I don't qualify under the Lemon Law (not even under amendment for this year)...came close once... However, I highly recommend passing out copies of the Lemon Law to everyone else in the vw dealership waiting room while you are waiting for your car, it's amazing how quickly the dealership works to get you out of there. I also recommend calling the vw 800 number whenever you have a problem so everything is documented on their level. Make sure you get name of everyone you talk to...

    Beth, I have a friend that is an arbitrator for the National Arbitration Board....from what I hear they look more favorable on those claims that concern safety of the vehicle...

    I'm wondering if the mercedes are more the look of the new c-coupe.

    Good luck on your claim under the lemon law!
  • Sharrel,

    Thanks for the best wishes. VW has just been aweful. They won't even return my phone calls. My seat belt is giving me brusies.

    My hearing is in two weeks.

    We'll see how it goes.

    Stay tuned!


  • Some jerk (I am putting that politely) hit my car in the parking lot at work yesterday. I am so upset!!!! They took the paint off the bumper's corner, and unfortunately it is really noticeable.

    What I was wondering is if anyone has the Batik Blue Pearl, and if they had any after-factory paint applied to it. How did it match up?? What should I look for when I bring my car to get the bumper repainted.

    I hate low class people, could you at least leave a note when you hit someone because you apparantly do not know how to drive!!! (venting)

  • Did you get your net installed?
    Let me know, I'll send e-photo.

  • What is a convertible pump?
    Are you refering to the water pump?
    What about the pistons?
    Are you meaning the ones in the engine?

    Let me know.
  • Hi all!

    Had my hearing last Monday and it takes a month to hear. I think it went well, but it's so hard to tell. VW was a joke at the hearing. They are just so aweful.

    I'll let you know when I find out.

  • ragtop3ragtop3 Posts: 11
    After reading this board for over three months I've all but completely lost my desire to purchase a new Cabrio and am looking favorably towards a used Solara or, gasp, a new Sebring. Ironically, even a Chrysler appears to be more reliable than the Cabrio. I haven't read comments on any other board that suggest as many problems as those you have with your Cabrios. Safe mode. Fuel line trouble. Seats that won’t heat. Leather that peels-AAAAARG! I’d love to hear comparisons to other cars you all may have owned. Did they need to be serviced nearly as much as your Cabrios? My personal experience with VW was awful, I had an ‘87 VW GTI I called “the rattle box”. It was that was serviced 21 times for assorted problems including rebuilding the engine twice at VW’s expense. I’ve owned four different automobiles since that haven’t been serviced 21 times all combined! (Yes, each one of them was/is Japanese).

    Complaints besides reliability? With the top up it’s the loudest ragtop next to a Miata. Cabrios’ roll bar makes excessive noise at highway speeds with the top down. Even the dang seat belts flap around at highway speeds. Power? There’s hardly any to speak of. It really bothers me that the engine supposedly averages 24mpg with relatively poor performance while Sebrings and Solaras net 22mpg with head jerking V6 powerplants. I’m not buying a convertible to go fast but need to merge on the highway with relative ease. One last nit pik: ever notice all the new Beetles on the road with one headlight out? Is this indicative of the sub-par parts used in Mexico-built VW’s of which Cabrio is a part of?

    The most reliable 4 person ragtop out there is a Toyota Solara but at 32 grand it won’t be in my garage, at least not an '02. Saab has reliability questions and is even more expensive than Solara so that’s out. Mitsubishi–too small inside and kind of ugly anyway. Miata–an absolutely awesome performer but I simply don’t feel safe in it let alone prohibiting my 3 and 5 year old kids a fun ride on summer days. Chrysler– a great performance car at decent prices (when dealers loosen up-like now) but has American ergonomic and exterior design sufferings as well as ghosts from transmission problem years, supposedly pre-’97.

    Problem is I just love the size, style and relative affordability of the Cabrio. I love the rumble of the muffler with the top down. I love the way it handles and soaks up bumps, or potholes, as we call them here in Minnesota. I don’t know for sure but I believe it’s a fairly safe car compared to others due to the roll bar and side impact air bags. I never drive fast enough to merit a roll over but with all the nuts on the road who knows? Lastly, I love the way a smaller, front wheel drive vehicle drives through the snow and VW is known as a solid performer in this department.

    The two VW dealerships are twice as far as alternative brands for me. Each service visit means another car rental which begs the inevitable question-what price does one pay for reliability?

    Can any of you convince me that I won’t be servicing this car every 6 months for some idiosyncratic problem or another???

    I’m waiting until spring when the snow melts here in Minnesota and more importantly, the economy improves enough to take on a car payment. Any comments from you owners would be appreciated. I think I can already can guess Beths' comments...
  • I have to speak from personal experience concerning Cabrio ownership. I have a 2001 that I purchased last October. Over the past 12,000 miles the car has been very satisfactory. I based my purchase decision on all the published reviews out there, all of which were positive. After I purchased the car, I began to read the message boards from actual users, and the impression was exactly as you described. I began to wonder if perhaps I had made a terrible mistake. Fortunately, I have not had any of the problems mentioned throughout the message boards.

    I think an important factor is the competency and integrity of the dealership when it does come time for maintainence. Demographically, the Cabrio, is very popular with females, and dealers may often see this as an invitation to take liberties when diagnosing problems. (Please don't take this to mean that I think females are ignorant concerning vehicle maintainence. As you can see from the posts on this board, we have a very savy group). I think the dealers may be contributing to the perceived quality and reliability issues by causing more problems by intentional, or unintentional mis-diagnosis.

    It could be that it takes a special person to appreciate a Cabrio. Owners of other brands may just not have the enthusiasm or farfignugin to take the time to write about their experiences.

    I know Minnesota is colder than Massachusetts, but if you buy now, I bet you'll still be able to get some top down driving. I've had my top down this entire week, and it's almost November! Never fails to put a smile on my face, and that's pretty important these days.
  • Someone asked me the other day if I would buy this car again (2000 cabrio gls). Interesting question. I told them to ask me again in another 6 months. I'm still not sure if the car is the trouble or the lousy inexperienced mechanics at the VW dealers. I don't believe the dealers are intentionally misdiagnosising and at my local VW dealer the waiting room is full of more men than women. I don't think they are paying salaries high enough to keep experienced mechanics - which would also explain the wait for an appointment of almost 4 days. At least one visit to the dealership resulted in two additional trips because the mechanics inadvertently hit toggle switches and forgot to lubricate the steering wheel before reassembling.
    However, if I wanted to buy a convertible today, I still would probably buy the cabrio for the same reasons I bought one in Oct. 1999 - safety, rollbars, ABS brakes, side air bags, price and crisp handling. But I also would have brought an extended warranty (not restricted to VW) and would have taken the car to my own mechanic from the beginning. Maybe then it wouldn't have taken so many trips to fix problems.... Although it does worry me that I'm on my third ignition switch in 2 years with a car that just hit 20,000 miles...
  • If I were not a single father then it would have been a tough choice between the Cabrio and the Miata.

    I wanted creature comforts and the Miata just didn't have much in that area.

    If you want performance then put in the higher octane gas and you will get it. I promise you all that I have no affiliation with Cheveron but I had played around with octane boosters and for $3 bucks I got a lot of spunk. So if I use the higher octane gas on a road trip the throttle gets away from me. I had deduced that the Techron (sp?) gave me the best throttle response. Then I heard from the local VW guy that this fuel (by name) was recommended by VW for use in their cars. OK enough but if you want spunk use that gas.

    So, even with my past excess oil use I would buy this car again. By the way, I haven't had that issue for a long time now and I am at @24,000 plus miles. I like my car because of the creature comforts that it has. If I wanted a cheap muscle car then the Mustang was my next choice. Between that one and the Miata they have good power to weight ratios. Could you imagine anything bigger than a 2.0 in a Cabrio? I would be getting bad gas milage and tickets. I would rather buy a cheap gas and then the "good stuff" when I wanted to travel.

    After my 24,000 mile service I filled up with regular cheap gas and I didn't have to fill up until 385 miles and I still had 2 gallons to go at fill up. These cars are supposed to have a 13 gallon tank right? That wast the best milage that I ever got! So they must have done something during the tune up to get me that savings. I'll let you know as soon as I know.

    Later Cabbers!
  • Hey Mike,
    That's great gas mileage. The tank is 13.7 gallons, which means you got about 32 miles per gallon! You even beat the optimistic EPA estimates: (City Manual Transmission 24, Automatic Transmission 22
    Highway Manual Transmission 31,Automatic Transmission 28). I have been tracking my mileage since I bought my Cabrio last October. (I have a 2001 GL w/ manual transmission). My average over 13819 miles, 66 fills, is 26.7 MPG. Best was 30.9, and worse was 21.2

    As far as a good power to weight ratio, I have to disagree. My cabbie is 115 HP/2825LBS=.040 power to weight ratio
    A Ford Escort is 110/2470=.045
    To put things into perspective, a Porsche Carrera is 300HP/2900LBS=.103 (Did I mention the $50,000 price difference between the Porsche and the Cabrio?)

    So why is a Cabrio such fun to drive? I think it's the combination of road feel, handling, and having the maximum torque coming on at 2600 RPM. This puts those 115 ponies into action much sooner than a lot of other cars. Of course once the top is down, in my mind, I become Bob Wollek in a Lola Porsche 38!

    Keep on cabbin'
  • ragtop3ragtop3 Posts: 11
    I need to clarify that my comments regarding the Cabrio’s poor engine performance are in respect to the automatic transmission. I didn’t note a night and day difference with the 5 speed but certainly there was more pickup throughout the gears. I need to share the vehicles’ work duty with my wife who isn’t too fond of manual transmissions, a few too many years of stop and go traffic will due that to a person. Also, I had to replace the clutch on my ‘87 GTI after only 65,000 miles which seemed premature, IF i were to purchase a manual what’s the likely lifespan for a VW clutch?

    I’m interested in trying Mike’s octane booster idea (problem is I don’t own the vehicle). Maybe it would give the automatic some life. Last week when I test drove the ‘01 Cabrio the engine was cold, specifically 30 degrees cold, and there was absolutely no power when driving off the lot. I’ve never experienced such a lack of power before. After ten minutes or so I either adjusted to the ‘low octane’ power or it warmed up properly and drove with the power I’ve come to expect. Besides an annoying rattle on the passenger side I liked it, particularly how completely straight the Cabrio tracks compared to my two Japanese vehicles. THAT I could come to appreciate! As usual the car dealer hasn't called back about when the car was actually put into service, hence how much is left on the warranty. Nobody but nobody will lift a finger to sell you a car anymore. I guess this is why I keep trying not buying until spring when the selling frenzy starts again.

    I’m pleased with the few favorable rulings saying this car maybe worth the risk. Thanks in advance for the comments offered here.
  • Hi all!

    It' so nice to start to see the old gang back on the board!

    So, much to my dismay, I lost my arbitration case. The arbitrator was unfair and bias as far as I'm concerned. I have filed compliant against her.

    My car still has issues, so yesterday, I talked to 5 lawyers. All 5 looked at my paper work and said that they are sure they can settle with VW. All took my case for free and if they win, I pay, if not I don't. The one I'm going with with will charge me $600, that's it. I'm pretty excited.

    The question of whether I would buy this car again is timely because VW has to give me my money back or give me a spankin' new 2002 cabrio -- the one with the 4 year warranty.

    And believe it or not, that might be what I do. (or I might just buy it again and get the great financing that is around these days). I'm not sure.

    I agree with sharrel, there are good reasons I bought this car in the first place. And there are few other options for a cute fun sporty ragtop around 20K with lots of features.

    I'll let you all know what happens.


  • Has anyone installed a Neuspeed hood strut brace? (I think that's what it's called.) It's a metal bar/brace that you install under the hood across the width of the car to prevent shimmeying. It's supposed to add stability and life to the car. Would it be worth the cost? Does it really add life to your car? I want to keep my cabby for a long time so I want it to last. How much should I expect to spend for installation or can I just drill holes myself?

    Also, are there any other modifications I can make to my car that are a must when it comes to increasing performance and adding life to the car? I've heard about the K & N filter being a good investment. Any suggestions would be appreciated. :)


  • Any hope of VW dropping the 1.8t into the cabrio?
  • I went to buy a Jetta, but my dad (imagine that!) convinced me to go for the convertible, since I always wanted to that kind of car (and a Jetta too). The whole "life is short" argument. Even tho I live in the NYC area, and won't use the convertible as much as, say, an owner in Miami. I hope no one takes this the wrong way - I look at is as a coupe Jetta with a removable lid - and very cute looking at that!

    Bought a 2002 GLX Cabrio and have been reading all the posts here & in other sites. I am worried about VW service & dependability. I will be positive but any reassurance would be good... I am very excited about my new car (green, beige leather). Warranty was a great feature too!

    Also FYI - the salesperson told me they are going to discontinue the cabrio (at least in US) for a short while (don't know when) and come out with a new Beetle convertible.. very interesting to see that!!
  • Pickle,

    Well, as far as the relability and service issue, you might be lucky and have no problems like some on the board or have endless issues like me. If you love this car (I did) and plan to keep it buy an extended warrenty. This car does have issues. But, he.. you only live once and it's a fun little car. And perhaps you'll be lucky. My best wishes.

    I'm not buying it again, but that is just me. VW has been horible to work with and the car was no good. But, on the other hand, I work with two people who have the car and have had no prolbems.

    Best of luck


    I just wanted to pass on the name of my awesome Lemon law lawyer to you. He's in San Diego. Perhaps he can work something out with VW. He's fee is $500. Email me directly if you want at to get the details.

  • Hello-

    Apologies in advance if this topic has been thoroughly covered- but: last week, I purchased a 97 cabrio with 44000 miles. I live in Minnesota, have driven a Jeep Cherokee for the past few years, and am learning to drive a stick shift, no less. We've had unseasonably warm, dry weather for November, but I am starting to get nervous. Does anyone have any good advice for driving and maintaining this car during the winter?

    Thank you!
  • Glewwe,
    I live in Massachusetts. No snow yet, but it can get nasty real quick. I have a 2001. Last season I went with the standard all season tires that came with the car. Had some cornering and sliding issues, but not bad. Probably my own fault. The front wheel drive is a definitely a plus for traction.

    This season, I've just changed over to Michelin Arctic Alpin snow tires on all 4 wheels. I'll report at the first storm.

    Sorry about all the hassles with your VW. Please stay in touch.

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