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In the Mark 5 series, the last two years, 2008 - 2009 got the improved timing chain tensioners and 20 more hp. My 2008 2.5 with the 09G 6-speed automatic has 153K miles on and burns no oil. Because I deleted the vacuum pump, it has no leaks. In spite of having an automatic transmission which I run in Sport mode on all roads except the interstate, I still get great gas mileage. It always starts, never overheats and performs flawlessly. It can cruise all day over 90 mph without even breathing hard. At idle, I can hardly hear the engine and above 4000 rpm's, it screams like a wildcat.
The rear door locks have minds of their own, however. One of them never locks and the other one sometimes locks from the outside intermittently. If you don't mind the weird German engineering and unnecessarily complicated DIY services, you will love this car. Just do the routine services and use the correct fluids, and it should last forever.
 

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I have a 2012 Jetta Wagen 75k, engine feels like a million bucks at times. I just love that feel of the inline 5. Its the main reason I got the car. I got it used at 67k and plan to run it to 250k. Inline 5 engines are a collectible at this time.
You're right about them being collectible. A friend with a Mini wants to buy mine so badly that he has a standing request that he gets first refusal if I ever decide to sell it. I can definitely sell mine at a profit, but what would I replace it with?
 

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No, stop using this term :D
Not yet, until I get mine... well, for my daughter.

so in short - do not get 2007.
2008 and later are OK.
Were there 5-door Rabbits with MT? When I was researching it, I read that 5-door was only AT.
Even if you prefer the MT, the AT is awesome. I bought my 2008 2.5 from a long-time friend who is a professional mechanic. He bought this car as a used car 10 years prior to selling it to me. In spite of owning MT Mini's before owning this one, he was amazed at how well this 09G 6-speed performs. He offered me the car at a very reasonable price, so I bought it while expecting the automatic/manual Tiptronic to perform well. This is an understatement. The 2008-09 engine has the extra 20 hp and ft-lbs of long-stroke torque and will do well in D mode. However, I found that I can have an amazing amount of fun in S mode at all speeds under 70 mph since I live in mountain twisties. I like it even more than the manual manual mode. I love the sound of the 5-cylinder engine when it passes 4000 rpm's and this car still gets mpg's in the mid-20's on the secondary roads and mid-30's on the interstate while using 87 octane gas. I never thought I would like an automatic transmission but this one has converted me.
Even though it has a bad rap for quality, this transmission is performing perfectly with over 153K miles on it. All I do is change the ATF at 30K mile intervals. I changed the filter during the first service after I bought it and it was spotless, so I plan on just changing the fluid from now on.
 

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I do not doubt it is good.
The reason to get MT is to have my kids exposed to MT. We travel overseas quite often. Americans are not accustom to 3 pedals and the need to shift gears.
Wifes car is AT. Mine (EV) is... EV so no gears at all. Porsche - no way I am teaching them how to drive MT.

Since I loved the I5 torque and sound, I thought that would be the best car.
It has very good balance of power and weight. And the sound is just something else.
I agree on teaching your kids how to drive. I taught my daughter how to drive with a 5-speed manual Honda CR-V and actually created a sort of obstacle course which required her to take off from a stop on inclines in forward and reverse. This course included changing tires, changing oil and doing basic troubleshooting. My Mazda Miata would mysteriously disappear from the garage when she lived at home. Now, she is a professional EMT driving all sizes of emergency vehicles with gasoline and diesel engines. Her personal vehicles now are a Jeep Wrangler with MT and a Honda Fit with AT -- go figure. She is a "girly-girl" with no fear of anything with wheels.
 

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The VW Mark V was a Rabbit, not a Golf.

In 1974, it made its debut as the Golf in Europe.

In 1975, it made its debut as the Rabbit when it made its first appearance in Canada and the United States.

In 1985, it went back to the original Golf, and it remained as such for 21 years.

In 2006, when the new fifth generation, Mk V (2006-2009), it went back to Rabbit.

In 2010, it went back to Golf, and it continues today…so far.

Hope this helps in searching for Golf vs Rabbit bodies and parts.
 

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Yes, it continued into the Mk VI models. I found the info here:
OOPS! This link is still for the Mk V. Here is what I meant to show:
 

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Those are hard to find...

Thanks guys for all the info. I will keep looking.
I would prefer the 4 door due to the shorter front doors. The long wings are not my preference. Too easy for your drivers to smash cars parked next to them
I have the 4-door Rabbit (some call it the 5-door) and the front doors are longer than those on most 4-door cars, plus they open very wide for very easy ingress/egress. I actually make it a point to not open it to the second click when getting in because I have to hang way outside the car to reach the door handle. Yes, I'm short. In my opinion, you really can't notice the extra doors in the profile because of the clean design. The Mk 5 has the best curves.
 
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