Better than a Golf (for me anyway)
Added: 14th of October 2013
I've owned two Broas. The first got to 248K miles before finally giving in, and I was so impressed by that so I bought another one. I went for a Bora because when compared to a similar spec'd Golf, they seemed to be a lot cheaper to buy. Both Boras I owned were/are TDIs and the running costs are fairly cheap. My daily commute is 60 miles, I'm averaging about 55 MPG at the mo, and it costs me around £30-£40 a week in fuel. The Bora is spacious and comfortable, and the boot is massive, however its tricky to get large loads in it due to the saloon boot. When the seats are flat you can get loads in the boot as long as it fits through the boot opening! There's enough room in the back for the kids car seats, and plenty of leg room for adult passengers too. Performance wise, the drive is ok. The TDIs I've owned have some serious turbo lag however which can be a bit frustrating when overtaking etc. The handling can be a bit wallowy too, owing to the big heavy diesel engine at the front end. If you're tight (like me) and have to own a diesel for cost/commute reasons then chances are you're not looking for a sports car, so these minor issues shouldn't distract from what a great car it is to own and run. The reliability, as you would expect from a VW is fantastic. I've had very few things go on both cars. However, things to watch for are water pumps which like to fail (I had two go on the first car), but you can get these changed easily and cheaply at the same time as a cambelt change (every 4 years or 90k miles). The other problem I had on the first Bora was a sticking waste gate on the turbo. This is a common problem (I believe) with older TDIs. If the waste gate sticks, the turbo overboosts and the car goes into 'limp mode'. I took it to a VW dealership and they quoted for a new turbo. Luckily, I took it to an independent VW specialist for a second opinion who diagnosed the problem, and fixed it by cleaning the turbo and wastegate. A lot cheaper than a new turbo! This brings me to my biggest bugbear with owning VWs, the cost of servicing at dealerships. I gave up with taking the cars to a dealership for servicing after the turbo incident as if I had gone with the delaerships suggested a new turbo would've set be back £1500! So, for me personally, I couldn't recommend a Bora highly enough.