There's no excuse for a gearbox failing at 40k miles.
No there is no excuse, but probably a reason. Or two.
VW uses the same plattform items for the minivan,thus they are not specced
for the higher load capacity (volume). But those Touran things tend to get laden to the roof...
Anyway there are lots of typical faults that the Golf platform cars show. Which
tells me that quality at VW really runs only skin deep. Perfect paint. Tight shutlines
and nice dash materials, but everything beneath it is not engineered up to the
same standard. Thus I tried to persuade the wife into a W124 T-model. To no avail.
In my eyes all compact and subcompact models are hampered in more or less the
same ways. The new Focus is said to be a class leading offer, as is the Kia C'eed, that
you US citizens do not get. Those compromises would always lead me to by a used
car of a higher standard with some warranty and substance. Highway and freeway
mpeg figures don't differ that much from a Focus.
P.S.: I just realised, that the 1-series hatch was not offered to you, as well and that
the discontinued Volvo C30 is extremely pricy in the US. So the reasonable choice
narrows down to a used Z4. At least for me.
I am not young enough to know everything.