2004 Volkswagen Golf Comfortline FSI 2.0 petrol


The most unreliable car I have ever owned


We bought this car from a friend's estate. Shortly after buying the car, it was taken to the dealer complaining about engine misfire under acceleration. This problem has never been fixed, despite every time it has been serviced, the problem has been brought to the dealer's attention. The injectors have been replaced, the spark plugs and coils replaced to no avail. Intermittently runs on 1, 2, 3 or 4 cylinders. This problem has been referred to VW Australia, but they appear incapable of fixing the problem.

Most recently the automatic gear box has started rough changing (Tiptronic). I have had quotes to repair the gear box from $6500 - $8000. The dealer has told me that he has seen them fail at about 60000km, and ours is about average.

Recently a "Y" junction on the return line to the radiator header tank broke and sprayed coolant across the motor. It lost about 1.5 litres of coolant, before I stopped and fixed the problem. The motor showed no sign of overheating.

Latest problem; the car refused to start. When cranked, the oil can light comes on and the STOP warning is displayed.

Brake rotors lasted about 100 000k, which is much less than other cars I have owned.

General Comments:

The car is great to drive, and the steering feel is amongst the best I have ever used.

The car is very comfortable on long trips, and driving 1000 - 1400km in a day is no problem. It is short on power over 120km/h, which can make passing transports difficult at times.

The VW doesn't match the quality of Subaru. I also own a 1992 Subaru Liberty RS Turbo, which I have owned for almost 21 years and done 391000km. It still is as reliable as the day I bought it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st March, 2013

21st Mar 2013, 06:53

It seems to be a common thing with later model VAG (Volkswagen Auto Group) cars around the early to late 2000's. When they're good, they're very good, and when they're bad, they're very bad, and the dealers/service centres can't help you.

21st Mar 2013, 22:04

Thanks for your comment. The dealer / VW claim that they cannot diagnose the fault with the motor misfiring. They have had the car for weeks on end, trying to identify and fix the problem, but to no avail. We have learnt to live with this potentially very dangerous problem. If you try to join traffic and the car decides to run on one cylinder, it has a top speed of about 30km/h in amongst a traffic flow of 60km/h or 100km/h.

The cost of the gearbox and motor repairs, most probably make the car uneconomical to fix, and it will probably be sold for scrap. This is probably what VW want, as it creates a new space for another car. I would never consider another car from the VW /Audi group, with their inability to fix problems and their service attitude, in particular VW Australia.

21st Mar 2013, 22:54

Please try a new battery. I have known modern cars to crank-over just fine, but still not work properly. This happened to a mate's Porsche, which was a real pain.

With CANBUS and all the modern horrors that now abound, that battery has to be beyond reproach. Please also check earthing and bonding of the engine and alternator, as years ago a Ford Granada caused me and its previous owner a lot of trouble. It turned out to be the alternator mounting bracket not making a perfect contact with the engine block. In fact the earth path from the alternator negative to the battery had about a dozen joints in it, and the alternator bracket had burn marks caused by the bad connection.

In Milspec circles it is common to ignore the fortuitous metallic path caused by bolting things together. The reason is the rusty bolt effect. Instead a dedicated earth strap or bond is normally used. A bonding wire was fitted from the alternator earth to battery negative, and all the troubles which had gone on for years became a thing of the past. Starting and charging became ten times better than previously.

Good luck!

2004 Volkswagen Golf Sport 2.0 petrol


A practical European option


Handbrake chrome button cover fell off... never to be found.

Front spoiler becomes loose and hangs down every 3 months or so.

Part of dash became loose and had to be refastened.

Glovebox lid somewhat wonky.

Above all, it's typical of VW's poor attention to quality control, despite the public perception of German cars. Japanese cars are better built.

General Comments:

Worst aspect is the wide C pillar. Makes lane changing a difficult chore. A rear quarter window such as in the Audi A3 would make life easier.

Difficult to judge the distance to the rear when reversing. Thankfully, one usually has more space than imagined as the car is short.

Golfs are wide compared to their length. Narrow lanes and driveways are a challenge.

Brakes not progressive and "grabby".

3 "blanks" on dash panel, and this is the highest spec model with a non turbo engine. Looks cheap, but overall the dash looks nice, particularly at night with subdued blue lighting.

Boot cannot be opened without unlocking the whole car. Annoying! Strange omissions... no glovebox light or illumination for ignition. "Accessories" point between "lock" and "on" difficult to define. Steering lock does not disengage until the key turned to the "on" position.

Best aspect is the engine. The 2.0 develops maximum torque at only 2,400 RPM, so down changes on hills are often not necessary. No need to rev it. The 5 speed manual is a gem to use.

Service costs no higher than Japanese competitors.

Great on fuel. 7.5- 8.0 L/100 average, although requires at least 95 Octane, which reduces the lustre somewhat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th August, 2012

2004 Volkswagen Golf TDI DSG 2.0 turbo diesel


Fantastic mix of speed and economy!


Nothing - apart from servicing, everything still works - the CD player makes a funny noise when you turn on the ignition, but that's it.

Replaced the rear brake pads at 80000km - the front pads and disks are still OK - will last 100k km.

DSG gearbox is still great - fast smooth changes - no issues at all.

General Comments:

The car has a fantastic engine and DSG gearbox combination - it's seriously quick cross country, surfing the torque.

Handling is great - on 17 inch alloys - safe and secure.

Cabin is holding up well - leather is as good as new 6 years on.

I get about 7l/100km around town - down to about 5l/100km cross country with the cruise on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th June, 2010