1996 Volkswagen Golf CL 1.9 diesel


A great car. Too bad the odometer resets at 300,000 KM!


Fitted a new exhaust at 197,000 KM.

Rear shocks needed replacement at 225,000 KM.

Glow plug relay died at 225,000 KM. Replaced it with a used one, which is still working fine.

General Comments:

I bought this little gem from my grandfather-in-law, who got it new in 1996. It came with full service history and has been looked after very well, which is obvious at a glance. The body work is in excellent condition and the engine does not use a single drop of oil. The gearbox has no play and shifts very smoothly. Very occasionally I get this grinding sensation (and sound) as I shift from first to second. I don't know what it is but it happens very rarely, so I don't mind for the time being.

The car feels solid and sturdy. It sticks to the road and its soft suspension makes for a comfortable ride. The MKIII Golf is significantly heavier than the MKII, but the 1.9 diesel engine is powerful enough for me to keep up with traffic. Then again, I've got a rather easy-going driving style and opinions about performance may vary. On highways I cruise at about 2,300 RPM in fifth gear, which means at a speed of 95 KM/H. Anyhow, the car feels like it will run forever, which makes it more than adequate for long journeys.

Another beautiful thing about this car is how little fuel it needs. On average, one tank of diesel gets me as far as 1,000 kilometres. When my girlfriend and I went on a trip to Paris, one tank lasted for 1,140 KM!

When winter knocks on the door and the roads are covered in fresh snow, the fun is not over at all. The FWD Golf handles amazingly well on snowy roads and even hills won't stop it.

The layout of the dashboard is simple and the controls are intuitive. The Golf's roomy interior offers great comfort and, if you put the back seats down, plenty of space for luggage or furniture. Looking at the interior, the only complaint I can actually think of is that the seats don't offer enough support, which can be annoying if you have been driving for a few hours.

I personally don't like the look of most modern cars. Originally I intended to buy an MKII as I think it's the most beautiful of all Golfs (inside and out), but when my grandfather-in-law offered his immaculate MKIII for sale I couldn't resist.

Although I prefer the MKII from an aesthetic point of view, I still like the MKIII model and to me it's the last 'real' classic Golf. I don't regret buying it at all. The car has never ever left me stranded and always starts first time whatever the weather. It's as reliable as a car can get, and it's cheap to insure, cheap to run, and fun to drive!

It's a shame the MKIII odometers reset to 0 after 299,000 KM, which is only the break-in period if you ask me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th June, 2009

7th Mar 2011, 17:31

Update: 270,000 kms, still going strong!

I've just had a new water pump fitted because the original one was getting noisy. Now it sounds as nice and quiet as before again.

1988 Volkswagen Golf GTD 1.6 diesel


Great German quality built car for all purpose


Due to participation in Volkswagen races, and thus heavy duty, the engine was replaced by a 1.6 non-turbocharged Diesel at 160.000km.

At 283000km the car lost some oil... we had that fixed for €5 with a special product.

The syncronisation of the gearbox isn't tuned that fine anymore, so I have to shift slowly into second gear, or the gearbox makes a scraping noise.

I have a 3-door model, and the lever to put the driver's seat into a 'forward position' is missing... God knows where the lever is :)

All other things still work fine.

General Comments:

This car is really reliable, even now, when it's becoming really cold outside. I'm still surprised that the car starts without any problem every time I get into it.

When comparing to my precious car (Renault 9) I must say that it handles so much better. The grip is never seen in cars this age and mileage.

Also the legroom is great, I'm 1m85 and fit behind the drivers seat when my brother is driving, and he's almost as tall as I am.

Also the built quality is really good, but you probably figured that out looking at the mileage :)

A last thing I was surprised about is that we used the car to go on vacation, that means 4 passengers and luggage, and it all fitted into that relatively small car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th November, 2004

2001 Volkswagen Golf Variant Comfortline 1.9 TDI 110bhp


Front wheel driven fool


First of all the build quality is awful for a German car. Switch for electric windows was changed @ 30000km. Then @ 60000km the turbo blew, another 20000km later the entire mechanism of the electric window and door handle in the driver door was completely broken, they had to replace the entire thing. It slurps oil, but that's nothing new for a Volkswagen TDI. And in concluding almost everything in the cabin rattles and sqeaks... thank you VW for your renowned build "quality"

General Comments:

Only one word to sum up all its road going capabilities, under-steer.

It's not bad, and would be almost good if it was half the price. Awful build quality, not very reliable and way too expensive, no thanks, my first and last Volkswagen.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th March, 2003