1999 Volkswagen Cabrio Golf Generation 4 2.0 Litre petrol


Wagen gone wrong!


The car had a few nuisances, which I was aware of at the time of purchase. From past experiences, VW and their parts should not be extremely costly, so I managed to bring down the purchase price against my observations, for a couple of thousand of Dirhams, strongly believing in professional service and excellent support from the local dealer in Dubai.

Having driven the car for myself for a few days before the next major service appointment, I noticed that besides the standard major service - 60K due in 5K km, the car needed new wipers, wheel alignment, tightening of the exhaust, tuning and replacement of light bulbs (they go like mad here in the Gulf, especially on VW’s). I also wanted the dealer to investigate a grinding noise from the front which I suspected to be the wheel bearings (even though they should not go after a mere 55K km, but the harsh climate tends to “swallow” parts in this part of the world).

OBSERVATIONS: I noticed that the car is pretty loud, with plenty of wind noise, very poor rigidity, even for a cabriolet, dashboard quality is rather good while the rear panels are anything, but that. The car squeaks and rumbles in turns, even at low speeds. The leather on the seats started to flake and fade. It was at that moment that I came to the realization (far more devastating for my better half) that the slogan “built for life” will not fit our “Cabby”. Furthermore, to close the electric passenger side window is evidence of German Engineering having the day-off (the motor was replaced twice!), and the brakes are anything, but braking. And before confirming my worst fears, I spoke to two other VW Golf IV Cabrio owners who told me their very, very similar problems with their cars. A disappointment was inevitable!

General Comments:

This is the 7th VW in my family and my wife’s first car.

When we started searching for her “wheels”, we considered a lot of options before narrowing the search down to convertibles; Golf was destined to win.

The acquisition cost was moderate if not similar to the far more expensive models, such as the SAAB Convertible from the previous year. But women love small and compact and there was no chance for me to convince her to go for the SAAB 9-3 (due to the size and rather conservative styling), so we bought this one owner, GCC specification, Golf IV Cabrio.

On the day of service, I was told to expect a bill of Dhs 2200 approx, which is roughly just over US$ 600, for the 60K service alone. Any additional parts or work would be charged separately.

A week and US$ 1150 later, we got the car back. The dealer tried their best which was and is evident, but the car simply refuses to cooperate on the OBSERVATIONS listed above. Furthermore, this 55K km vehicle needed new bearings all round, new shocks, new engine mountings… basically anything that had rubber as its main component needed replacement! And most of the problems are slowly coming back with many more joining the party.

Today, with now over US$ 1800 out-of-our-pockets, the car is listed for sale. Never again!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd February, 2005