1986 Volkswagen Golf 1.6L diesel from North America


Most reliable fuel efficient care EVER!


Some rust on the body after 18 years of use.

Leaks water from rear doors and collects under front seats, sometimes lots of it...

Other than that normal maintenance issues only.

Glow plugs.

Fuel filter.

Brakes etc...

General Comments:

This is without a doubt the most amazing car I have ever owned - bought it when I was 15 and still drive it everyday.

Utterly priceless to me - impossible to replace.

Yet it doesn't owe me a thing, it's never left me stranded.

Continues to rack up the KM day after day.

I can't wait until the odometer cracks 500,000.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th October, 2004

1986 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 diesel from North America


Economic and fun commuter car


Clutch started slipping at 490000km.

CV Joint started crunching at about the same time.

Passenger side rear wheel bearing failed destroying spindle at 530000km.

Glow plugs failed at 540000km.

Any one of the door handles will stop working every year or two.

Odometer stopped working at 551990km.

Rear wheel bearings wore out on both rear spindles at about 630000km.

Water pump started leaking at about 640000km.

Front shock struts are worn out now.

General Comments:

I was given this car after a friend who owned it died. He had the car from 300000km and drove it as though it were a race car.

I used the car for two weeks when he was out of town and fell in love with the car.

It is light, nimble, and cheaper to run than my motorcycle.

I commute over 100km a day and before the odometer broke I was getting over 1000km to a 50 liter fill-up. About 55mpg.

This is the best vehicle I have ever owned. Not the most prestigious or luxurious vehicle to be sure, but the cheapest and most fun.

I have traveled at over 150kph for 2 hours (in the rain) and felt the car was stable and safe.

The suspension is too soft for serious performance, but once the body roll stops it corners very well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd June, 2004

1986 Volkswagen Golf GTi 1.8 Injection (8v) from UK and Ireland


I am not stupid enough to part with this car


Needed a new driver's door and sill when someone tried to drive a Fiat through the side of it.

Needed a new passenger front door after original was jemmied from the top.

Replaced exhaust and one tyre.

Mixture control had to be tuned two year ago.

Sun shine roof leaked occasionally, now OK after a bit of work on the small back gutter.

Rusting on back doors, one of which leaks.

General Comments:

Family hand-me-down after what must have been an interesting early life.

Hard to tell what was replaced by earlier owners, although one read door is very different in pain finish.

It is more fun than anyone has any right to expect from something 18 years old.

Handles just so it goes where you want at whatever speed you want to go.

Seems totally unbreakable (to the chagrine of fashion-conscious children).

Engine emissions less than a third of those required by annual test.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2004

8th May 2006, 00:14

I love reading about other people's experiences with their 1986 Volkswagen Golfs. I have had mine since it was new - now 120,000 miles on it. No, I don't drive all that much. It is still fun to drive, and the "fashion conscious children" just have to live with it. It is older, but so am I. It squeaks and rattles more than it used to (but so do I.) The paint job on it looks nearly brand new, the result it being kept in the garage when not in use. It has not had to have many repairs and I have taken great care of it. I am beginning to wonder... who will die first, me or this car?


1986 Volkswagen Golf 1.6 diesel from North America


Cheap reliability refined to an art form


The stick broke free from the clutch at 345,000 miles.

The radio started only playing at full-blast volume at 352,000 miles.

One back door handle no longer works from the outside, at 340,000 miles.

The inside driver door handle snapped off at 340,000 miles.

General Comments:

I owned a VW Rabbit diesel for 10 years prior to my Golf. I put on 109,000 miles before it was totalled when a girl pulled out into me. I loved the Rabbit so much that I wouldn't settle for anything less than a diesel VW.

Why? Well, I'm cheap. The Golf gets about 45 miles per gallon, rarely breaks down, and we have a wonderful local VW mechanic.

We bought this car from a bargain shop that throws together title-less VWs that have been in all sorts of accidents. We bought our other VW from the same place, so we assumed that the car would require some extra help to get it running properly. We spent $1000 in repair bills getting it up to speed and very little has gone wrong with it in 3 years and 41,000 miles.

I've read that this car only has 52 horsepower, like the diesel Rabbit that I had. However, the Golf has more power and runs cleaner. Also, the Golf is a bit larger--the kids can actually fit in the back seat. I think that the diesel Golf is a big step up from the diesel Rabbit.

The diesel Golf isn't the speediest car on the block and I wouldn't recommend it for people who drive up and down steep hills frequently. Instead, I'd go for a TDI. But, it's perfect for people who live in the Midwest. I live in central Pennsylvania, where it's mostly rolling hills, with occasional steep hills. I can tolerate, but I think I'm a bit more tolerant of the lack of power than most people would be...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th August, 2003