1987 Volkswagen Golf CL 1.6 from UK and Ireland


German reliability


Carburettor is completely knackered. Works great in the summer, but in the winter ill idle at 3000rpm.

Also leaks.

General Comments:

My parents have had this car since new and it has been very reliable. Carb always been a problem - needs a new one. Not worth the money though any more.

Quite quick when the engine is warm, the acceleration impresses me when I really gun it but that is rare because it uses so much fuel anyway!

Due to carb problems pretty uneconomical. Managed 36MPG in the summer though.

Not particularly comfortable, but good for tall drivers like me. Commands high used prices due to its image so I'd look elsewhere for no-frills transport.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd April, 2001

1987 Volkswagen Golf L 1.3 from UK and Ireland


Good reliability and low insurance group


Not a lot has gone wrong although it leaks really badly.

Every morning there is lots of water on the inside of the windows - a seal broken somewhere but I cannot locate the problem.

General Comments:

Pretty good overall.

I wish I'd gone for something with a little more pep, but a good car if you want something cheap to run and insure which feels solid.

I added a Janspeed exhaust to give it more vroom.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th January, 2001

1987 Volkswagen Golf GTi 1.8 litre gas from North America


If you get one (new), take care of it, because it will outlive you


In thirteen years:

I replaced the clutch twice.

The rear shocks once.

One tie rod end.

Both CV joints.

One head gasket (my fault as I let the coolant run dry).

1 radiator.

Brakes (all around, rotors and pads) 3 times.

Tires 4 times.

5 tune ups.

Numerous exhaust systems.

1 fuel pump (at 260,000 kms).

Brake lines (at 265,000 kms).

3 batteries.

1 alternator (my fault again as I crossed the cables while boosting another car) and that's about it.

I would say total repair expenses for the above since owning the car new were about $6000 Canadian.

The exhaust systems went because being a sports car, I drove it like I was at Monte Carlo, and loved every second of it.

General Comments:

A truly great car. Unfortunately, I neglected to rust proof or oil guard the car and the body just simply fell apart. If I had have kept the body up, I would have continued to drive this car.

If you find one where the above repairs have been done and the body and drivetrain are in good shape, get it. You will not be disappointed. An example of the fun you will have, highway off ramps marked at 60 kms/hour could be taken at 120 kms/hour very easily.

The one performance problem I did find was the car is it's a little bit too top heavy causing some body roll and poor wind resistance (side to side).

In the snow, it was fabulous, especially when you put a set of 70 series snow tires on it. I would drive through snow that most small SUVs would get stuck in.

Repairs, contrary to popular belief since it is foreign, are cheap cheap cheap. Find a good German mechanic to take care of it for you.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th November, 2000

9th Dec 2000, 00:08

I myself have had similar problems with the GTi, but it is truly a great car and I love mine to death.

I am an avid tuner and mine is running a turbo and intercooler system from Callaway.

11th Oct 2011, 15:06

I love my little 16V GTI. My mother bought it new in 1988, and I learned to drive in it. Now it's my daily driver to and from work (approx 45 minutes each way on highways). I now live in Northern Canada, so I can't wait to see how it handles the snow. It's been thru a few clutches (but then, it's been thru a few new drivers too). My parents were fanatics about maintaining the car, and it is in great shape. Agree with the comment on off ramps... no one suspects this little old VW can reach that speed that quickly - and take them all in a short pass.