1988 Volkswagen Golf 1.8 8v from North America


Sporty, excellent value


I replaced the exhaust for 50 dollars about a year ago.

It eats oil a little quickly, about one quart every couple thousand miles.

Air conditioning died before I ever got the car, it costs in the upper 400s to replace because it has the old Freon compressor, nobody sells them anymore so you have to upgrade, sadly.

General Comments:

This car has been a dream to drive, no major mechanical problems EVER.

If you upgrade to Bosch Platinum +4 spark plugs, pickup and freeway performance are SERIOUSLY increased!

I put in 500 dollars for a new paint job, some interior amenities, and a couple of new engine parts, and it's like a brand new car.

A wonderful, original car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th June, 2003

1988 Volkswagen Golf CL 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap to run, easy to fix, treat it well and it repays you


Accelerator cable started to seize.

Gear reverse push-down spring needed replacing.

Automatic choke on carburettor failed.

Seats needed replacing.

Front engine mount needed replacing.

General Comments:

Great bodywork - After 14 years the car condition is excellent - Almost like new. No noticeable fade due to metallic (Polar Silver) paintwork. Not really any rust either.

The majority of the interior was still in good condition. I replaced the seats and door cars with newer items from a '91 Golf Driver. This cost £25 second hand and was well worth it. That said, the seats don't hold you in very well in corners.

The drive is pretty good, and it handles quite well. The standard suspension rolls you about quite a bit, but it does stay pretty stuck to the road, and feels quite poised and positive to drive.

The boot space is annoying - The spare wheel sticks up and prevents you putting anything big and flat like a sub box in without messing around.

Security wise, the car is very easy to break into. No standard alarm, no central locking, and with alloy wheels is quite desirable to car thieves, who think it might be as fast as a GTI.

As long as the car isn't pushes it stays reliable, and doesn't use much petrol. The whole car is built pretty solidly, and is simple for home repair.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd April, 2003

1988 Volkswagen Golf Basis 1.6 diesel from UK and Ireland


Will it ever die?


Chronic Oil Leak due to missing dipstick shaft seal - cured by repeated applications of silicone sealer and not overfilling oil. Several perished water hoses and snapped alternator belt.

Nothing that I can't put down to hard use and old age.

General Comments:

Bought the car for £700 in the depths of winter as an unwanted part-ex from a Skoda dealer. Car was full of water (as I later found out) and sadly lacking in TLC. It is also a left-hooker having been sold to a lady in the forces based in Westphalia.

It has been thrashed up and down to London 5 days a week for the last 2 years and regularly serviced by an excellent VW specialist in Luton.

It is both noisy, and I guess by today's Turbo Diesel standards, slow. However I can sit at 90 all day and never dip below 44mpg however hard I drive it.

The paintwork is faultless and only now is the drivers seat getting a bit tired. I have owned every version of the Golf, but would have to say the MK2 is far and away the best.

I have been surprised at the performance of a set of budget tires - Kormoran's (Michelin owned, made in Poland), which at £20 a wheel from Costco have been every bit as good as the Michelin's I put on it when I first bought the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th February, 2003

1988 Volkswagen Golf Base 1.3 petrol from UK and Ireland


Reliable if not the most fuel efficient


Slight oil leaks from rocker gasket (replaced) and sump gasket (not yet replaced).

Number plate lights erratic, but respond to occasional thumping.

The passenger lock cylinder broke at 105000, the drivers lock had already been replaced before I owned it.

Rear passenger foot-well fills with water in heavy rain, possibly due to fault in front passenger door seals.

Driver's seat now has worn through in parts, but remains quite supportive. The other seats are fine.

The interior fan is very noisy in all settings.

The original loudspeakers now buzz a bit and are not straightforward to replace.

General Comments:

This car starts every time. Although with its small engine size and 4 speed gearbox it is a little noisy at speed, it manages motorways and is a joy to drive.

The steering is very heavy at low speeds. If I needed to replace this one I would look for power steering.

The car feels safe and solid whatever speed I am driving at.

The build quality is generally high, compared to other cars I have owned.

After 15 years there are a few rust spots on the body, but it has never required any welding and has passed its last two MOT tests without any problem. In 18 months, I have only needed to spend £100 on it.

I plan to drive this car until it becomes uneconomical to keep on the road, unless I see a Golf or Passat turbo-diesel at an attractive price.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th February, 2003