1991 Volkswagen Golf Driver 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland
Solid Germanic Quality
Absolutely nothing, save the usual wear and tear items.
Over the last 3 and a half years, the car has performed faultlessly.
It is extremely practical, with a capacious boot and split-folding rear seats. The seats themselves are very comfortable, even on long motorway journeys.
The car is nippy around town, and can quite easily keep up with traffic. Motorway driving however shows up the lack of power in the 1.6 8v engine. Overtaking requires dropping down to 4th or even 3rd gear, and even then the acceleration is fairly slow.
The car seems most comfortable when cruising at 70-80mph in 5th gear. It remains stable and composed, even at higher speeds.
This particular example did not come with power steering, however the steering is light and manageable when parking, and completely comfortable once driving.
Feel and feedback through the steering wheel are very good, and grip levels are surprisingly high, making this a very fun car to drive quickly.
Fuel economy is extremely reasonable for a car of this age, with each 55 litre tank of petrol able to provide me with around 400 miles of town driving (including some dual carriageways). This works out to be roughly 33mpg. Motorway journeys can see the figure go up to almost 500 miles on a tank, or 40mpg.
The ride quality on standard suspension is very good, the car easily soaking up bumps in the road. The body does tend to roll a fair bit through faster corners, and to remedy this I have fitted my car with Koni sports suspension. The car now has minimal body roll, and ride comfort on the suspensions softest setting is still extremely reasonable. The upgrade has the added advantage of lowering the car by 40mm for improved aesthetics.
A full service is easy to carry out on these cars, helped in no small part by the vast amounts of space in the engine bay, and easy access to all the main serviceable components.
An oil service every 6-8,000 miles will see the car running like a dream for years on end, with the 8v engine requiring a rebuild at 250,000 miles.
Perhaps the only real negatives with this car are the lack of power at higher speeds, and the brakes.
The 1.6 Driver utilises solid brake discs, and once they are hot (after having to make an emergency stop for example), braking power is reduced considerably until the brakes cool down again.
The solution is an easy one. Simply fit the front brake pads and discs for the 8v GTI, since the discs are exactly the same diameter. The difference is that they are vented, and can therefore withstand much more abuse.
In summary, the Golf Mk2 1.6 Driver is an excellent all-rounder, with little to complain about if properly maintained. The fact that so many of these cars are still seen on our roads today, is testament to the supreme build quality of German cars of this era.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 22nd March, 2011