Volkswagen, BMW and Mercedes-Benz are taking a bit of a hammering about quality these days, but this particular Golf proves that their earlier reputation for quality and reliability was justified.
Over the mileage (of which at least 40,000 has been added in the last 18 months), it has been supremely reliable, not requiring anything other than routine servicing and the items noted above. Oil and filter now changed every 5,000 miles due to mileage.
1400 engine is slightly rough, but the low level of tune (60bhp - compare that to Rover, who get 103bhp from a similar-sized K series) has probably contributed to longevity. Spirited use of the gearbox will let you keep up with traffic. Cruising on the motorway at 90mph will still bring you 42mpg. Gearbox light to shift, but sometimes needs a firm hand to get into reverse.
Handling good, but needs firmer suspension and wider tyres if you like to press on. Buy a GTI if you want fun in the bends. Ride is firm, but compliant. Power steering quite light and lacking road feel. Brakes are good.
Interior plastics are of good quality, but this one displays some very un-VWlike fit of parts like the glovebox in relation to the airvent. No rattles or squeaks though. Seat trim incredibly hardwearing - no tears, rips or wear in 138k miles. Reasonable leg and headroom in the back. Good-sized boot.
Styling still looks good. Black plastic bumpers don't show the knocks. Still largely rust-free after 11 years - some surface rust developing from stone chips, scratches and the like, and under the window rubbers on the doors and tailgate.
The car has worked hard for it's living - it still drives at least 75 miles each workday - but still comes back for more.
How much longer we keep it will be dependent on whether the need for an air-conditioned car becomes more pressing.