1996 Volkswagen Golf GL 2.0L from Australia and New Zealand


A solid little car that has stood the test of time pretty well


Relay fault with the ignition. Wouldn't start in hot weather.

Small oil leak from the sump pan gasket or maybe the main seal (never been fixed).

Broken lock linkage on the driver's door.

General Comments:

Our Golf GL has been used by my wife for years, but due to short trips it has not accumulated many miles. I like driving the car because it is compact and snug. It is great on the freeway and has great stability for its size. It sits very well on the road and gets along. The automatic gearbox is a bit fuzzy sometimes and it could do with taller gearing.

Brakes are adequate for the age of the car and handling is a bit average by today's standards, with a tendency to oversteer on corners. This probably relates to the fairly wide tyres that the model runs. In short, it is heavier to turn than modern cars, but the overall experience is OK and not off-putting.

The internal setout is quite advanced for its age, and the seats fold down well and create lots of room for such a small car. The engine is bulletproof and there is no rust at all in the body, which is surprising given that our car has not been garaged.

Overall the Golf has served us well and continues to be a useful shopping trolley. Service costs are minimal and involve an oil change and filter. The interior is "as new", which is unique for a 20 year old car. There is a very high build quality overall, which is not unexpected given these cars were very expensive when they were released.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th April, 2017

1996 Volkswagen Golf VR6 2.8 V6 from UK and Ireland


I'd happily buy another


Batteries on key fob failed on both key fobs (wear and tear). It's difficult to obtain replacement batteries.

Passenger door occasionally wouldn't unlock.

Front button for a rear passenger window didn't work properly.

General Comments:

Very quick; could keep up with today's cars and put them to shame.

Handled well, and was easy to drive and to park.

The electrics were unreliable, but it's to be expected on an old car.

The VR6 was one of the most enjoyable cars I've driven.

Not the most fuel efficient car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd July, 2013

1996 Volkswagen Golf GL 1.6 petrol (75bhp) from Finland


Cheap to own, very reliable engine, always starts and works


Engine problems last summer (2012) = practically no idling at all.

Uses quite a lots of oil nowadays (because of the massive mileage).

In winter:

The rear shocks freeze in winter.

Trunk door also freezes easily.

Central locking breaks down easily - that's why it's disabled in my Golf.

Rusting began since 350 000; welded twice for passing the MOT.

General Comments:

My dad bought it in 2000 or 2001, first owned by a female.

It has proven itself as a very reliable and surprisingly long-lasting car! Always starts, even in our cold winter (even more than -30C and this car starts like it does in summer).

Handling is quite good, but the original chassis is quite exciting to drive at high speeds (+140km/h -->). The gearbox still works nicely. I think it needs better brakes and ABS, though.

Not a fast car, but the nice torque from this small engine makes it very easy to drive in everyday situations. Fuel economical car (5-6 litres/100km).

Nice and comfortable seats on the GL, but the CL seats are terrible. The original speakers are terrible and have no bass at all.

I've owned the car since 2012. Replaced every shock in the last summer and got the idling problem fixed + "timing belt" (not sure if this is the right word..) replaced. All fine and working, MOT inspector was quite surprised about the condition of my car - it sure has a lots of kilometres to go!

My father once told me about some guy, who drove over 650 000 kilometres on a Variant 1.8 petrol with a manual gearbox. No technical problems, the guy just wanted to upgrade to a newer VW.

I love this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2013