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

1996 Volkswagen Golf GTD 1.9 TDi turbo diesel from Lithuania


Cheap, reliable, and good performance daily drive!


I had to change the clutch at 230 000km, but no wonder, the clutch was changed the first time here, so it will last until the car dies from rust now.

Had several problems with engine control vacuums, but no wonder, they tear in a row of years and daily use in various conditions e.g. cold, hot, dry, etc.

Overall the car had no problems or any illness. Not many things can go wrong on this car.

General Comments:

This Golf is cheap to run, economical, and has good performance; 81kw for this lightweight car is really more than enough.

My car has no rust, as it had good care before.

The seats are pretty comfortable and adjustable; really good.

So for daily use, the Golf is just the right choice for me, however, for longer distances it is not so comfortable, but drivable.

This car is so reliable, that I am always SURE that I will reach my destination :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st March, 2012

1996 Volkswagen Golf GTi 8v 2.0 from UK and Ireland


Performance legend with minor niggles


Things went wrong with this car at quite a high rate, which is not what I was expecting from VW.

ABS warning light would come on. Cleaning the sensors made it go away for a while, then it came back on again. Not sure what the root of this was.

Driver's side window stopped working.

Boot lock stopped working.

Various electrical systems were temperamental, and added up to an overall feeling of unreliability.

General Comments:

The GTi is a performance legend, and I was very keen to experience it for myself. Sure enough, right from the first drive, I was hooked by the car's instant throttle response, grip on the road, ability to be chucked into corners, and overall driver involvement.

The engine is torquey and a good performer. At 3,000 RPM the fun really starts. This car will turn you into a hooligan around town fairly quickly. Be aware though, that once you reach 80 MPH, the car is out of ideas.

The brakes were also something of a disappointment. They felt rather weak and spongy, and consequentially I never felt confident in pushing the car to the limits that the engine and chassis suggested it was capable of.

The cabin, trim etc. were about exactly what you would expect of a VW; in other words perfectly functional, but fairly boring.

Reliability was not a strong point for this car. I get the feeling that every component was designed to do 100,000 miles and not much more. This is the point when I bought the car, and sure enough, I ended spending a lot of time replacing and fixing things. My girlfriend's 1996 VW Passat seems to have a lot of the same problems as well. I think my overall advice is to buy Japanese if you want a minimum of mechanical hassle.

Fuel economy was not great either, probably 30-35 mpg depending on how I drove. This is roughly what you would expect of a 2.0, but I was hoping for a little more given how light the car is. Still, you get plenty of performance.

My ownership of this car ended abruptly with a spectacular accident at 110,000 miles. I was driving along country lanes at about 50 mph, and another car came around the corner about a foot over on my side of the road. I swerved to avoid it, clipped the bank, and that was enough to flip the car. It rolled two and a half times and I exited the car by crawling out upside down through the shattered windscreen. Credit where credit is due; the car took the accident very well and the cabin was not crushed at all. Well done VW.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th September, 2010