1996 Volkswagen Golf CL 1.8L 4 cylinder from North America


Love VW!!!


- Computer chip

- Hand brake

- Speakers

- Coolant flanges

General Comments:

LOVE IT... previously owned a 1999 Jetta TDI. Unfortunately had to get rid of it. Got the 96 Golf and no regrets. The car is a basic model but has a great feel of quality. No major issues with it.

The engine isn't the smoothest, but it's been like that since I got the car. (shakes when in idle). Checked it out with the mechanic and he said just keep running it, no major issues.

The car can be compared to a Honda, change the oil every 5k and fill it up, will last forever!

One note for anyone interested in buying VW, remember VW isn't the strongest with electronics so I would stay away from any power features.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th February, 2009

1996 Volkswagen Golf SE 1.8 from UK and Ireland


A wonderful car when you find a loved one


In chronological order:

Engine oil leak

Head gasket failure (source of leak)

Front brake pads & discs

Glove box lock broke

Driver seat adjustment broke

Water pump failure

Head gasket blown (due to water pump failure)

Front suspension arm bushes & rear axle bushes worn

Engine oil still leaking to this day!

Passenger side sill fell off

Various plastic parts fell off from front spoiler

Alloy centre caps fell off

Various random noises (knocking and creaks etc.)

General Comments:

This is my first car, which I use mainly to get to and from work, so I only do short journeys. Even with all the problems I've had, I still enjoy driving this car. The interior has plenty of room for my 6'6" body, which is the main reason why I chose this car over others.

I get 42mpg, even with all my cold starts and short journeys, so really can't fault the engine when it actually works! I should mention that I don't feel very comfortable with overtaking on A/B roads, as it just doesn't have the power of the GTI.

The car however has quite of lot of different strange noises that randomly appear and disappear, like knocking sounds. Also the engine sounds terrible (has a whiny note) until you rev it a little.

Well finally I have to mention the problems I've had. I brought the car and had it serviced at a Volkwagen garage; they came up with a list of problems. After a few months it started leaking oil, and I was told that head gasket needing replacing. Then a squealing noise came from the bottom of the engine, and Volkswagen told me it was the alternator belt, and an independent garage told me the water pump belt needing refitting. Then on a motorway blast the water pump failed, leading to an overheated engine and the head gasket getting blown again.

I should note that when I bought the car, it didn't have a oil leak; only after getting it serviced did the leak appear, and also the squealing noise appeared after getting the head gasket replaced!!!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd June, 2008

1996 Volkswagen Golf GL 1.8L from North America


Excellent daily driver..


Coolant flange off the head disintegrated at 190k..cheap fix, $20 part.

Coil required replacement at 150k, $100.

Rad support rotted out; replaced at 200k, $100.

Headlights twice, both sides, $40.

Oil pressure sensors required replacement 170k (known issue... results in oil leaks) $20.

Throttle body gasket came unglued... caused rough idle, would not pass E-Test...replaced $300 (sent in for repair)

General Comments:

Very reliable car that is extremely good on gas...700km per tank!!! Relatively easy to work on. Suspension holding up well... loves the cold!!! Starts within two turns of the engine even at -20C. Does not like wet weather... electrical gremlins...keep a can of dry and go handy. Clutch is fine... tranny acts up once in a while (stiff to go into 1st...likely linkage issue...meh)

I am very impressed with this car...12 yrs old and still humming along... what more can you ask for?

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st December, 2007

13th Apr 2009, 15:17

Update to the review above...

Car now has 250,000 km and is still running strong... replaced the exhaust front to back, rear shocks, one caliper, a tune up and a t-belt job... cannot believe how easy it is to work on these cars. VW original parts are brutally expensive... check aftermarket for deals.

Here is Canada there were several days of -30C weather...outdoors, no block heater, and did not even hiccup. Amazing how well this car starts in the cold... as for heat in the car, well, that's another story ;-)

I'm going to keep this car on the road until it rots to pieces... simple machinery that does what it's supposed to do for very low cost... they just don't make 'em like this anymore.

29th Jul 2011, 09:00

Final entry... the odometer stopped working @ 272km, but I drove it for another year... easily cracked 300km with no major repairs.

Inherited the wife's car when she moved in... she can't drive stick, so the VW ended up in the back 40 for the last year.

Sold it last month; young man going to college wants to fix it up and use it for a DD. I said sure, $50 and it's yours... the car does not owe me a penny.

It had sat for close to a year without being started; I put the jumper cables to it, and within 10 turns of the motor it was alive!!! AMAZING!!! Some WD40 on the throttle and a little help from a tractor, and it was able to DRIVE itself onto the car dolly.

I gave him my stash of parts, including a 2.0L motor, a new set of tires, rad, alternator, etc. and the Chilton VW book.

I honestly hope he gets it on the road and it is as good to him as it was to me... I will miss it dearly.