The Golf GTI 8v is a great "all round" car and is miles ahead of the competition in its class.
The Golf wasn't my first choice of car, I looked at 306 XSI's, Astra's, Escort GTI's, Civics, but on a whole, none of them compared to the Golf. With the Golf you know it will hold its value much better, be more reliable, it has lots of quality and won't drop to bits when you slam the door too hard!
I have the rare aircon model in "Dragon Green" with a full VW service history and only 2 owners from new.
The Golf is not the quickest of the mark due to its weight, but once it gets going there is enough power there to keep you happy and I'd imagine you could do 130mph in one if you wanted.
The cars handling is brilliant in all conditions, it sticks to the road very well giving you confidence to push it harder.
The interior is spacious and well laid out. The standard Recaro seats are comfortable giving you good support.
The in car entertainment is very good, 6 speakers and a CD player is good compared to today's standards and this is an 8yr-old car!
The running costs are very reasonable for a 2 litre engine. 180 miles off £20 worth of petrol stop-start urban driving is not bad.
Everything about the car has been made to a very high standard; the finish of the paintwork, the Recaro interior trim, the alloy wheels (BBS), the car has lots of quality.
The only bad things I have to say about the car are; the steering can be heavy at low speeds and the parts can be expensive.
The car is still going as strong as the day it rolled out of the factory, there is no wear on the seats, the engine is smooth and picks up very well, the bodywork is immaculate with no rust spots, everything works (even the aircon) and nothing has broken or fallen off, all this after 8 years and 101,000 miles is a credit to VW for making such good cars.
If your looking for a sporty, spacious hatchback forget the competition this is the car to have. I prefer it to my brother's 2-yr old Focus and wouldn't swap him if he asked.