1997 Volkswagen Golf CL 1.9 TD from UK and Ireland


Superbly reliable, wonderfully cheap to run even after 97,000 miles!


Clutch failed - but at 94,000 miles!

Rear windscreen heater element broke - free under warranty.

Wobbly steering - so new steering system free under warranty.

New glow plugs.

General Comments:

There are lots of good and bad comments about the Mark 3 Golf. This is a good one.

Okay, so its not as pretty as the Mark 4, the main dealer engineer said it is not as well built as the Mark 2 (I had one of those too). It does not handle as well as my old car - BMW 318i, but it was never bought to do that - it was bought for its 45mpg, its diesel reliability and that was a good start.

I bought the car used (2 years old) from Newbolds Main VW dealer in Mansfield - they were excellent and gave a free years unlimited warranty, and it was a £1,000 cheaper than I could get at any other dealer!

After 97,000 miles, it still feels new, the mechanicals have been superb, the only replacements have been 1 clutch, new glow plugs and servicing, but it has developed an annoying squeak in the front wheels that no one can fix! At the last service it was reported as being in brilliant condition, the mechanics are always surprised that it feels so good, the compression is excellent, and there is apparently no wear on it.

On the whole, it's a great car, reliable, its nippy in town, the turbo is great. I get 45mpg at what ever speed I drive. The alloys added afterwards make it look more balanced - the 13" wheels looked daft - it handles better now too. It's a noisy engine though.

I had thought of changing it and getting something smarter - Saab 93 - Golf Mk4 TDI, but this car is so much better than the £2,000 I might get for it.

If your looking for a great hassle free diesel, get one of these, pay good money and get a loved one.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 16th October, 2003

1997 Volkswagen Golf GL from North America


Don't buy VW


What hasn't gone wrong with it? Since I purchased it, I have put over $4000 (Canadian) into it beyond regular wear & tear maintenance. What I can remember off hand - New water pump, thermostat, oil pan, brakes & rotors (garage that did a pre-buy inspection said brakes were fine!), back windshield wiper piece (2x), molding keeps falling off (contact cement works - for a while) and it stalls when I idle which no one seems to know how to fix.

General Comments:

I will never buy VW again.

I love the way the car handles in the winter and it's zip, but my suggestion is, if you're keen on VW, buy NEW and sell it once the warranty runs out.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 14th May, 2003

1997 Volkswagen Golf GLS 2.0 Liter 8v from North America


A hella sick, speedy car!


PVC valve went bad.

General Comments:

I love this car, if I had a chance to buy another car, I would buy a brand new Golf! The interior has a luxurious feel, and is quite comfortable. The exterior is, well awesome! The exterior outdoes any Honda I've ever seen. The car takes crashes well too, I'm sad to report. But repair wasn't that expensive. The car handles quite well for it's stock suspension. Unlike most hatchbacks, that are top heavy and are prone to roll over. The golf isn, t that top heavy at all. Overall, this car has been the best car I have ever owned.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th May, 2003

1997 Volkswagen Golf CL 1.8L from North America


A higher priced, higher quality car


My Clutch went at 110000 km. Starter needed to be replaced at 115000 km. It also took the battery with it when the starter went, but battery's don't last forever anyways. The door molding started to come off (this appears to be a big problem so I've read),but I put it back on with some 3M double sided tape. Both the high and low tone horns went at the same time and I replaced them. The valve cover gasket leaks on my car and almost all golf/jetta's since the 80's. The front wiper motor went soon after I bought the car, but was replaced free under the used car warranty that came with my car. The passenger seat collapsed on the one side and I had to get another one from the wreckers.

General Comments:

Never take your Volkswagen to the dealership if you can avoid it. I was told about a local garage that works with German and other foreign cars. They are just as good as the dealership mechanics and the price is about 30% less on labor.

I am a real fan of the exterior as it comes stock, but if you want to get performance aftermarket parts to add a little extra flair they are a lot more expensive then for Honda's.

The interior is very attractive and feels and looks like it should be in a more expensive luxury car.

The ride is good, but can tend to be a little bouncy.

Some parts can be expensive, while others can be a lot lower especially with aftermarket parts. So overall I wouldn't agree with people who say the parts are too expensive on Volkswagens.

The car has good pick up for a four cylinder 1.8 L.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 29th March, 2003

29th Jul 2005, 19:01

Whether to use a dealer must depend on which dealer. Since I have done all my maintenance on our 1997 Golf (193,000 miles) at our local dealer, I have had no problems with the car, (except for the infuriating check engine light that always turns off as I pull into the service bay!) They are honest - don't do unneeded repairs - and always advise me when maintenance is needed before it becomes an issue. It may be more expensive however.