1998 Volkswagen Golf SE 1.6 from UK and Ireland
Nice car - shame it's so unreliable
Catalytic Converter Failed - 2 months after purchase.
Intermittent Power Failure (problem with the ignition system apparently)
Central Locking stopped working.
Radio packed up.
Rear washer leak fused the electrics in the tailgate.
Faulty relays - kept on draining the battery.
Broken interior lights.
Catalytic Converter Failed (again - after 2 years and no VW didn't think was unusual)
I bought the Golf after owning several VW Golfs and Polos in the past - all of which I had been very happy with.
Initial impressions were of a car, which was not ever-so-exciting to drive - but against that was a very relaxing, comfortable car to run around in - with an beautifully finished interior and a feel that this was definitely a cut above your run of the mill family hatchback.
Three years on - those comments still stand - but oh VW - whatever happened to the reliability...?
The list above is not comprehensive - but gives you some idea of what went wrong with the car. Most problems were just tedious electrical problems like the temperamental central locking, duff stereo and the car's voracious appetite for light bulbs (a brake light would last for about 3 months on average before burning out).
The more serious problems were an intermittent loss of power that would leave you spluttering to a halt in the middle of the road - the clutch and gearbox failure - and the fact it needed two replacement catalysts (£700 each) in 2 years an 20,000 miles motoring.
Mine was an early Mk4 - so maybe it was particularly bad - but it was dealing with the VW dealers, which was the most depressing thing about owning this car.
Fixing even minor faults seemed to be a real effort for them and indeed some faults were apparently just too difficult to fix. There was a problem with the battery going flat if you left the car for a few days - replaced the battery to no avail - so the dealer investigated and reported that there was probably a faulty relay draining the power. Unfortunately they didn't know which specific relay was faulty - so their "solution" was that I should make sure I used the car more than once every three days. They charged me £75 labour for diagnosing that.
Ultimately it got to the stage where I dreaded going out in the car for fear of what was going to go wrong next.
However - I did manage to solve all of the problems at one stroke. I sold it and bought a Toyota.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 11th April, 2006