1998 Volkswagen Golf GL 2.0 liter from North America




The exhaust system has been very delicate. One muffler was replaced at 70,000 miles; the entire system was replaced at 95,000.

The starter malfunctioned at 95,000 miles. The mechanic said he'd never seen a Volkswagen starter "burn up" like that.

Each one of the electronic door controls has malfunctioned -- the door remote, the central locking system, the sunroof, and the trunk release.

The biggest problem with the car right now is rust. It's only six years old, and there are numerous rust spots throughout the body, in areas where a car twice its age normally would not experience rust. I have rust on the hatch door, on the body below the hatch, on the upper body behind the passenger side doors, on the quarter panels, and on the passenger side door to the front of the door window.

Within a year after I bought the car, the cushioning in the driver's side seat had collapsed.

General Comments:

This car is so much fun to drive and generally has been reliable.

My first Golf, a 1987, was a dream car that lasted for 11 years and 280,000 very tough miles. But because of the rust and the high cost of repairs, this one will not be in my garage that long.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 13th July, 2004

8th Nov 2005, 22:31

Defiently a fun car to have and drive. The '98 Golf has 86,000 miles and will have to replace the exhaust this month, after replacing it 2 years ago (aluminum). Incredible rust in the ridge below the back tailgate window, as well as underneath the two side mirrors. I attribute that to poor drainage disign. My driver seat cushion as well is sinking in on the left side. Otherwise its been a great car.

1998 Volkswagen Golf GL 2.0 from North America


Take care of the exhaust system, and get it in a manual transmission and this car won't fail you


Muffler has come loose twice in the life of the car. Going to have to take it in again to get it hooked back up again. If you buy one of these, ESPECIALLY if it's a manual, expect to have to take good care of the exhaust system. 1st time it happened at 40,000 miles, 2nd time at 79,000.

Plastic siding dropped off the door. It cost two dollars and 5 minutes of my time to put it back on again.

That's been it as far as repairs go.

General Comments:

From what I have heard from other people, and what I have read, you'll likely have less trouble with this car if you get a manual transmission.

You need to be very vigilant about taking care of the exhaust system. If it sounds like your muffler might be loose, IT IS, and you need to get it tightened up otherwise you will be paying a lot of money to have another couple of mufflers put on, because this baby has 2.

These cars have pretty decent engines in them. Seem to be quite reliable.

Be careful if you live in the rust belt, because with any scratches or nicks in the paint, these cars have a tendency to rust quite quickly.

This is a very small car, and I think that it's rear-wheel drive. During the winter this tends to lead to traction problems. It DOES NOT handle winter driving well, unless you have a good pair of snow tires on it, and a good amount of weight in the trunk.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st May, 2004

23rd May 2004, 01:13

Never has there been a golf that was rear wheel drive.

28th May 2004, 06:53

Nice review, but in answer to your half question Golfs are front wheel drive, they just don't drive in the snow well at all. I could see why you would think it was rear wheel drive though if you didn't know, since it drives so nastily in the snow. So a good pair of snow tires on it will do it good, but you can throw all the weight you want in the back and it won't make a bit of difference. :) Take care.

15th Apr 2008, 17:13

I bought my Golf GL about three and a half months ago and after the second day of purchase my engine light turned on, and still is! I had it priced and they gave me an estimate of approximatley $450.00 to fix, which isn't too bad for me. But also said that there was 3 other diagnostics for it which would still be in that price range to fix. Other problems consisted of side panels falling off, which was mentioned a few times in other comments, not a huge deal either. Also, depending on how tight the turn is, shifting into reverse makes a horrible grinding sound. Yuck! And shifting into first can be tricky at times. So far my car has treated me pretty well! :)