1998 Volkswagen Golf S 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Well built, but blandness conquers all


Sunroof needed attention.

Brake lights seem to go every two weeks.

General Comments:

The car is as bland as a silver Ford Mondeo 1.8LX.

Its solidly built, quite quiet, but bland looking and bland to drive. My last car a 1998 Mazda 323 1.8SE had covered 103,000 mainly motorway miles. The old car was a lot more fun to drive, with its sharp quick witted steering, taut body control and reliability. The Golf is stodgy and boring. The car costed around £16000 new, the same money bought my much better Mazda 323F 1.8SE, which had a computer, air-con, alloys, traction control, remote locking, alarm and STYLE!!! This particular Golf lacks all these, I only bought it because it was on the company car list and as close in size to a 323F!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st March, 2003

1998 Volkswagen Golf Trendline 1.9 TDI 90bhp from Czech Republic


A love - hate relationship


Still at the dealer - airbag warning light stayed on... Faulty unit. Took 4 weeks to get it fixed.

Then a (self inflicted) cracked oil pan. My fault, but took over a week to fix it.

Then some spots started to show up on the hood. I was told that I must have parked under a tree somewhere and that it is my fault. They car is always garage parked. And then it would be all over the car and not just the hood. They tried to polish it out... no luck there. I they told me to come back the following week and an expert would stop by and take a look at it. I showed up the following week (by this time the spots had spread over the car). Upon my arrival, there was no expert and they just said that they would respray my whole car!!! It was 12 months old. Basically the importer knew about the problem and just blew it off. To cut it short, my car now has 3 new layers of paint. I have the Tropic Orange Pearl Coat.

Then the car got a little slow, no power in high RPMs. It was the air sensor in the intake. They changed that (a very costly port too). By the way, I am about to have a 3rd one replaces - all out of warranty. Notice that all VW dealers stock lots of these parts... A very common problem.

Then the brake lights kept staying on which is not big of a deal, but the main problem is that it jerks the car on every start from 1st gear. A safety precaution I guess.

Sunroof often does what it wants... Turn the button to the close position (from being wide open) and it does nothing. You have to choose a postion near it and then move to close. Then at time when you flip it up and go to close it, it closes and instantly opens again... So you spend about 10min trying over and over again until it stays closed.

As I read in another review, power lock - not only are they really noisy, but unreliable too. I'm a precautious person and I lock my doors when I get in - car jacking is a scary thing. So I close it from the inside and 99.9% of the time the left rear door unlocks by itself. So I have to reach back and lock in manually.

Then a while back, I had to have the whole driver seat replaced - The side and lumbar supports just fell apart and wires poked through the fabric. Just a mess and I am not a fat and heavy person.

My most recent problem is poor starting when warm. Can't really tell you what it is. Neither can any of the 5 VW dealers that I've taken it to. Mind you I had every known part under the hood changed, but still not it.

General Comments:

So what to say after all that. Must admit I have really enjoyed the car despite all the above problems.

It handles great, even though I recommend putting on a good suspension package (as I have - Koni Sport shocks and springs). I put on 225/45 R17 rims, that does wonders too.

For the braver people, try the chip tuning, you will be surprised. I have the Trendline so it has something between the standard and GTI seats, so that means the seats hold you just right.

I bought the new Passat while back and sold it 4 weeks later. A car that couldn't handle (floats a lot, rear end heavy - which swings around when you brake hard in a turn). The road and track magazine web article says it all. I read it after I sold it. Should do some reading first. That's why I have taken the time to write this and warn you all. If you want a fun car to drive, buy the Golf, but expect to suffer a bit.

I myself will never buy another Golf or Audi ever again (they are all the same). I myself am picking up an Alfa Romeo 2.4JTD Sports Wagon on Tuesday. Anyone want a Golf with many, many new parts. ;-)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd November, 2002