1999 Volkswagen Golf Comfortline 1.4 16 V from Hungary


High quality and performance


A strange noisy sound on the front door when closing the door.

The engine turned off two times while driving in the motorway. Have no idea what the problem could be. Any tips?

General Comments:

Considering that it only has a 1.4 75hp motor, it has a pretty good acceleration and a good end speed.

Great comfort with precise German technology on it. Everything is located just in the correct place giving the driver totally control of the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th July, 2004

1999 Volkswagen Golf TDI 1.9 TDI 90 from UK and Ireland


Unreliable car, dreadful dealers


First few weeks we had it was fine. Really nice to sit in the quality feeling interior.

Trouble started when the passenger side floor filled with water due to a blocked air con drain. This soaked all the carpets which the dealer refused to replace saying that they would dry out. The always smelled mouldy afterwards and were eventually replaced after we wrote to the service manager.

Then one of the electric windows stopped working and stuck half way. The motor had burned out and blown the fuse. Another argument before it was replaced under warranty.

Front tyres wore unevenly on the insides after only 14000 miles and had to be replaced. We had the tracking done at the same time and found that it was almost 4mm out. This explained the heavy steering which suddenly got better. Dealer refused to accept any responsibility for tracking claiming it was OK when it left them, but 3000 miles later the tyres wore through.

The engine ran out of oil on the motorway and had used 3.5 litres of oil in 4000 miles. Yes, we should have checked it more often, but really it should not use this amount of oil!

At 20000 miles the engine started to smoke badly and was down on power. The turbo had blown completely and had to be replaced at a cost of £2000! Fortunately under warranty, but the dealer had the front to suggest that it was our fault for driving it too hard.

Tried another dealer further from home, but the service was just as bad. This time the ECU was faulty and had to be replaced. Fortunately just under warranty.

Then the air sensor went (out of warranty) and cost another £250 to replace, the brakes started juddering and discs and pads had to be replaced (£275). Another window motor packed in.

Almost forgot to mention the creaky seat mounts, dozens of blown bulbs, clonk from the suspension and the sticking door lock.

The only good thing is the economy which is about 55mpg, but the cost of service and repairs kills any saving.

General Comments:

Very disappointed all round after we had traded up from our cheap and nasty, but reliable old Mazda to a "quality" car.

The car was unreliable, dealers unhelpful to the point of arrogance and rudeness and the service was incredibly expensive compared to the Hyundai.

My wife's Toyota has 130,000 miles on the clock and has had only routine servicing done in 7 years.

If this is the best that Germany can do we will stay with Japanese cars.

We are going to sell this heap as soon as we have finished paying for it!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th January, 2004

9th Jan 2004, 20:13

Tip: When driving a turbocharged car let the car warm up for 3-5 minutes before taking off. When getting ready to park the car and leave, let the car cool down in park for about a minute.

This will help make the turbo last a bit longer, similar problems happened in the US when turbocharged cars were popular. A lot of customers burning the engines/turbos up. But the dealership should have either replaced the turbocharger, or have worked out some sort of deal.

7th Dec 2004, 02:43

I actually think your Golf is the cheap and nasty one!

16th Jun 2009, 14:36

I owned a 1999 Golf 1.9 TDI, and the only thing to go wrong with it in the 5 years I owned it was the airflow turbo - absolute gem of a car - now have a 2.0 GT TDI mk5 Golf - and so far it is even better.

9th Mar 2010, 10:34

Wait 'til the head goes porous or the VNT mechanism on the turbo seizes and jams. Then argue with the VW dealer who won't repair the turbo (which is perfectly possible) but will insist on replacing it for a four figure sum.

The 2.0 TDI PD VW engine is not well regarded in the car repair trade, and for good reason. Porous heads, failed VNTs, head gaskets, oil pumps, and various other design faults. The old 1.9 (which this is based on) was a very reliable lump though, and capable of astronomical mileage if not on Longlife servicing, and treated with a degree of sympathy.