1999 Volkswagen Golf GTi 2.0 2.0 from UK and Ireland
A truly dreadful experience
Easier to list what was right than what went wrong with this car!
Bought it as a pre-registered model with 70 miles on the clock
Second week the service indicator started flashing and had to be reset by the dealer
Drivers window motor burned out – excessive use said the dealer. We said ‘rubbish’.
Ignition switch periodically jammed. Replaced, but took ages to get new keys
Gearbox was notchy in 1st and reverse. Took three goes to sort out. Eventually traced to mis-aligned linkage
Front tyres wore out on inside shoulder in 13,000 miles. Dealer said we were driving it too hard. Another argument ensued until we took it to an independent specialist who found the suspension settings were out. Then we argued some more.
Air flow sensor packed in and engine stopped on the motorway.
Fuel consumption very heavy after air sensor changed (~28mpg). Your driving style said the dealer. Another argument. Eventually traced to sticking cold start sensor. No apology from dealer.
Central locking kept blowing a fuse. Three attempts to find a loose connection (allegedly)
Doors rattled and groaned and leaked water. Eventually hinges were adjusted, lubricated and new seals fitted.
Fan motor bearings squealed. Dealer would not replace under warranty because fan was still working. Another argument eventually resolved after we demanded to see the manager.
Lambda sensor failed. Evidently there is a recall on these in the States, but not over here. Replaced under warranty without quibble (shock).
Engine mounts worked loose.
Airflow sensor again (18 months after first one)
Water pump replaced (impeller broke off) had to be done again because it leaked after the repair.
Seat height adjuster jammed.
Rear dampers replaced after they were found to be leaking. Driving style said the dealer and another argument about whether they were covered under the warranty
Eventually we were so fed up that we tried to trade the car in at 3 separate VW dealers, but were offered rock bottom prices about £1,000 below what we expected. Other make dealers (Ford, Peugeot, Vauxhall, Toyota) all offered £800 - £1100 more on trade in.
The Golf appears to be a well built car, but in reality is very badly made.
The bodywork seems solid, but the electrics, engine and suspension are very poor.
Dealer service is terrible, both expensive and very poor service. Courtesy cars are never available unless you book at least a month in advance and it takes the dealer 3 - 4 attempts to fix even minor problems.
We really wanted to like this car, but the reality of owning it was an extreme disappointment. It would not have been so bad if the dealers had helped.
It is not even much fun to drive. This GTi proved very slow and the handling was poor even with the sports suspension.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 23rd December, 2003
Your experience is not unlike my own. Our family owned two VW's, but no more. As you say, build quality looks great in the showroom, but the reality is very different. The dealers are shocking - we tried several and never found a good one. You just pay high prices to receive shoddy service.
Have now moved to owning Honda's. The cars are far more reliable, and on the rare occassion something has gone wrong, the dealer has been fantastic.
Why do the motoring press still persist in banging on about VW reliability and quality?