A very easy car to drive and get used to quickly.
Excellent level of attention to detail - cabin compartments & general design shows careful thought & engineering.
Engine has reasonable torque and pulls well under load. It's not a fast car to drive, but is responsive enough in most situations. I'm using 98RON fuel which feels a bit more responsive and definitely improves my mileage (740kms from a 55L tank).
Suspension is setup for comfort above handling. The cheap Optima brand tires that were on the car when I bought it are poor to begin with. The car loses traction quickly when driven hard and under-steers (as expected). It's possible to get some throttle-lift over-steer but not like in the Peugeot 306.
Compared with my sister's 2000 Holden/Opel Astra hatch, the Golf's ride is much softer and not as firm.
Seats are comfortable but could use extra support - I like my seats firm and adjustable. The Golf seats don't have adjustable lumbar support, only height adjustment. Fair enough in a base model car I guess.
The general dashboard layout & design is excellent. Controls are easy to find and the blue dials are very funky - I get plenty of positive comments about how cool these are. Everything just feels well put together - no rattles, creaks, etc. Cupholders when extended do get in the way sometimes though.
Well specified as a base model with CD player, dual airbags, anti-lock brakes, power steering, air-con, electric mirrors and windows.
It's just a nice, solid car to drive and I'm much happier in this compared to all the Corollas, Astras, Lasers, Civics etc out there.