2001 Volkswagen Golf 2.0 liter from North America

Summary:

Quote from the mechanic "you know you've got a gremlin here, right?" AKA piece of junk

Faults:

I loved this car until it hit about 100K.

The engine light comes on at least once a month (generally costing about 2-500 a pop). This time around it came on twice within one week. With different issues. It would cost us $1000 to fix it all. Can't even enumerate all the issues here. NOT WORTH IT. We are regulars at the mechanics - they have a running joke about how terrible this car is, and say they have us on speed dial. No kidding. It's that bad.

The glove box on the Golf broke within 2 years (won't close), and we were told it would cost over $400 to fix it. $4 bungee cord works pretty well...

I have a 1994 Saturn that has run way way way better than this car. It cost me approximately 20K less to purchase, and has cost significantly less to keep and maintain.

General Comments:

I wish someone had warned me about these cars before I bought mine, or I'd read reviews like these.

Dealer said GTI models don't have all these issues. Golf parts for this year were outsourced; now they aren't and they are built differently, so they don't have the same problems.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 9th August, 2010

10th Aug 2010, 16:51

Don't believe what in VW circles are called the "Stealers".

2001 Volkswagen Golf GTI 1.8 turbo petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

An excellent all-rounder; highly recommended

Faults:

Purchased car in 2009 with 57000 miles on the clock. I am the fifth owner (I knew the previous two owners).

Car had a good previous service history, with only a front coil spring needing replacement at 32000 miles.

Under my ownership the car has needed the following:

57000 - Replaced cambelt and tensioner. Water pump also replaced as the original plastic impeller turns brittle and breaks up (mine had) causing overheating issues. Check that the replacement pump has a metal impeller.

62000 - Rear wiper motor stopped working; replaced with a new motor.

64000 miles - Clutch started to judder, so this was changed. Converted the original dual-mass flywheel set up to the single mass flywheel and new clutch kit. The single-mass set up is actually cheaper than the dual-mass, and in my opinion is a worthwhile change.

68000 - Knocking from rear suspension. Rear beam axle bushes were replaced with harder Skoda vRS bushes. Slight increase in cabin noise, but you soon get used to it. Handling is much improved.

76000 - Turbo diverter valve replaced. Cheap and easy fix. Stops car from 'gurgling' between gearshifts.

77000 - Intermittent non-start fault with warm engine over the last few months. EPC light came on, so plugged in diagnostic tester. Fault identified as crankshaft position sensor; this was replaced. A bit fiddly to get the thing out and the new one in - possible with patience.

79500 - Secondary air pump repaired. Car begins to sound like diesel engine on initial start-up, fault diagnosed as leaking pump. Repair carried out using new nuts & bolts to replace broken rivets.

80500 - Front brake discs (rotors) and pads replaced. Brake caliper piston was also cleaned and refitted.

Driver's door has sagged on the hinges.

Driver's seat side bolster has sagged.

Some of the wood effect trim on the dash and doors has cracked.

Centre console plastic feels a bit cheap.

Not had any issues with windows dropping suddenly into doors. Perhaps these have already been repaired by previous owners(s).

Paintwork is generally very good. A small area of clear lacquer has peeled on rear panel.

Alloy wheels are good except for corrosion in one very small area.

General Comments:

Had the car for a year, and my average fuel consumption is 37 MPG (UK gallons). Best was 49 MPG; worst was 28 MPG. Can get thirsty when traveling at high motorway speeds, expect around 32 MPG.

The car is a standard 150 BHP model with AUM engine. I bit more power would not go amiss. Engine and turbo are still performing effortlessly with no major issues encountered.

The oil is changed every 8000 miles, or so, with 5/40 fully synthetic. Engine did seem to run better with this oil, as opposed to Mobil 1. However, minor increase in oil consumption noted with 5/40 oil. Not noticed any significant change in fuel consumption with different oil brands.

The brakes are OK, but will fade when pushed (VW pads are on the front).

General servicing is easy, and genuine VW parts are not much more expensive that pattern stuff.

The car is fairly comfortable (I did 900 miles in one day), but Saab and BMW seats are a lot better.

The handling is adequate. Arguably the suspension is a little too soft.

Boot space is very good, and the split rear seat folds down to provide lots of extra room.

Still looks good after all these years!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 31st May, 2010

9th Jun 2010, 03:26

Was there any extra vibration or noise after the solid flywheel conversion?

I bought a high mileage (130k) one owner GTI 1.8T for £1800 earlier this year. I wanted a cheap commuter, which I could leave in the station without worrying too much about it, which would be reliable, and which would at least offer some degree of fun to drive.

Not regretted my choice so far. The previous owner certainly hadn't starved it of money (4 matching Michelin Pilots, invoice for a new air con compressor 6 months before, full VW S/H etc).

The suspension was getting a bit tired - I've fitted new rear springs and front anti roll bar bushes which have tightened things up a bit. It's also due a cambelt, which I'm getting done in the next couple of weeks, and the clutch is definitely getting towards the end of its life. Judders a bit too, and I will probably go the solid flywheel route as you did.

Overall, the car goes pretty well, is surprisingly frugal (I can get >40 mpg on my mostly motorway commute), has an interior which still looks good and oozes quality, has a lovely smooth, if slightly uninspiring engine, fabulous Recaro seats, and surprisingly chuckable handling. Much more so than the 130 bhp GT TDI my wife drives, which is a horrible ponderous and often wayward thing in the twisties.

What amazes me is the status these cars still carry. I see it as nothing more than a cheap, slightly tatty 10 year old Golf. Yet when you say you drive a Golf GTI, everyone seems to respect that. As you say, it's still quite a handsome beast, and looks far newer / more modern than it really is.

13th Jun 2010, 15:21

Before I changed from dual-mass to single-mass, I too had read that there could be possible vibration issues from the gearbox when the engine is at idle. I have not experienced any problems with vibration, or otherwise, since I changed to the single-mass set up. I bought the complete Valeo single-mass conversion kit from Euro Car Parts in the U.K.