Snappy speed and handling, but MASSIVE fuel economy!!!
Upon leaving car for service, and being given a loaner of a similar model, I noticed a substantial difference in rear stereo performance between my TDI Golf and the Golf I was borrowing. (Monsoon In-Dash CD/Cassette/AM/FM) The first complaint was received with a "can't find fault" comment, that everything appeared normal. Last week, the service person pulled up a service bulletin that mentioned the possibility of a crossed wire condition in the amplifier stage. They found that my vehicle suffered from this problem, reversed the wires, and fixed it. I would bet that there was an immediate 30% increase in bass strength and response as a result.
"Loose" or "banging" sound from passenger side front end was finally found to be caused by a "shipping block" placed in the suspension. This block was supposed to be removed when the vehicle was prepped at the dealer, but never was. The last visit, again due to a service bulletin being out, caused the service person to find the problem. I feel that there might have been some irreversible damage from this block being there for over a year... but it will, at most, be a suspension part replacement when needed. (I just wish they would have caught these two things earlier.)
Keychain alarm system stopped working. The "computer" unit was replaced in the car, and all is now fine.
I initially looked at this vehicle for gas mileage, but upon reaching 110 MPH in the dealer car, I was SOLD! (The last diesel I drove was a Rabbit, and it would vibrate you so bad your accelerator foot would go numb.)
I DON'T drive conservatively- but more aggressively. Yet, I continually get gas mileage greater than 46 to 48 mpg. Long highway trips will sometimes result in 52 to 54 MPG!!!
Though primitive, the seat adjustment I find to be infinitely adjustable, and comfortable for me- which is very important on a long trip. (I can readjust my position, and yet remain comfortable.)
One minor annoyance, which is a result of the size of any car like this, is a severe buffeting or throbbing positive wind-pressure in the car, when the windows or sunroof are open in different configurations. I purchased the sunroof wind guard and the side window guards, and this minimizes the problem.
I like the way the rear seat (s) fold down, and accept the headrests so that they aren't banging around the car.
I notice a minor performance difference depending on the temperature outside. The car runs faster in 60-degree (F) or lower temperatures. It's a very minor difference, but noticeable by an experienced driver.
Though compact and retractable, I don't like the fact that the cup holders are located directly above the stereo unit. If I was designing this piece to fit in this position, I would include a fold-down splash guard so that liquids wouldn't contact the stereo.
Overall, I love the car. The fact that it can achieve close to 50 MPG consistently, and still perform very well, is extremely impressive. I was sold on this car immediately, though I went into it skeptical. I had owned over a dozen used cars in the past, and I made the 2002 Golf TDI my FIRST new car purchase. Try it, you'll love it- I promise!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 28th June, 2004