2002 Volkswagen Golf GT TDI 1.9L PD turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Doesn't live up to the hype, but it is cheap on fuel

Faults:

Rear passenger door deadlocked itself and refused to unlock (still an ongoing issue).

Traction control light comes on if you go above 70mph. Have been advised it's an air flow sensor fault on the engine, as all the systems are interlinked (still an ongoing issue).

Various rattles and squeaks from the dashboard when driving around town.

Heater direction controls work on their own terms; when you want it on the windscreen to clear it, it will direct it at your feet.

General Comments:

Good driving position, although could do with some lumbar support.

Starts first time, every time.

More than enough space for 5 people for short trips, and 4 on longer trips. Plenty of boot space.

Comfortable ride, but a bit wallowy if you decide to press on a bit. The heavy engine up front doesn't help matters.

Good economy; 48-52 on motorways, 37 in town. It's only costing £280 in fuel a month, and that's doing 300 miles a week.

Not been exactly impressed with the performance of it. Although it is the 130bhp diesel, it has no power below 2000 rpm, which is very frustrating around town. At higher speeds it whistles along nicely, but it doesn't feel as torquey as it should for a diesel.

The 6 speed gear box is a gimmick only; the car would be so much more tractable with the standard 5 speed of lesser models.

Although it's a good car and it's saved me a fair bit in money, the few little electrical faults have put me off the car. Don't believe the hype about VWs being completely reliable; they have faults like every other car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th May, 2012

12th May 2012, 10:13

Typical VAG product; it's sort of like political candidates, they never live up to the hype.

28th Nov 2014, 17:01

This review is spot on. My family have driven nothing but VWs since the 80s, and I sold them from the late 90s. Pre 92 stuff was well engineered and relatively simple mechanically and electrically. After that it all went downhill. Whilst superficially lovely (tactile interiors etc.), they were built to a cost underneath. Rubbish components and badly designed stuff like suspension and engines. The Golf and Passat from 98 to 02 in particular were terrible for reliability, and don't even think of buying a Sharan!

On the subject of dual mass flywheels, these failed as quickly as 20,000 miles and VW UK would not replace these under warranty, citing driver error. Seems strange that other manufacturers could make them reliable. They should easily last at least 100k miles under normal use. The current range isn't a lot better.

Granted the German brands do lead when it comes to innovation, and safety is generally good, but if you want something bombproof, go Japanese.

2002 Volkswagen Golf GT TDI 130 1.9 PD TDI 130PS turbo diesel from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Fantastic car that's still a pleasure to drive

Faults:

Front driveshaft gaiter and rear exhaust bracket at 7 years / 110,000 miles.

MAF sensor at 8 years / 120,000 miles.

Clutch and dual mass flywheel last week (132,000 miles).

General Comments:

Gutsy, reliable, frugal old car that still looks good, and still drives well.

Almost impossible to get less than 45 mpg out of it. Perfectly possible to squeeze 60 mpg on a gentle run. Averages 50 mpg with no problem at all.

Faster and more economical than our E90 BMW 318d, although dynamically it's not even in the same league. The PD130 engine is a great match for the Golf though. Effortless grunt, regardless of gear. Runs out of steam early compared to modern diesels, but the lower-midrange muscle is still impressive to this day.

Plenty of kit - all round electric windows, electric heated mirrors, electric sunroof, Climatronic, CD player, etc etc. Driving position is a little "high", but good seats and overall comfort levels.

Good looking interior, which although a little dated, still has good quality materials, and a very clean design.

Serviced and maintained for buttons by a family friend who is a VW tech. Even the clutch and flywheel set me back less than £400 fitted (Sachs parts used). That's the biggest bill the car has given me by a significant margin.

Still worth a couple of grand, and would be easy to sell on. Can't say that about many near ten year old mass market hatchbacks. Very cheap car to own in TCO terms.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th November, 2011