2003 Volkswagen Golf Match 1.6 petrol from UK and Ireland


Excellent solid all rounder with neat touches


Centre console rattled - fixed myself by discreetly wedging 2 small blocks of card between transmission tunnel and dashboard.

Clutch pedal slightly squeaky.

Clock very fiddly to set.

Mechanically and electrically (touch wood) very sound. Hope it stays that way.

General Comments:

Performance is adequate rather than outstanding, but still has plenty of poke to keep up with fast moving traffic. Handling is rather "safe" but certainly not "soggy" or "lifeless" like some other reviewers have described. The engine is generally very smooth and doesn't complain too much when pushed.

The interior is rather unassuming, but very neatly finished off with the usual German-quality plastics and there are lots of neat touches present like the damped glove-box lid, the individual reading lights for rear-seat passengers and the tactile operation of the switchgear. Plus of course there is that gorgeous red and purple dash lighting. The trip computer display is thoughtfully positioned in the instrument cluster rather than on the centre console which aids visibility. The boot has lots of useful features like bottle straps, luggage tie-down hooks and is a large useful size.

Dealer-wise the sales section has been very impressive. However I will reserve further judgement until the car requires a service or (hopefully not) fault repair.

Overall a sound package and would have no hesitation in recommending a Golf to someone.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 14th August, 2006

26th Aug 2006, 04:30


This car is still continuing to drive really well. However a very annoying squeak developed from the rear seat catch. Fixed myself with a few sprays of WD40 and has been fine ever since.

Rattle from glove-box lid, but I can't call this a fault as due to the damping action, the lid requires a slightly firmer shove than normal to ensure both lugs engage into place (before only 1 lug was engaging)

Also this car lacked the in-dash cup holders (which I was aware of at the time I bought the car). When I went to my VW main dealer they quoted £100 for parts and labour! I tracked down a cup holder off eBay for £20 and fitted myself; very easy to do so.

The air-con is extremely powerful. You will freeze like hell on the coldest setting. Turning the temperature dial slightly higher makes for a more comfortable environment.

I'm still very happy with this car and always look for an excuse to drive it.

24th Apr 2007, 21:11

I to had a Golf Match same year, what a bag of nails sold it after 14 months it drove me up the wall with endless faults!!!

3rd Dec 2008, 16:19

Bought an 03 Golf 1.6. My battery is always dying, not leaving lights or radio on, radio is wired up properly. Have been to 3 garages, none know how to fix it. Love the car but it won't start at least one day a week. Think it could be starter/throttle problem myself. Anyone had any issue like this?

19th Sep 2009, 12:53

Don't see it being that causing your battery to die, I'm going to get one tomorrow.

2003 Volkswagen Golf SE 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Avoid VW dealers and it's a fabulous car


Had a penchant for popping bulbs just after I bought it, but this seems to have settled.

Warped front brake discs and seized caliper at 100k.

Track rod end balljoint needed for MOT last year.

General Comments:

I approached this mk4 with some trepidation after hearing horror stories about the reliability and quality of these models. Apart from a couple of minor issues however, all of which are in line with 100,000 miles of use, mine has been thankfully very good.

The interior quality is flawless with hardly any squeaks or rattles, barely any wear to the steering wheel rim, gearknob or pedal rubbers, and with all the electronics still in good working order. Mine is a very nice spec too with cruise control, heated front seats, an electric sunroof and an excellent quality CD player.

The car is used for a 75 mile daily commute and is a relaxing, soothing companion. The 130PS TDI engine has bags of power, and its ability to pull hard basically from idle makes many more powerful cars I have driven since feel flat and gutless. It's not the most refined of diesel engines and becomes very vocal under load or at higher revs, but I can count on one hand the number of times I've ever exceeded 3,000 RPM such is the grunt available low down.

Handling is soggy and lifeless, and the steering artificially weighted and numb. However, this isn't an issue on my commute. More important is the 49-55 mpg average consumption, the effortless punch which leaves many petrol cars standing when you squeeze the throttle, and the comfortable, well made interior.

My only complaints really are the arrogant and rude VW dealers who couldn't spell customer service, much less display it. The simple answer is don't use them. I have a local independent VW/Audi specialist who service my car more thoroughly and attentively than VW, use only VW or quality pattern parts (and always ask which), and charge less than half the hourly labour rate.

Apart from that, my complaints sheet adds up to pretty much nothing.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th February, 2006