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.
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