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

2003 Volkswagen Golf R32 3.2 V6 from UK and Ireland


Absolutely fantastic, a real drivers car, well done Volkswagen!


Slight knocking in the suspension, resolved by replacement of a plastic elbow part.

Headlight unit needed replaced.

General Comments:

This car is exceptionally quick for its size and especially weight, it handles absolutely superbly, would give any other card a good run for its money.

It can take most corners absolutely flat out, and on the odd occasion that it seems to get slight understeer, the excellent traction control system helps you to bring the car back into line.

This car comes with just about every creature comfort you could imagine, heated seats (Beautiful set of Konig Buckets), 6-disc interchanger, and a stunning interior that just isn't what you would expect of VW.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd May, 2005

2003 Volkswagen Golf GL 1.9L TDI from North America


Amazing little diesel that literally smokes the competition


- Major Issue with this car in my opinion is the decision from Volkswagen to reduce the size of the clutch plates. The high torque engine doesn't like the smaller diameter clutch and I am getting massive amounts of clutch slippage in colder weather. My TDI is not stock, so I expected some difficulties, but I know of a few people that are stock and complaining about the same thing.

- Other minor issues are with the ride handling (sloppy and very loose in corners) and the fact that there is not option for a block heater. I live in Canada; it gets cold here. Although my car has never left me stranded on cold days, plugging it in would make me feel better starting it on days like today (-35 degrees Celcius).

General Comments:

Overall I thoroughly enjoy this car. I have driven many miles on this vehicle in the time I have owned it. I completed about 80,000 kilometers in its first year, and still going strong. I purchased the car because I was doing a lot of long-distance driving. The fuel economy has paid for itself many times over.

I choose to chipped the TDI after 2000kms. The performance gain is amazing. The 1.9L still gets amazing fuel economy (1100 kilotmeters to a 55L tank - approximately works out to be 40-60 mpg), and performance is just as surprising (moves this 2900 pound car from 0 to 100 kms (60 miles) in less than 10 seconds. If the performance doesn't sound right, take into consideration this vehicle is placed in a class of ULEV (Ultra Low-Emission Vehicles) and of them all, it is the only one you can use the words economy and performance positively in the same sentence, and not lie about it.

I love my car, and if you get beside me at the light... I will show you just how much I like it. I will try everything in its power to make you eat my soot.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th January, 2005