2003 Volkswagen Golf GT TDi 130 1.9 130PS turbo diesel from UK and Ireland
Gearbox replaced under warranty at just 3,500 miles.
Loose trim on B pillar and in boot.
Central locking failed completely.
Water leaking into passenger footwell (was told this caused the central locking problem). From experience, was very sceptical this would be fixed, but to be fair it was, and first time.
PAS rack popped a seal and blew out all the PAS fluid.
Passenger window regulator broke up.
Outer CV joints started knocking (both sides, one 6,000 miles after the other)
Tailgate wiring loom needed replacing.
Three separate oil leaks. Two were fixed satisfactorily, but the third may necessitate a complete replacement engine as the block appears to have a hairline crack in it. I'm told this is not the only one the dealer has seen.
At the time of writing, the car also has a defective CD player, a creaking seat and a lazy passenger electric window, but it is sitting at the dealership while I am driving the seventh courtesy car since I picked up this Golf.
I'm something of a VW fan, having owned a mk3 Golf CL TDI before this, and a mk2 Golf GTi 8v before that. Both were great cars racking up 155,000 and 134,000 miles respectively without missing a beat.
I will leave it to your interpretation of the fault list above to tell you what I think of this mk4 Golf.
I am told all the above faults bar the CV joints, (blamed on "duff parts") are common faults on the mk4 Golf, and I have since read a couple of used car guides and surveys which rate the car well behind the Focus and the Japanese competition for reliability. How is it that the Golf's reputation for engineering solidity, something which until last year I would have defended to the hilt, seems to survive unblemished?
As for a new engine being required at 42,000 miles in a considerately driven diesel VW with FVWSH, I believe this illustrates on its own just how bad things have got.
Owning this car has been like a bad dream.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 25th July, 2004
4th Aug 2004, 01:48
VW reputation for reliability survives because it takes more than a couple of years to build (or bring down) a valuable brand image. I recently read that it took Audi almost 20 years (mid'70 to mid '90) to be perceived as a prestige brand rather than a firm producing durable mass-market bland cars (the contemporary example being Opel/Vauxhall).
However one thing is sure: VW quality isn't what it used to be, as illustrated by this reader's ownership of a Golf II and a Golf IV. I, too, have a friend with a Golf II GTI 8v with 340000 km on the clock and practically nil oil consumption. What are the chances of a (turbo'ed) Golf GTI IV cracking the same number of miles? Based on the number of sad blue faces next to Golf's and Jetta's reviews in this web site, I am very skeptical.