2003 Volkswagen Golf TDi 100hp 1.9 turbo diesel from Australia and New Zealand


Go drive a TDi


Front speakers were crackling ever since I took delivery of the car.

Lights on the dashboard flicker occasionally and for no apparent reason.

Windscreen wipers always shuddered across the windscreen since I took delivery.

General Comments:

When I mentioned to a friend that I was looking at selling my Impreza WRX STi and getting a diesel Golf, he cracked up laughing. I then took him along to the showroom for a drive, and I never heard another smart comment out of him.

I am very happy the amazing performance provided by the diesel. In total contrast to my Subaru, the turbo comes in almost straight away and pulls strong up to about 4000rpm where the power suddenly drops off.

With my occasionally heavy right foot, the Subaru would happily munch through a tank of Super Premium over a weekend. My Golf can go for two weeks on a tank of diesel. The lower price of diesel also means it costs about half the price to fill than my Subaru.

The only downsides to my Golf ownership have been my experiences with often rude and useless Volkswagen dealerships. I have experienced one particular service dept refusing to fix my faulty audio system under warranty, (despite the car being less than one year old).

The other dealership agreed to fix the fault, however after the car being there for 3 days, I picked up the car to find one speaker replaced and the other still crackling.

I find the suspension wallows a bit like a 1960's Cadillac (compared to my Subaru anyway). I have ordered a handling kit which the manufacturer promises will tighten up the whole package.

All in all however, I have no regrets in purchasing my Golf. The best car I have owned.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 4th August, 2004

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.

General Comments:

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.