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.

2003 Volkswagen Golf SE 1.9 tdi from UK and Ireland


Nice car, shame about the build quality



Dashboard rattles, dealer cannot fix problem so they've decided to fit a new one.

Headlining rattles.

Centre console rattles.

Horn works intermittently and sticks on.

General Comments:

Car is comfortable and quick, but seems thrown together rather than built properly. Interior is a bit gloomy, but is comfortable enough.

The seats are a bit hard for my liking.

Good economy and reasonable insurance costs add up to a good package, shame about the build quality as it's spoiling my enjoyment of the car.

Most of the faults are known to Volkswagen and their dealers, so why can't they have sorted them out on the production line?

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

Review Date: 14th March, 2004

2003 Volkswagen Golf GLS 1.9 turbo diesel from North America


Hybrid like economy with twice the style for half the price


The car will not start sometimes.

Driver rear tail light has already burnt out.

Very rough starts in any weather below ten degrees Celsius.

My 65 hp Ford compact was faster.

General Comments:

Though I did not buy this car for performance, it does pull very well in and out of traffic between 2100 rpm and 3300rpm.

That being said, I will have to agree with most other Volkswagen owners and say that this car does not only get hybrid like fuel economy, but also has a very high quality interior. Unlike most American automobile interiors, you have to look carefully to find the actual plastic and the fine touches really make me a happy owner. If you have a Mark 5 golf (i believe it's a mark five, 1999-2004) look at the seat belt loops and you will notice actual aluminum trim and real leather where the steering column meets with the dash board.

Other things that I am not only impressed by, but also take for granted is, for one, the art work of the head lamp and the excellent braking system. Not to mention the already very impressive sound system though a good 12 inch sub-woofer and a 400 watt RMS amp as a addition just perfects the car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th March, 2004

18th Jul 2004, 16:49

Your Golf is a MK4 1998-2003 (In Europe)