2003 Volkswagen Golf GLS 1.9 TDI from North America


An economical car with great European look and feel to it


Not a thing has gone wrong so far, although I live in a rather cold region and for some reason VW still hasn't finished designing the block heater for my car! The dealer says hopefully they will be able to install one soon.

Transmission was very tight at first, still is a bit, but is loosening up nicely.

General Comments:

I'm very satisfied with this car so far. It gets incredible mileage (average of 5.889 L/100km so far; best has been 4.955 L/100km) and has had no trouble in cold weather at all, which I was a little concerned about.

Very nicely optioned, good looks, and lots of zip, even at highway speeds. The 1.9 TDI does a great job of moving the car, doesn't stink or make a lot of noise. And all for a very good price with an outstanding warranty.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 22nd January, 2004

2003 Volkswagen Golf 2.0 2.0i from Australia and New Zealand


High quality at an affordable price


It is a new car without any significant problems. A slight squeak in the back seat area to be addressed at 1000k service.

General Comments:

This car is extremely well made with an extremely solid feel to the doors and interior.

Dash lighting is the best in the business and the motor is quiet and willing.

Handling is predictable with the ride somewhere between sporty and supple taking all but the most severe bumps well.

Quality interior is closer to luxury car levels with strong, supportive seats.

Four airbags were standard and the vehicle feels safe and secure.

A quiet, solid, safe and practical car with some sportiness and luxury feel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st January, 2004

2003 Volkswagen Golf GTi 1.8 turbo 20v petrol from UK and Ireland


Pleasant, but ultimately unsatisfying


Central locking fault

Loose trim on B pillars

Poor idle quality when the engine gets warm

Damp patches on boot carpet after heavy rain.

General Comments:

After a promotion at work, I was so excited to change my car from a Focus 1.8 Zetec to this gorgeous looking turbocharged Golf. But 9 months on, I feel a bit short changed. Where the Focus was ten times better in reality than I was expecting, the Golf was nowhere near as good as I thought it would be.

It's not a bad car to drive. In fact, it's a very nice car to drive, being extremely comfortable and with a beautifully designed interior. The turbo engine is torquey and performs well, and delivers a wave of smooth, punchy acceleration in the midrange.

Here's the "but". It's no fun whatsoever. The steering and handling are not a patch on the Focus's, and despite the Golf being a sizeable amount quicker, I reckon the Focus would leave it for dead on a twisty road. The Golf feels nice when ambling, but up the pace on a typical British B-road and it quickly feels out of its depth. It wallows, bucks and understeers if you press it in the twisty bits. By comparison, the Focus felt alive and composed when driven enthusiastically.

Build and reliability have also transpired to be disappointing. For a car which initially appears so lovingly crafted, it's been a real let down. There are several squeaks and rattles inside, the central locking intermittently goes mad, the engine idles like a top fuel dragster in traffic, and the boot appears to have sprung a leak. Pretty shabby on a 9 month old car really, especially one on which the quality reputation is so hyped.

The biggest disappointment of all this though, is that despite that emotive combination of VW, Golf and GTI badges on the tailgate, and decent outright performance, the car is really quite boring to drive. Combined with the indifferent quality, and truly woeful dealers, it adds up to an unsatisfying disappointment. If I'd spent my own money on it, I would be depressed beyond words.

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

Review Date: 12th December, 2003

15th Jan 2004, 07:09

I have a MK4 Golf GT TDI, and I disgusted with its reliability.

First of all the driver squeaks all the time, despite the dealer being told each time it has been in.

The water bottle has now sprung a leak.

The exhaust brackets have been replaced apparently it is a design fault with all MK4 Golfs, so beware!!

The centre arm rest clip has broken and fallen off.

The key has broken and you cannot attached a key ring to it.

It goes through disks and pads at an alarming rate!!

My car is 37 months old, 1 month out of warranty and has done 36,000miles and the gear box has just packed in. VW will not cover it under warranty, even though the car has a full VW service history!! A cost of £2000 to repair!

The dealerships are not very customer driven either!

I will certainly not be buying another VW!

20th Jun 2006, 13:12

Usually the gearbox, Pads and disks going after a short while are usually down to the driver.

24th Dec 2006, 06:26

The comment above is about what I grew to expect from the service managers at the various VW dealers I used.

Basically, whenever a VW breaks, particularly under warranty, it's the fault of the driver, the weather, the road surfaces, the wind, the fuel and so on. Anything except the car itself.

Many of the mkIV Golfs are South African built (SA VIN number) and in my experience are some of the most carelessly built, slapdash cars ever unleashed on the public.

VW dealers are snooty and unsympathetic, sticker prices are, ludicrous, reliability stinks, and the car is light years behind the competition dynamically. I haven't touched one since I dumped my 2002 Golf back at the dealership complete with keys and paperwork. Biggest pile of rubbish I've ever owned.