2004 Volkswagen Golf Sport 2.0 petrol from Australia and New Zealand

Summary:

A practical European option

Faults:

Handbrake chrome button cover fell off... never to be found.

Front spoiler becomes loose and hangs down every 3 months or so.

Part of dash became loose and had to be refastened.

Glovebox lid somewhat wonky.

Above all, it's typical of VW's poor attention to quality control, despite the public perception of German cars. Japanese cars are better built.

General Comments:

Worst aspect is the wide C pillar. Makes lane changing a difficult chore. A rear quarter window such as in the Audi A3 would make life easier.

Difficult to judge the distance to the rear when reversing. Thankfully, one usually has more space than imagined as the car is short.

Golfs are wide compared to their length. Narrow lanes and driveways are a challenge.

Brakes not progressive and "grabby".

3 "blanks" on dash panel, and this is the highest spec model with a non turbo engine. Looks cheap, but overall the dash looks nice, particularly at night with subdued blue lighting.

Boot cannot be opened without unlocking the whole car. Annoying! Strange omissions... no glovebox light or illumination for ignition. "Accessories" point between "lock" and "on" difficult to define. Steering lock does not disengage until the key turned to the "on" position.

Best aspect is the engine. The 2.0 develops maximum torque at only 2,400 RPM, so down changes on hills are often not necessary. No need to rev it. The 5 speed manual is a gem to use.

Service costs no higher than Japanese competitors.

Great on fuel. 7.5- 8.0 L/100 average, although requires at least 95 Octane, which reduces the lustre somewhat.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th August, 2012

2004 Volkswagen Golf Sportsline 1.4 petrol from UK and Ireland

Summary:

Underpowered, interior build quality terrible, but very, very reliable

Faults:

Coil pack - 80000 KMs. Car still got me home, even though it was vibrating like crazy on the motorway. Fixed it myself. Replaced all 4 for €30.

Interior trim - Pieces are literally falling off in my hand. So far: Grab handle on driver's door, parts of the driver's door trim, plastic panel on floor that covers wires, clips that hold down floor mats, roof material is coming loose, passenger side window switch broke off, uncountable rattles from loose trim around the car.

Windows - The windows in this car have annoyed me so much that I disconnected them last week. The regulator and motor were replaced on the driver's side, and the regulator on the passenger side. The window is far too sensitive, ie going back down on its own if it hits the slightest bit of dirt or a leaf etc. So even on the rare occasion that they are working, they don't work very well.

Driver's seat - Wow, this was a scary one. A kid went in front of my car on his bike, and I slammed on the brakes. My seat slid forward, and came off the rails. Funnily enough, Volkswagen were keen to keep this quiet. Fitted a new seat to the car, new rails on the floor, threw in a free service and a brand new turbo diesel Passat as a courtesy car while it was being done.

General Comments:

Handling: Very good. I have Pirelli wheels on the car, and it handles great. not complaints.

Safety: This car feels solid, has more airbags than you can count, and has a great safety record. You really do feel safe in this car. (apart from the seat incident: see above)

Performance: This car is seriously underpowered. You have to really put the foot down to get it moving. Really uninspiring to drive. Motorway driving is a real pain.

Build quality: Worst I have ever seen. The inside of my car is literally falling apart. I'd expect it if I was buying a €500 first car, but not a 2004 golf. Volkswagen should be embarrassed by the trim in this car.

Engine: Bulletproof. Never once let me down. The coil pack was the only thing to go on this car in 120,000 KMs, and even then the car kept driving, and only cost me €30 to fix.

Comfort: some nice extras like carbon inserts on the interior, lumbar support, rain sensor controlled wipers, automatic lights. Seats are very comfortable in the front and back.

Running costs: Very uneconomical car. Drinks petrol. The car is too big for the 1.4 engine, so it's always working hard. I don't know much about dealer costs as I service the car myself.

To summarise, This car will not let you down. The engine is indestructible. The interior is pathetic however, and the car is falling apart.

But if you want superb reliability, and don't mind a crappy interior and high fuel costs, this car is a good choice. The car itself is quite boring and dull, but I would buy another Volkswagen. Just a more powerful diesel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2011