2004 Volkswagen Golf SE 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Dull, slow, well built, not bad looking


Clutch seal broke resulting in clutch judder - replaced under warranty 1 week after I bought it.

Exhaust warning light illuminated on dashboard 2 weeks after purchase. VW reset this saying there was no fault, but found 2 other faults whilst it was undergoing its diagnostic checks - the aircon fan and cooler fans were faulty (apparently) and these too were replaced under warranty.

General Comments:

I bought my Golf as a 2 year old car to replace an ageing Alfa 156, which had been faultless, but was getting to an age where it might have become a liability. How I wish I hadn't! The Golf has been back to the VW dealer I bought it from on 3 separate occasions in the first 3 months - that's more than the Alfa ever went back in almost 6 years of ownership!

The 1.6 engine is very sluggish. Maybe I unfairly compare it to my old 2 litre twin spark Alfa, but it really is slow. And not that frugal either. I can squeeze 40 mpg if I drive like a nun.

Cabin is neat and feels well built though, and there's decent room in the back for the kids. It has quite a classy look to it I think, if you get one with alloys (eg SE spec or above), although it's no Italian beauty! Boot space isn't great either.

It was a pricey used car too, especially compared to Alfas! My perception was that you pay for reliability and service, but I've received neither (the VW dealer I bought from haven't been good at resolving my problems - they left me stranded with no car on my first weekend when they were unable to fix the clutch problem and had no courtesy cars available).

Hopefully it will hold onto its value better than my old Alfa.

All in all I am very disappointed with this car and am looking to offload it ASAP.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th September, 2006

5th Oct 2006, 03:16

Your right about the 1.6 engine, I have the same unit in my A3 and its crap with regard to any decent performance. The Golf and A3 are too heavy of a car to be pulled by this engine, I can't believe VW give the golf a 1.4 LOL. I should of got a second hand TDI. I manage to get a avg of 36.0 mpg, but if I drove softly I can manage to push it up just above 40 mpg, but nothing more.

12th May 2007, 12:01

I feel I should add to my original review of the VW Golf now that I've had the car for almost a year. Maybe I was a bit unfair on it. In fact, I've grown to quite like it. I did consider selling it after the initial problems, but realised I would have lost out on about 10% of the car's value after only about 1 month. So we kept it, and despite it's lack of grunt, it has behaved impeccably since the initial problems were resolved. It's handled well, feels solid, and is reliable.

2004 Volkswagen Golf TDI 130 TDI 130 from UK and Ireland


Poor quality, overpriced, over rated


Easier to list what has not gone wrong. Fuel injection recalibrated. Turbo failed. Excessive oil consumption (500 miles per litre - dealers says nothing wrong with this!!!)

Clutch cable had to be changed.

Trim fell off under passenger side footwell.

Rattles from door, dash and centre console.

Brake discs had to be replaced because they warped. Not covered under warranty!

Poor handling - rolls too much and steering lifeless.

Front wheels lose grip easily when pulling out of side roads

Thermostat failed wide open and water pump also had to be replaced.

Electric window winders broke twice.

Seats gave me backache.

General Comments:

Overpriced rubbish. After my Mazda 323 this car is just so bad! Mazda never went wrong in 4 years.

Dealers useless and unhelpful - left me without a car on numerous occasions.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th March, 2006

31st Dec 2006, 00:08

I own a 2004 Golf TDI GLS and Previous owned a 2001 VW Jetta VR6. I love my Golf and have not had any major problems with it. It has 23,000 miles now and drives like the day it was new. I did however have a few problems with the Jetta as in Modules going out, Middle Compartment handle breaking etc.. nothing real big. It sounds like you may have got a lemon. I love VW's and always will buy another. I love the way it drives and handles, GAS Mileage, very responsive and sharp looking. I also noticed that the 2001 Jetta smelled like melted crayons inside but not the 2004 Golf.

26th Mar 2010, 08:54

"Clutch cable had to be changed..." These cars don't have a clutch cable! They are hydraulic. Someone's conning you here!