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.
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
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.
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.