14th Sep 2005, 06:23

It's a bit early to tell with the mk5 Golf to be fair, but the mk4 has cost Volkswagen a lot of customers. Take the nice interior and great PD diesels out of the equation and you had a very average car to drive, with poor reliability and very patchy build quality.

I ended a run of six Golfs (mk1, 2 mk2's, 2 mk3's and a mk4) after experiencing untold quality and reliability problems with my 2002 Golf GT TDI 130. I now drive a Ford Focus TDCi 136PS 6 speed manual with which I am absolutely delighted. The Golf had trim rattles, electrical problems, gearbox and clutch problems, engine management problems and suspension problems. In fact, apart from the engine mechanicals, just about every area of the car had at least one fault in the 3 years I owned it. VW themselves seem to think it beneath them to acknowledge their cars might be problematic, which is a bit rich when you look at their prices.

I find myself agreeing with the first commenter above when he/she suggests that recent generation VW's seem to have lost the plot in terms of reliability. Not so long ago, you bought a VW because you knew it would go twice around the clock before anything serious went wrong with it. I know five people with 2000 onwards Golfs and Passats who have had endless problems. In fact, one 2001 Passat has cost its owner UKP 1,500 in unscheduled repairs since the warranty ran out in 2004!! The car has not yet done 50,000 miles.

Maybe the mk5 Golf will address these shortcomings, but after my experiences, I'm not prepared to risk finding out. Good luck. Although I mean that sincerely, something tells me you may need it.

16th Sep 2005, 16:14

Hmmmmm, I'm not sure if I should buy a Golf TDI after reading the other comments. I have always owned cars built in Japan and are very happy with the reliability and dealers. However the VW's fuel economy is a major +++ and the car is very nice to drive. I wonder - Mazda 3, Toyota Echo Hatch, Honda Civic, Suzuki Areo, or Golf TDI. What do you think?

18th Sep 2005, 15:25

I would look at the new shape Focus. The joint Peugeot-Ford developed 2.0 TDCi engine is an absolute peach, and the interior and build quality are now (at last!) a match for anything coming out of Germany. Being a Ford, you don't pay through the nose for parts and servicing either.

I have put 140,000 miles on an old shape TDCi 115PS model in the past three years, and had just one non-service fault (a squeaky aux belt tensioner). The most reliable car I have ever had without any shadow of a doubt. The new one is a fantastic drive, with a decent interior to go with it, and a more refined and powerful engine. I've only done 5,000 miles in mine so far, but it's a great car.

The Mazda 3 shares the same platform incidentally, although seems to be a little softer sprung (or the one I drove was).

3rd Oct 2005, 06:08

Model:Golf Mk V 1.9TDI SE 105PS

Extras: Solid Black, leather wheel/gear knob, sports suspension, 16" 'Hockenheim' alloys, fog lights.

Problems: None so far.

Pro's: Excellent pace with regard to the MPG. I easily get 50+ mpg when cruising at 80 on the motorway, and when I have some fun I'm still getting 45 out of it!

With said upgrades the car looks great, and handles very well, just as good as the Mk4 GTI I had before this.

What I like especially is the low gear acceleration, 2nd, 3rd and 4th are it's strongest and will embarrass many larger petrol engines!

Con's: Runs out of punch after 3000 rpm (but I suppose this comes with most diesels). One annoying rattle occurs when you put your foot down hard, somewhere in the centre console, and the 'fuel range' gauge on the H.U.D isn't very accurate when you're running low.

On the whole: A fantastic car, very well built, economical and fun for what looks like your average sales rep vehicle!

5th Oct 2005, 05:04

The mk4 did not handle well. It was a stodgy, vague and woolly car with near zero steering feel and soggy damping even in GT trim (although it was admittedly better than the standard models).

If you want to know what a decent handling front wheel drive car feels like, go and find a Peugeot 306 or a Ford Focus. Either of these cars illustrate perfectly just how far off the pace dynamically the Golf was. Both have far better body control over crests and dips, both understeer far less, both ooze feel through their steering and to add insult to injury, both ride better (particularly the Pug)

I had a mk4 GT TDI PD130 and in many ways it was a great car, but even as a fan of it, I can't honestly say the handling was any better than average.

The mk5 is much, much better, but as VW poached some of the Focus chassis engineers from Ford, and the car wears almost identical rear suspension to the Focus, it really should do.

18th Oct 2005, 06:24

I own a mk iv '02 Golf TDi 150, and have had it for about 1.5 years. Only the cooling fans needed replacing. We've also had a '97 Golf SE 1.6 from new and nothing mechanical has gone wrong, only a minor alarm problem. Golf's don't have the advantage over other marques in reliability (which is avg) but they are really nice cars to live with. Little detail touches which are well thought out that I appreciate. Some Germanic traits are still there - I've yet to replace an exhaust on our 1.6 and the bodywork is of a thick gauge. In general its gives the car an over engineered feel.

The downside is the dealers or stealers as they are referred to, but the advantage of German cars there are lots of independent mechanics to choose from.

20th Oct 2005, 08:50

Some interesting comments on here.

I too have always bought VW cars and can say that I have never (touch wood!) had any major problems with them. I have owned Mk1's 2's 3's a 2002 Polo TDI and most recently a Corrado VR6 (which was still on its original discs and pads after 104,000 miles!).

People have commented on Focus, Peugeots etc and how good they are, and although they have caught up in the last few years the Golf is still head of the pack. The fact is that when someone buys a VW they don't expect anything to go wrong with it, and when it does they complain when ever and where ever they can, posting comments on VW this, VW that etc. I too could say lots of negative comments on family members focus (head gasket went at 64,000 miles) and 306's (gearbox went at 57,000 miles). The fact is that VW's do go wrong, so do 50 thousand pound BMW's, just not as often as others.

I, personally, would never buy anything non-german as you simply do not get the same sort of build quality in any other car. If you are looking at buying a Golf I would say go for it and ignore the negative comments on here.