1987 Volkswagen GTI Reviews

1987 Volkswagen GTI 1.8L 8v from North America

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.8L 8v Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 9 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired220000 kilometres
Most recent distance278000 kilometres
Previous carFord LTD Country Squire

Summary:

A quick and good handling hatch

Faults:

Clutch had to be replaced at 228,000km because of someone who didn't know how to drive!

Transmission seal broke at 240,000 and drained all fluid causing the transmission to nearly seize. A new seal was installed and fluid replaced and the transmission was as good as new.

Stock Recaro interior is starting to wear (noticeably on the drivers side)

Headliner is starting to fall down.

General Comments:

Very practical and fun to drive car. It goes surprisingly quick for an 8v. Handles like no other front wheel drive car I've driven before.

Fuel economy is very good. Average about 7.0-7.5L/100km according to the in-dash computer.

The car is also very easy to work on. Tons of room in the engine bay and basic adjustments are very easy.

As an upgrade from my Ford LTD Wagon, this car is a huge, and very welcomed, difference.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st December, 2003

1987 Volkswagen GTI GTi 16v 1.8L 16v from North America

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.8L 16v Manual
Performance marks 7 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 6 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 9 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.3 / 10
Distance when acquired164000 miles
Most recent distance167400 miles

Summary:

A cheap, but fast car that I would like to keep for a while and customize

Faults:

Coolant hoses replaced

Fuel pump

Trip computer not working

Control arm bushings

Exhaust replaced (bought it with a bad one though)

Worn seats

Pedal assembly worn out

Rear windshield wiper motor worn out

(basically, all these problems are from the car remaining undriven for about 4 years)

General Comments:

Love to drive it, hates low revs, but flies above 3000 RPM. Pretty good for fuel economy. Handles alright (I need racing suspension though). Repairs are cheap enough, I think its pretty solid.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th December, 2003

1987 Volkswagen GTI Golf 16V 1.8 16v PL from Germany

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2003
Engine and transmission 1.8 16v PL Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.4 / 10
Distance when acquired240000 kilometres
Most recent distance311000 kilometres
Previous carVolkswagen Golf

Summary:

Excellent price/performance ratio

Faults:

Complete brake system, exhaust system, and catalytic converter needed replacement over the past three years.

Ignition lock failed twice.

Rear window wiper is defunct.

Driver's seat is starting to disintegrate.

Corrosion on the boot lid.

Various rattles, but nothing you'd not expect at this mileage.

General Comments:

I happened across the 16V as an almost-free parts car for the '89 Golf I was driving then, so all of the above defects were things I'd expected when I decided to keep the 16V instead.

The reason I did so was the much better level of trim, not necessarily the superior performance. But the performance *is* excellent: this 16-year-old compact car can still run with the fast ones on the Autobahn, and run circles around most of them on twisted country roads. And it's great fun to do either.

Both mechanically and corrosion-wise, the GTI doesn't feel like ceasing to exist anytime in the foreseeable future. That's something for such an old car that's already covered more than a light-second of distance, and much of it driven rather hard.

Beside all the power, it's just a Golf, though. That means acceptable interior space, superb handling, acceptable ride (16Vs are lowered by factory), easy repairs, cheap parts (except for 16V-specific stuff like brakes and exhaust) and virtual anonymity: no-one can judge you by your car, because it's so normal.

Others might call it "boring", but in 16V guise, a Golf II really only *looks* boring.

There's really no reason (except passive safety) that I'd want to replace this car with a newer one for. I gladly paid all the above repairs (hey, the car itself was almost free as a compensation), and I plan to drive it for many years to come.

The only thing I don't like is the way I got treated at the VW dealer's; I assume they'd rather sell me something new than service this old car. Pity for them -- I found a make-free auto shop now, and they've proven to be very understanding about poor owner's old car's needs.

Trouble-free like a new one, this car isn't (anymore). But it's so much cheaper, and so much more worthwhile. And someday soon, it's going to be a classic; a rare one, too, because it's gotten rather hard to find an unmodified Golf II 16V already.

If you can find one, consider buying it. Recommended.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th November, 2003

1987 Volkswagen GTI 16V 1.8L from North America

Year of manufacture1987
First year of ownership1999
Most recent year of ownership2001
Engine and transmission 1.8L Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired132000 miles
Most recent distance160000 miles
Previous carChevrolet Celebrity

Summary:

A good car looking for the right driver

Faults:

Rust everywhere. It began with the floorboards rotting out, then spread underneath the hatch, later claiming the fenders underneath the flares (none visible, though).

Could not take "farm boy" abuse - the rear axle was bent, wearing the tires funny. The front strut towers had stress cracks all the way around.

Fuel pump went out at 150,000 miles.

General Comments:

This car had very little bottom end torque. It was my first DOHC engine, and I missed the grunt of large American V8s. The GTI was the best vehicle in the "twisties", better even, in my opinion, than even some Corvettes and Porsches I have driven. There are very few curves on the American Great Plains, though, and the car is very tiring on long, straight interstates. Very tight engine, though, considering the amount of time spent at high RPMs, and excellent gas mileage.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 10th June, 2002

Average review marks: 7.6 / 10, based on 4 reviews