Cons: "Stupid front cup-holder; best MPH only 28 HWY"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I have owned this car for 8 years after buying it as a certified used vehicle. Aside from normal wear, and a recent replacement of the catalytic converter (covered by warranty!!), the car has never failed me. Clutch still works great, never turned a break rotor, no electrical issues, ... just absolutely reliable!
This car, with a short wheelbase, 5-speed manual and moon roof is a blast to drive on windy country roads. It hauls a lot when the seats are down, and I have been known to carry four bikes on top and two on the hatch. It looks great with a 17.5 ft kayak on top, too.
This is the fourth Rabbit or Golf that I have owned in 20 yrs, and it really is the best."
"There is something special about a Volkswagen, they drive like nothing else on the road. The handling of this car is no exception, it sticks to the road like glue and goes exactly where you point it. The Golf can be either sporty or economic and a little bit of both. I get about 30mpg on average with the 2.0L automatic, and other then some normal expected issues the car is very reliable. We've taken it on long trips with no issues. If I could afford a new one, I'd buy it... but even buying a used one has been a great experience."
"Purchased car new, covered 58,000 miles in 5 years, Handling very good, average 33 mpg overall, best was 42 mpg in hot weather. Rear brake pads wear out twice as fast as fronts there is no warning light for the rear pads, only the front. My model had cloth seats without a doubt the worst material ever (a static magnet for dust and cat hair) High sulphur diesel fuel presents a major problem of carbon build-up in the turbo, only recently can you buy low sulphur fuel here in USA. Strong engine the best ever traction in snow. Twice the car was towed into VW dealer because it wouldn't start in zero degees. Tires only 60% worn after 58,000 miles. The AC unit is pushed to the limits in mid 90 degree weather."
Cons: "expensive upkeep & repairs, not for extreme cold"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6
"I'm 2nd owner on my 2004 VW Golf GLS TDI manual; have driven it for 6 years now. I've driven many types of vehicles, and this remains among my favorites for its stability and handling. It's great in sun, rain, sleet, and snow. It has great fuel economy (I used to get 45–48 mpg under 100K; now 43–45 mpg). I can easily fit 2 bikes in the back with the back seats down; the hatchback has a wide opening. My list of cons is going to be a bit detailed, so I just want to reiterate again that I *love* how this car handles, and that is what balances out everything below. |||||||
First, a note about diesel engines for noobs: |||
Fuel: Diesel can be hard to find. I downloaded an app that helps me find diesel fuel on the go. |||
Emission: This car has been grandfathered into US emissions standards. I've never failed a test; however, this is nowhere near "clean" diesel (which we've learned is a myth, anyhow) and is, in fact, quite dirty. I have asthma and sometimes the exhaust bothers me when I first start it up. |||
Cold weather: Even though oil changes are much less frequent for diesels, I always change the oil before winter because the car starts more reliably at or below 0 degrees with fresh synthetic. The car has always started for me in cold weather eventually, but below 10 it gets cranky. They sell winterized fuel in the winter in my location, so I haven't ever used additives. The cabin takes forever to warm up in cold weather. ||||||
Repairs: Repairs are frequent and expensive. In my city with bad road infrastructure, I have to work on the suspension every other year ($750). I had to replace the turbo at 140,000 mi ($1,800). Around the same time, small motors on windows, windshield wipers, etc, began to break. Timing belt is coming up again soon. Clutch is still good (*knock on wood*). A lot of small pieces in the interior have broken (common in VWs of this era). All repairs and upkeep cost more than in more common vehicles. |||
Overall, if you like the handling of older diesels that aren't subject to recalls, if you're looking for something stable and can afford repairs, if you don't live in a climate that regularly gets weather below 0˚F, I would definitely recommend this car."
"I bought my Golf new and have put almost 90,000 miles on it in ten years of mixed city and highway driving. It has had very few problems along the way and always gets a clean bill of health at oil changes and tune-ups. Like other VWs I've owned, it came with far more standard features than comparably-priced Toyotas, Hondas, etc., with the additional benefit of being great fun to drive. It's peppy, goes from zero to 60 without even blinking, and handles like a much more expensive car. The fuel economy isn't great--I get about 23-24 miles in city driving and less than 30 on the highway--but it's acceptable. My only complaint is that the interior hasn't held up all that well: the straps on the hatch cover broke; the back seat no longer locks in the normal position; the knob for the side-view mirror adjustment broke long ago, so mirrors have to be adjusted manually. But those minor complaints aside, my Golf has been a joy to drive."