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."
"Until I got my 2002 Golf, my favorite car had been my 82 Honda Accord hatchback, but this has outdone that car! Almost as reliable (but not quite), and endless fun to drive, handles wonderfully, stable, holds corners and curves to give a thrill to driving.
Up to 112,000 miles now, and my Golf still runs like a much newer car, is still stylish and fresh looking, although gas mileage has dropped 4-5 mpg with age. I keep up with all scheduled maintenance at VW dealer (a bit pricey), but it seems worth it, since the car is running so well. I love that it runs like a peppy, sporty car, is very responsive, yet hauls all sorts of large objects, e.g. camping gear, two bikes inside, or even a dishwasher, and fits in tight city parking spaces easily. Minor annoyances are plastic parts that break off, not being able to change a headlight without taking to the dealer, and the frequency with which rear lights burn out-at least I can get to them to change them myself!
Love the Golf, would highly recommend it to others. Works great as an only car for two person household, but my friends love me to swap with them if I need to borrow a minivan or truck to move really big stuff, or take 6 or 7 folks somewhere!"
"I bought my car 2004 with 60k and it has now 100k. Besides the normal scheduled maintenance (timing belt/water pump/brakes), I had no issues with the car whatsoever. The interior is classy, the handling/brakes are great, engine could have more HP despite the torque in low RPM. The car is way better than comparable Civics/Corollas."
Pros: "Excellent fuel mileage and has held up very well!"
Cons: "Suspension is mediocre at best."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I've owned this car since new. Other than normal maintenance it has never needed any unnecessary repairs. Never left me stranded or hating the car. That said the suspension leaves much to be desired. I don't know what VW was thinking because it is borderline terrible. Quick turns are sluggish with a lot of body roll. The engine is awesome and I've never had less that 40mpg average. Highway driving will easily give you over 50mpg. Can't beat that! Fit and finish have been great and the car doesn't really show its age at all. Hate that I'm going to have to sell for something with more room."
"this is my wifes car and after driving it a few time im in love with the car.(i love trucks only) this car broke my hate for FWD cars. i love to drive it. the only bad thing i can think of is its under powerd. but the trans shifts very very well making it so u never have to really step on the gas hard. get really great gas milage and the VW servis center is great compaired to any other i have been to.
i gave 5 stars on every thing but performance,it got 4. but this is a all around 5 star car."
"I bought my 2001 VW Golf TDI new near the end of 2000. At the time I was commuting 150 miles a day for work and the mileage of the diesel was the reason I settled for this car. It now has 218,000 miles on it and shows no sign of fading. I tend to the minor maintenance myself, things like oil changes, brake replacement, lights, etc. The diesel engine has always started for me. It seems to struggle to stay running when the temperatures are below -10 degrees or when I park it overnight in the high elevations of Western Colorado. But it has never failed me. Because of it's inherent effeciency, the diesel engine doesn't warm up quickly, in fact it has electric heaters to warm up the engine coolant when it's cold.
This car drives well, rides well and handles well. It's not for the races but has ample power for most situations. But what sets this car apart from all others,including Toyota Prius's is it's fuel economy. My normal driving habits result in fuel mileage of 50 to 52 MPG on the newer ultra low sulphur diesel fuel. When I burn B99 bio-diesel it gets slighly less, maybe 49 MPG. My best tank of fuel at 774 miles was 57.6 MPG but that was in the days of low sulphur diesel fuel. Driving between Denver and Knoxville I fill up once in western Missouri.
Overall, I like this car but I probably won't try to keep it beyond 350,000 miles unless it's running really strong. I highly recommend this car to people like me who are DIY'ers and don't like spending limited resources on fuel."
"Bought my VW Golf 2000 6 years ago with about 38k miles, car has over 140k miles now. Never broke down and left me on the side of the road. Fun to drive in town, but not real comfortable for long trips. Although I drive it from Phoenix to Vegas regularly. Unless you can afford a BMW or Benz, still with a VW. Better than an Audi and a lot less expensive to repair."
"I've never gotten less than 42mpg in my Golf TDI...and that's in town! I've owned it for 3yrs now, and so far, so good on the electricals and integrity, but I've heard some horrow stories. I only have 17,000 miles on it, so we'll see.
The performance leaves a bit to be desired, but with the max torque being produced at 1800rpm, downshifting is never a necessity. I can cruise around at 35mph in 5th gear with no problems.
It's a small car and although roomy for a small hatchback, the backseat is almost useless for people. If you have kids, only 1 seat will realistically fit in the back (in the middle) and it's a pain to get them in/out. We always use my wife's minivan to go anywhere, even though it gets less than half the mileage.
Overall, a satisfying car with unbeatable gas mileage. I hope my good luck with reliablility continues. If not, the resale value (due to gas prices I assume) is almost what I paid for it!"
"bought the car new in '03'. replaced only the water pump and a battery. lacks horsepower but the gas mileage makes up for it. sounds great with intake on it and looks fantastic after 4 years. i would recommend a vw to anyone looking to buy a new car."
"Nice small hatchback. Looks great, especially the interior finish ... as good as an Audi. Had several warranty issues, so a bit annoying. One warranty issue led to premature break replacement at my own cost after warranty expired. Needs more power (the '07 Rabbit should have this problem fixed). Seems to hold its value well. I just hope that the electronics don't start failing me.
So far, so good. Fingers crossed."
"This car is awesome. Super fast and a blast to drive. Test drive one and you'll buy it. I've owned mine since 50k and is now at 80k with no problems. Definately suggest this car to anyone interested in it."
Cons: "Expensive to repair and needs lots of it too!!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"Gas mileage for this small car it is only 28 in a good day?! Parts are made of cheap plastics. Inside of car full of cheap plastic. In hot days of summer squeaks and in cold days of winter they rattles, Das Auto!! Unreliable Automatic Transmissions (AT) and EXPENSIVE to fix. if you must Get one make sure to get a 5/6 Speed Manuals. VW manufacturing said and insisted and stated in the manual AT its LIFETIME maintenance free thats A BIG LIE! most AT on VW are falling apart left and right do to problems like: Solenoid(s), AT Oil or clogged Oil filters, TRANSMISSION VALVE BODY and it cost parts only about $800 at the dealers *I call them Stiller's*!! or just quits on you all together do to the chain reactions of one or multiple part failures in the AT!!! We own a 2004 Jetta 5 speeds 2.oL Eng. runs good and a Golf 2.0L Eng. with a AT. we purchased them brand new in 2004 Golf have a bad AT, Jetta still running but costing a lots of money to keep this two VW operational!"
"I have been a chevy man for the last 6 years then i started looking in to vw cause of the gas milage they get i dont think i will ever get away from the vw line of cars there great for different types of people there still easy to work on not to expencive to repair and they are easy to get aftermarket parts for"
Pros: "Fun to drive, great gas mileage, reliable car!"
Cons: "No heated seats. Not fancy looking. Big deal!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have been driving this car for almost 7 years, and I absolutely love it. I just dropped it off for routine maintenance, and driving a 2012 Nissan has me missing my baby like crazy.
It's 11 years old now, but has never left me stranded on the side of the road, has never had anything under the hood go out, hugs the road like crazy (I commute over California's notorious, winding Highway 17 daily) with the body of the GTI racecar, gets 40-45 miles per gallon, and is just the best car ever.
People keep asking when I plan to upgrade to a newer car... I tell them when my car finally dies - considering most of these cars get 300-500,000 miles and I'm at 146,000, providing I don't get in an accident, it will be a while.
The best car ever. When it is time to say goodbye, I will be so upset!"
Pros: "drives well, plenty of space for small car, 49MPG"
Cons: "Interior plastic falls apart after a few years"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"49 miles per gallon on diesel and US Specs. This car goes over 100 MPH on the autobahn. After 10 years and 135000 miles it still drives smooth. The torque of the TDI engine makes all the difference. Forget about horsepower unless you are racing. Plenty of interior room. Plenty of trunk space. The only problems we had were: 1. replaced the water pump at 100,000, transmission and clutch at 130,000 miles. The only thing I don't like about the car is that the interior plastic parts got brittle after 5 years in the florida sun and the break easily. GLove box handle, parking break button, and center console all broken. But the car is like a tank. It just keeps going and getting great efficiency. Drives great!"
Pros: "Decent power, ~42MPG, roomy, Power everything."
Cons: "Cup holders, timing belt, lug bolts."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I bought this car with two things in mind: fuel economy, transportation. Seems reasonable, right? I was recommended this car by a fellow mechanic friend who has one and I bought this particular one seven months prior to me writing this review. Since initial purchase ($3k) and working out of minor things a car with 261k miles would need (wheel bearing $50, 4 Springs $200, timing belt $300, turbo $400 I do my own work) I have had no complaints. I'm at 276k now, on my second oil change ($45 lubro-moly and filter done every 10k if you do it yourself) I know my car is reliable for a very long time. If you live in a northern "salt belt" state, the body doesn't rust, maybe a front fender. For 16,000 miles in travel I've done in 7 months, it has costed me $1,416 in fuel @ an average $4.01 a gallon for diesel. At 42 mpg, it costs me $.10 a mile to travel the 63 miles I travel almost everyday. I know people who spend $1400 in 2 months for less miles traveled. If I had to go to Florida in a weekend with a friend, I would take this car. It is comfortable, automatic windows are sweet, hit the button once, window is up or down. Radio is loud and clear, could use an Aux input. Cruise control is nice. Only has the "diesel smell" when it initially start from cold and is gone as soon as you get in the car. If you don't like the smell, don't stand next to the exhaust pipe while you let your car warm up. I like the mechanical sounds, if you don't, they're not noticeable inside the car. Has decent power, you won't be praying to the "horsepower gods" when facing an interstate on-ramp. Handles great, tank in snow. I'm 6'6" and i'm comfortable, seat still has room to go back. Interior is VERY adjustable and easy to clean, even for tan.
Cons: Lug bolts, need 3 hands to put wheel on. Timing belt will only last 80k, less if you are looking into an automatic. Cup holders gladly dump drinks on heavy accelerations and will proudly fill your vents and radio front, make hazards flasher switch sticky with drink splash. Hand brake placed UNDER arm rest. Finding a used golf with a broken arm rest lid, slight tear on backrest of seat are not uncommon. Trunk lid may have problems with wiring causing wiper to work intermittently and some water gets in from the tail light, not enough to mold, but noticeable dampness. That's it."
"With MPG close to gasoline hybrids and all the "green" benefits of a diesel, including potential to be converted to a "grease car", this car is a true bargain. Turbo provides strong acceleration. Great secure handling, surprisingly smooth and quiet ride. You don't hear much road noise or diesel clatter inside the car with the windows up. Comfortable interior with lots of room for a small car. Monsoon audio sounds good. A/C is super cold and climate controls easy to use. Some other controls are a bit unusual but work well. Has been a reliable and economical car, returning 40 MPG on B20 biodiesel with a 530 mile fuel range. If you can find one of these, and can live with it being a diesel, buy it. You won't regret it."
"Great car. Heated seats are fantastic, work very well. Starts up well, even in coldest conditions in northern New England. Best mileage achieved thus far 52. Average 42- 45.
Could have a bit more room in back for adult seating, but for small family this car works well. Plenty of stow room in trunk. Rear seats fold flat and go up and down easily.
Great road feel, plenty of pick up. Great lomg term traveller.
Don't like the lack of warning when lights are left
on. Overall a great value and a very reliable car. Highly recommended car, strong diesel performer."
"This vehicle runs well and looks great. It's easy to drive and people always complement on it and say how nice it looks. Comfy to ride and and drive. I drove mine over 200,000 miles and with routine maintenance it lasted well beyond my mechanics estimations."
"I have a 2003 GLS TDI with 186,000 mils on it. I just completed a mileage check and got 43 mpg driving in town and 54mpg on a long run. Little things keep going wrong and the parts are very expensive, more than the Mercedes i have.
Other than that the car is fun to drive and the 1.9L turbo diesel has great torque so you can keep up with traffic, not like the early VW diesels where acceleration was poor and black smoke followed you!!"