"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."
"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 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."
"Don't believe everything you hear about VW reliability. Most of those ratings are for car reliability in the first 3 months. This is by far the most solid and reliable car I have ever owned (at 97K, so far). I bought it on the recommendation of a friend, who owned his 1986 Golf for 12 years, without problems. You can drive these cars well past 175K with ease!"
"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: "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: "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."
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."
"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!"