"This car was 2 years old when I bought it. It gets pretty good gas mileage and decent performance considering the low-power engine. It is not a fast car, but a very good driving car and handles curvy roads very well. I had a couple electronic issues when I first purchased this car. The Check Engine light came on a few times for a few different things, which was annoying, but nothing major. Where this car really shines is its versatility, the hatchback trunk area is very roomy for a car of its size, and when you fold down the seats you can carry quite a bit of stuff.
Pros: cargo space, handling, gas mileage
Cons: Underpowered, a few electrical problems"
"I love my 2003 TDI Golf, I have only had a few problems(knock on wood!) , I drive fast and spirited ,I am amazed how I can run the A/C all the time drive up hills and still 38mpg! ,believe me all German cars have problems because of over engineering!
To sum it all up : if you buy a VW TDI get a friggen stick ,the sticks are better , but depending on the year replace the clutch ,maintain the car and the car will maintain you!
The car does maintain there price the TDI's that is! ,I will say I would buy a new car ,but I would hate the gas milage! and I refuse to buy an ugly toyota prius!
VW/Audi are going to release the new TDI ,but only in the Jetta for now in middle of spring 08, that is the projected date for the release of the TDI"
"I've been always a big fan of volks, but my golf is just amazing.
Confortable ride, smooth when it drives.
One thing. Always take your volks to a volks dealer for maintance! it is a little more expensive, but its worthwhile. I never had any problems so far. 1 year of use."
"Bought as a one owner car, 23K miles...by 60K I'd replaced the transmission and both cv joints (4000.00 bucks and I bought a used replacement transmission.) Reoccuring electrical issues (warning lights), seem to fix themselves after a couple days. A/C went out last month...compressor...trading it off now. Not worth the additional money. The Good? Smooth ride, fairly comfortable, nice options and a great sound system."
"I rolled my 2003 Golf GL last night and walked away with only a scratch on my arm, this car saved my life and I loved it while it was fully functional as well. I don't know how I am alive except for this car saving my life. It made the drive from CT to GA relaxing to go to school for and I truly miss it."
"My First Car was a 1979 VW Rabbit and I've been hooked ever since. The SECOND I pulled out of the VW Dealer and pressed the the Fuel Pedal I knew the 2004 Golf TDI was my car. With an automatic trans it averages 38 to 43 mpg and I hammer this thing. My kid (4yrs old) loves it because sitting in the center of the back seat gives him excellent visability.
I love letting people try my car, because they are ALWAYS surprised that a Diesel could be so snappy and so quiet driving down the road. This is NOT the diesel of the past.
Excellent driving in inclement weather too. Maintenance Wise: 1 Set of tires @ 50k, Rear Brakes @ 65k and Regular Oil Changes of course. The only issue I've had was a check engine light which was an $11.45 coolant sensor; after 75k... I'd call that a bargain."
"This has been the best car I have owned. Routinely gets 50mph with good power. I drive over a mountain every day and this car does not waiver from speed while climbing the hill. Good comfort inside. Comes with pretty much everything standard. Hugs the road nicely. I currently have 136000miles and plan to get at least 300k out of this one before buying another."
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."
"Bought this car in 2003 was 2 years old had 35k miles.
225,000 miles now no major problems other than regular maintenance, front axle broke because of a road hazard.first timing belt change at 190k miles and it still looked like new also replaced the water pump w/the timing belt but it wasnt leaking yet.I did have to replace the front struts but that was after 180k miles, the front wheel bearings went twice so far, and the front doors power windows kept breaking but VW fixed them for free everytime even after the warranty expired because they had a recall on them. Besides that nothing else still original clutch and no signs of going soon, the engine runs quiet and very smooth, chck engine light came on on humid or rainy days because the ignition wires needed replacing. Great car if maintained properly and not abused. I think I'll be good for at least another 100 to 150 K miles.a couple of annoying small problems besides the power windows regulator is the head lights frequent burning, they wont last more than 6 months."
Cons: "Expensive parts, hard to find a diesel mechanic"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"LOVE this car! With 317,000 miles, I've had no engine/tranny/steering rack issues at all. Suspension, exhaust and brakes have needed work,because of road salt and normal wear. The 1.9L diesel hauls a decent load in a small trailer, and I can fit a lot inside the car.
The ONLY complaint I have is that the seat reclines only by slowly cranking it with a wheel. I like to nap when I'm waiting for people, and I'd like a simple lever."
Pros: "Safe, never broke down, mpg, affordable maint."
Cons: "I got emotionally attached."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Hands down, I absolutely love this car. That's saying a lot, being that I am a car buff. I bought it used from a certified VW dealer in 2008 with 27k miles. It NEVER broke down. The only thing I needed the warranty for was to replace a wheel barring (~$1k job). The oil is easy to change yourself, as is all other routine maintenance (also affordable at an honest garage). I was in love. It was as fun to drive as a loaded rally car, but not crazy enough to be targeted by police. 4 doors = a must. When the back seats are put down, there's tons of cargo space. Oh, and great speakers. The dash displays are nice too (blue and red color scheme).
If you are worried about driving a small car because of safety, I hear you. However, I commuted 60 miles (hwy) in this car a day and it kept me safe. No blind spots, too. Last month, I got rear ended at a stop light by a big Toyota pickup going 50mph. The kid was texting or something. My Golf was pushed into the Volvo in front of me... and it was totaled. I was well enough to get myself out of the car, but did go to the hospital. If i was in a Civic hatchback, it would have been another story. I miss this car terribly and am grateful it kept me safe (perhaps even saved my life). Those Germans know how to design a good frame and crumple zones..."
"Thinking about a used TDI ? Wondering if they are worth the money ? I would say they are.
The 2001 Golf TDI that I have owned now for 7 years is a great car. I have averaged 45 mpg in a 50/50 mix of highway city driving. I have had very few problems other than normal wear and tear / maintenance issues. The car drives like a larger more comfortable car and even with 210,000 miles, it has NO rattles and uses no oil between the 10,000 mile oil change intervals .
I would say that the performance is the only negative , as it takes about 13 seconds to get to 60. Cruising at 70 to 80 mph though, is effortless and extremely comfortable. Another big plus is not having to stop for gas much. I regularly hit 700 miles on a tank when driving conservatively. My best was 890 miles, but that was drafting trucks and driving no faster than 55, which simply isn't practical. If you are seeing reports of these cars achieving 60 mpg, it is possible.... but only if you drive extremely conservatively, and I would say wrecklessly, because people coming up on you doing 50 to 55 in a 65 might very well rear end you.
A real world MPG of 45 is not hard to average, and actually easy to exceed. My experience on a flat road during the spring (no A/C )showed @60mpg at 50mph, @55mpg at 55mph, @50mpg at 60 to 65 mph, and @48 mpg at 70 to 75mph. Wind , (yes , wind ) time of year (A/C usage and diesel additives for cold weather ) and overall steadiness with the accelerator can move these numbers around a bit, but on highway trips, the turbo direct injected 1.9L ALH is simply a wonderful example of German engineering.
I think when it comes to value, this is the best car I have ever owned. I definately have enjoyed it the most.
Good luck on finding one ,(as they are kind of rare), and I hope you have the success I found with mine !"
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."
Pros: "Rock solid reliability, cheap to own, handles well"
Cons: "Slow!, Not really a looker, Very small"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I recently traded this car in simply because I wanted more out of a car. (More power, a little bit of luxury, bigger, more comfortable). After 10 years and 121,000 it just didn't really suit my life style anymore…But, this car served me so well during that time that I feel compelled to give it the recognition it deserves.
People can say what they will about VW reliability, and a lot of it may be true regarding the other models, but these little hatchbacks really can't be beat when it comes to practicality, reliability, and utility. This thing never once let me down. I can easily recall every instance of taking it in for non-maintenance repairs. This is easy because it only happened 3 times. The first was in the first week of ownership to replace a part that was causing a knocking sound in the front axel area. Dealer swapped with no fuss. It was a little concerning to have something break that early in ownership, but I was rewarded for not giving up on it. It didn't go back in for a repair until 75,000 miles when the thermal sending unit needed to be replaced for $400. This would've been a lot less had I done it myself or taken it to an independent, but at the time I thought the stealership was the only way to go. Live and learn. The last time was around 95,000 when the O2 sensors went and took out the catalytic converter. Luckily, VW warrantied the Cats for 100,000, so they swapped for free and I replaced the O2 sensors myself for around $200. Other than that, it was just maintenance and wear items. The cost of ownership on this car was just ridiculously low.
From a driving standpoint, you aren't likely to have your hair blown back in this car. However, it handles surprisingly well for its class and will be far less boring than most of the Japanese econo-car counterparts. I thought the interior was very classy and simple. Just a great car to knock-around town in, or take cross country…which I did twice.
Im sure most people aren't very likely to be considering a Golf this old, but this is more of a testament to the longevity of the Golf line. If you're considering a new one, I say go for it. If you want reliability with a little taste of entry level German engineering, you won't be disappointed."
Cons: "suspension too soft, quality of the interior"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5
"The car is fun to drive and handles well. The GL model has a softly sprung suspension and it does not do well over roads with pot holes. The gas mileage is good, I seldom have to fill it up. I had to replace the cooling fan and coolant sensor as well as the front strut mounts and left front wheel bearing. Other than that, I've had no other problems. The cooling fan seems to be a common problem based on other reviews that I've read. The beige interior is hard to keep clean and the fabric is pulling away from the front door panels and the head liner is starting to pull away in the front. The estimate for a new headliner and to re upholster the door panels is $300. The battery fails without warning consistently every 4 years as I am on the third battery."
"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."
"I have the 2001 Golf GL TDI automatic, 116,000 miles on it. I love the fuel economy. That and constant pressure from my husband that "it is a great car" are the only reasons that I have kept the car for 7 years. There have been times where I've been tempted to push it off of a bridge though. Transmission went at 80K miles, turbo went at 110k. Probably both related to a big boo boo by the VW garage when I first got the car....they replaced my instrument cluster with one for a stick shift...the computer couldn't send the engine the right information. I'm sure that driving the car home did some damage. Biggest problems throughout the years have included: replacing both door switches (one at a time, at different times) so that it wouldn't lock me in the car and would allow me to start it without the alarm going off; replacing the brake light switch so I could get it out of park; several temperature sensors; several glow plug harnesses; three or four sets of glow plugs; replacing the transmission; replacing the turbo; plus several recalls for this model year. (If you buy one, make sure all of the recall work has been done!) Regular maintenance (other than oil, air filters, etc) has included replacing the timing belt and the water pump. Any major maintenance like this has ALWAYS created more problems...like the techs trying to reset the timing correctly so that the car will be able to start correctly. Seems impossible for them to do. I have to replace the battery every two years. You MUST, MUST, MUST have a GREAT mechanic close by if you decide to buy this model. A good mechanic isn't good enough. You must have a big car repair budget if you decide to buy this model. It is sporty and is comfortable to ride in. There is lots of leg room in the back for being a 2 door. The only place a baby car seat will fit is in the middle back though, and it is hard to squeeze through the door to get it in. I like the hard molded seats...good for people like me with sciatica. I like that it has so many air bags. I'm sure though if I ever wrecked it that the cost to replace and reset the airbags would total the car. Looking back on this message, I'm crazy/stupid to have kept it this long. (What was I thinking listening to my husband? He's not the one who has to drive it.) My next car will be a Honda or Toyota! I think I'll start shopping for one tomorrow!"
"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."
"After driving and loving my 1986 VW Golf 4dr hatchback, manual transmission I decided that it was time for some air conditioning. So I went and found one as close to my 1st love as possible. Finally found one, 2005 VW Golf TDI 4dr hatchback, manual transmission. The only differance was that this one came with a sunroof, power everything and the color.
Just as was expected, the mileage was the same. It will cost you just about a "1/2 pint" of gas/diesel to go any where. New, on the highway on a 12 gallon tank, I went 513 miles with the A/C blowing as fast and as cold as it would blow. City on that same tank, I went 445 miles. Very satisfied. After 8 years of driving, still very satisfied. Highway, is about 455 miles and city is 395 miles.
I fill up about every 2-3 weeks depending on how much I drive. It now costs me about $43.00 to fill up, as compared to 8 years ago at about $28.00.
The worst part about my car is that my interior is tan in color. With 8 years of driving and 2 kids, the interior could use a good steam cleaning.
So for all of you who have had poor service from your VW, rest assured that every manufacturer has a "lemon" in the line up. Don't give up yet, there are definately great serving vehicles out there."
"I've owned this vehicle for 5 years now, buying it used with just under 100,000 miles. Previous owner took great care of it, as have I. People say that VW's are unreliable and expensive to fix. I would use my car as Exibit A to the contrary. During the following 106,000 miles, I have serviced the car at the recommended intervals of 10,000 miles. Which means 10 oil changes, 5 air filters(20,000 miles), 5 cabin filters(20,000 miles), and 5 diesel fuel filters(20,000 miles). I do all of the work myself, which helps with the costs, but none-the-less I have done little else to this car. The timing belt/water pump/accessory belt replacement was done at 77,000 miles by the previous owner and I had it done at 160,000(due evey 80,000) at a local dealer. That can be a little pricey($700-$1,000 depending on the dealer), but the rest of the ownership experience makes up for it. Other than that I will be putting my 3rd set of tires on this within a few weeks. The set that was on this car from the previous owner lasted me to about 115,000. The first set I put on were a sportier tire that lasted to about 145,000. I currently have Hankook Optimo H727 on it and they are the BEST tires I've ever owned. I also replaced the front brakes myself at around 150,000 miles. There was one recall open when i bought it for a Stop Lamp Switch(common to many makes/models) which the service writer took care of on the spot himself in the parking lot. Over the last 106,000 miles i have averaged 46 mpg, with several tanks of 50-52 mpg, and as low as 44mpg on winter diesel. The car has avery comfortable ride. It rides better than most others in its size class and handles better as well. VW's are known for having great ride and handling. It's a european thing. The interior is well designed. Comfortable seats. Ergonomic design. Quality materials that have worn well. More standard features than many of its competitors in this size class. Things like an 8 speaker stereo, side and head curtain air bags, alloy wheels, abs, power"
"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."
"I had to sue VW to uphold a warrantee issue. Transmission started to fail at 80K; door locks failed at about 90K; fan for heating an cooling system cost a bundle now. I maintained this car meticulously but it is cheaply constructed. Also, the OEM tires lasted less than 20K and I drive like an old lady. Plastic components are brittle and the electrical shorts out (like a BMW I once had) regularly. Since this was THE most expensive compact on the market when I bought it, I think that it is a ripoff. Only good part is the paint finish. Never again!"