As a motor trader I have owned many cars, and driven even more, however in overall terms I just dont think there is anything to touch this car. The quality is superb, the fuel economy is similar to what I used to get from my first vehicle which was a moped THIRTY years ago (god I feel old), the acceleration is almost as good as my second vehicle which was a Kawasaki that was sooo quick it almost killed its next owner. BMW owners can keep their baseball caps, Mercedes drivers can keep their rust blisters and I'll definately keep my Golf until I find a GT TDi 150 at the right price. About the only marque that comes close to VW is Audi which is obviously from the same stable, BMW and Mercedes owners are truly blighted by their ignorance, they don't know what they're missing!
this has been a disappointment, driver`s electric window suddenly dropped down, jammed , glove box door opens when I drive over a bump!, leaking water hose, engine cuts out when I slow down/turn slowly/park up, tickover is all over the place,so after 2 years of owning it I need to spend loads. Good points.. I bought the vw dog guard, it is excellent, so I am letting my labrador have the damn car.
The MkIV Golf GTI 1.8 Turbo 20 Valve is a very nice car to own, No problems so far, very good throttle response, great acceleration when turbo is on boost. It has very good pick up and torque in all gears across a variety of the rev range. I've had a cat-back Milltek twin port exhaust system fitted, a hyperboost valve, a BMC Induction Kit and Chip Tuned. The Car is now putting 244.67bhp to the wheels. Gearbox nice but a bit too loose, could be a lot more notchy and tight.
The handling is nice but a bit too much oversteer for a front wheel drive vehicle, you have to watch out sometimes as you get a small amount of oversteer then a huge amount of understeer, which can be nice but it wont warn you, you have to be ready for it otherwise you can be looking at where you've just come from. Not much torque steer for a front wheel drive, but too unpredictable handling to use on race track unless it had a lot of space for run off! The Steering at times is a bit wooly (not much feedback).
Suspension is nice and tight, bit too much roll, can be sorted with strut braces front and rear, brakes are good standard.
Interior is more than adequate with recaro seats which hold your entire body nice and tight with the roll of the car, you even get lumbar supports and racing bolsters. Aircon / Climate Control are standard as is dash/boot mounted six disc changer and trip computer. Standard Gamma Stereo System is more than adequate.
I bought this car new in 2002 (52 plate) from Motorpoint (imported). It has been extremely reliable. It is fairly cheap to run and excellent quality inside and out.
I find it a comfortable car to drive and fairly speedy for a 1.6 when you push it. The only real problem I've experienced is ignition coil failure. Apparently this is an inherent fault in 02/03 models, but VW haven't recalled the vehicles. When mine went a couple of weeks ago I was told VW was out of stock of the part in the UK and they wouldn't be able to repair the car for over three weeks.
I was fuming and spent several days ranting on the phone to head office. Eventually they agreed to pay for a hire car, but just as they were about to get it, the part amazingly appeared and the car was repaired. It's definetly worth fighting if you experience the same problem. Otherwise, I'm looking to get a mkIV in the next year or so.
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