The three-door models are cheaper than the five-door cars, but they aren't as easy to live with.
The 113bhp 1.6-litre FSI is our favourite engine: it's powerful enough, and economical.
The 120, 138 or 168bhp 1.4-litre TSI units are rare, yet also worth looking for because they deliver decent pace and economy.
Diesels range from the non-turbo 2.0-litre SDI, through the acceptable 1.9 TDIs and up to the preferred 2.0 TDIs.
The entry-level S trim comes with a CD player and air-con, but no alloys. The SE fixes that and adds a better stereo and improved trim (from late '06, SE models were called Match).
GT models get sports suspension, larger alloys and dual-zone climate control.
Automatic options include a six-speed auto gearbox or VW's DSG semi-auto system.
The sporty Golfs include the 2.0-litre GTI and four-wheel-drive 3.2-litre R32. The first is a brilliant hot hatch, while the second is fast, but expensive.