What's the used Volkswagen Golf hatchback like?
Park a 2003 VW Golf alongside the current model and its lineage is very clear. That’s to your benefit, because Volkswagen’s conservatism has made this fifth-generation model a very appealing used buy.
When it was introduced all the way back in 2003 we praised the addition of sophisticated multi-link rear suspension, because this made it more fun to drive than previous Golfs. While a Ford Focus is still a bit more fun, it's not as comfortable.
As has long been the case with Volkswagen, the interior is a byword for simplicity and functionality, allied to fantastic material quality – the Golf feels a like a premium car inside.
The fifth-generation also brought with it an improvement in interior space, with the car comfortably seating four adults, even if a fifth is a bit of a squeeze. For the typical family you’re unlikely to find it lacking, and if you need a bigger boot there’s always the more commodious estate model.
Only the 1.9-litre diesel engine lets the side down, sending lots of vibration through the pedals and making a lot of noise, although the trade-off is fine fuel economy, particularly on longer journeys.