VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability  
VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - ACE - Surrey

I am looking to change my Ford Focus turbo diesel. I now only do 10K miles pa with lots of short runs and need a small car for day to day use but which is large enough and powerful enough for comfortable holiday touring in France. Having read all Honest John's warnings about the potential problems with modern turbo diesels particularly on short runs, I have been looking for a petrol engine. The VW Golf with the 1.4TSI 122ps engine seems to meet all my requirements and the flexibility of the engine makes it a good replacement for the turbo diesels that I have been used to. But I am concerned that I am getting a very complex engine which has the potential for just as many expensive failures as the more frugal turbo diesels that I am rejecting. Should I be concerned about the reports of problems with this engine that can be found on other internet forums?

Tags: buying diesels petrol or diesel? DPF short journeys

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - MikeTorque

There are lots of 1.4 TSi engines running quite happily as well. Sure they have a turbo and are direct injection but so will most of the petrol engines of tomorrow cus that's the way the technology is going.

If you buy a new Golf 1.4 TSi you'll have a 3 year warranty so if you get any problems you should be covered ok. It's worth considering the 1.2 TSi 105 engine, smooth and really torquey, more economical to run than the 1.4 TSi and cheaper to purchase, it'd be the one I'd go for in the petrol range.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - ACE - Surrey

Thanks for the reassurance. I agree that the 1.2 TSI 105 is likely to be adequate for daily use round town but would it be powerful enough for relaxed driving when the car is fully loaded on long journeys across France?

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - daveyjp
If you are looking at buying new you can only hope VAG are picking up on warranty claim issues and modifying the design, as they did with the oil cooler on the early 2.0 TDi.

I'm biased, but a Mercedes B180 may suit you. New model just launched, so old ones should be available at sensible money and no turbo to worry about.
VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - thirts

When you say fully loaded, what do you mean?

Unless you're towing, I suspect all the extra weight of being fully loaded, is less than the weight of an extra passenger. And I'm sure the 1.2 TSI could handle that

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - ACE - Surrey

'Fully loaded' is usually the driver and one passenger but with the boot and rear footwells full of luggage and possibly two or three cases of wine on the return journey - sufficient to make a difference in the handling of the car.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - Honestjohn

The problem with 1.4TSIs seems to be confined to the superchaerged and turbocharged engines from 140PS to 180PS. In hot conditions they sometimes seem to overfuel and this reduces bore lubrication leading to piston failure. It obviously does not happen to all engines and, as long as the engines have not been chipped, VAG seems to be taking this issue on the chin and fixing problems FOC. There is much more about this in The Backroom. Does not seem to be any problem with the wartercooled turbo-only 1.4TSI and the turbo-only 1.2TSI.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - ACE - Surrey

Thanks, Honest John. I feel reassured on the technical issues, but am now unsure about the engine size. Do you think that the 1.2 TSI 105ps engine is adequate for relaxed motoring with the Golf hatchback on autoroutes & D roads, if the car is fully loaded as described above?

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - tanvir

It's only around £500 more for the 1.4, and in the real world the fuel economy will be similar.

I drive a 1.6 100hp Focus and it's alright when it's just me and a passenger but with the boot and rear seats full it does struggle somewhat. I came from a Mondeo TDCi 115, and performance is the same with no load but there is a big difference when fully loaded.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - Bobbin Threadbare

It's only around £500 more for the 1.4, and in the real world the fuel economy will be similar.

I drive a 1.6 100hp Focus and it's alright when it's just me and a passenger but with the boot and rear seats full it does struggle somewhat. I came from a Mondeo TDCi 115, and performance is the same with no load but there is a big difference when fully loaded.

I second that - I had a 1.6 Focus and loaded it with luggage and three passengers to drive to the north of Scotland. No problems at all, but it wasn't exactly sprightly!!!

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - unthrottled

I know the 100 hp Focus wasn't quick (my dad had an estate with this engine and cursed it for being slow), but a turbo motor is going to much stronger lower than down the rev range than the peak hp would suggest.

Hj-all turbo petrols run horribly rich under WOT especially when things get hot. It was the spray patterns that were the problem, rather than the injected quantity.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - ACE - Surrey

Sorry to be thick. What's WOT?

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - unthrottled

Sorry-acronyms should always be defined! Wide Open Throttle.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - ACE - Surrey

Thank you. From my initial test drive with the 1.4 TSI 122ps there shouldn't be much need for WOT. It seemed to pull remarkably well at low revs and I am well past the stage of being a boy racer even if traffic & road conditions in Surrey would allow it.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - glawrie

Just to let you know I have a 60 reg Mk VI VW Golf TSI 5d with the 160bhp version of the engine. I purchased it from a main dealer 7 months ago, and it is now done 25000 miles. Last week the orange engine warning light come on and we took it in to the dealer from where it was purchased to get it checked out. The car is covered by the VW approved warranty that applies to approved used cars over 3 years old.

My experience suggests that whatever VAG might think, their dealers have other ideas:

  • The initial diagnosis work identified loss of compression in cylinder 3, but even so the dealer was not prepared to submit the details to the warranty company. They wanted to strip the top half of the engine to expose pistons to confirm diagnosis, and said they would only proceed with the diagnosis if I agreed to pay for the cost of the work if they were wrong and there was nothing wrong with the pistons.
  • I refused this generous offer, and nothing happened. After a day of argument I eventually had to agree to underwrite 50% of the cost of the diagnosis work should the garage have made a mistake...
  • Engine was duely stripped down and a cracked piston / damaged cylinder liner found. It took a day for garage to assemble 'proof' of the damage to the engine, and another half day to submit this to the warranty company. We are awaiting approval from the warranty company before they do anything else - so for now they won't schedule a repair or even order parts. Asked why not, got two different answers.
  • the damage might be result of driver abuse of the engine,
  • the garage don't know what repair to carry out until warranty company tells them.
  • The first reason is just plain offensive - not clear they know what a driver could do that would cause cylinder to crack - but presumably they would know this from the evidence uncovered rather than having to wait for an insurance firm to tell them this
  • The second reason is bizarre, in that it suggests dealer is not sure how to repair the problem.

Despite all of this going on, the garage still found time to contact me to suggest that "since your car is in the repair shop" I should pop £200 to have two bits of paint work buffed up by the body shop and put some new tyres on the car.

I have no idea when this will be fixed, or how much the garage will expect me to pay. But the idea in above posting that VAG is 'taking this issue on the chin' clearly hasn't reached the good VW people of south bucks... ;(

If this is representative, strong advice should be to avoid the 160bhp TSI engine - getting it sorted out while under warranty is non-trivial. I imagine trying to get it sorted out of warranty would be futile.

Edited by glawrie on 23/05/2014 at 14:13

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - Sulphur Man

Sobering post, glawrie, and very controlled. I'd probably be blazing so hard as to be unable to type on a keyboard.

I assume you're copying those bulletpoints into a letter for VAG UK?

It's the VAG 'approved' warranty - their warranty - not a third party?. Therefore, the idea that you have to stump up cash BEFORE any investigative or remedial work can be undertaken is intolerable, regardless of the perceived poor reliability of this particular engine.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - Avant

I agree with others - go for the 1.4 122bhp. The 1.2 would have been fine for your short runs but you'll appreciate the 1.4 for the French trips. The Golf estate or Skoda Octavia hatch / estate are worth considering if you need the room.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - MikeTorque

I'd suggest test drives with the 1.2 TSi 105 and 1.4 TSi 122, then decide which you prefer after the test drives, both have enough grunt for long runs. However, check on delivery times as they can be around 5 to 6 months for some engines.

Edited by MikeTorque on 01/04/2012 at 20:56

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - ACE - Surrey

Thanks to everyone who contributed responses to my query. I was very impressed with the 1.4TSI engine on a long test drive and have now bought a low mileage used Golf to avoid the long delays in getting a new car. I have forgone a couple of extras I might have had but the Match trim has more than enough toys to keep me occupied. I will let you know how I get on.

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - balleballe

I drove a golf with a 1.4TSI today

I have to say - i'm very impressed. If the engine proves reliable long-term then I may just look into it for my next car

The torque seems to kick in very low down in the rev-range, I was expecting it to kick in at perhaps 2k, but it was there in sufficient quantity even at 1.5k

VW Golf - 1.4 TSI engine reliability - IRC

I've got the 1.4Tsi in my 2012 Octavia. 16k miles. No issues. In relaxed driving it pulls well from around 1400 revs, even in top gear.

I test drove the 1.2 but felt that a big car needed a bit more power for A road overtaking.

MPG? I get around 47mpg at 70-75mph motorway driving. An A road trip from Glasgow to Skye and back at 45-60mph speeds got 52mpg.

I've not measured the mpg in mixed local driving but I'm sure it gets far more than my old 1.8 petrol Mondeo while delivering similar performance.

Between the two engines - the 1.4Tsi pulls far better from low revs but the Mondeo was slightly faster overtaking at high revs.

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