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Volkswagen Golf (2004–2008)

Last updated 8 August 2019

 
3
Decent handling and comfortable on the move, impressive TSI engines, massive improvement over the previous Golf, high-economy Bluemotion models, high quality feel of interior, five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.
Generally harder ride than a Focus. 1.9 TDI diesel is noisy but far more reliable than 2.0 TDI. Demoted from 4 stars to 3 stars for too many expensive problems.
Updated 8 August 2019

Report of problemns with ESP of VW Golf Mk V GTi at 95,000 miles. ESP light flashing and then occasionally a front wheel brakes under ABS when really there is no requirement or road condition warranting...

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Introduction

No car is as important to any car maker as the new Golf is to Volkswagen. That famous David Bailey, Paula Hamilton commercial, “Few things in life are as reliable as a Volkswagen” was for a Mk II Golf. But the Mk III was a step back. And though the Mk IV was an improvement, it has hardly been the last word in reliability. VW had pushed living on past reputation as far as it could. The cars still carry status a Focus owner can only dream of, yet the public probably wouldn’t have forgiven another Golf that didn’t really live up to it. "

If you've never ever driven a Volkswagen Golf before and your perception is of a rock-solid piece of superb German engineering, then this Volkswagen Golf will live up to that perfectly. It looks good. It feels good. And it drives very well indeed.

From the first point of contact with the Volkswagen Golf it's hard not to be impressed by the German cars excellent build quality. The weighty doors close with a satisfying thud and all the controls work with real precision. The Golf's sophisticated image still sets the benchmark for desirability among hatchbacks and it's easy to see why it remains so popular.

True, the safe looks won't break any boundaries but the simple lines and detailing appeal directly to Volkswagen's core buyers. There's not much that catches the eye, aside from the circular design of the rear light clusters, but the unfussy approach is neat. Fortunately what the Golf lacks in visual impact it more than makes up for in quality.

The cabin, although quite sombre, uses top quality materials with a layout that is easy to get on with and a high-class construction. There's good storage too although standard equipment isn't as generous as many other hatches of this type. But there are some great engines available from economical (if somewhat noisy) TDI diesels to advanced turbocharged TSI petrols.

Sadly, the Mk V Golf has not always been the paragon of reliability that buyers perception expected it to be.

VW Golf Mk V 2004 Road Test 

Owners' reviews

5
Comfort, quality, power and versatility
4
Dependable and inconspicuous.
4
A good all rounder, I like the diesel torque and mpg, but not as much fun as my Mk1 Focus.
4
Fast, Fun, Frugal with room for family of five. Not as reliable as VW hype makes out.
3
fair car, did expect to be more reliable
4
SMOOTH FAST AND ECONOMICAL-CHEAP EXTENDED WARRANTY
List Price from £21,735
Buy new from £16,995
Contract hire from £169.20 per month
 

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