Years built: 2004 to 2012
Bodystyles: five and Three-door hatchback, five-door estate, five-door compact MPV
The Golf has gone by reviewing the birth in 1974 being a funny, squared-off replacement for the evergreen Beetle to being the best-selling and probably most beloved hatchback of the age. Over 30-million Golfs have been sold around the world and not only does it define the course within which it sits, it also acts as the benchmark up to which all others must strive.
Golfs are classy, sophisticated and cool which is a pretty neat trick when you keep in mind that, essentially, they may be simply a practical, sensible family hatchback. It’s a trick that VW has pulled off through decades of careful, clever marketing and advertising, slowly convincing us that, somehow, a Golf is inherently superior to its peers.
It’s currently the best-selling car in Ireland, and has never been out of the top-ten selling cars since it was introduced, so locating a good one shouldn’t represent a great deal of problem.
What one should I buy?
Volkswagen happens to be selling the seventh generation of Golf, but the good thing is that the fifth and sixth generations were essentially the same car. Although VW told us that 2009 MkVIVW Golf Mk VI Used Car was a new model, really it absolutely was a thorough re-skin and re-engineering job about the MkV that had been launched in 2004. Actually, most of the changes were to do with making the car easier and cheaper for VW to create (MkVs were pretty much heroically over-engineered) so in practical terms, there’s very little to separate them.
Of both generations, you can find four basic models you should give full attention to. But nonetheless want something that’s not going to mug you each time you visit the pumps, choose a 1.4 TSI, when you dislike diesel. It used a complicated-but-clever 1.4 petrol engine fitted with both a supercharger plus a turbocharger, as well as the upshot is decent 40mpg economy with solid performance. If diesel’s your thing, then the MkVI BlueMotion is the one to go for. It utilizes a miserly 1.6-litre 105hp diesel to great effect. 60mpg is easy-peasy but performance is still punchy and it feels as good to operate as any other Golf.
But wish to keep on the economical side of things, go for a Highline-spec 2. TDI 140hp however, if you’re spending that much money you may as well go the complete hog and have the evergreen Golf GTI, if you want a somewhat more oomph. For the money, the MkV GTI was a bit more fun to drive than the more refined MkVI version, but either way, you’re getting a hot hatch legend and a motoring icon. Just ignore the oddball Golf Plus MPV. You’re better off using the bigger Touran if you need the additional space.
How much should I spend? Around €13,000 to get a 2010 Bluemotion, €11,000 for a 2008 GTI
Here’s one we found:
2008 Volkswagen Golf GTI manual, SIMI registered dealer, 127,000km, two owners, €10,495
What goes wrong?
VW Golf Mk VI Used GuideOn MkV models; seek out timing belt trouble on 1.1 and 4.6 petrol engines, and the FSI direct injection 1.6 doesn’t like regular unleaded. Interiors, despite their solidity, can develop lots of rattles and squeaks. Noisy front suspension means a rebuild, grinding noises from the steering means a rack replacement and suspension misalignment murders tyre wear. ABS units give trouble, as do diesel oil pumps and turbos and both manual and automatic gearboxes can be weak.
On MkVI models; early cars had clutch trouble – be sure yours has become replaced, some had poorly fitted doors, electrics want a thorough check to make sure things are all working as advertised and Bluemotion models can suffer from particulate filter blockages.
Colour is everything with a Golf. Pick an insipid paint scheme and yes it just looks all wrong. Go for a nice dark metallic, preferably on option wheels to keep things looking smart. MkV versions especially enjoy the chunky GT-style bodykit, whilst the lower ride height of Bluemotion models really boosts the looks.