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Volkswagen Golf Mark IV (98-04) - Used

Volkswagen Golf Mark IV (98-04)


3 stars


Average. A desirable small family car in its day, this fourth generation of the Golf was not the best drive in the class - that accolade belongs to the Ford Focus - but its classy looks and almost luxurious interior have won it a strong following. Though very well finished the Golf IV is not as bullet-proof as VW's reputation might suggest, with problems ranging from squeaking and rattling interior trim to water pump failures on 1.4 petrol engines. Both the 1.4 and 1.6 can have gearbox trouble, though VW sometimes contributes to the cost. The diesels can suffer premature camshaft wear if the oil isn't changed regularly, so check for a complete service history. The smaller of the two cooling fans on the V5, V6 and PD diesel cars can fail, casuing the main fan to work overtime and potentially fail, leading to potentially expensive overheating. And windows can jump their runners. Careful examination of these cars pays off, and a warranty is desirable. The Focus makes a more dependable used buy. The range kicks off with the modest1.4-litre petrol, takes in several potent diesels (the 130bhp six-speeder is excellent) and runs right up to a 3.2-litre petrol V6 with four-wheel drive. All the PD diesels provided an excellent blend of pulling power and economy. But, as this Golf leant towards comfortable rather than lithe handling, the best performance versions are the V6 or V5, which make excellent motorway cars - the 2.0-litre turbo GTI was a bit of a let-down. The Golf IV is still quite an expensive used buy today despite its many niggling problems.