The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.
Share this review on
When it comes to cars I'm pretty uncomplicated really - as long as I can get myself and my stuff into whatever car I'm driving, turn the key and go, I'm happy. Though, in my time, I've worked in tyre, brake and clutch factories (all part of my mission at the time to teach English to the French) I really have no interest in knowing what's under the bonnet. If you are in the market for one of these second hand - VW is on to MK6 now I believe, before you move on I should probably point out that I've owned a MK5 for over 5 years and in that time I've come to know it pretty well. I hope that some of my experience might help those thinking of embarking on a relationship with a Golf - me I'm about to demand a divorce.....
It all started off so promisingly. I'd always liked the look of the Golf, and had heard they were reliable. The model I plumbed for was the FSI 1.6 (petrol, and other engines available in this model) - in silver, just like the picture, a five door hatchback. I quite liked, and still do, the look of the car which I have with alloys, and on first driving it was pleased to find some quite nice features. There is an impressive sound system - speakers dotted around unobtrusively all over the place, and the dashboard is clear and not too encumbered with buttons.
The interior feels solidly made with nice features like an integrated holder for sunglasses, adjustable motorised wing mirrors - the upholstery is comfortable and 5 years in has worn well, the boot opener is concealed in the badge, it's a nice car to look at and judging from the number of these I see on the road it's quite popular. The fact that you can disable the front air bag will be useful to those wanting to transport children up front, and the car does feel solid and safe - it has side airbags too. I do find that the car handles well, I have a leather steering wheel and the power steering is crisp and the engine is responsive and quite powerful.
If I sound like I am starting to struggle on the positives, the reality of driving this car for me has not been the pleasant experience I dreamed of. The troubles for me start with the diagnostic computer. During my ownership of the car the car has tested me to my limits by throwing up every error code it can think of and at one time or another I've seen every warning light on the car lit up. Drive the car as carefully as I will through every single holiday since I've owned it there has been one constant - yet another problem with the car.
Now I might put this down to bad luck or it being a "Friday Car", however having googled the latest issue I have with my car rather extensively it does seem that these cars are not as reliable as they might be. This being VW when things do go wrong it isn't cheap. Whilst the car was under warranty ( I bought it second hand from VW with under 10,000 miles on the clock) we had literally thousands of pounds worth of work done, from a new clutch, to a new stereo, it even had a new motherboard. My 3 year old was so familiar with the dealer's showroom that she used to head straight for the colouring corner and knew some of the staff by name. This car's chequered history has allowed me to discover how expensive parts are - from the catalytic converter that failed at the end of a day out ("we sell about one of these a year that will be £500 thanks"), to the Engine cover the RAC repair man broke the other day when taking it off (£186 to repair), this car is high maintenance.
I could almost forgive it all of those issues if I actually enjoyed driving it when it worked. Somehow however I've never been quite happy with the sound the engine makes, which I can only describe as too guttural. Also I would have to say that the view to reverse is beyond awful - dismiss this opinion as that of a mere woman who struggles with parallel parking maybe, but my husband finds that he has exactly the same issue. It's clearly not easy to reverse which would, perhaps explain how the garage that it went to recently on one of its little holidays came to reverse it into a wall, something that I myself have managed to avoid, though I have been tempted to drive it into a wall on several occasions I will admit. The time it randomly opened its own windows and refused to let me into the boot (that computer again) being a case in point. The driving position is also a little low - though the seat is comfortable and has lumbar support and is adjustable for me, personally, through the windscreen is more restricted than I would like, though at least there is non of that annoying reflection from the dash that plagues some modern cars I find.
Another actually quite nice feature causes me no end of issues - the headlights turn on and off automatically (a common feature on more modern cars I assume), however when you leave the car they stay on for a few minutes as a courtesy feature, which is nice but does lead to a constant chorus of "you've left you lights on!" from the helpful citizens of the town where I live. If you leave the indicator switched on to left the headlights don't actually switch off at all - though this I am assured is a design feature not one of its little annoying habits.
So, to sum up, I bought a dud car. I doubt that if you buy one of these you could possibly have quite all the problems I have had, and I do know at least one person who has a Golf MK5 and loves it and has only had a couple of issues with it - ever, however I do have to wonder if the MK5 is quite as reliable overall as its predecessors. That reputation came from somewhere, but from my experience the onboard computer is just too over controlling, the engine isn't that reliable, the car is just too needy. It seems to need topping up with coolant far too often, and there is just too much to go wrong.
Perhaps having an early model of the MK5 they ironed out problems with later ones, and for all I know the new models in the showroom may be absolutely amazing. I'm not ever going to find out to be honest, I won't be buying another Golf or, indeed, a car from the VW group - which eliminates Audi amongst other makes I believe. The £150 rust bucket I once owned was much more reliable (though I did once manage to lock the keys into it with the engine running in a very public place, through my own stupidity). As an average "I don't know much about cars" owner I don't rate this car, and I certainly wouldn't recommend buying one, though I think the depreciation on this is pretty big so a second hand one of years or so will probably set you back £4000-6000, I've driven mine about 10000 miles per year, in between break downs. Unbelievably I haven't even mentioned all the problems I have had with the car, as it turns out that brake factory experience came handy in the middle of France, and there have been other issues too numerous and tedious to detail. You've probably got the point though, if you aspire to one of these as I did the reality may well not live up to the dream, and that's a real shame.
Please refer to the vehicle list for all suitable vehicles and any technical restrictions ... more
in menu item "product details"!Brand new, ready-to-fit, first class quality product including a 2 year warranty!Price including VAT!Remember: You will only be charged shipping costs once per order.Buy two or more items - SAVE on shipping costs!