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Used Volkswagen Golf review: 2009-2012

EXPERT RATING
6
Golf owners got away to a good start. Then came gearbox woes. New Volkswagen launched a large range of Golf variants here, with a car for everyone, from basic transport to sizzling sportsters such as the GTi and R models. We'll focus on the most popular versions, the regular hatchbacks. The sixth-generation Golf

Golf owners got away to a good start. Then came gearbox woes.

New

Volkswagen launched a large range of Golf variants here, with a car for everyone, from basic transport to sizzling sportsters such as the GTi and R models. We'll focus on the most popular versions, the regular hatchbacks.

The sixth-generation Golf arrived in 2009 as more of an update than a new model. The previous generation was expensive to build, the maker said, so producing Mk VI aimed to make the Golf more profitable while adding refinement and reliability.

There was much to like about the Mk VI five-door: pleasant styling, a roomy, functional cabin and good road manners.

Buyers flocking to the company's showrooms chose from three main models, the 90TSI Trendline and the 118TSI Comfortline petrol models, and the 103TDI Comfortline diesel.

The designations identified the respective power outputs of the four-cylinder engines.

In the base 90TSI, the 1.4-litre turbo delivered 90kW/200Nm, the 118TSI range-topper with 1.4-litre (118kW/240Nm) was supercharged and turbocharged for flexile performance. The 103TDI with a 2.0-litre turbo diesel (103kW/320Nm) aimed for fuel economy.

Transmission options were a six-speed manual and DSG auto, preferred by most buyers — seven-speeders backed the petrol engines and the diesels got a six-speed version.

Apart from the prestige of owning a Euro brand the Golf's main appeal was its on-road dynamics. It handled beautifully, cornered as if on rails and was generally a great driving car.

Now

The test of a car is not how it stacks up in the showroom but in terms of ownership. Golf Mk VI has been less than satisfactory on most counts on that front.

Feedback from owners mainly comprises tales of woe. Dodgy electrics, unreliable electronics and problematic DSGs have tarnished VW's image for them.

The automatic gearbox ailments have led to failure of the clutch packs and in many cases entire transmissions had to be replaced.

(Buyers of Mk VII Golfs have experienced little trouble, suggesting either VW has fixed the issues plaguing the earlier model or that the later cars haven't been on the road long enough to develop problems.)

Anyone eyeing a Golf with the DSG should have it checked by a VW specialist to try to identify any problems. It may be prudent to go for a manual.

VW voluntarily recalled cars with the DSG gearbox, so take a potential purchase to a dealer and check whether it had the recall work done.

VW engines are also known to use oil, some more than others. Check with the seller as to the oil consumption.

Owners know it's wise to check the oil regularly and top it up as needed. It's better to do that than have the engine run dry and seize.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2012 $6,380 $25,520
2011 $5,060 $20,900
2010 $4,290 $16,830
2009 $4,070 $14,410

View all Volkswagen Golf pricing and specifications

Pricing Guides

$9,888
Based on 152 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$5,990
Highest Price
$17,999

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
1.6 Edition 1.6L, PULP, 5 SP MAN $4,290 – 6,270 2009 Volkswagen Golf 2009 1.6 Edition Pricing and Specs
1.9 TDI Edition 1.9L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,990 – 9,999 2009 Volkswagen Golf 2009 1.9 TDI Edition Pricing and Specs
103 TDI Comfortline 2.0L, Diesel, 6 SP AUTO $6,995 – 12,990 2009 Volkswagen Golf 2009 103 TDI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
118 TSI Comfortline 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $6,990 – 9,990 2009 Volkswagen Golf 2009 118 TSI Comfortline Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
6
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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