I’ve now owned 6 different MK4 VW Golfs over the years (TDI 90, PD TDI 100, 1.8T GTI, PD TDI130, PD TDI 150 and now another PD TDI 130). To me the MK4 seems to have achieved the perfect mix of build quality, comfort and reliability that subsequent Golf versions have failed to match. In particular the PD TDI engines are extremely fuel efficient and reliable with good performance and are the obvious choice if you are in the market for a reliable economical older car. The PD 130 with 1.9 litre diesel engine is probably pick of the bunch as it combines great economy along with decent performance and although slightly noisier than a more recent diesel this isn’t noticeable at speed. For those interested in tuning their cars the PD130 can be very easily remapped to give GTI levels of performance.
|VW Golf MK4 Owners Review|
Points to look for when buying a MK4 Golf are to check the service history, ideally a fully stamped service book with receipts to support and usual mileage and condition checks. A well maintained car should have decent tyres and evidence of any MOT advisories being fixed rather than appearing year after year. Also remember that at this age many parts are easily available online or from a scrapyard so worn seats or a dented front wing are issues relatively easy to fix for little outlay.
One thing that I wouldn't worry about is mileage for a car at this age. If anything a higher mileage is possibly slightly better as it means the car has been used on motorways rather than pootling around town and not warming up.
My choice from the MK4 Golf range would be either the PD130 if you want fuel economy or the 1.8T GTI if you want performance. The PD150 GTI gives similar performance but I found it had significant turbo lag compared to the PD 130 model.