The MK5 Golf was released between 2003 -2009
If you absolutely have to buy a VW Golf, against all better judgement (as in you simply are purely addicted to driving a car around that the represents all the atrocities mankind has performed upon one another since the dawn of time), then our advice is get the MK5 Golf. It’s better than its siblings but only just. The MK4 mechanically was probably a better car in its day but age is not kind to the beloved VW.
The Golf is the car that represents, month old lollies in the centre console, ironing your underwear and yelling abuse at people as they walk down the footpath outside your house. The Golf is a geriatric, the older they get the more bitter they become.
Its not unusual for a Golf to randomly dump all its coolant onto the road just as you get clear a bit of traffic. The summer sun beaming down on you, your arm out the window like your eighteen again, you just got off the Pacific Highway after an hour thirty five minutes, you’re looking at a few hundred kilometres of pure driving pleasure and Golf decides now is the time to soil itself.
Used car yards should be unselling roadside assistance with any secondhand Golf sold.
The MK5 (and the MK4) were the best of a bad bunch. It was in the model that the 1.4 TSI motor was released. This 1.4 engine was exceptionally troublesome but only really became so in the MK5 option.
The Golf has a cooling system platform that took its inspiration from Vlad the Impaler (don’t google him if you have children or a weak stomach). The VW cooling system is the most evil thing to grace the automotive world. We have covered this at length in various blogs, but for old times sake we shall fill you in once more.
VW used plastic in the cooling system when other manufacturers use alloy. The plastic holds up fine for the first five years, after that it all falls apart and effectively the entire cooling system needs to be replaced at the same time.
The MK5 has some faults of its own that are unique to it too. They are very common for wheel bearing failures, both front and rear. The internal door mechanisms (door, locks, window regulators and power window switches) are common for failing, sometimes all at once. Almost all of the Diesel models suffer from an idle issue caused by the EGR valve and in heavy rain most owners complain of water making into the inside of the car.
To be fair to the MK5, not much goes wrong with them in the major mechanical category. Engine and transmission wise, we have not seen or experienced. Hence we grit our teeth and advise clients that if they insist on driving a car with a reputation a notch above the first Apollo mission, then go the Mk5.