The Golf Mk IV was the heaviest and largest, and allegedly slowest version of the Golf brand to date, but still it became the biggest selling car in Europe for a while.
It was a deliberate attempt to take the Golf more upmarket with better quality interior and equipment spec. The Mk IV Golf was introduced in 1997 with choice of hatchbacks (with three or five-doors) or estates, petrol or diesel engines, manual or automatic transmission and front or four-wheel drive.
Golfs have an overall reputation for reliability, solid build and quality finish although you will find some of our reviewers occasionally disagree.
Some owners point to dull handling and quirky mechanical faults but most drivers should find this version of the Mk IV has been part of a steady improvement in the Golf range. It is also interesting to note that Warranty provider Warranty Direct reports relatively few claims by Golf owners.
Among the models available the 1.9 diesels are generally accepted as the more recommended options.The 109 GT TDI Mk IV has two-way steering adjustment and adjustable seats so finding a good driving position should be catered for.
Generally the interior has been reviewed favourably in terms of quality and space although some say it cannot compete with something like a Ford Focus.
However, The Golfs equipment has improved as time has moved on. All models gained ISOFIX child seat mountings in 1999 and air-conditioning became standard on the majority of models in 2000. Anti-lock brakes have an anti-skid electronic stability programme.
Our reviewers have been generally impressed with the power and economy of the TDI Mk IV.
Typical comments include:
The extra torque is really evident with a willing growl when you accelerate hard. Pulls in all gears and stops well too. Handling is good, even in the wet.
The power and economy are nothing short of amazing. Im averaging 54 MPH in a combination of town & motorway driving.
The engine sounds, feels and performs excellent. Great torque.
Some industry commentators do mention recurring problems with Golfs though so if buying second hand it is good to be on guard for issues such as damaged door seals, creaking dashboards, steering problems, diesels burn and stalling at low speeds.