Pros Nice looks. Very reliable. Great, fun handling and value for money. A cult item amongst VW fans.
Cons Not much luggage space.
While the Golf Mark 1 Cabrio was the epitome of convertible style for a young generation in the eighties, similarly the Mark 3 Cabrio became one of the most eagerly appreciated cars of its time for the nineties crowd. Open top motoring with outstanding build quality and an impressive array of safety features, including a high strength body shell, roll over bar and driver and passenger airbags as standard, attracted a new generation in the nineties to the pleasures of soft top driving. The more recent MK 4 Cabrio continues the trend with a sense of tradition in its unique retro body shape. While Cabrios are still being produced for foreign markets, India, South Africa and the like, in the last few years VW has set its convertible stall out in Western markets with the revived New Beetle Cabriolet. As a result Golf Cabrios continue to hold their value well in the second hand market.
A VW institution, the Cabrio is the name coined for the cabriolet or convertible version of the VW Golf. The first Cabrio was a convertible Mark 1 Golf Cabriolet sold from 1980 to 1993. A convertible version of the Mark 2 Golf was not made so the Mark 1 Cabrio with slight modifications was continued until the introduction of the Mark 3 Cabrio. The Mk1/Mk2 update had a reinforced body and transverse roll bar. This first series Cabriolet was built from a kit by convertible specialist Karmann at their factory in Osnabruck, Germany. VW provided the engine, interior, etc. for Karmann to install. The vinyl of these cloth top Cabrios is insulated and could be manually or automatic operated. There was also a heated glass rear window.
A convertible version of the Golf Mk 3 was later launched as the Cabrio. VWs Cabrio was based on the mid 1990s Golf hatchback and also the Jetta saloon. It replaced the old Mk1 style Cabrio. Dual airbags and antilock brakes are standard by now and the soft top opened manually. The glass rear window had a demister. Sole engines are a 115-horsepower, 2 litre 4 cylinder version borrowed from the Golf/Jetta and had a 5-speed manual transmission as standard or optional electronic 4 speed automatic. Notable improvements during the later Mk 3 period include:
As with the Mk 2 Golf, Volkswagen did not make a full convertible version of the Mk 4 Golf. Instead, the firm lifted the Mk 3 Golf Cabrios face to give it the frontal styling of the Mk 4 Golf hatchbacks.The MK 4 cabriolet version of the Golf proves to be a worthy successor to the Volkswagen range.
The Mark 4 headlights and body styling help make this version somewhat of head turner.
Little touches like co-ordination of the hood cover and interior roof lining with the interior trim combine with outstanding build quality and impressive safety features to ensure that this model is even more desirable than our earlier cabriolets. Models available include S, SE and Avant Garde. Major updates occurred in 2001 and 2002 including the addition of the hi spec GLX model with power top, along with leather seats and alloys. 2002 models saw update with heated front seats on the GLS and GLX and a self-dimming rear-view mirror got an on/off switch. Silver Cabrios are made available with grey instead of white top.