Volkswagen Golf GTI TDi PD 150 Review

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  • Performance

  • Practicality

  • Reliability

  • Value For Money

Elricardo's review of Volkswagen Golf GTI TDi PD 150

★★★★☆

“I bought this Volkswagen Golf a year and a half ago...”

Written on: 17/04/2006 by Elricardo (20 reviews written)

Good Points
Fuel economy and mid range torque.
Cabin quality and equipment levels.
All round driveability and useable power.

Bad Points
Diesel engine is a heavy unit and promotes understeer.
Narrow band torque delivery can overload the traction control (ESP) system under initial acceleration.
Servicing costs.

General Comments
I bought this Volkswagen Golf a year and a half ago following much research on review sites. I had recently moved some distance from work and needed a comfortable car with affordable running costs and an edge of excitement when the red mist descended. I was not disappointed with the Golf Mk IV - GT TDI PD 150. It is a great all rounder for a person who wants everything in moderation.



On seeing the car I was impressed, as mentioned in a previous review the 150 sits lower on the road than the 130/115bhb variants due to lowered stiffer suspension and has lower profile 205/55 tyres sat on alloy wheels. As a result it has an air of inent about it, setting it apart from the more sedate SDI and lower powered TDI models. Inside the cabin you'll find a lot of black plastic trimmed in places with wood effect. The wood is somewhat naff but there isn't much of it so its pretty much a non issue - The rest of the cabin consists of high quality materials making inside the car a nice place to be. Models with the winter pack will have climate control whereas others have air con. The controls for the climate control are situated too low on the console and you find yourself having to pay undue attention to find the heat/fan/direction controls when driving. Other than this the interior is as you'd expect, the highlight for me being the blue dash backlighting which is easy on the eye and very cool.



Driving the Golf is the best part, the 1.9 TDI engine is a real peach. On start up you know its a diesel, once warmed up and on the move things get much better. The car boasts 150bhp which is pretty much the most powerful sub 2 litre diesel around. It pulls quickly through the gears and will hit sixty in around 8.6 seconds. This is almost identical to the 1.8 turbo petrol GTI model. The diesel unit does, however boast much more torque than the petrol version and this can outfox the traction control in 1st and 2nd if you push it.



The 6 speed gearbox is also good, it has a long throw but is slick and friendly to use. It takes some practise to time the changes as the revs seem to hold on pressing the clutch, then fall quickly, but once perfected you can really generate fast smooth progress.



The drawback of the diesel, as ever, is the rev range. You are pretty much out of steam by 4000rpm and since the turbo only chimes in at 2000, you only get the power for so long. This never really proves to be a problem as the car pulls so well in 4th/5th and 6th that you can complete ovetakes in these gears easily, well within the power band. This makes for totally effortless crusing at motorway speeds. A 6th gear is also a godsend on motorways, combined with the already low revving engine and improved cabin insulation, the car is quieter than the petrol versions at speed.



The handling of the car is subject to much discussion with many suggesting the MkIV is too heavy and softly sprung to be a true GTI - I would have to agree. The car is set up for the driver who never really pushes the car too hard. You can enjoy a spirited drive and leave the majority of other road users in your wake, but if you really push, the car will display a lot of body roll and understeer generated by the cumbersome load up front. This really is more of a performance cruiser than hot hatch and will disappoint those looking for a hard edged GTI.



The fuel economy is also excellent. 50-55mpg is easily achieved and even when pressing hard I have never got it below 40 over an entire journey.



The car has been totally reliable aside of some very minor electrical faults. My only complaint being the servicing costs incurred at VW dealers - Minor services are about £200 and majors around 350-400. Dont buy one second hand if its too near the 60,000 mile mark as it will need a new Cam belt....(very expensive). Also get the car inspected with particular attention to the clutch as renewal of it will set you back £1000 as the entire unit has to be changed.



In summary. A totally competent sports tourer which manages to combine economy and practicality with acceptable perfomance.

  • 2002

    Year Manufactured

  • 1.5 Years

    Length of ownership

  • 3

    Doors

  • Performance

  • Practicality

  • Reliability

  • Value For Money

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Chris7494's Response to Elricardo's Review

Written on: 30/07/2006

Excellent review. I test drove both the 1.8T and 150TDi myself, have to admit the fuel consumption on the 1.8T in real life is only around 25 to 30 from most peoples experiences and TDi always seems to be around the 50 mark. In terms of everything else, equipment and extras, i was very impressed with both cars, makes it a hard decision which to buy. As i don't travel really far, then petrol won for me. But if i'd have travelled a long distance to work the TDi150 would have easily won for me too!

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347113_Bobh's Response to Elricardo's Review

Written on: 23/02/2008

I agree with this review because this has been very similar to my experience. I viewed the Focus and the Mk 5 golf but found their interiors had a rather lower quality 'feel' to them and were not very inviting. My wife agreed, so there was no contest. The 150 body is not so stiff as the latest Mk5 model, so there is a little bit of a creak occasionally, a bit like an old athlete trying to get his act together. However, once the motor gets interested, it is off like a shot and I think surprises other motorists. It does not feel as agile on the bends as my previous 2 litre Citroen ZX and also the ride doesn't soak up the potholes and speed ramps with anything like the same aplomb, but it is a great long distance cruiser, having just gone to Manchester and back well into the 70's ( and a bit more) and returned an average in excess of 57mpg. The ZX 2Li petrol would be drinking more around 25 to the gallon of petrol at that speed. The gear change is much more precise than the Citroen and everything seems to be much better screwed together. All the clever little details reek of quality. The car had 11k on the clock when I bought it and now I am up to 19,000+. We both still think it is a little gem and besides the fuel consumption it also has a very low VED rating, about the same as my wifes cheapo Renault Clio. All in all this, so far, has proven to be a first class driving and financial experience. Unbelieveable.

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Degbert's Response to Elricardo's Review

Written on: 20/08/2007

I found this review helpful because... I'm in the market for one of these and its good to have such a comprehensive review of it to help with the decision-making process. Cheers.

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