Golf remains the benchmark by which cars in this class are judged. The highly-evolved Mk 5 is better to drive and even more desirable than before, but it takes no risks on styling.
- Classiest car in its class
- Fine modern engines
- Refined and reliable
- High new prices
- No used bargains yet
- Cautious, conservative styling
Golf's image and reputation has long made it Europe's best-seller in this class. It's the car that sets the standard - even though build and reliability haven't always matched up to its reputation.
The Mk 5 is been built to a price, with minor quality shortcuts, but it remains one of the classiest small family hatches around, and one of the most sought-after - although the new rear-drive BMW 1-Series is set to become the enthusiast's choice.
It's beautifully engineered, with a range of excellent engines including direct-injection FSI petrol units (1.4, 1.6, 2.0) and superb diesels. A GTi is on the way. It incorporates stylish new design, without straying from its reassuringly conservative character - and as before, it should make an excellent investment, holding its value very well.
Supple ride, excellent refinement and comfort are all assured. The interior, as in the previous Golf, is well designed and should last for years.
Need To Know
JD Power stars: 3
Best Models: 1.9 TDi 150
Worst Models: 1.9 SDi
Quality & Reliability
Value for Money