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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Just got back from my 3.5 week trip to Europe, where I rented a Golf 5 TDI, so I feel obligated to do a writeup for my fellow loungers.

I actually reserved an A3, but the car was not available at the time I arrived, so the guy at Budget Germany at Frankfurt Airport offered me a Golf V TDI instead – which I gladly accepted, since at the time I haven’t seen one yet, never mind driven one. (+ a diesel seemed like a good idea, considering soaring fuel prices everywhere…). The car was brand new (89 kms on the odometer…), so some of my remarks should be taken with reserve, since it hasn’t yet been broken in properly…
COURSE: I took the car from Frankfurt via Nuremberg, Ingolstadt, and Munich (all Autobahn, mostly no speed limit…), to Salzburg, and Villach, Austria (mostly mountainous terrain, but still 4-lane highways, 130 kph speed limit throughout), and parts of the former Yugoslav republics (Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia & Herzegovina), where I’ve done some hardcore driving (tight canyon roads, hilly terrain, and lack of speed enforcement equipment = ultimate fun!
). The trip back was via same routes. Total kms driven: 6,480.
GENERAL IMPRESSION: The new Golf is HUGE! I mean I read some reviews, and I realized that it’s substantially bigger than Mk4, but I was still shocked by its overall dimensions & presence. Biggest increase, I would say, is in the rear seating area, where you can now fit 5 adults comfortably – head, hip/shoulder room are as always (Mk1/2/3/4 never lacked in this area, IMO…) very generous, but leg room and knee room are just amazing – I’m about 6’ high, and I like to stretch my legs while driving, which usually translates into next to nil knee room behind me – but not in the case of Mk5. Front seating area and trunk are pretty much identical in size to Mk4 Golf.
The exterior lines are very pleasing – front end being my favorite, rear being second best. IMO, the car looks just average from side view (headlights looking bulbous, “minivanish” hood/windshield/roof slope, etc…). One thing I didn’t like is the switch from typically VW-ish thick door window frames, to Toyota-like skinny frames. This is only noticeable when the doors are opened though.
The little things I liked: door-mirror integrated turn signals, Touareg-style aero wipers, lots of storage compartments (below headlight switch, combi bin on the roof liner behind the rearview mirror,…), speed-sensitive volume control, uber-cool trunk handle/VW roundel, the little fridge, very ergonomical & extremely cool looking HVAC controls… Little things I didn’t like: minivanish () door mirrors, red-illuminated odometer/trip computer display (looks out of place with blue backlit stereo display…), ashtray position (I’m a smoker, and if the shifter is in 1st, 3rd, or 5th gear ashtray becomes unusable…)…
INTERIOR: Interior is more an evolution of the already great (IMO) Mk4 interior – simple, ergonomical, modern, with high quality materials throughout, and solid feel. Stereo/HVAC were moved up – making them more accessible, but giving the dashboard “minivanish” look (notice how many times have I used this word?
). I sure hope they will freshen it up with some aluminum trim in GTI guise…I’d personally prefer simple black dashboard instead of gray, but this will, I assume, vary from car to car, depending on interior colors. Steering wheel looks/feels great, and is good size (although bigger than a Mk4 wheel…), considering the size of the car. Seats – 4 out of 5 stars, even though they’re just ‘plane jane’ Golf seats. Very good comfort, decent support, great headrests.
Even though the car is just a basic TDI model, sold to a rental company, it was very generously equipped. The car came equipped with heated seats, mirrors, washers, rear fogs (but no front…), dual-zone auto A/C, armrest-mounted fridge (Yup! I was as shocked as you are, believe you me!), in-dash CD, … Pretty good for a base model Golf, I think.
New on Golf 5 is a floor-mounted gas pedal – a very nice detail, IMO, even though I got to like the shape/position of gas pedals on last 3 generations of Golf…

ENGINE/TRANNY: 1.9 TDI that the car came with is just a marvel, even on such a heavy car like a Mk5. It’s a same engine as found in ’03-on Mk4s, so I won’t spend much time talking about it, as a lot of you have had chance to drive it I believe. Ample power for decent sprints from standstill (I’d still take my 1.8T over it, but considering it’s a diesel…), great midrange for passing, but tractor-like 4,500 rpm redline. I admit, I was never a big fan of diesels, so this engine wouldn’t be my first choice, but that’s not because the engine lacked in any way.
The car’s best point though is its transmission – a 6-speed velvety smooth, surgically precise manual, with perfectly long cogs. I’ve owned several Mk1, 2, 3, and 4 generation cars, and, by far, this is the best transmission/shifter combination from Volkswagen so far! You can cruise at 160 km/h (100 mph) all day long, never exceeding 3,200 rpm, and keeping your fuel economy at near 40 mpg. Shifts are quick, smooth, and fairly short for a stock shifter. Clutch is fine also, very gradual, yet “grippy”. Engine noise is minimal (for a diesel…), and there’s virtually no vibration inside – huge improvement over older diesel cars…
DRIVING IMPRESSION: The car feels very heavy – and that’s because it is – the 6-speed, 4-door turbodiesel weighs at about 1500 kg.– but it wears its weight very well! Beautifully linear & precise electric power steering, multilink independent rear suspension (ohh, man…. IRS rocks! What were they thinking up until now?!?!), stability control, ABS, … You name it – Golf 5 has it. There’s substantial sway in the corners (my dad puked after a spirited ride through a local canyon…), but the car never looses grip – it virtually sticks to the road! High-speed stability is just amazing – most of the driving through Germany was at speeds of 160 km/h and over – where the car feels at home. I had it up to 180 km/h, where it starts running out of breath (I think speed limiter kicks in at just a notch under 190 km/h….). Comfort, on the other hand, is Mercedes-like. Suspension dampens the worst of the road imperfections with ease, with only dampened ‘thumps’ felt inside the cabin – I was really impressed!
Engine, as I said, has adequate power for the vehicle’s size, helped greatly by the perfectly spaced gears. This is by no means a drag racer (acceleration from standstill is something like 2.0L Mk4…), but passing at 80-100 km/h speeds is a breeze. Power is very linear, comes early, but it ends early too (by 3,500 rpm it pretty much runs out of breath… It is pointless to rev it over 4K, as nothing happens past 3,500-3,800 rpm…).

LAST THOUGHT: This is a great car, no doubt. Volkswagen has done it again, and I think that this car is more than adequate replacement for Mk4.
I have high hopes for us Canadians to get the new Audi A3 this year – if so, I’ll be one of the first to trade my Mk4 GTI for an A3 – main reason for taking an A3 over a Golf 5 being the looks. If A3 doesn’t come here though, I’ll be waiting for the Mk5 GTI. I am definitely sold! The diesel I’ve driven isn’t quite my cup of tea, but I loved the car overall, and I think with a hotter engine I would have liked it even better.
Some pics:

(Representing! C A N A D A !
)









...and a few pics of what we call interstates in Southern Europe
:





 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (LuvVDubs)

Hey it has a floor-mounted accelerator! Incidentally why is this preferred to the more common(?) hanging type?
 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V

Awesome write up! Great job! Thanks, it's really cool to hear a first hand account of the new Mk V's.
IIRC It is widely believed that floor mounted accelerator pedals are easier to heel to toe with.
Man, I wish this car was here now. Why do they have to drag out the NA introduction?
 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (Patrick Arena)

Did Budget really let you take this car into Bosnia?
On the Golf V: In person, it´s not at all a drastic depature from the Golf IV look-wise. More like an evolution.
 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (Eolair)

I just kind of wonder if the new 2.0T is going to be any faster than the 1.8T because of the additional weight.
 

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Awesome write up! I think everyone needed to hear something that positive about the car!
 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (LuvVDubs)

I really wanted to read your post, but since the pictures you added are so wide, I refuse to scroll back and forth to read every line.
Please respect those of us running 1024 monitor resolution. There is nothing worse than having to scroll side to side to read through a thread.
http://****************.com/smile/emthdown.gif
 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (haydar)

I'm sorry, but that interior looks too much like the competition--not individual like the MKIV was.
I dunno, I'm not a dash-stroker, but that car just does not do it for me.
And the button placement for the ESP, and heated seats, or other options they might stuff in there--great spot to pick up crap from drinks, and dirt, ect... I dunno.
If given one would I take it? Yup.
Would I shell out the green for it? Nope.

P.S. I just saw all the dummy-lights in that cluster! WOW! that mother has a lot of em'.


Modified by Big-GTI-Guy at 9:07 PM 5-20-2004
 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (LuvVDubs)

Looks like the Golf is tragically becoming lesser and lesser compact and more closer to a mini-van than a compact hatch.
The steering wheel is Chrysler like, instead of the R32 sport 3 spoke wheel.
The interior doesn't look as German as the MKIV. Now I actually thinks that Honda accords look much more on par with the MKIV interior than this, sorry to say but it looks like more plasticy like Hyundais.
 

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Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (LuvVDubs)

Awesome writeup man...you should get a job at European Car Magazine diong first impression articles...

Sounds like driving the Golf on the Autobahn was a vacation in itself!!
Sweet pics too!!
http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Re: Comprehensive test: 6,500 kms in a Golf V (Eolair)

Quote, originally posted by Eolair »
Did Budget really let you take this car into Bosnia?

LOL
I knew one of you Germans would ask this.... Anything for $$$
You buy additional insurance = you can take the car to Iraq if you want http://****************.com/smile/emthup.gif
To comment on some of the posts:
-Yes, IMO it's not a big departure looks-wise, but, in a way, I personally like it that way - Golf remains Golf - recognizable from a mile away.
-Dashboard is kind of plain, and not very VW-ish (function over form...), and I didn't like that either...
 
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