Volkswagen Golf hatchback (2009 - ) six month testThe Volkswagen Golf is the premium hatchback of choice for many motorists.

Web Editor Adrian Higgins, who is conducting a six-month test of the Golf, has also found it completely reliable. So he did a little digging.

Volkswagen Golf gallery:

Volkswagen Golf gallery

First impressions
Practicality
Reliability
Running costs
How it drives
Final verdict

If there’s one thing which makes a road tester’s life easier it’s something going wrong with the car.

Nothing too major, nothing too inconvenient, and certainly nothing which could cause any danger to the driver or other road users, but something minor which requires investigation and dictates the contents of the report.

But after three months the Volkswagen Golf has stubbornly refused to give me first-hand experience of any faults.

Trouble-free ownership

And it’s not just that nothing has fallen off or stopped working. A vacuum, polish and clean are all the Golf requires to return it to its showroom state. That sturdy interior has stood the test of time, albeit a few months rather than years.

Fortunately, road testers are not limited to their own first-hand experience when it comes to assessing a car’s reliability.

That’s where our users come into their own, offering the combined insights of hundreds of thousands of miles on the road rather than the tarmac covered by a single driver.

So how’s it gone for them since the current VW Golf first hit UK roads in 2009?

Auto Trader users rate the Golf’s reliability very highly

There are 51 Auto Trader Owner Reviews of the Mk VI Golf at the time of writing and the overall score is currently at 4.6. In terms of reliability they awarded their cars the following scores:

• 41 gave their car the highest  five-star rating
• Six gave their car a four-star rating
• Four gave their a car a three-star rating

The latter four explained their low scores with the remarks:

• “A few niggles which the dealer/VW sorted out quickly under warranty.”
• “Bought a £19k 1.6TDI 105BHP, in Feb 2010. Only done 6000 miles, already been back to the main dealer four times, for blown exhaust manifold gasket, poor starting, irregular tickover and numerous annoying rattles (Still not sorted out!!)”
• “Great car however, and I would not have marked it down so much had it not needed 4 windscreens in a year and a bonnet catch.”
• “I have never owned such a rattly car, been in the garage a few times, some rattles/ bangs sorted but now I have given up. It is a shame as this spoils an otherwise perfect car.”

While the last three complaints in particular have clearly spoiled Golf ownership for their owners, it’s fair to say most reviews are very positive.

This is also the view of users who contributed to two of the UK’s leading driver surveys.

The JD Power 2010 Vehicle Ownership Satisfaction Survey, based on a survey collated between December 2009 and January 2010, was probably a little too hot on the heels of the arrival of the new Golf to collect meaningful data on the new model. However, Volkswagen came in 11th of 27 car makers. (The Golf came 37th of 104 models).

The Volkswagen Golf finished ninth in Auto Express’s Driver Power 2010 Survey with a score of 94.4%.

One recall

From time to time a fault will be identified with a car which has been in production, prompting a manufacturer to issue a recall.

The Vehicle & Operations Services Agency (VOSA) is the Department for Transport body, which among other responsibilities, records all safety recalls from manufacturers.

According to the VOSA website only one recall has been issued since the launch of the current Golf.

The issue “clutch may operate inadvertently with unexpected loss of drive” affected a number of vehicles built between 01/09/2008 and 31/08/2009 in the VW range. For more details see recall R/2009/110 on the VOSA site.

Reliability Index

Warranty Direct’s Reliability Index calculates a rating for car manufacturers and their models based on how many times they break down, the cost of repair and the amount of time off the road.

Currently VW sits 21st in a list of 36 car makers. However, the data published at the time of writing only extends as far as the Mk V Golf, the model which was discontinued in 2009 to make way for the Mark VI.

So, I’m far from alone when it comes to trouble-free Golf ownership. Most owners are happy with their purchase and fill Internet forums with glowing reports of their happy driving experiences.

More research tools than ever

And of course, despite making my job a little harder, I’m delighted to report my Golf has presented no problems during my brief period of ownership.

However, I’m also delighted the wealth of research tools now available on the Internet allows me to test the experiences of others too: from our Owner Reviews, to forums, surveys and recalls.

These mean buyers can really reduce the risk of buying a problem car, both by researching the model range, as I’ve done, but also the specific version of the car they are interested in e.g. identifying the experience of drivers whose car has been powered by the same engine which powers the car they are interested in.

Hopefully, this will mean trouble-free motoring like mine becomes more and more commonplace.

Key facts:
Model: Volkswagen Golf Match 2.0-litre TDI 140PS 5dr 6spd manual
Price: £20,310
Mileage: 1,968 miles

First impressions
Practicality
Reliability
Running costs
How it drives
Final verdict