2004 Volkswagen Golf Reviews: Is It Still Worth It?

2004 Volkswagen Golf Reviews


The 2004 Volkswagen Golf continues to impress with its refined driving experience, practical design, and overall value. Available in three- or five-door hatchback configurations, the Golf offers something for everyone. Whether you prioritize fuel efficiency, sporty handling, or a comfortable ride, there's a Golf model that fits the bill.

Drivers praise the 2004 Golf for its peppy engine options, including a fuel-efficient diesel and a powerful turbocharged gasoline engine. The responsive handling and composed ride make it enjoyable to drive on both city streets and winding roads. Inside, the Golf presents a well-built cabin with comfortable seating for five and a user-friendly layout. While not as spacious as some competitors, the cargo area offers ample room for everyday errands and weekend adventures.

Reviewers often highlight the Golf's strong safety features, including standard antilock brakes and stability control. The 2004 model earned good ratings in crash tests conducted by the IIHS and NHTSA, further solidifying its reputation for safety.

Overall, the 2004 Volkswagen Golf remains a compelling choice in the compact car segment. Its combination of practicality, performance, and German engineering continues to resonate with drivers seeking a well-rounded and enjoyable driving experience.


The 2004 Volkswagen Golf delivers a satisfying driving experience with a range of engine options to suit different needs. The base 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides adequate power for daily commutes, producing 115 horsepower. Drivers looking for more pep can opt for the 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, which generates a punchier 180 horsepower, making it a blast to drive on twisty roads. For diesel enthusiasts, the 1.9-liter turbocharged diesel engine offers impressive fuel economy without sacrificing too much on performance.

The Golf's handling is responsive and agile, thanks to its well-tuned suspension and precise steering. Whether navigating city streets or cruising on the highway, the Golf feels composed and confident. The brakes are equally impressive, providing strong stopping power when needed.

While not a sports car, the 2004 Golf strikes a great balance between performance and practicality. It offers enough pep for an engaging driving experience while remaining fuel-efficient and comfortable for everyday use.

Fuel economy

The 2004 Volkswagen Golf delivers commendable fuel economy, especially with the diesel engine option. Many reviewers and owners have praised the Golf's fuel efficiency, particularly those who opted for the TDI diesel engine. The 1.9-liter TDI engine, known for its torque and fuel-sipping nature, consistently receives praise for exceeding its EPA estimated fuel economy ratings in real-world driving. Owners report achieving impressive highway mileage, making it an economical choice for long commutes and road trips.

2004 volkswagen golf reviews

However, the gasoline engines, while still relatively fuel-efficient, don't quite match the TDI's frugal nature. The 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine offers decent fuel economy for its class, but some drivers might find themselves wishing for a bit more at the pump. The sportier GTI model, with its turbocharged 1.8-liter engine, prioritizes performance over outright fuel economy, as expected.

Overall, the 2004 Volkswagen Golf presents a compelling package for those seeking a balance of practicality, performance, and fuel efficiency. The TDI diesel engine, in particular, stands out as a top choice for economy-minded drivers, while the gasoline options still deliver respectable fuel economy for daily driving.


The interior of the 2004 Volkswagen Golf receives generally positive reviews. Many appreciate the use of high-quality materials, particularly in comparison to rivals in its class. Soft-touch plastics abound on the dashboard and door panels, lending a more premium feel. The overall design is praised for its simplicity and functionality. The layout of the controls is intuitive, and everything is within easy reach of the driver.

Seating comfort is another strong point. Front seats are supportive enough for longer drives, and rear passengers enjoy a decent amount of legroom and headroom for the class. However, some reviewers note that taller passengers might find the rear seats a bit cramped on longer journeys. Cargo space is adequate but not exceptional.

Common criticisms of the interior include a somewhat bland design and a lack of some more modern features that were starting to appear in competitors. For example, some higher-end options like navigation and Bluetooth connectivity were not available on the 2004 model.

Overall, the 2004 Volkswagen Golf's interior is considered a pleasant and functional space. While it might lack some of the flash and features of its competitors, its build quality, comfortable seats, and user-friendly design make it a pleasant place to spend time.

Comparison of 2004 Volkswagen Golf Models
Feature Golf GL Golf GLS Golf GTI
Engine 2.0L 4-cylinder 2.0L 4-cylinder 1.8L Turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower 115 hp 115 hp 180 hp


The 2004 Volkswagen Golf did pretty well when it came to safety, especially for its time. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2004 Golf four out of five stars for driver frontal crash protection and five stars for front passenger protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the 2004 Golf the highest rating of "Good" in their moderate overlap front crash test.

2004 volkswagen golf reviews

Keep in mind that safety standards and technology have evolved significantly since 2004. Newer cars often have more advanced safety features that you won't find in a 2004 Golf. Here's what the 2004 Golf did and didn't have:

Standard Safety Features in the 2004 Golf:

Driver and front passenger airbags

Antilock brakes (ABS)

Not Standard in the 2004 Golf (but may be in some models):

Side airbags

Electronic stability control (ESP) - This became more common in later model years.

What This Means for You:

If you're considering a used 2004 Volkswagen Golf, it's essential to prioritize safety. Look for a model with side airbags and electronic stability control if you can find one. Have a mechanic thoroughly inspect any used car before you buy it to make sure the safety features are in good working order.


The 2004 Volkswagen Golf has a mixed bag when it comes to reliability. Some owners report few problems, while others have experienced a range of issues.

Common complaints include electrical problems, such as faulty window regulators and ignition coils. Some owners have also reported issues with the car's cooling system, including leaking radiators and water pumps. The transmission, particularly in the automatic models, has also been a source of problems for some owners.

On the positive side, the 2004 Golf's engine is generally considered to be reliable. Many owners report driving their Golfs well over 100,000 miles with few major engine problems. The car's suspension and brakes are also generally durable.

If you're considering buying a 2004 Volkswagen Golf, it's important to do your research and be aware of the potential problems. A pre-purchase inspection by a trusted mechanic is always a good idea. Regular maintenance can also help to prevent problems down the road.

Here are some things to keep in mind:

Check for service records: Ask the seller for any service records they have. This will give you an idea of how well the car has been maintained and if any major repairs have been done.

Get a pre-purchase inspection: Have a trusted mechanic inspect the car before you buy it. This is especially important for a car of this age.

Factor in the cost of repairs: Even if the car seems to be in good condition, be prepared to factor in the cost of potential repairs.

Consider an extended warranty: If you're concerned about reliability, you may want to consider purchasing an extended warranty.

Overall, the 2004 Volkswagen Golf can be a reliable car if it's been well-maintained. However, it's important to be aware of the potential problems and to factor in the cost of repairs before making a purchase.

2004 volkswagen golf reviews

The 2004 Volkswagen Golf continues to impress even years after its release. Its reputation for reliability, especially with the well-regarded 1.9L TDI diesel engine, makes it a popular choice for those seeking a practical and fuel-efficient hatchback. Owners consistently praise its comfortable interior, composed handling, and overall build quality.

While not without its drawbacks, such as potential issues with window regulators and some plastic interior components, the 2004 Golf remains a solid used car option. Its timeless design, combined with its practicality and enjoyable driving dynamics, solidify its place as a favorite among discerning drivers.

If you're considering a used hatchback, the 2004 Volkswagen Golf deserves a spot on your shortlist. Just be sure to factor in a thorough pre-purchase inspection to address any potential maintenance needs.