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Volkswagen Golf MK 2 & MK 3 (1984 - 1998)

DRIVING RANGE (some text hidden)

BY JONATHAN CROUCH

Introductionword count: 193

Replacing the original Golf was a tough task for the post-1984 Mark II second generation version. However, it established itself as a more-than worthy successor. There were many variations on the theme, including the ultra-successful GTI, which lifted the standards of the original car even higher. The whole range enjoyed enormous success and helped give Volkswagen the image it still enjoys of quality, solidity and reliability. The third generation Mark III Golf had a tougher time of it, even though it was undeniably a superior car, larger, safer - but heavier. The Golf range has always seemed to be in a state of renewal, yet the same basic engines and body shapes tend to stay constant. Volkswagen continually changed the trim level names, often using golfing terms such as Driver and Ryder - to prove that it had a sense of humour perhaps. Even the Mark IV model, launched in 1998, didn't look radically different from its predecessor but steady sales soon showed buyers were quite happy with that approach. Such is the size of the range and the quality of Golfs on offer, that the used buyer is almost spoilt for choice.

Modelsword count: 136

Models Covered: Second generation Golf MKII - 1984-1992: (1.1 three and five-door [basic] / 1.3 three and five-door [C, Ryder, CL, Formel E ] / 1.6 three and five-door [Driver, Ryder, CL, GL] / 1.6 diesel and turbo diesel three and five-door [C, CD, CL, CL Turbo, GTD] / 1.8 three and five-door [Driver, GL, GTI, 16v GTI, Synchro, Rallye, Rallye SE] 1.8 Convertible [Clipper, GTI, GTI Sportline, GTI Rivage] ) Third generation Golf MKIII - 1992-April 1998: (1.4 three and five-door [L, CL] / 1.6 three and five-door [CL] / 1.8 three and five-door Hatchback, Cabriolet, Estate [CL, Driver, GL, L] / 2.0 three and five-door Hatchback, Cabriolet, Estate [GTi, GTi 16v, Avantgarde, GL] / 2.8 6cy three and five-door Hatchback [VR6, VR6 Highline] / 1.9TD & TDi three and five-door Hatchback, Estate [CL, GL])

Historyword count: 262

The replacement for Volkswagen's long-lived original Golf arrived here in Mark II second generation form in March 1984. Both three and five-door body styles were available from the start. Engines were either 1.1, 1.3, 1.6, 1.8 GTI or 1.6-litre diesel and trim levels were either basic, C, Formel E, CL or GL. In June 1985, the CL turbo diesel was introduced, followed by the 1.8-litre Clipper Convertible in April 1987. There was an across the range facelift for the 1987 August sales rush. This consisted of a new grille, elimination of the quarter-light window in the front doors and windscreen wipers changed over to a 'proper' right-hand-drive pattern. In October 1988, a four-wheel drive model was released, the Synchro 1.8, though it was not very successful. The diesel engine changed over to a new generation 1.6-litre 'umwelt' design in January 1990. A year later the base model of the Golf range became the Ryder with a 1.3-litre engine as standard. The new Mark III Golf was released in February 1992. Buyers could choose between 1.4, 1.8 and 2.0-litre engines (the 2.0-litre for the GTi). There was also a superb 2.8-litre six-cylinder VR6 flagship. A 1.6-litre engine and a GTi 16v variant followed in 1993 along with Cabriolets, while Estates were added in 1994. The all-new fourth generation Golf was launched in the UK in the Spring of 1998 with new normally aspirated and turbocharged 1.8-litre GTi variants and five-cylinder VR5 models heading up the line-up. The Cabriolet range was revised a few months later with a MKIV look that hid MKIII mechanicals.

What You Getword count: 88

A car that is built to last, good to drive and offers safe and solid motoring for not too much money. The GTIs offer a civilised alternative to many other hot hatches and are usually worth more second-hand than most rivals. You're paying for the Volkswagen name and reputation to some extent, but don't forget that though a Golf costs a bit more than some rivals, it will equally be worth more and probably be in better condition when the time comes for you to sell it on.

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Category: Compact Family Cars

Performance
40%
Handling
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Comfort
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Space
70%
Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

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