UK Car Road Test

VW Golf SE 2.0 Estate 2001

 Movie Clips of this Car

Exterior Movie Interior Movie

 

If only everything in life was a reliable as a Volkswagen. 

After a day of working stress fixing a major dooms day disaster, you want to go out to your car, turn the key it starts you drive home, you turn it off and forget about it and the day. After a day where everything that could go wrong did, it was consoling to be facing a Golf armed with its keys at least it was one thing not to worry about.

Well that was the famous VW sales pitch and as yet Volkswagens cars have never given me a reason to disbelieve it.

But is that enough to keep people buying Volkswagens, are not most cars fairly solid and reliable nowadays.

Now lets be honest the 2001 model Golf is less than eye catching,  and this is the Estate version and hence can only possibly be worse.

It really is a very average looking thing,  only the bright red paint lifts it above total anonimity. I realise that there is a spanking new model and from the pictures I have seen it at least appear to look a lot more swish. This model though is lost in time neither as simple and sharp as the original, nor modern and exciting and cutting edge as the competition.

Only the headlights appear to have spent much time in designers hands and the twin beams flanking the horizontal running lights and indicators look neat and clean up the front end a treat.

The wheel covers are quite neat though doing a rather good impression of a cheap alloy wheel and not looking to nasty.

Inside it is typically Volkswagen plain. Yet well built, fitted and tough again nothing exciting and little to fire the imagination.

Perhaps Volkswagens have reached the Zenith of the keep it simple looking style interiors. To the point where they are just becoming ever so passť.

Do not buy this Golf if you feel the need to impress other people for self gratification. That is not its rai∑son d'Í∑tre. This is a workhorse pure and simple. If that is what you want its fine.

Its a fairly comfortable one mind and you can get into a fine driving position in the medium to firm seats. The seats have just a little bolster to stop you sliding around too much in the corners.

 

 

Adjustable Steering Column
Adjustable Steering Column
Centre Arm Rest Front
Centre Arm Rest Front
Centre Arm Rest Rear
Centre Arm Rest Rear
Cloth Trim
Cloth Trim
Cup holders
Cup holders
Drivers seat Lumbar Support
Drivers seat Lumbar Support
Front Door Bins
Front Door Bins
Head Rests (front & rear)
Head Rests (front & rear)
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Drivers Seat
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Height Adjustable Seat Belts
Pollen Filter
Pollen Filter
Remote Petrol Cap Release
Remote Petrol Cap Release
Split rear seats
Split rear seats
Time Clock
Time Clock
Velour Trim
Velour Trim

Despite its apparent Spartan nature, and functional appearance when you dig around it is surprisingly well equipped. Some touches rather neat like the remote petrol cap release. See how it is perfectly placed. You go in the garage stop, apply handbrake, release the cover. Where else should it logically possibly be.

The cup holders are at the other end of the scale though. They may be high in the mines smarter than yours design but they obscure the radio and do not work anything like as smoothly as adverts would have you believe. 

Perfect position. Coin tray thoughtful.

Velour inserts nicely done.

Cup holders, after lots of design work, holds a cup. 

 Heating simple to operate and effective.

Some of the minor controls grate a little. The centre versions are big and easy to press (though most bays are empty in this model) But the door switches are small fiddly to find and fiddly to use, the Window soft touch items are very sensitive hold to much and though zoom either up or down, Small adjustments at first take a little while to master and after a stressful day frankly I could not be A***D to try.

 

Service Interval Insurance Group Safety Rating Smog Rating
10000 8 Not Available Band (D)
Engine BHP CC Fuel Inj.
4 Cylinder 115 1984 Yes
Cyl Camshafts Valves/cyl Compressor
4 Single 2 None
Top Speed 0 to 60 BHP per Tonne
121mph 11.4seconds 98
MPG@Urban MPG@Cruise MPG@Speed Fuel Type
25.7mpg 45.6mpg 35.3mpg Unleaded

The two litre 4 cylinder engine is hardly pride of the Volkswagen fleet and gives a lowish 115bhp top whack. Buts its a simple unit in low tune, under stressed and hence should be very reliable. It produces decent pulling power through the rev range and little else. Like the rest of the car it is supremely average. But its a solid workhorse suited to the lugging duties of an estate.  Economy varies from average to really pretty good. Steady cruising on the motorway showed what was possible (50 plus mpg) but add in any hills or get a bit of a rush on and it plummets. (23 mpg) 

For my money I would have to say that the TDI version really does look a lot more tempting, similar performance peaks, stomping mid range and even better and less fluctuating economy 

The gearbox is the typical slightly rubbery VW shift with a slight penchant for hitting third rather than Fifth across the narrowly spaced gate, allied to a light easily modulated clutch. All in all easy to drive however little thought and attention is being paid. 

Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
Disc Brakes Front & Rear
External Temperature Gauge Fitted
External Temperature Gauge Fitted
Halogen Head Lights
Halogen Head Lights
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Height Adjustable Headlight Aim
Independent Suspension
Independent Suspension
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Intermittent Wash Wipe
Power Assisted Steering
Power Assisted Steering
Rev Counter
Rev Counter
Service Level Indicator
Service Level Indicator
Wheel Covers
Wheel Covers

This Golf is hardly cutting edge technology, though some models certainly have big lump of hyper tech embedded into them. This models has equipment that we expect on a modern car  like all round disk brakes which pull you up fairly swiftly. But in general the whole car in this instance is solid well proven reliable engineering.

It is as we said easy to drive with steady and solid handling. We should not expect to much being an estate and all but it can be hustled along fairly quickly with only a modicum of under steer being encountered. Body control is reasonable with roll being fairly well contained within the boundaries of its design expectations. 

The steering majors on stability and seems unaffected by changes in camber, surface and smoothness. Only at higher speeds does it start to wander a little. 

It does ride quite nicely too, shrugging of minor road imperfections with rubbery nonchalance. Even speed bumps do little to fluster it and it rides over them with just a mild thump. 


 

Alarm
Alarm
Antilock Braking System
Antilock Braking System
Child Locks
Child Locks
Engine Immobiliser
Engine Immobiliser
Front Side Air Bags
Front Side Air Bags
Front Twin Airbags
Front Twin Airbags
High level brake Light
High level brake Light
Locking Fuel Cap
Locking Fuel Cap
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Pre Tensioned front Seat Belts
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Rear Seat Belts Fitted
Remote Central Locking
Remote Central Locking
Side Impact Protection
Side Impact Protection
Visible Identification Number
Visible Identification Number

Considering this is not the GTi its protection level is pretty damn good.  This probably helps with it low insurance grouping. Its secure boring and unattractive hence the insurance does not go overboard. Like the door switches the remote central locking key fob takes a little getting used to. And as a word of warning costs in excess of £120 quid if you lose one. The flip up square design is good on the pocket linings though.

Safety is equally well catered for with lots of airbags inside the strong VW crumple zones and side impact bars for its designed market this is one strong, safe, secure sensible package.

 

For what started off a really quite compact little car the Golf has grown into a really rather roomy mid range car.  It seats five adults comfortably and swallows a good helping of luggage into the Boot.

Loading of luggage is helped by the commendably  flat bay and low lipped entrance. Asymmetrically split rear seats maximize its flexibility.

Voluminous Boot is a high point

Identical left and right blanks aid symmetry and lower costs

For hauling long distances it is a decent car to use. The performance is adequate, it rides well, the attainable economy gives great range to the tank. It is also very quiet with little noise intruding into the interior.

 

Badge would look super round my neck on a chain.

Roof rails enhance practicality.

Golf Ball dimples still there.

Centre arm rest nice and comfy.

In this guise the VW badge really does not have any cachet value, Quite frankly the Golf Estate is an okay car, Allegedly boringly reliable, but undeniably dynamically boring. It is well built, neatly designed, competent  sensible transport, for sensible people ,but would a TDI Skoda not make more "sense" .  Roll on the new Golf perhaps IT will push the Golf design back to the top of the pile, for now this one is just marking time.

 

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Car Road Test VW Golf SE 2.0 Estate