I bought my Golf second hand in a private sale in 2016. After a few Mercedes, I still wanted something German, but didn't want to pay more than $20K. It also had to be modern and have adaptive cruise control.
After quite a long search, I came across the Golf that fitted my criteria (had to be a Highline or Comfortline, with the Driver Assist Pack), and priced at an absolute steal! It had covered a fair few kilometres (almost 70,000), and I was a bit skeptical after reading (what I now know to be mostly rubbish) horror stories about the DSG, but I decided to take it for a test drive anyway.
I immediately knew it required a new clutch pack, but considering it was still under warranty, I made an offer that was accepted, and well within my budget. From there I promptly had it serviced and the clutch pack replaced under warranty at my local VW dealer, and have enjoyed a trouble-free life with the Golf ever since.
The Golf is very comfortable to drive, has more than enough power for around town, gets exceptional fuel economy (I have seen as low as 4.5L/100km on trips between Brisbane and the Gold Coast), it rides and handles well, and looks smart and classy.
After almost 84,000km there are still no rattles or squeaks, everything works perfectly, the interior and exterior are in excellent condition (no doubt due to excellent build quality), and it drives smoothly and quietly. I like the technology it offers, such as the adaptive cruise, self-parking and adaptable driving modes.
The standard-fit stereo sounds great, and I like that you can play music from an SD card (no more fights with the partner for what music to play as we can have both!).
And contrary to what some people say, it has been reliable for me for almost two years now (apart from one flat battery). Capped-priced servicing was an absolutely wonderful surprise too, especially after the main dealer servicing of the Mercedes.
There are some things that are a tad annoying, though. First is the auto stop/start function, which is quite rough and turns on automatically every time you start the car. Thankfully, it is easy to turn off. The touchscreen infotainment is slow and the resolution is poor, and I am not a fan of touchscreens in cars at all (give me the COMAND system from the Merc’ any day with its easy to use rotary dial).
Even though the wide C-pillar gives it that traditional 'Golf' look, it makes outward visibility a nightmare. Thankfully, it has sensors and a reverse camera as it really needs them. The adaptive cruise control works well, but the buttons on the steering wheel to control it (all seven of them) take a while to get used to. It's nowhere near as easy as the wand in the Mercedes (which unfortunately are not long for this world either...), and the alloy wheels, although looking good, are a nightmare to clean.
Would I buy another Golf? Absolutely. Will I buy another Golf? Probably not, but not because of the car itself, more so that I will probably go back to a Mercedes next. Mainly because the Mercedes just seems to do things better (like the Auto Hold function). I still would recommend the Golf to anyone looking for a quality small car.