My test drive in the Golf 5
« December 2003 »

This holiday season I spent two weeks in Germany playing tourist around Cologne and Bonn and 1everywhere in between. During that time, I had the pleasure of visiting a Volkswagen dealer twice and driving the new Golf 5. Here’s my story.

Prior to arriving in Germany, I had only seen pictures of the new Golf and overall I wasn’t that impressed (of course, I didn’t like the Golf 4 when it first came out either). But after spending some time looking it over, my thoughts began to change. The inside has a better look and feel than any picture can depict. Everything flows beautifully. And although I’m not 100% sold on the exterior yet, it is growing on me. It’s nothing like the Civic, but more of a cross between the Golf 4 and the Peugeot 307. Then came the test drive.

The car that was selected for the test drive was the 1.9 TDI. Somehow I was able to convince the sales guy to let me take a 30+ minute drive. I even took it out on the Autobahn, but unfortunately I only got it up to about 155km/h (about 95mph) due to the snowy conditions. It drove great and was a little noisy, as expected with a diesel engine. The power felt very similar to my 2.0L Golf 4. Cornering felt a little tighter than the Golf 4, which is nice. When I finished, I had a huge smile on my face!


  • Not all cars had an antenna on the roof. Some had it built into the rear window.
  • The tail lights are very distinguishable at night.
  • The handle/symbol for the rear hatch is awesome.
  • Colors offered: Black, Candy White, Pearl Blue, Tornado Red, Reflex Silver, Red Spice, Sage Green, Costal Blue, Black Magic.
  • Five wheels are offered: One 6.5x16 (Hockenheim) and Four 7x17 (Grand Prix, Zandvoort, Estoril, Indianapolis)



  • The interior lights are exactly the same color as the MKIV.
  • The rear hatch area appears to be almost exactly the same size as the Golf IV.
  • Overall, there is lots more room. With me (6'4") in the drivers seat, my wife (5'9") can sit behind me without her knees touching the front seat!
  • There are two very different center consoles with two different cup holder situations.
  • Glovebox is felt lined.
  • There are a few obvious places to add aluminum/wood grain/carbon fiber trim pieces for the American market.


  • I tested the 1.9 TDI: a little loud, quite a sporty feel, wished it was a 1.8T or VR6.
  • The clutch had a lot less play in it.

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