1999 Volkswagen Golf Review
1999 Volkswagen Golf Review
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Used Golf for sale
Edmunds' Expert Review
by the Edmunds Experts
- Fun to drive, comfortable ride, hatchback utility, lots of standard features in fourth-generation Golf, generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
- Some controls hard to decipher, CD player should be standard.
Volkswagen offers two generations of the Golf for sale in 1999. The third-generation Golf has been around since 1993, and it is a carryover for 1999. VW deletes the K2 model from the lineup and adds content to the upscale Wolfsburg, including cruise control, power windows (with one-touch operation) and heated power mirrors. Later in the model year, the company introduces a completely redesigned Golf with an improved version of the base inline four and an available turbodiesel four, which delivers up to 49 mpg on the highway. If you can hold out for a 2000 model, VW will offer a 150-hp 1.8-liter turbo for four-door hatchbacks.
Calculate my fuel costs
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 1999 Volkswagen Golf Wolfsburg 4dr Hatchback and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $3.35 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Compact Car
The third- and fourth-generation Golfs are descendants of the wonder car that started the econobox trend in the U.S. more than two decades ago -- the Volkswagen Rabbit. The first Golfs were much like the Rabbit -- stubby and blocky in style, fun to drive, fuel-efficient and inexpensive to buy, but unfortunately, costly to maintain and repair. Introduced in 1993, the third-generation Golf is still chunky in appearance if a bit sleeker than its predecessors. It is fun to drive. It sips fuel, though not as frugally as it should. It is affordable. And Volkswagen has attempted to dispel reliability fears by backing it with a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
Through the end of the 1990s, we hadn't heard many horror stories about maintenance costs or breakdowns involving third-generation Golfs, and the overall staff consensus is that this would be a rewarding hatchback to own and drive. However, this Golf is now in its sixth year of production, so Volkswagen has seen fit to introduce the completely redesigned fourth-generation Golf halfway through the model year.
Both generations will be sold as 1999 models, but the new version is easily the better choice. Advantages include greater structural rigidity, which yields tighter body panel fits and improved handling characteristics; engine, suspension and brake upgrades; more standard equipment; and a more stylish interior (replete with VW's signature blue and red backlighting at night). Further, the redesigned Golf has a slightly longer and wider body and rides on a longer wheelbase; the result is more interior head- and legroom and another cubic foot of cargo space.
The standard engine for both Golfs is a 115-horsepower 2.0-liter inline four, but a new cross-flow cylinder head in the redesigned hatchback allows drivers to access the engine's horsepower and 122 pound-feet of torque lower in the rpm range. You can choose either a manual or automatic, though fuel economy is nothing to write home about with either transmission (24 mpg city/31 mpg highway versus 22/28). Instead, long-distance commuters will want to check out the new Golf's available 1.9-liter turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel four-cylinder, which is rated at 42/49 with a manual and 34/45 with an automatic. Although the TDI is low on horsepower, its 155 lb-ft of torque at just 1,900 rpm will ensure that your Golf has plenty of pep for quick maneuvers. If you want more power with your Golf, just wait until the 2000 model year when VW offers its 150-hp 1.8T engine for the four-door Golf.
Trim levels for the third-generation Golf include the base GL and the well-equipped Wolfsburg; both are sold only as four-doors. The GL comes with keyless entry, an anti-theft alarm, and power windows and locks; options include air conditioning, a stereo with cassette player, ABS, side airbags and a moonroof. The Wolfsburg gives you the A/C and the cassette stereo, along with cruise control, power windows (with one-touch up/down operation), heated power mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and alloy wheels; you can order a CD changer as an option.
Fourth-generation Golf buyers can choose between GL and GLS trim; both engines are available at either level. Right away, you'll note that VW has substantially increased the amount of standard equipment, as even the GL includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, side airbags and a telescoping steering wheel, as well as A/C and a stereo. The GLS adds heated power mirrors and cruise, with a moonroof, CD changer and alloy wheels available as options.
Though engineered to provide a comfortable ride, both Golfs are endowed with communicative suspension and steering setups, which makes them more fun in corners than your typical Honda Civic. Besides that, the fourth-generation Golf gives you a lot more style and content than you could ever hope to find in the Civic. What the VW doesn't give you is Honda's reputation for dependability, but we've been impressed by the solid construction of the Golf specimens we've examined recently -- enough so that we feel that most Golfs can provide years of entertaining service.
4.2 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
4.13 out of 5 stars
1999 Volkswagen Golf
GL 2dr Hatchback (midyear)
I love VW. The Golf / GTI are my favorite modelss. This 2.0L GL is decent at 115hp and zips me from place to place with great fuel economy. I bought it used from a dealership and got hosed by them. Within first week motor mount broke and they wouldn't pick up the bill. Oh well, after that it has been smooth sailing. I am very happy with this car's ride comfort and handling. I love to … weave through traffic in my VW hatchbacks.
4.88 out of 5 stars
Single person's dream
GL TDi 2dr Hatchback (midyear)
Overall the 1999 VW golf is a fantastic car. It has the handling of a go-kart, fuel economy like a moped, and acceleration like a puma. The TDI engine is exceptional with its milage and reliability. In burning biodiesel, I expect to reach 300,000 miles without any major issues, if the body lasts that long (salty Maine air, roads).
5 out of 5 stars
A TRUE VOLKSWAGEN LOVER
GLS 4dr Hatchback (midyear)
You must be a true volkswagen lover to appreciate the smooth ride, great mileage, "too cool" exterior, and ample space this car provides! This was my 1st car and I still love it like as if I just brought it yesterday. It has never been in the shop for repairs! With the exception of a loose knob to adjust the passenger seat - my Golf is still delivering outstanding … reliability and quality service.
3.25 out of 5 stars
Nice Grocery Getter
Wolfsburg 4dr Hatchback
We have had this car going on three years now and the problems seem to have leveled off. I have never seen a car with so many electrical failures and they keep happening, all of the power windows, power locks, brake light assemblies, window wipers selector switch just about any electrical assembly has failed in this car and when I tell VW about the problems they say "well it is 5 years … old" I had a 16 year old accord with none of these problems. I have noticed now that people have similar problems with even the new ones. I have to say we are very disappointed and would not recommend buying one
Features & Specs
NHTSA Overall Rating
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverallNot RatedDriver3 / 5Passenger3 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverallNot Rated
- Side Barrier RatingOverallNot RatedDriverNot RatedPassengerNot Rated
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront SeatNot RatedBack SeatNot Rated
- RolloverRolloverNot RatedDynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of RolloverNot Rated
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestNot Tested
- Roof Strength TestNot Tested
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintNot Tested
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestMarginal
More about the 1999 Volkswagen Golf
Used 1999 Volkswagen Golf Overview
The Used 1999 Volkswagen Golf is offered in the following submodels: Golf Hatchback, Golf Diesel. Available styles include Wolfsburg 4dr Hatchback, GL 4dr Hatchback, GL 2dr Hatchback (midyear), GLS 4dr Hatchback (midyear), GL TDi 2dr Hatchback (midyear), and GLS TDi 4dr Hatchback (midyear). Pre-owned Volkswagen Golf models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 115 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 1999 Volkswagen Golf comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed manual.
What's a good price on a Used 1999 Volkswagen Golf?
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Should I lease or buy a 1999 Volkswagen Golf?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.