2002 Volkswagen Golf Review

Used Golf for sale
List Price Estimate:$633 - $1,448
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Fun-to-drive, lots of standard goodies, hatchback design offers excellent cargo utility.
  • Limited engine choices with departure of 1.8T four-door, some controls hard to decipher, handling could be crisper, dated styling.

Looking for a cheap, functional, fun-to-drive car? The Golf offers all three, though the departure of the four-door turbo takes away some of the fun.

Vehicle overview

We've always liked the Golf, a fun-to-drive, chunky-but-spunky hatchback that has been a bestseller in Europe for more than two decades. Here in the States, the fourth-generation Golf does battle against a range of compacts, many of them with less sporting credentials.

Both the Golf GL and GLS are powered by a standard 2.0-liter SOHC four-cylinder powerplant producing 115 horsepower. An optional powertrain on the Golf is the Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) diesel engine making 90 horsepower and 155 lb-ft of torque, with an EPA rating of 49 miles per gallon during highway driving and 42 mpg in the city. Of these two engines, the TDI provides the most get-up-and-go, but neither compares to the turbocharged 1.8-liter four that VW offered on four-door Golfs in 2000 and 2001 (turbo fans now must buy a two-door GTI). All Golfs are available with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic.

The hatchback rides on front MacPherson struts and a rear independent torsion-beam axle. Separate shock and coil-spring mounts reduce intrusion into the luggage compartment and cut road noise.

Standard features on the Golf GL include an anti-theft alarm system, air conditioning, power locks, split folding rear seats with three headrests and three-point safety belts, and a tilting and telescoping steering wheel.

The Golf GLS adds a folding front-center armrest, one-touch up and down power windows, power heated mirrors, cruise control and velour fabric seats. Options on the GLS include a four-speed automatic transmission, a Monsoon sound system, alloy wheels, a power glass sunroof, heated front seats and heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Golf offers a multitude of safety features that we don't usually see in cars at this price point. Automatic locking retractors (ALR) and emergency locking retractors (ELR) are provided for the seatbelts. Child seat tether anchorage points are also included. Moreover, side airbags and head protection curtain airbags come standard. It all comes in an attractively packaged interior boasting high-quality materials, as well as the best rear headroom and storage capacity of cars in this class.

All new Volkswagen vehicles come with an improved 4-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, up from 2 years/24,000 miles. In addition, Volkswagen offers a fully transferable limited powertrain warranty that covers 5 years or 60,000 miles. Four-year/50,000-mile 24-hour roadside assistance is also provided.

With top-notch warranty coverage, high-quality materials and construction, a roomy and functional interior, and traditionally Germanic handling, the Golf makes a compelling case for purchase by cash-strapped consumers looking for an inexpensive set of wheels that doesn't feel cheap.

2002 Highlights

The speedy 1.8T four-door has been eliminated from the Golf lineup. A CD player now comes standard on the GLS model, and the GL trim level is available both in two- and four-door configurations. Mojave Beige joins the color spectrum. Also new for the 2002 model year, all Volkswagen vehicles come with an improved four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, up from two years/24,000 miles. In addition, Volkswagen offers a fully transferable limited powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2002 Volkswagen Golf.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

4.88 out of 5 stars
GLS TDI 4dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)
I never really liked Volkswagens, but I have really fallen in love with this car. I purchased the Golf with over 150,000 miles on it, and have no issues, other than scheduled maintenance and wear and tear replacement parts. Had to replace the Glow Plug Wiring Harness because it was throwing Codes. The car has over 215,000 miles on it now, and still gets 43 MPG average, 46+ highway; probably will get 50 MPG if you can force yourself to drive the speed limit on the highway. Why buy a hybrid, when the batteries will fail when this TDI engine is just hitting its peak? Unless you drive 100% city, stay away from hybrids, TDI is the route to go for great fuel economy and long-term durability.
5 out of 5 stars
Good car to have, has lots going for it
GL TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M)
I really enjoy this car and i am glad i got this car. Not only was the price very nice, but it is very well worth the money. ALthough i got new tires, the handling with the origial ones was also very good both in handling and in grip. This thing really does well in corners, on ice, rain, and dirt. Cornering is very nice, and the fuel economy is spectacular.
4.25 out of 5 stars
My First New Car Treated Me Well
GLS 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
My Golf was perfect until after I had put 60,000 miles on it, then things started to fall apart. I had some mechanical trouble that ended up being quite costly. Other than that, I loved the car. It was fun and sporty.
2.88 out of 5 stars
Look elsewhere
GL 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M)
I bought this VW for quality German engineering. My mistake. It had chronic (monsoon) radio/cd problems which are expensive to repair. Front door windows fell out but were covered by mfr recall. Transmission went out twice (112,000 and 128,000 miles). It cost $4500 and VW America would not help with either transmission. Even the wheel logos are poorly installed and fall out at $40 each. Cup holders completely block access to stereo while in use. Black velour seats tend to hold lots of lint and dirt. Looking forward to selling this car and buying a Japanese or American car.


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2002 Volkswagen Golf

Used 2002 Volkswagen Golf Overview

The Used 2002 Volkswagen Golf is offered in the following submodels: Golf Hatchback, Golf Diesel. Available styles include GL 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A), GLS 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A), GL 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 4A), GL 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), GLS 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), GL 4dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl 5M), GLS TDI 4dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M), GLS TDI 4dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 4A), GL TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 4A), GL TDI 4dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 4A), GL TDI 4dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M), and GL TDI 2dr Hatchback (1.9L 4cyl Turbodiesel 5M). 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 2002 Volkswagen Golf comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 4-speed automatic. The Used 2002 Volkswagen Golf comes with a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. basic warranty, a 4 yr./ 50000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2002 Volkswagen Golf?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2002 Volkswagen Golfs are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2002 Volkswagen Golf for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2002 Volkswagen Golf.

Can't find a used 2002 Volkswagen Golfs you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Golf for sale - 1 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $11,983.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 7 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $9,697.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Golf for sale - 11 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $14,351.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 1 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $10,669.

Should I lease or buy a 2002 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.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Golf lease specials