Sixth Service and Golf Mk 6 Review
110,500 miles, 1st September 2009
My car went in for it's 6th interval service today and a change of brake fluid. I'm happy to report everything went fine. No problems. They did mention at the end that there might be a leak from an intercooler seal but just something to monitor. They had replaced a squashed intercooler hose a couple of years ago and so I guess it is conceivable that a seal might also be leaking. I'll keep an eye on it.
I was expecting the garage to ring me telling me that my brake discs and pads all needed changing. The car still has on the original discs and pads after 110,000 miles. The brakes perform fine but can sometimes be noisy. I think the discs accumulate quite a bit of rust whilst the car is standing for days on end and then my light use of the brakes means they never get a really good scrubbing through hard use. But the garage just advised that there was slight corrosion to the discs but the pads still had 6 to 7 mm of thickness left so just something to keep an eye on. Sounds like I might get another 20,000 miles from them at least!
Now a little story about my Dad: My dad likes things to be heavy. The heavier the better. Hand him something and he'll subconsciously weigh it. If it's an acceptable, heavy weight for the size of the item he'll say something like "It's solid is that" or "it's got a bit of weight about it". For this reason, he wouldn't have liked the Mk 6 Golf I had today as a courtesy car whilst my car was in for its service. It feels like those clever people at Volkswagen have found more ways to loose a bit of weight here (in the glove box door for example), a bit of weight there (the sunvisors), etc, etc. Now I don't mind this. Weight in a car, to me, is a bad thing. It means poorer fuel consumption. So, as long as something does the job, doesn't break, and doesn't rattle, I'm all for loosing weight.
The courtesy car was a 1.4 S 3-door. Pretty much the cheapest Mk 6 you can buy and the dealer's advertisement on the side of it said you could buy one for £13,500. I didn't think that was bad.
I really liked the Mk 6. I think Volkswagen have certainly improved on the Mk 5. The interior looks a more modern and I love the dashboard. It follows the current trend of deep-set, permanently illuminated recessed dials. The white text on black background is amazingly clear.
I didn't find the basic stereo quite as easy to read as in the Mk 5, mainly because the screen (and consequently the text) was smaller. I did notice that you can now alter the brightness of the stereo's screen, something which would have been handy in the Mk V to prevent annoying reflections appearing on the car's windscreen at night.
There were a few things I was disappointed had not been carried across into the Mk 6:
- No dash-top centre storage compartment on models without Climatronic air conditioning. I frequently found this area very handy, for sun-glasses, sat-navs, etc.
- No 2 litre bottle holders in the bottom of the front doors. The handles, speakers and electric window/mirror switches have moved around on the Mk 6 doors. I have no complaints but they do appear to have lost a little storage space.
- The sunvisors no longer extended.
The Mk 6 I had had the smallest 1.4 (80PS) petrol engine with a 5 speed manual gearbox. I'm no speed-merchant but even I found this engine a little small in a Golf. Acceleration was enough to keep up with traffic around town but big hills or a full load and I think you'd be struggling. However it's only the acceleration I'm talking about. I couldn't fault engine noise or fuel economy. I'd be quite happy driving around in this car. Only long motorway trips would perhaps get a bit tiring. The comprehensive trip computer reported I averaged around 50mpg over 50 miles of relatively short journeys. That was after the car had warmed up and I did wonder what fuel consumption would be like on a longer motorway trips. I suspect it might suffer from the lower gearing.
I didn't find interior noise levels much reduced though from the Mk 5. Obviously it was quieter than my TDI when stationary but on the move noise levels sounded pretty much the same. As in the Mk 5, most of the noise appears to be road and wind noise. It's not unbearable though.
The suspension definitely was better. Speed bumps were much less noticeable. I'm never very demanding where handling is concerned but it was just as good if not better than my Mk V.
One final improvement, the rear hatch seemed to be weighted better. With one good pull down on the hatch and it will now close all by itself rather than you having to do a two-stage pull followed by a final push closed.
Would I recommend the Mk 6? Yes. Volkswagen have improved on the Mk 5 which in itself is a good car. I'm not in any rush to upgrade from my Mk 5 though. The changes are relatively minor and since my Mk 5 is going so well 5 years on, there's no real reason to change.
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