The 2004 Volkswagen Golf hatchback marks one of the most significant models offered by Volkswagen. Not only does it represent one of the bestsellers, but the Jetta, GTI, and R32 use the Golf chassis. With ample interior space, an excellent array of standard features, and good performance, Volkswagen has fallen back on the Golf design on so many occasions.
Performance wise, the Volkswagen Golf looks like a solid vehicle across the board. The engine provides ample power for acceleration, it maneuvers well under almost any condition, and it has a plethora of safety features. Despite all that the Golf offers, it also has a reasonable price tag that makes it a good value.
The main drawback to the Golf concerns its tight competition with models using the same basic design. The Jetta offers a sedan or wagon body as an alternative to the Golf’s hatchback design. The GTI and R32 look visually almost identical to the Golf, but offer high performance. The Golf’s only major advantage in most situations involves the lower price. The Volkswagen Golf makes a solid, practical choice, but it is a little less flashy than some of the alternatives it has helped spawn.
Body Styles: hatchback
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Golf GL, Volkswagen Golf GLS, Volkswagen Golf GL TDI, Volkswagen Golf GLS TDI
The diesel engine available for the 2004 Volkswagen Golf provides a redesigned version of the 1.9-liter four-cylinder that offers better performance. The Monsoon stereo system now comes as a standard features on the Golf GLS. A fuel cap and seat belt warning light have been added to the display.
The 2004 Volkswagen Golf sells as a two-door or four-door hatchback. Generally, drivers prefer the four-door because the rear seats prove difficult to access in the two-door. Measuring in at a total length of 164.9 inches, the Golf remains significantly smaller than most other vehicles on the road. The Golf GLS comes with a power sunroof as a standard feature.
The Volkswagen Golf makes for a relatively small vehicle, which makes the relatively large, spacious interior a pleasant surprise. The Golf comfortably seats four passengers, although a fifth passenger can squeeze in. The sheer amount of cargo space shows where the Golf ends up outperforming many larger vehicles. The already impressive 18 cubic feet of storage at the rear can be expanded to 42 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats. Many sedans do not offer comparable storage space, even factoring in the trunk. Overall, the 2004 Volkswagen Golf provides enough room to carry passengers and cargo in a remarkably small package. The interior space only becomes suspect when it comes to fitting in the fifth passenger. The rear seat seems better sized for two people than three.
Performance & Handling
Performance does not mark the main consideration of the Volkswagen Golf design, but it still makes a good showing despite this. Both engine options provide above average acceleration and a decent top speed. The small size of the Golf lends itself well towards maneuverability, allowing it to handle very well. The Golf handles very smoothly and should easily please most drivers. The 2004 Volkswagen Golf makes an excellent day-to-day driving vehicle, but it lacks the high-end performance offered by some vehicles. Anyone who finds the Golf lacking would likely be better served by the Volkswagen GTI or R32, both of which serve as high-performance vehicles but use the Golf’s basic body design.
The 2004 Volkswagen Golf offers an impressive range of standard safety features, despite its low price tag. Dual front airbags, rear head airbags, side-mounted airbags, an engine immobilizer, four-wheel anti-lock brakes, and electronic brake force distribution appear in all Golf models. Stability control and traction control come standard.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Golf 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel, manual: 32/42 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Golf 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel, five-speed automatic: 28/39 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Golf 2.0-liter four-cylinder, manual: 21/28 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Golf 2.0-liter four-cylinder, four-speed automatic: 21/28 mpg city/highway
- Good performance
- Good handling
- Excellent fuel economy
- High-quality construction
- Large amount of cargo space
You Won't Like
- Hatchback body design might not appeal to all drivers
- Does not stand out against other Volkswagen models
- Rear-seat entry difficult with two-door model
Zips around efficiently!
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Accord
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry
- Volkswagen GTI
- Volkswagen R32