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Car reviews - Volkswagen - Golf - GL 5-dr hatch


23 Sep 1994

BY the time the 1992-1998 Mk3 Golf arrived here in early ’94, VW had exorcised the quality and durability demons that plagued it elsewhere – a corollary of a misguided attempt by the VW Group to cut costs to the bone. First off the boat was the unique Golf VR6, a 128kW/235Nm 2.8-litre “narrow-angle” V6 engine five-door hatchback. The VR6’s sharp handling, smooth performance and high equipment levels (that included dual front airbags, anti-lock brakes, air-conditioning, central locking and alloy wheels) made it a convincing compact Grand Tourer. Like all subsequent Golf models, it was available in either five-speed manual or four-speed automatic guises. But the more significant Mk3 Golf was the volume-selling GL, featured here. Capitalising on the Yen-fed price struggle its Japanese rivals were experiencing at the time, the GL five-door hatchback’s combination of a gutsy 85kW 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine and good specification helped cement VW’s protracted return to Australia. In October 1995 the Golf gained an entry-level three-door CL model. Boasting dual front airbags, central locking and power steering, it used a 66kW/145Nm version of the venerable 1.8-litre four-cylinder engine. Also on sale then was the return of a Golf diesel. Aligned to GL specification, the TDI featured a 66kW/202Nm 1.9-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel unit. Meanwhile the CL three-door were short-lived. The latter gave way in early ’97 to the more popular five-door CL with air-conditioning added as standard. VW was so shaken by the Mk3 Golf’s early quality malaises that its Mk4 Golf successor, sharing its platform with the Audi A3 and TT amongst other VW Group products, broke new ground in quality perception...

The Road to Recovery podcast series

Model release date: 1 August 1994 to 1 September 1998

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