VW Bora. Do I really have to write about this car?
I could copy + paste the VW Golf IV article and go home or to the pub. But still, I realized that as much as I hate the VW Golf IV, I might still have a bigger issue with the VW Bora.
If the VW Golf IV is the official car of the guy who knows nothing about cars, the VW Golf IV station wagon is the official car of the guy who wants a lot, good and cheap. And the VW Bora is a Golf IV with a boot because the european car must have 4 doors and a boot. Meat must be meat. Women must be women. Cars must be cars.
It’s just that the Golf IV was designed as a compact car which is quite small by today’s standards. Trying to make a saloon out of a Golf IV means you’ll have a very cramped saloon, which the VW Bora really is. When it was new, a VW Bora was for people who liked the Golf, wanted something bigger but couldn’t afford a Passat.
But today? A VW Bora costs more than a Golf IV even though it’s the same car. The issue is that it’s only a few hundred euros away from the VW Passat B5.5, so if you want a VW sedan you buy the Passat outright. The only reason it’s worth buying a Bora today is that you found a tip or something cheap. Or maybe you’re so brainwashed that you pay extra just to buy that VW logo, even if it means buying a cramped sedan. And even if you have the VW logo, at the end of the day you have a VW Bora. You won’t impress anyone.
Yes, the VW Jetta that followed tried to break away from the Golf and make on its own identity, but the Bora was an exact copy of a car that from launch was a Nokia 3310 in a Blackberry world. Yes, you could come up with the reliability argument, an absolutely valid argument. But you should know that the last VW Bora was made 15 years ago. Nobody wins the battle of time, not even Her Majesty.
VW Bora Engines
- 1.4 MPI of 75 horsepower – If you’re so keen on VW but don’t have the VW money, this is the best engine for you. An aspirational engine, for an aspirational car.
- 1.6 MPI of 100, 102, and 105 horsepower – An engine that’s been in production for centuries, because it’s that good. Occasionally eats O2 sensors and coil packs and somewhere late in life develops an appetite for oil.
- 1.6 FSI of 110 horsepower– Same 1.6 MPI but gets the FSI system and a few extra horses. Instead, it loses LPG compatibility, and mechanics in general avoid this engine because it was produced for 2 minutes on VW Bora and 5 minutes on VW Jetta. A good engine, but rare and too expensive for the typical Bora owner.
- 1.8 MPI of 125 horsepower – The first 4motion petrol in the Bora is somewhere between 1.6 and 2.0. If you want a balanced, city engine, this is the one to buy.
- 1.8T of 150 and 180 horsepower – The famous 1.8T makes it to the VW Bora and is one of the most sensational engines of the 2000s. Whether or not it’s better than the 2.3 V5 or the 1.9 TDI, I’ll let you decide. What is certain is that for more fuel consumption and a few coil packs you get in exchange a fantastic engine that can easily be taken to 210 horsepower. And the 150 horsepower is one of two engines with TipTronic automatic transmissions in the Audi A4 B6.
- 2.0 of 115 horsepower – The famous “2. slow” sacrifices everything in the name of reliability. Consumption, power, and dynamics, all sacrificed for total reliability. Legend has it it doesn’t even need oil to run. This engine is like a immigrant – lacking power, constantly hungry but at least it’s hardworking.
- 2.3 V5 of 150 and 170 horsepower – If the 2.0 sacrifices everything in the name of reliability, the V5 sacrifices everything in the name of the spectacular sound. Poor in performance, fuel consumption, or reliability, this enemy of mechanics makes a fantastic sound when it’s working. The V5 – the official “Give a penny, but you know you don’t have it anymore” engine.
- 2.8 V6 of 204 horsepower – Are there any VW Bora 2.8 V6 owners? Anyway. As heavy as the engine is, the car no longer turns left-right and just goes forward.
- 1.9 SDI of insufficient horsepower – This engine sacrifices everything in the name of reliability. It sacrifices performance and even the turbo to be an indestructible and economical engine. Acceleration on this engine is measured with timing, but at least you don’t have to go to the mechanic too often on the engine side.
- 1.9 TDI of 90, 101, 110, 116 and 131 horsepower – 1.9 TDI 90 horsepower ALH is already a walking meme for low fuel consumption and reliability, even if it has modest performance. The 101 ( code AXR ), 110 (code ASV), and 116 (code AJM – same as the Audi A4 B5) are simple and reliable engines with modest fuel consumption but occasional turboand EGR issues. The 131 horsepower comes with code name ASZ and is ready to kick you in the testicles and give you performance approximating that of the 1.8T. Reliable, powerful, and economical, this engine has only been retired by EU pollution regulations, otherwise it would still be bought today. 1.9 TDI – one of the diesels that started the diesel craze in Europe.
VW Bora General Issues
- Diesel engines can no longer bear so much weight and fame and are tearing their engine mounts. Replace the engine mounts regularly to avoid this.
- Door locks have a habit of breaking down and leaving you stranded on the outside, so you can reflect on buying a VW Bora when you could put another 200 euros in and buy a Passat B5.5 and have the full experience.
- Like any VW from the 2000s, there are issues with interior wear and tear. Well, if we’re talking about the Bora the options aren’t that many so not too many parts will fall off. A broken seat and/or a dented steering wheel is not enough to stop a VW driver.
- Speaking of the 2000s, there is no VW from that period that had the “Check Engine” permanently on. Why? We’ll never know. I too had a 2005 VW and had the same Check Engine on constantly. The universally accepted solution is to get used to it.
- The automatic transmissions are either Audi Tiptronic or VW classic automatics. Avoid the classic VW automatic transmissions of the 2000s any more than the mad cow disease.
- Rust and the general age of these cars is a serious issue. Especially since a VW Bora 1.9 TDI definitely has astronomical mileage so you can expect any parts to fail. Come to think of it, the VW Bora station wagon really is shaped like a bathtub. VW Bora station wagon, is basically the station wagon version of saloon version of the Golf IV .
VW Bora Verdict
Looking for long lasting, cheap, reliable, fuel-efficient, and cheap to run? Then the VW Bora may be the choice for you if you have some weird compact saloon fetish. However, being VW the prices will be higher and often these cars are overpriced. But, if you can find one at a decent price, the VW Bora can be an excellent car for the city or for those on a tighter budget than a student who stayed over the weekend in their dorm because they ran out of money for the drive home and now waits for Sunday for their hometown friends to come and bring them a package from home. However, keep in mind that the VW Bora was a popular and well-run car, so most cars today have over 500,000 miles on them. Not 187,000, as the ads say.
Which engine do I recommend? If you want a quiet city petrol, 1.6 MPI with 102 horsepower. If you want something sporty, 1.8T 150 hp or 1.9 TDI 131 hp. If you want an economical diesel, a 90-horsepower 1.9 TDI. Or my hand, buy what you can find, as all engines on the SH market in Romania are forged but reliable anyway.