I want a VW Polo. No, I want a Golf. Actually, I’d like a Tiguan, but I can’t afford it yet. I know! I’m getting a VW Golf V Plus. VW Golf V Plus is the most brilliant car to come out of the VW gates in the mid 2000s.
Launched in 2005 as a cousin to the Golf but also as a smaller VW Touran, the VW Golf V Plus comes with perhaps the most innovative way of designing a new car. Basically, it’s taken space and sheet metal out of the boot and put it on the roof. So the VW Golf V Plus is taller than a normal Golf V but has a boot worthy of the VW Polo.
Basically, you have a family car, a mini-MVP, but without the boot. And with a Tiguan interior because the Golf V interior has no place in a Golf V Plus.
Why is the Golf V Plus a brilliant car to buy in 2022?
- Because it’s cheaper than a Golf V. A lot of people weren’t convinced by the bulging, bootless look of this edition of the Golf. Very few bought it new, and even fewer bought it used. This led to massive depreciation and thus it becomes a good, cheap VW.
- The Golf V Plus isn’t the most practical or good-looking car, but it’s certainly one of the most comfortable cars you can sit in. The high seating position, acres of interior space and the fact that most models come almost as tuned as the Sasha Grey make the VW Golf V Plus an excellent car for young people.
- The engines and drivetrain are identical to the Golf V, one of the most popular cars. Parts can be found absolutely everywhere, no matter how obscure. And if you have issues with the plastics in the dashboard, you can always look for the Tiguan. Moreover, it also has Golf V-specific issues so there is ample documentation on the internet about absolutely every possible and impossible situation.
VW Golf V Plus Engines
- 1.4 MPI of 75 and 80 horsepower – This engine barely copes with the Golf body, for the Golf Plus you’ll already have to push it. A decent engine for the city, but not recommended for the country roads.
- 1.4 TSI of 122 horsepower – That famous 1.4 TSI with the timing chain tensioner issue. A decent engine otherwise, except you have to pay close attention to the timing chain and the metallic and dodgy sounds in the morning when you start the car.
- 1.4 TSI of 160 horsepower – Besides the timing issue, the 1.4 TSI “TwinCharger” has both turbocharging and supercharging. One of VW’s worst engines on the reliability front. But at least it’s the most muscular in the class and can convince your passengers to never ride with you again.
- 1.6 MPI of 102 horsepower – The old 1.6 MPI launched in 1997 on the Skoda Octavia and Golf III, this living monument to reliability only needs the coil packs changed occasionally and that’s about it. Simple, reliable, decently powerful and with fuel consumption of around 10 litres per 100 kms of urban jungle. Avoid the automatic version because it doesn’t come with DSG (it’s the only engine on the VW Golf V Plus that doesn’t come with DSG) but with an old-fashioned automatic gearbox that’s as good as herpes.
- 1.6 FSI of 115 horsepower – With an FSI system you get 13 horses but lose the possibility of fitting an LPG (it doesn’t run 100% on gas, but 70% gas and 30% petrol). Unless you do a lot of miles a year, I don’t think this detail has any relevance for you.
- 1.9 TDI of 105 horsepower – By far the most popular engine on the roads of the country and therefore on the Golf V Plus. The same 1.9 TDI that has brainwashed entire generations of europeans who now know how to recommend only 1.9 TDI, regardless of engine or car. What is the best engine in the Golf V? 1.9 TDI. What is the best petrol engine in the Passat B6? 1.9 TDI. Which engine to choose for a BMW E90? 1.9 TDI. Did Boris Johnson party during covid? 1.9 TDI. Simple, noisy, reliable and fuel-efficient, the 1.9 TDI remains the favourite engine of the VW lovers. Somewhere around 300,000 km, the camshaft wears out. A special mention for the 1.9 TDI code BXE, which occasionally loses a connecting rod through the engine.
- 2.0 TDI of 140 horsepower – The classic 2.0 TDI, can either be a complicated engine or absolutely decent. Fortunately, this 2.0 TDI from the Golf V doesn’t have the issues from the Passat so it doesn’t matter if you get a PD or CR engine, pre or post-2008. The only general issue with the 2.0 TDI is the dual mass flywheel which wears out more often than you’d like and costs a lot more than you’d like. There used to be issues with Delphi injectors, but in 2019 surely all 2.0 TDI engines have already switched to Bosch injectors and solved the issue.
VW Golf V Plus General Issues
- The ABS G201 sensor is a notorious issue with German cars from 2005 onwards, and the VW Golf V Plus doesn’t escape it either. The G201 sensor – the herpes of the German car world.
- The DSG automatic gearbox of this period is best avoided. On one hand it’s not the shiniest gearbox, on the other hand it has reliability issues. Most important is the mechatronic, the automatic transmission computer. This Mechatronic is not repaired/reconditioned, just changed and costs somewhere around 1300 euros. Or you get a manual gearbox and you’re done. What a man does with his own hands is called manual work.
VW Golf V Plus Verdict
The VW Golf V Plus remains an alternative to the Golf V. A taller Golf with a smaller boot, there are probably people who appreciate the comfortable styling and high driving position. Personally, I don’t really understand this attempt at a mini MVP from VW, but there are people who buy that too. And why not? If you don’t need the trunk space of a regular Golf, if there are generally only two people in the car, then a VW Golf V Plus does the job honourably. Not exceptional, but honourable. Because a VW is always good at everything, but excellent at nothing.
Which engine do I recommend? For the urban Golf Plus driver, probably the most balanced engine remains the classic 1.6 MPI with 102 horsepower. As for the diesel, whether it’s 1.9 TDI or 2.0 TDI just depends on your budget. Personally, I’d go for the 1.9 TDI because it’s an older technology and more reliable, except that most engines already have billions of miles on them.