Volkswagen Golf Mk6 (A6, Typ 5K) review, problems, specs
The sixth generation Volkswagen Golf (codenamed A6, Type 5K) saw daylight at the 2008 Paris Motor Show where it was unveiled using the same PQ35 platform as its predecessor, the Golf Mk 5. The car’s design raised a lot of comments as Volkswagen opted for a more aerodynamic approach, bound to increase fuel efficiency. They also paid more attention to the interior, as the cabin was greatly improved compared to what the Golf Mk 5 had to offer.
- upmarket cabin
- pleasant to drive
- refined engines
- focus on getting a 1.4 TSI version, preferably in five-door setup
- a diesel model is always a good idea
- dull looks
- expensive compared to rivals
- underpowered entry-level engines
Stay Away From
- don’t bother with the 1.2 TSI version
- GTD, GTI and R versions
Known Problems & Recalls
- the doors might be misaligned on some cars, so look out for such flaws
- some particulate filters on the BlueMotion diesel version get blocked
- a batch of clutches build between September 2008 and August 2009 are know to open all of a sudden, but a recall campaign was operated
- few electrical and engine problems have also been reported
As usual, this is where Volkswagen performs best and the Golf Mk 6 makes no exception. This means the powertrain offer is a hefty one. In the petrol department, the sixth-gen Golf comes with a 1.4-liter engine (80 HP), a 1.6-liter unit (102 HP), took from the previous Golf but improved here and there. Then there’s the 1.4-liter TSI mill offered in two versions: 120 and 160 HP. In the diesel camp, the entry-level choice is a 1.6-liter engine with 90 and 105 HP, which can be mated to the brand’s DSG automatic transmission. You can also have the 1.6-liter diesel in BlueMotion guise, for better overall fuel economy, with either a manual or a semi-automatic DSG gearbox.
We’re still talking about a Golf here, so the main features of the the car’s handling have a lot to do with a strong feeling of safety and comfort. Again, the compromise is made between low-body roll and a suspension setup capable of absorbing every bump in the road without sending unwanted noise in the cabin. Whether your journey takes you on the motorway or on winding roads, the Golf Mk 6 feels steady and pleasant to drive.
Just like the fifth-gen VW Golf, the Mk 6 was awarded five stars for adult occupant safety after being put through its paces at the Euro NCAP crash tests. It’s safe to say the result does not come as a surprise, since VW fitted every Golf with seven airbags and ESP. Child occupant safety was rated at four stars, despite the fact that the safety-boosting suite offers faster sensors for the airbags, Brake Assist and ABS, all wrapped in a stronger cell and chassis.
The cabin shows excellent soundproofing work, better than the previous Golf, so there’s no need to worry about wind and road noise. The seats are comfortable and offer good support in addition to the suspension’s cushion-like effect. Air conditioning is available as standard and space-wise, there’s plenty of room for two adults in the back, thanks to the generous legroom and headroom displayed by the cabin.
The entire Golf family does a lot of things by the book, and quality is one of them, starting with the build and finishing with the interior and the materials used inside the cabin. Be careful though, this proven reliability means a heftier acquisition price for used vehicles.
The Golf Mk 6 is on par with its predecessor as far as practicality is concerned. For example, boot space remains unchanged at 350 liters, but if you fold down the rear seats, this value can be increased to 1,305 liters. It’s still lower than what rivals like Honda Civic and Ford Focus offer, but nonetheless, enough for daily chores. You also get a wider boot opening and a lower load lip, along with the usual cupholders and cubby holes smartly spread across the cabin.
You’ll only unlock the full amenities of the infotainment system by opting for higher-spec models. Therefore, you’ll get a CD player, a Multi Device Interface with USB and iPod connectors and a tactile display for managing the DAB digital radio, eight speakers, Bluetooth connectivity and sat-nav.
Lots of engines come with lots of efficiency figures, so let’s take it one step at a time. Of course, the most frugal choice is the BlueMotion model, which returns 69 mpg, a slightly better average than the one displayed by the regular 1.6-liter TDI, namely 63 mpg - the same offered by the 2.0-liter TDI mill. In the petrol department, the range-topping 1.4-liter unit is good for 45 mpg - a good value considering the engine’s power output - while the 1.2-liter TSI returns between 49 and 51 mpg.
Volkswagen offers three trim levels for the Golf Mk 6, namely: S, Match and GT. Up the ladder lie the performance-oriented GTD, GTi and R variants. For the average Golf, standard equipment includes air con, electric front windows, CD player, remote central locking, 60/40 split-foldable rear seat and seven airbags, plus 15-inch steel wheels. Go one step further and the features list consists of Adaptive Chassis Control, Park Assist, dual-zone climate control, leather-covered three-spoke steering wheel, automatic headlights, rain sensors and 16-inch alloy rims.
The Mk 6 is a Golf in the word’s true meaning, which means there is a certain pattern that applies to it. First of all, expect a soupe-up price tag, especially on diesel models, despite the fact that the new Golf Mk 7 has been around for some time now. However, you get a lot of bang for the buck in terms of fuel economy, comfort, driving experience and practicality, to a certain degree.