For RM 33K, would you fancy having a used VW Golf TSI?
Jason · Jan 31, 2021 10:00 AM
Previously, we shared a guide on what you need to know if you were on the market for a used VW Jetta. But what if you prefer something without a boot? A hatchback then? One that drives as well - or better - than the Jetta? Then perhaps the VW Golf TSI is right up your alley. In this guide, we will discuss both the Mk6 and Mk7 (which includes the Mk7.5 as well) TSI versions.
Whilst the Golf Mk6 Golf is mechanically similar to the Jetta, the biggest change in the Mk7 is that it utilises the newer MQB platform. The Mk6 Golf and Jetta sits on the slightly older A5 platform. What's the consequence? The Mk7 is that little bit sweeter to drive, and feels more plush inside. But enough of that, let's get into what you should look out for.
Once again, we've enlisted the help of owners, together with VAGTechnik (who have so kindly shared some repair and maintenance costs) to answer some burning questions.
Common problems - Engine
Mk6 Golf TSIs all came equipped with the EA111 twincharged, direct-injection engines (160 PS, 240 Nm). As discussed before, there are some batches (circa 2011 to 2012) of these engines that were prone to cracked pistons. It's just safe to do a compression test to make sure the engine is healthy, because an overhaul can cost anywhere from RM 5,000 - RM 8,000.
The newer EA211 turbocharged, direct-injection engine (150 PS, 250 Nm) in the Mk7 Golfs are generally free from this piston cracking issue. In fact, most of the engine issues that plagued the EA111 were mostly addressed with this new power unit. That said, it's still important to look out for other common engine-related issues for both engines, as listed below:
Common VW Golf engine-related problems
Radiator fan motor
Timing chain cover gasket
Both engines being direct-injection units, it's best to watch out for carbon build up on the valvetrain. This can cause loss of power and poor fuel economy. A decarbonising service can cost RM 300 - RM 500, and is recommended for engines that have done 100,000kms or more.
Common problems - Transmission
Unlike the engines, both generations of Golf TSI uses the same transmission, which is the DQ200 7-speed, dry-type dual-clutch gearbox. For one, you'd wanna keep a lookout for the clutch. You can easily test this out with brisk acceleration. If there's slippage, the clutch is worn. A clutch replacement job will set you back RM 2,650.
Moving on to another rather common issue with the DQ200 transmission, the mechatronic unit. It's important to check if this has been replaced before, and it is generally a good thing if it has been, as the newer units are improved. Otherwise, changing a mechatronic unit will lighten your wallet to the tune of RM 2,300.
The Golf TSI's transmission was also part of a recall campaign by Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) for cars manufactured from 2011 - 2015. This is to rectify a potentially faulty hydraulic pressure accumulator. When looking at a model made during these years, best to ensure that the recall job has been done.
Service and maintenance
Budget about RM 300 - RM 400 for a routine oil change. Of course, the prices vary depending on the type and brand of engine oil you choose. In addititon, it's best to perform a transmission oil change every 30,000 km. That usually costs around RM 200.
In terms of maintenance, the Mk6 Golf TSIs will have accumulated more wear and tear, compared to its Mk7 counterparts, simply because it's an older model. Having said that, here some are common issues shared across both generation of models:
Common VW Golf wear & tear items
Bottoms out easily, leaking
AC condenser + cooling coil
AC loses cooling performance
Coolant tank sensor
Temperature warning light
Wheel speed sensor
ESP/ABS warning light
Reduced braking performance
Which variant to go for, and how much?
Starting with the Mk6 Golf TSI, early models came in one sole variant, these being 2010 to 2011 cars. From 2012 to 2013, there was a SE model, which I would recommend, as the later models gained goodies like cruise control, larger 17-inch wheels (up from 16-inch), and a sunroof. Whichever model you choose, the drivetrain is the same. Prices start from RM 33K for an 2010 model and goes up to RM 48K for a 2012 SE model.
As for the Mk7 Golf TSI, an early 2013 model goes for RM 53K. If you can stretch your budget to RM 100K, have a look at the facelift Mk7.5 R-Line model. This one comes equipped with a sporty R-Line exterior package, keyless entry and push start, 17-inch wheels (up from 16-inch) and a 12.3” Active Info Display digital instrument cluster.
As always, our advice is to look for private sellers because the car’s maintenance history and mileage is less likely to be tampered with. Also, always go with a car that has not been modified or had its ECU remapped.
On a personal level, I always had a soft spot for the VW Golf, regardless of which generation. It is a very grown up car that doesn't forget to let the driver have some fun. That it is also practical and easy to live with makes it a very good overall package. After all, you don't hang around for 8 generations by being a duffer.
Road Test Editor
Jason's foremost passion is all things automotive, where he spent his formative working years as a Product Planner and Trainer. An Advanced Driving Instructor by training and an all-round enthusiast, Jason loves going into intricate details about driving dynamics. Will drive anything with 4 wheels and a steering.