“Are you mature?” he asked intently.
I thought that the best car by far in the Mark 2 Golf range was the GTD – a sprightly and economical turbo diesel in a Driver/GTi style with red bumper inserts, sportier trim etc. A forerunner of cars like the excellent diesel only Skoda Fabia vRS.
“Well then prove it and walk down the street with me.”
In fact, if you look at the hot hatch specs from the Eighties, most modern cars would wipe the floor with them! My Honda CR-V has 150bhp and out-accelerates most of the old hot hatches to 60mph – and this from a family orientated 4×4 with integral picnic tables!
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And today, it’s a car that’s guaranteed a gentle slide into classic status thanks to a healthy scene following on the back of the wider VW movement. But rather like the K70, 411 and Beetle itself, the Mk2 really doesn’t merit such veneration. They’re a common sight on the roads today, and modified to boot – and rust resistance and build quality ensure depressing longevity. It really is Volkswagen’s Allegro, and I really would prefer to own a Longbridge pudding. Or even a Maestro…
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So, VW relied on the hopeless opposition, great marketing, and its excellent reputation and dealer backup to draw the punters in. And in the process, failed to move forward the medium hatchback class one iota. How fortunate for Wolfsburg.
So, was the Golf Mk2 Volkswagen’s Allegro? Yes…
don’t agree with the negative sentiment. Mk2 was a solid car that could easily have been used for rallying.. It’s tough and strong, and from an acoustic point of view it’s very good. The Mk3 was a different matter and even the build quality was up for some scrutiny.. In fact I always find it difficult to remember the Mk3 Golf compared to the VAG SEAT Ibiza.
Nope, much as I loved my Maestros, I was always envious of the Mk2’s solidity.
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…except that it managed to sell extraordinarily well, thank you very much. However, its opposition wasn’t that strong, really, and that must have helped a great deal. The 1980 Ford Escort and GM Astra/Kadett were neat and useful, but were ageing rapidly (and eventually replaced by no-hope facelifts), the Renault 11 was a joke, the Fiat Strada was useless, the Alfa Romeo 33 was ghastly expensive, and the Austin Maestro was dumpy, poorly made and ignored by anyone outside of the UK.
Overhyped and over here : Ford Escort XR3/XR3i
As the first reply already hinted upon, the answer to why the Mk2 is revered within VW enthusiasts now, of course is the Mk3. In Richard Porter’s words, that is where the Golf did an Elvis by becoming fat and rubbish.