It all comes down to tipping points with long termers. What does a car you initially like have to do make you tire of it? And can a car you at first abandoned in the car park eventually win you over? I warmed to the Golf GT the second it arrived and, despite a hugely disappointing and costly turbo failure towards the end of its tenure, loved it even more when it recently left. But I wouldn’t buy one. I liked the chunky looks (am I alone in finding the Mk5’s functional boxiness more satisfying than the new Scirocco?); loved the chuckable handling; enjoyed the 168 bhp performance; and benefited from its mountain bike friendly practically. I even found myself polishing that bright red paintwork the weekend before I reluctantly handed back the keys and taking pride in the fact that, after nearly 9000 miles, those stylish 18in alloys were remarked as the day they left the factory. And it was the end of a genuinely interesting experiment too: what was this new fangled 1.4 liter supercharged and turbocharged engine like to live with on daily basis?
The answer is pretty good. I enjoyed the on demand, puff of air urge between 2000 and 4000 rpm. I even felt pretty good that, for once in my life the (30 something) mpg was matching my age, not my shoe size. The turbo failure was, of course the low point. The word from the VW mechanics was that the turbo shaft hadn’t been hardened properly during the production process, allowing it to bend and jam the turbo blades against the piping. Thankfully the damage was limited to just the turbo, it could so easily have sent debris towards the cams and valves, and it was all covered under warranty.