Replacing the original Golf was a tough task for the post-1984 Mark II second generation version. However, it established itself as a more-than worthy successor. There were many variations on the theme, including the ultra-successful GTI, which lifted the standards of the original car even higher. The whole range enjoyed enormous success and helped give Volkswagen the image it still enjoys of quality, solidity and reliability.
The third generation Mark III Golf had a tougher time of it, even though it was undeniably a superior car, larger, safer - but heavier. The Golf range has always seemed to be in a state of renewal, yet the same basic engines and body shapes tend to stay constant. Volkswagen continually changed the trim level names, often using golfing terms such as Driver and Ryder - to prove that it had a sense of humour perhaps. Even the Mark IV model, launched in 1998, didn't look radically different from its predecessor but steady sales soon showed buyers were quite happy with that approach. Such is the size of the range and the quality of Golfs on offer, that the used buyer is almost spoilt for choice.