Unless it's a GTI or an R, the VW Golf is not what we'd call an exciting vehicle. However, it has been one of the most popular cars in Europe for as long as we can remember, and it's easy to see why. It's spacious and practical while having an inoffensive design. It's also fairly reliable and ticks all the boxes for a family car without being expensive. For single mom Nikki, this fifth-gen hatch has served as the primary means of transportation.
The TDI-powered compact car has certainly seen better days, but who has the time to give this Golf Mk5 some pampering? Thankfully, Top Gear's Clean Team came to its rescue and did the best it could in eight hours. We've seen 16-year-old cars in a worse shape than this, albeit the interior is a bit rough. With two kids and a dog, it's easy to imagine how the cabin is so filthy. That said, it's nothing that can't be fixed by the skilled duo.
With a limited amount of time available, the Golf Mk5 didn't go through a full restoration. Even so, the eight hours spent to rejuvenate the VW were well worth the effort. It all started with getting everything out of the car before cleaning up the engine bay. The next step was to spruce up the interior, which was the most time-consuming part of the process. The rear bench was particularly dirty with more stains than we can count, but wet vacuuming did the trick.
Faded headlights were the most obvious defect on the outside and now they shine again after the professional detailer worked his magic by using sandpaper. The finishing touch was to align the VW badge before showing the Golf to Nikki. She has owned the car from new and we honestly expected her to be more enthusiastic upon seeing her prized possession.
Anyway, those eight hours were well spent as the car has a thoroughly clean interior and looks great on the outside for a 2006 model.