MR Golf GTI Mk4There’s always that apprehension when buying a secondhand car. What’s it actually like? What have I missed?

I have a time-honoured cure for such worries: drive the car, a lot. It’s a bit Route One, but it’s infallible. Even if the car does let you down, at least you’re prepared for it.

The Golf hasn’t let me down yet (touch wood). This has rather surprised me. After all, it’s a car that’s gone from doing super-short distance school runs to 100-mile early-morning blasts. Poor thing must barely know what’s hit it.

MR Golf GTI Mk4

But it seems to be thriving on it. The old saying about having to use cars to keep them sweet is true, and you realise why when you start driving a car that’s not been used for any great length of time, then feel how it improves as everything loosens up, smoothes out, settles down. This Golf is a different car to the one I drove back from Cambridgeshire.

Enjoying my nice new now-snappy-shift gearbox, smooth-spinning engine and free-riding roll-along feel, I’ve now done about 1,000 miles. That’s a couple of tankfuls which, pleasingly, has revealed another bonus: decent fuel economy. The first tank-to-tank was nearly 39mpg. The second was over 40mpg. The second wasn’t particularly done with economy in mind either, simply driving up and down the M40.

Oh, and the trip computer seems accurate to within a couple of mpg.

MR Golf GTI Mk4

What next? Well, more of the same. My current long-term Kia Carens goes back soon, and my next car isn’t delivered for a little while yet. So the Golf will be called into action as daily driver. Something I’m rather looking forward to.

There’s something else, too. Andrew and I both have cars that have covered 175,000 miles. My plan is to take this up to 200,000. 200 miles daily will help no end here…

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