Jetta owners.... anyone?

Discussion in 'Community' started by cr2sh, Sep 7, 2004.

  1. cr2sh macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002
    Well, as typical for me before any major purchase I request the assistance and opinions of.. well… pretty much everyone.

    I’ve been looking at a jetta gls tdi for sometime now, I want one so badly… I got back from a trip this week and looking at my jeep I’m thoroughly sick of its gas-guzzling ways. Driving it after my rental car, it feels so old and clunky and 17mpg just sucks.

    So last night I was on, doing some research on the car and I was very displeased to see the very poor rating they have given the car in reliability.

    So I thought I’d just throw it out there, anyone happen to own a newer jetta with a good number of miles on it? Anyone care to weigh in on this discussion? Basically, I’d love to hear someone say that the electrical/qc problems so prevalent in the early years of the mk4 are gone… can anyone help me?

    Your consideration of this matter is much anticipated and appreciated.
  2. rhpenguin macrumors 6502a


    Jun 10, 2003
    London, Ontario
    my 92' Jetta TDI was a beast. just about everything on it died and it cost way too much to fix.

    I swear alteast one thing broke on it a month.
  3. nospleen macrumors 68020


    Dec 8, 2002
    I had a 98 and it was great, but I had terrible luck with the new style. I had a 99 VR6 Jetta and a 2001 GLS 1.8T Golf that were lemon lawed. I loved them, but, I would never buy one again. Maybe I just have bad luck, but after two instances of bad luck, I was out...
  4. Peyote macrumors 6502a


    Apr 11, 2002
    I'm in the exact same boat. Currently driving a Jeep, and looking at buying a GLS TDI (i am looking for one with leather as well.)

    There have been a lot of problems with owners of the 1.8t engine and the coil packs, but that problem doesn not effect the TDI engine. My only worries are about the power windows, which seemed to have suffered in QC a few years ago.

    Check out, and browse the forums there. There are forums for the TDI engine, as well as the MK4 jetta with a lot of useful info.
  5. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    I'm on my fourth VW, a 1999 Golf. After 66,000+ miles, I can say that everything has been good except for the power window regulators and once they admitted that there was a problem, they found a fix for it.

    I would certainly consider another VW, but I'm not sure that I would ignore everything else this time. The Mazda 3 is looking good and Subaru have several strong models and, having driven a rental Ford Focus, I'd even consider one of those.
  6. RBMaraman macrumors 65816


    Jul 25, 2002
    Prospect, KY
    I was considering a Jetta when I was car shopping a few months ago. After talking to a few people who owned them, and after reading consumer reports and a few other magazines/books, I decided to drop the idea of a Jetta.

    I ended up purchasing a used 2001 VW Passat (New style). I absolutely love it! Take a look at a Passat, and you'll find you get a lot more car, for not that much more money.
  7. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Ironically, Jeep is coming out with one of the few new diesel offerings in the US market (Liberty)...I am not sure if that might interest you.

    Other than the Volkswagon offerings, there is little to choose from...Mercedes is re-introducing it's diesel E-series with the 2005 model, although that might be too can also find a slightly used older E-series (mercedes stopped them in '99) for around 20K, if interested.

    As far as Volkswagon goes, I had an old Jetta (80's) and it was the best car I've ever had...although I have heard bad things about VW since 1999/2000 (build-quality etc.)...I have heard more about the Jetta in particular, so you might want to go with the Golf or Beetle instead...

    Of course, a Honda Civic (hybrid or not) gets excellent mileage on regular gas. So does the Toyota Echo and to a lesser extent, the Camry.

    There is also Canada.

    Good luck.
  8. r6girl Administrator/Editor


    Staff Member

    Sep 6, 2003
    i know you are looking for info on the newer models, but i thought i'd chime in nonetheless...

    i had a '95 jetta glx and loved it at first. within the first week of owning it (i had purchased it new with about 50 miles on the clock) it stalled and then immediately re-started while i was driving on the freeway. i know it sounds odd, but picture driving at a steady freeway speed, foot on the gas, then the tach drops to zero and the dashboard lights go out for a split second, the car lurches a bit, and then you continue on your merry way just as you were a few seconds ago. when i brought it to the dealer later that week, they checked the error codes in the computer and the electrical system and couldn't find anything wrong. this happened periodically (not enough to make it un-driveable or a lemon) for the 5 years i owned the vehicle! several dealerships were unable to figure out the problem (or even believe me, i think). i finally traded it in for my current vehicle (a nissan - and not a lick of trouble with it in the last 4 years). i loved the styling and performance of the jetta, but was very disappointed with the quality (of the car and of the mechanics at the vw dealerships).

  9. TurboDerek macrumors newbie

    Aug 17, 2004
    #9 is your best bet for information.
    I am a VW guy and have experience with and many friends who drive TDi's. (2005 Passat Wagon, 98 Jetta, 2001 Golf). They are good cars for car people. Most problems they have can be fixed innless than an hour. But if you want a gas and go car they are not for you.
  10. shecky Guest


    May 24, 2003
    Obviously you're not a golfer.
    i have a 2003 Wolfsburg 1.8t, and while not a TDI, i will say so far the car has been exceptional - i have had it for about 13 months, it has just under 13,000 miles on it and it has been a joy - and i drive that car hard and it loves it and asks for more.
  11. cr2sh thread starter macrumors 68030


    May 28, 2002
    I went over tonight and looked at some Jettas. I wanted to dicuss my concerns with a saleman and see what he thought. Bascially, I wanted to see if he'd dismiss it as nonsense (or even in the past tense would be acceptable) but he didn't. He broke it down as basically, the check engine light does seem to come on a lot... but never a really serious issue. "Just a lot of stupid stuff" is how he put it. Now, that wasn't exactly the strong endorsement I was looking for... so I started asking more questions.

    "How is it possible that consumer reports can rate the Passat as a top choice and yet recommend avoiding the Jetta?" His answer was simply that the Passat is made in Germany... the Jetta else where.... I asked about the Passat TDI and fuel mileage (almost identical to the Jetta TDI) and got a brochure on that Passat.

    You hear good and bad things about the Jetta but jeez... even the dealer seemed to conclude it was a possibility. I want a car I can drive for the next 10years, that isn't going to give me any problems and that is fuel efficient as hell. The jetta is a great looking car... I want one... but all these flags scare the hell out of me.

    The new Accord is so ugly.. I won't consider it.
    I hate the idea of buying a Mazda anything...
    Subaru is a possibility... but not a strong one.

    Passat is the pack leader for now... keep thinking about it I suppose. other ideas are very welcome...
  12. keysersoze macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    I have a 2001 GLS ~50K. No problems whatsoever (knock on wood). I've replaced the rear brakes once. That and oil changes... very solid car. I would suggest the GLI as the price point is nice and it's got more horses than the standard GL and GLS 2.0 4 cyl. Test drive one! :)
  13. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    cr2sh, here is a listing of the most fuel efficient 2004 models (non-hybrid)...see what you like...

    Volkswagen Golf TDI — 38/46
    Volkswagen Jetta TDI — 38/46
    Volkswagen New Beetle TDI — 38/46

    Honda Civic — 36/44

    Toyota Echo — 35/43

    Toyota Corolla — 32/40

    Scion xA — 32/38

    Scion xB — 31/35

    Dodge Neon — 29/36
    Pontiac Vibe — 29/36
    Toyota Celica — 29/36
    Toyota Matrix — 29/36

    Mini Cooper — 28/37

    Mazda 3 — 28/35
    Mitsubishi Lancer — 28/35
    Nissan Sentra — 28/35

    Chevrolet Cavalier — 26/37
    Oldsmobile Alero — 26/37
    Pontiac Grand Am — 26/37
    Pontiac Sunfire — 26/37

    Mini seems good (IMO)...FWIW
  14. Archaeopteryx macrumors regular

    Oct 4, 2003
    My g/f for 4 years owned a 99 Jetta till a few months ago. It was awful.. She use to say "I love my car but its a pice of ****" ..

    In a nut shell.. Though she took care of it like you cant imagine... The front grill just Fell off when in a car wash.. FOR NO REASON... The cup holder fell off when she put a soda in it once.. the soda went over me.. FOR NO REASON.. The gas gauge read only 3/4th full every time she filled up the gas.. she took it to get checked 3 times .. always they said "nothing is wrong you just didnt fill it up all the way"...

    Her check engine light was on SINCE I MET HER.... all her gauges except the speed guage were dead.. and it had crappy air conditioning.. (very important in south texas) ...

    Needless to say she didnt buy another volkswagon....

    My advice.. Get good warrenty .. or stay away like the plauge!! We honestly for ****s and giggles looked up car reviews online and they all basicly told horror stories about how the car just kept breaking down!

    Of course remember this is for the 99 jetta.. and may not be how the current modles will act..
  15. jimsowden macrumors 68000


    Sep 6, 2003
    A word of advice on this subject from a mechanic. VWs, though they have pretty good engines, are terrible mechanicalls, Things like window mechanisms, gear shifts, all sorts of crap breaks and costs a shietload to fix. Not to mention that major mechical problems aren't not common. (;)) Go with a japanese brand, toyota and honda are the apple of the car world problem wise.
  16. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    There isn't a source that says that VW is reliable, so why would you even consider it? Even at MR, you get this many stories about lemons and such. There have been quite a few car threads posted here, and all of them tell of a bad story concerning a particular car model, but not this many stories, and certainly not this many horror stories.

    Personally, I wouldn't have even explored the possibility of buying a VW, nor spoken to a dealer, after reading about it in Consumer Reports and the first few posts here at MR. That's enough for the lightbulb in my head to go off.
  17. Coca-Cola macrumors 6502

    Dec 10, 2002
    My father used Jetta's for his delivery business. He loves them. He also used Ford Escorts which he hated. Very good diesel mileage, very fast.
  18. bousozoku Moderator emeritus

    Jun 25, 2002
    Gone but not forgotten.
    Considering how many cars VW sells, this isn't exactly proof positive that there is a problem. Out of 4 VWs, I've had minimal problems.

    While Toyota and Honda have better records, they also sell unispired cars.
  19. LeeTom macrumors 68000


    May 31, 2004
    I happen to have some pretty recent experience with this. My dad bought a 2004 Jetta TDI wagon a couple months back, and I've beend driving it for the past few weeeks to move stuff. It has around 2000 miles on it now (I put about half of those on there), and there have been no problems. It has been a really great car, and I'm really impressed with the console design. The seats aren't absolutely the most comfortable, but then I've been driving long-ish distances.

    I told a friend of mine who is a VW mechanic that I was considering buying one, and he said "Definitely get the P***at.". The P***ats are made in Germany and the Jettas are made in Mexico. He knows a lot about VWs (he's won every car show that he's ever submitted a car in, in the daily-driver category) so I definitely trust his judgement, but so far the Jetta has been 100% solid... wonderful, actually.

    Lee Tom
  20. Baron58 macrumors 6502

    Feb 19, 2004
    I have a 99.5 GTI VR6. The engine is perfectly reliable. The rest is not.


    Soon I'll be getting a Mazda RX-8. I've owned 5 European cars, but there's nothing European in the US market BESIDES THE VW that's what I want. If I didn't so specifically want the RX-8, I'd get a Mazda3 5-door hatch. I really should do that, but the RX-8 is like legal heroin - pure agony results if you don't keep dosing up on it. Don't drive an RX-8 if you're looking at other cars, because it'll ruin everything else for you.

    My advice - if you want a diesel, get an older Benz. Or wait for the Jeep Liberty CRD. The VW TDI engine is awesome, but not enough to go through the pain of owning the rest of the vehicle it's wrapped in.
  21. veedubdrew macrumors regular

    Oct 14, 2002
    Los Angeles, CA
    I had a 2000 VW GTI. It was a genuine P.O.S. I bought it with 11 miles on the clock, and by the end of the first day the A/C had failed and it was idling at 2500 RPM.

    What followed were failed window regulators, failed ECU, failed cruise control, a broken fancy flipping key, countless rattles, etc. The cool blue dash lights went on and off at their own whim. A bunch of plastic stuff fell off because there were never any bolts installed at the factory to hold them in (the bolt holes were there, so...?).

    The GTI was totalled at 8800 miles when someone rear-ended me, and i was very glad to be rid of that monstrosity. My car was actually made in Germany as well (Wolfsburg), but most are made in Mexico and Brazil to apparent low standards.

    Pay attention to what Consumer Reports and J.D. Power says and stay away from VW!!! They're awful!

    FWIW, I've had a Honda Insight and a Toyota Prius since, and they've both been great. Virtually no problems and great performance.

    Good luck with whatever you buy.

  22. dotnina macrumors 6502a

    Aug 19, 2004
    I have a Nissan Sentra (2003) and I can confirm it actually gets 35 mpg in real use. I put 11 gallons in, ran it down and put another 11 gallons in. Some math later, I found that with ~20% city / ~80% freeway driving (and some air conditioner use), the mpg came out to 35-point-something!

    Also it's about $10,000 less than a Jetta.

    But I love VWs -- my first car was a VW. I think the new Jettas are quite nice. :)
  23. blackfox macrumors 65816


    Feb 18, 2003
    Jesus...I was also somewhat thinking of buying a TDI (Golf) in the not-too-distant future...not so sure now.

    Good Luck cr2sh...


    Farfromsoothin' ?
  24. Neserk macrumors 6502a


    Jan 1, 2004
    uy a Honda. Sorry, I know you weren't asking for favorite kinds of car but my last when I gave away when I changed coasts and moved to CA. It had almost 200,000 miles/8 years on it and was still running great with only minor repairs. My current Honda has just over 50,000 miles/ 4 years and I've only had to replace tires (my fault, I forget to rotate :eek: ) and windshield wipers (which is weird because it rarely rains here... maybe it is the sun!)
  25. pseudobrit macrumors 68040


    Jul 23, 2002
    Jobs' Spare Liver Jar
    There were no TDIs in '92. That was an A2 Jetta; current Jettas are on the A4 platform (no relation to the Audi A4 models, which are actually on the B5 platform. Confused yet?)

    The 92 Jetta would have been a TD (turbo diesel), it was an IDI diesel.

    The TDI (turbo direct injection) came out here in '98, IIRC and debuted on the A3 Jetta platform.

    I don't like Jettas. I had one (a '94 gasser). It had problems. I fixed a lot of things myself and generally took good care of it, but got fed up with its ever-changing surprise problems. It was Mexican-built.

    So I bought a Golf TDI. It's made in Brasil. I haven't had any unusual problems and have been able to do most of the maintenence myself.

    [edit] let me make my last point a little clearer, since it's in such contrast to the other experiences here:

    I am perfectly satisfied with my TDI.
    It's been in the shop for warranty work exactly twice in the past two years I've owned it and was out of commission for just one day each time.
    I bought two new tires for it last month and have gotten it inspected twice.
    I've changed the oil & filter three times myself and the fuel, air and cabin filters once myself.


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