1988 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8


My Little $1000 Mexican Maybach - well almost!


Nothing except for normal wear & tear items, exhaust, tires etc.

General Comments:

The vehicle was great from day one. Nice ride, decent power, exceptional handling. Excellent reliability.

Even though it was 11-years-old when I bought it (and had approx. 80k miles), the paint was like new and the body was rust-free. The interior of the car was beautiful too. It was manufactured in Mexico, so it has the "fuzzy-cloth" interior. It still looked new!

I found that the combination or German engineering aand Mexican assembly worked well, as the fit and finish were as good if not better as any small car of its time, and on par with many much more expensive makes.

For a little car, it was very smooth and quiet. The 1.8 liter engine and 3 speed automatic transmission worked in fine harmony and returned 25 mpg or more in the process.

The stereo system provide fine sound, and everything on the vehicle worked.

Not bad for a car that cost me nearly $400,000 less than a Maybach.

When I decided to sell it, I just put for sale signs on the windows and parked it out front. In less than a day I got a call from a neighbor who bought it on the spot.

This little metallic gray Mexican Jetta was a very nice little car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 21st August, 2005

1988 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8 Gasoline


Definitely a keeper


Nothing has gone wrong with the car. It wasn't used a lot in the past few months before I got it, but it starts right up and drives like a dream. It is very smooth, and the car has a lot of oomph for only having 100 hp.

Certain common Jetta/Golf specific problems are present, but none of them are major and none affect the car's drivability:

A sagging headliner (endemic to these cars, especially with a sunroof)

Left front wheel bearing on the way out.

Power window switch is faulty on one side.

Vacuum operated power door locks are temperamental.

General Comments:

Other than these issues, which require a little bit of work to fix (I do most of my own work so it's more of a hobby than a chore), the car is in mint condition. I love this car, I got it for only $700 which was truly a steal.

These older Volkswagens are what the current VWs should be modeled after - they are so solid and reliable. If you treat these cars right they will run forever, and 99% of the other reviews on this site of the 1985-1992 Jetta/Golf models will prove it.

These cars are easy to work on, parts are pretty easy to find, but most of all, they are a kick to drive. Sure, you can drive a worry free Honda/Toyota, but it will not be nearly as fun to drive or have as much personality as a VW - GUARANTEED. I love my VW, and I will probably own one as long as I live.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th October, 2004

2nd Nov 2004, 12:54

I should add that when I wrote this post, for some reason, the car was listed as a 1987. Correction: it is a 1988.

1988 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8L SOHC 8v I-4


A slow, small, unreliable and costly car to own


The head gasket blew at 131,000 miles.

New CV joints at 133,000 miles.

Exhaust completely fell off at 130,500 miles.

Oil leak since the day I bought it. (I didn't know until I saw oil under it the day after I'd bought it.)

Cooling problems galore.

Interior is in perfect shape, clean and still looking new, the one I truly respect about VW is that they made high quality interiors in the vehicles.

All electrical shorted out at 130,750 miles.

Many more problems to mention...

General Comments:

My Volkswagen Jetta has been the most unreliable, hard to fix car I have ever owned. I have owned it since April 2002, and have had nothing but problems with it. The man I bought it from was the original owner and used it to commute to work. I've calculated the amount of time it takes for something to break on this Jetta, and it seems that about every two weeks, something has broken on it and these repairs tend to be extremely spendy. I will never own another Volkswagen as long as I live.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st January, 2003

13th Apr 2003, 07:32

I understand how disappointed you are, but was the car in good shape when you bought it? I think the person you acquired your car from sold it because it had many problems and also because he did not take care of the car. I suggest you give Volkswagen another try. peace.

2nd Nov 2004, 12:59

Ditto to the comment above. I once heard somewhere that "A well maintained VW is 10 times better than a well maintained Honda, but a neglected VW is 10 times worse than a neglected Honda." If you bought your Jetta neglected, you probably should have anticipated some of these issues that you're seeing with your car, and the fault lies with the previous owner, not with the car. I can assure you that, when properly maintained/tuned, these VWs are great cars.

Also, certain items you're mentioning (such as the CV joints failing) are common VW issues that aren't hard/too costly to fix. Also, take a look at the mileage on your car - 133000 miles is by no means a "new" car.

Give VW a second chance, or at least look at your current Jetta differently (assuming you still have it).