This car was the love of my automobile life and I get sad when I think about the day that I sold it a month ago. The second generation Jetta's were awesome machines hands down.
The 1.8 motor is much faster than 105 hp makes it sound; that 105 would really turn the heads of people who would look at the old car and instantly think slow. The 3-speed automatic could have used overdrive, which was the only reason that I sold it, but didn't run much worse on the highway than my new '01 Jetta's 5-speed manual.
The styling of these classic Jetta's is truly unique and timelessly appealing...boxy, but aerodynamic too; and how many cars have black plastic trim around the fenders that actually looks good? For 1991 the bumpers were enlarged and the bottom sections were painted; this gave the cars a visual advantage over the previous years of the same generation.
Everything about my old Jetta was solidly built although there were a few squeaks (which I attribute to some washboards on a gravel road). The seats were totally amazing... my sister spilled chili on the passenger seat which soaked in for a good twenty minutes, but every drop came out and you cannot tell that it ever happened. The interior of that car looks brand new--no joke. The stereo sounds excellent; look for a model with 6 speakers (2 extra being in the front doors). The rear speakers often decay in the sun, but can be easily replaced.
This Jetta handled like it was on rails... I took all turns far too fast because that's what my '91 Jetta was made for. While my '01 Jetta handles very well, the 91's body doesn't roll on turns like its replacement.
The '91 Jetta never broke down and never gave me any hassles. I commuted 5-days a week 30 minutes to class for the last year that I owned the car and even lacking overdrive it never had any problems. The car was amazing in the snow too; it was a champ, a truly amazing machine. Don't let anyone talk you out of buying a Volkswagen, especially these second generation Jetta's.