1996 Volkswagen Jetta Trek 2.0L


Quick, stylish, and reliable at a great deal


Ignition switch needed replacement. Cost me US$350.

Small water leak that I fixed myself.

General Comments:

I couldn't be more pleased with the car.

No major problems during it's entire life so far, even with minimal maintenance.

Extremely reliable for entire 115,000 miles so far.

I will most likely get another Volkswagen when time comes fora new car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 29th October, 2002

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 4 cyllinder, 2 liter?


A very stylish, economical ride


Brakes were replaced at 50,000 miles.

Clutch began slipping and was replaced at 70,000 miles. (Previous driver was a friend of mine - he drove like a maniac. Also, I have a tendency to ride the clutch when maneuvering in tight spaces such as parking lots)

Timing Belt was replaced at 70,000 miles. This is typical for a Jetta, but very expensive. Entire chunks of the engine need to be removed because of the placement.

General Comments:

This car is very quick for what little it has under the hood. Friends new to riding in the car often comment on how quick it accelerates.

The trunk is huge!!! This car is great for musicians. I can fit my entire drum set cymbals and all into it and still drive a band mate to a gig.

The seats are somewhat uncomfortable, but I have back problems and not many seats are for me. Especially, when I drive from Ann Arbor MI to Montreal Quebec very often - I guess that one could expect some back pain.

I've put this car through hell, and during a recent trip to the dealership it was declared 'in great shape'!

This car is still hip. Living in LA and Montreal, both very cosmopolitan cities - one need not be ashamed driving it! I hope to have it for several more years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2002

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 4-cylinder


One, giant headache


Oh boy, you might want to get comfortable!

Approximately one year after purchasing this car, I have had nothing but problems.

My spark plugs had to be replaced around 15,000 miles. The mechanic told me spark plugs lasted around 30,000 miles.

Around 45,000 miles, the timing belts had to be replaced due to partial tears. New one's were put in the car during the 40,000 mile service.

Around 50,000 miles, I started to notice that I was having difficulties with the brakes. When I use them, the car does not stop quickly. There have been numerous times when I literally had the brake pedal to the floor and hoped I would not rear-end the car in front of me. I have taken my car to numerous mechanics, including the dealer's, and no one can find a problem with them.

All of the hoses and seals to the coolant system had to be replaced at around 55,000 miles.

Since purchasing this car, I have put 20,000 miles on it and had two oil leaks. All the seals had to be replaced twice.

I left for work one morning and the first thing I noticed about my car was the trim on the front driver-side door and the trim on the passenger-side door were on the ground. They literally fell off the car overnight.

Around 60,000 miles, one of the struts literally broke in half. I took the car to a mechanic only to find out that the struts and bolts were completely stripped. He couldn't believe the shape they were in considering the mileage.

General Comments:

Overall, when the car is working, everything is fine. There is a lot of power when you need it and the car handles bumpy surfaces very well.

However, those are the only two good things about this car. When one thing goes wrong, many problems will be soon to follow.

I could understand these problems if I mistreated the car, but I don't. Braking is usually a nightmare and the longest span of time my car was not at the dealer's or a shop has been three months.

This car does not seem to like car parts because it goes through them extremely fast.

I really thought I did a lot of research on the Jetta, but I have learned the hard way that I was very wrong.

I would recommend purchasing this type of car if you like visiting the service department of the dealership or your local Volkswagen mechanic plus you like spending money on your car.

As for my car, I will be purchasing another one soon. It will not be a Jetta. The problems with this type of car are extremely frequent and most honest mechanics will tell you this is not a very reliable car. Of course, I found this out later.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th September, 2002

7th May 2003, 09:22

The comment about the side trim falling off is spot-on. My Jetta has both fall off after about 4 years of driving the car. The replacements for each part of the trim are really pricey, so I just decided to let it go for now.

18th May 2003, 18:50

OK, consider yourself fortunate if you had one of these and got rid of it before you had any problems. I echo the originators comments as I have determined what the "S" in "GLS" stands for... here we go with my problems...

OK, first of all- both the little cutesy electronic locks broke, so I can't lock my car. I wouldn't be able to use that cool window roll down feature either, but I've been used to that... The front and rear passenger windows have been broken for months. Infact, the rear one went first... now how often do you use that window... I mean really...

Well, to go one, someone broke into my car, well, they didn't have to break in since I can't lock it anymore... But anyway, they left the door open so my battery went dead- put on the jumper cables and the alarm goes off... so now I have a Jetta, with an alarm that won't stop thieves, but stops me- the owner. Oh, about the windows, if you see thin lines of grease on the inside of the windows- dump it! Your about to loose your power windows. Yeah, my trim fell off too... All of this before 65,000 miles...