2002 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9 turbo diesel


A driver's car, which delivers great driving impressions and is very cost-effective in the long run


Radio was replaced under the warranty three times.

Driver's and passenger's windows fell.

Belt tensioner broke at 170000 km.

Oxygen sensor has to be replaced three times.

Alternator bearing broke, causing 1000$ of damage because of the belt cutting the radiator hose and other damage. Real bad luck.

Driver's door hinges not working properly, which caused the door to be maladjusted (difficult to open).

Wheel bolts completely jammed in rust after 8 years.

Four glow plugs and wires had to be replaced (very costly).

Automatic locking door mechanism replaced in the rear right door.

Rear suspension bushings replaced at 140000 km.

General Comments:

A car with which I have had a love affair. It is still so interesting to drive with its very precise steering, its controlled suspension, great comfort, easy to use manual transmission, great mileage (average annual consumption of 5,6 liters per 100 km or 41 miles per US gallons). Absolutely no rust, and still like-new gray paint.

Even if they were repairs that were not expected, I feel that overall, it is a car that is very cost-effective. It drives after 10 years as if it were new.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th September, 2012

2002 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 1.9L turbo diesel


If you are not loving this car, you are probably wishing you'd never sat in this car


I got the car in 12/2004 (42K miles):

12/2004 - Three flat tires (faulty valve stems).

12/2004 - Emergency flashers stopped working.

12/2004 - Turn signals stopped working.

01/2005 - Turbo failed (needed for a TDI) @43K.

03/2005 - Passenger window fell down (clip broke).

06/2005 - CEL (check engine light) came on. VW reset code/non-issue @~46K

08/2005 - Hurricane Katrina! Diesel went up by $1.40/gal and costs 30% more than gas.

04/2006 - Airbag light came on (declined $800 fix).

05/2006 - Radio stopped working; BUT, removing the fuse, waiting 60 seconds, and then putting the fuse back made the radio work again.

06/2006 - CEL came on again; misdiagnosed by VW as mass air flow sensor.

07/2006 - Brake lines started leaking.

08/2006 - Replaced brakes.

08/2006 - Brake lines continued leaking (was some valve).

08/2007 - Armrest fell apart.

03/2009 - Driver's window started falling down randomly.

08/2009 - A/C compressor died

08/2009 - Replaced brakes and rotors

10/2010 - Sunroof won't close unless I use the key and leaked (eventually recalled)

2005-2011 - Never once a successful 4-tire alignment, even with 4 new tires!! (3x tried 2005-2006).

I gave up most routine maintenance after summer of 2006, and started doing my own brakes and oil changes (OK, sometimes me, mostly my husband).

General Comments:


This an update to the review: http://www.carsurvey.org/reviews/volkswagen/jetta/r70815/


(...and sorry for misspelling Volkswagen in my first review. I was very upset at the time.)

My primary objective in purchasing this car was to get a very fuel efficient car. Secondary was getting nice bells and whistles to make long distance driving comfy. The car only satisfies its primary objective.


- The car is cheap to own. After giving up on mechanics in 2006, I've spent about $2,500 and fixed very little on the car. I paid the car off in 2006 and have enjoyed no payments since.

- The engine is solid. We had to reseal the valve cover gasket, but that's not so bad.

- I cannot make the car get less than 42mpg, and it's usually around 46mpg @70+mph. I have a 40 mile round trip commute to work. I feel very efficient!

- It's the easiest clutch I have ever used (probably a great training clutch), and it's never needed replacement.

- I like the heated seats, even when they were overheating (recall).


- VW is by far the WORST car company I have ever dealt with (I've dealt with Ford, Chevy, and Toyota, too). When my CEL came on, they said it was the mass air flow sensor and estimated anywhere from $350-750!!! Instead, I let the car fail emissions, and the inspection results showed a different code entirely - the CTS. When we got the first flat tire (3 days after owning the car), we found there was no tire iron included with the car. The VW rep actually asked me what I did with them before dispatching a tow truck without the reverse lug tire iron! The first 30 days I owned the car in 2004/2005, I only had possession of it for 7 days TOTAL. The rest of the time, it was in the shop. I purchased an extended warranty, and VW fought me on every issue every step of the way. The dealership was openly hostile to me towards the end. (Today, 8/19/2011, I worked with a great guy at the VW dealership, hence the 2 rating instead of a 1).

- WTF happened to requiring basic tools? It's like they built the car with VW mechanic job security in mind (though probably a more common problem nowadays). **Thank you Advance Auto for the loaner tool kits!**

- I have been turned down by SO many mechanics because they refuse to work on VW vehicles. Other mechanics have tried to charge a premium for even diagnosing the car. Still more mechanics won't work on diesels.

A Diesel in General:

- This was my first diesel, so it took some time noting all of the diesel stations. Don't assume they have diesel at a gas station.

- Tractor trailer diesel fuel pumps ARE TERRIBLE to use! They are built for a large tank, so they don't always stay on properly.

- Diesels are smelly.

- It's normal for my little VW to sound like a tow truck in the winter.

- Have a trustworthy mechanic familiar with diesel engines (and VW-friendly) before making an investment.

- Get the book!!!


I seriously dislike the car, but it satisfied my primary reason for purchasing it. Sometimes I kick the car (but lightly... the door might fall off).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 19th August, 2011

21st Aug 2011, 22:58

Very good informative review of this car.

I don't think I would buy one personally as I like to have cars that can be fixed by my mechanic, something standard and common he can fix. Thanks for the review, I had never considered this.