2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8T
Good design, poor quality
I bought this car at the beginning of the summer. The first hot day, I tried the AC--no cold air. A seal was broken on the compressor which allowed all refrigerant to leak out of the system. The dealer replaced the seal and recharged the system, but had no explanation as to how the seal broke. A manufacturing defect was his best guess.
A 1000 miles or so later, the power brakes failed as I was pulling into a gas station. I had to stand on the brake pedal to finally get the car to roll to a stop. Luckily, no car or person was in front of me at the time. When the car came to a stop, I noticed the engine was revving high and then almost stalling over and over. I managed to get the car home and had it towed to the dealer the next day. It turns out a vacuum line leading to the intake manifold "fell off." In addition to causing the engine problem, this line apparently plays a role in providing boost to the power brakes. The dealer re-attached this line, but again had no explanation as to how this fitting came apart. Another manufacturing defect? Was this line damaged during the AC repair? I don't know and never will.
My latest problem is poor gas mileage. I have been tracking this since I bought the car, and I have consistently seen between 18 and 20 mpg (the car is rated at 22/29 city/hwy). I do not drive fast. My commute to work is about half city and half highway driving. For comparison sake, I get about 17 mpg in my SUV and got about 24 mpg in a recently rented Chevy Malibu (V6) over the same route. The dealer initially said this could be due to the fact that the car is new and needs to run through its "break in period." I have my doubts. I have over 3500 miles on the car now and have seen no improvement in mileage. I plan to ask the dealer to investigate now that the car has a few more miles on it. We will see....
The car's ergonomics are great. It's one of the more comfortable cars I've driven, and you get a lot of great feature for the price. However, my confidence in the quality and reliability of the car is at an all time low. Caveat emptor!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No
Review Date: 23rd August, 2004
2nd Sep 2004, 09:50
I have a 1994 Jetta and a 1997 Jetta as well as a 1998 (turbo diesel) New Beetle. Both Jetta's have the 4 cylinder gasoline engines. It would have been easy for a vacuum line to have been dislodged during the air conditioning service. This would account for the lack of power (vacuum) assisted brakes. It could also contribute to your poor gas mileage.
Don't give up on the mileage problem. The 1994 Jetta we have was doing the same thing until we had a chance to take it out on the highway, after some repairs, and give it a good "highway run".
I'd highly recommend that you get yourself a good digital tire pressure gauge from Radio Shack or an auto parts store. I try and check the tires regularly since tire pressure has a dramatice impact on mileage (and safety). On more than one occasion, the dealer has delivered our cars with less than 20 psi in the tires. The recommended tire pressures for both for both of our Jettas is on a sticker located on the door sill of the passenger side rear door.