1985 Volkswagen Jetta Base 1.8L gas from North America


Reliable, roomy, inexpensive car


I replaced the brakes, and timing belt when I bought the car. Since then I have replaced the brake pads, clutch, and water pump.

General Comments:

This car has made me take a serious look at buying another Volkswagen. It starts every time and is a nimble little car. At 272,000 miles it still runs, drives, and rides great!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd March, 2003

1985 Volkswagen Jetta Base 1.8L Gas from North America


Great small sedan


There have been numerous minor repairs. Mostly to be expected on a 18 year old car.

Exhaust system replaced 2 times.

Radiator had a leak and needed to be replaced.

Dash lights went out.

Water leak around taillight.

Fuel pump replaced.

Heater core replaced (recall)

General Comments:

A2 Jettas (1985-1992) are generally good cars although you do have to take care of them. However if you are in the market for one, be wary of those made in Mexico. (Look for the VIN, if it starts with WVW, it's Germany; if it starts with 3VW, it's Mexico.) Most people who have had really bad luck with these cars have owned a Mexican-built one. However let me say that my dad has a Mercury Tracer which is built in Mexico and it's been a pretty good car. Just avoid Mexican VW's.

Anyway, my car has been a part of my life since I was a small child. So I guess it's kind of nostalgic for me. Aside from that, it really is a good car.

The 1.8 liter engine has decent pep with the 5-speed transmission. I still get around 29mpg in mixed driving. The brakes aren't the greatest, but they work. Ride comfort is decent, although you won't forget you're in a German car. My car never had Air-Conditioning installed so it's a bit uncomfortable in the summer. The handling is excellent; probably among the best front drive cars. The seats are comfortable and firm, although the driving position would benefit from a tilt steering wheel. The trunk is cavernous although the seats do not fold down. The bumpers are somewhat weak and have been damaged (but repaired) in parking lot incidents.

These cars do require some minor repairs, but they are generally solid and dependable. If you're looking for something a bit more exciting that a run-of-the-mill Japanese car, look for a Jetta or Golf.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 20th February, 2003

19th Mar 2005, 17:29

I've noticed while reading these reviews that the majority of Jetta owners during this year have manual transmissions and have no complaints. I have the automatic version of the car, and while the transmission was strong, the final drive - AKA the differential - in the auto versions were not as strong or reliable as the manual versions. Any explanations for this problem would be greatly appreciated. Please e-mail me any responses to matthew@tcewireless.com. Thanks!

11th Jun 2008, 23:28

I own a 1986 Jetta GL and the car still runs in excellent condition as long as it is well maintained. Wear and tear of parts were the repairs made to it. I'm very lucky to have this car. Like the other review the bumper had to be repaired a few times bec. of parking incidents. But other than that this car has been good to me. It is a German made car. I still see a few out there. I plan to keep this car while it runs. It's old but it runs great and it serves it's purpose. Thank you my Jetta!!!

10th Nov 2012, 19:58

I have an 85 Jetta Coupe with 400,000+ miles on it. Bought it new in 85.

It has been on a tow truck once in 27 years for a broken right outer CV joint about 9 years ago. The only recalls were for the transfer fuel pump and the heater core. Best car I've ever had. I bought a new MINI Cooper S 5 years ago, and could not bring myself to sell the Jetta. The trunk is bigger than all of the newer ones! It can get 35 MPG on the highway. The new ones are not that efficient, unfortunately!