1986 Volkswagen Jetta GL Wolfsburg 1.8 4 cylinder from North America


Very reliable


I've had to replace an upper coolant hose that ran from the head to the heater core.

Aside from minor purchases such as spark plugs and such, I've had nothing else replaced.

General Comments:

Still drives and handles like new.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th July, 2002

1986 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8 gas from North America


Performance, very solid engine, equipment


The k-frame broke.

I've repaired or replaced the wiper motor, the rear suspension, fixed the seats, the front windshield water leaks, the front brake pads, the thermostat, the thermostatic switch, and some others because the car wasn't in good condition when I bought it.

General Comments:

I only paid 450 Canadian dollars for this high mileage car. It has: heated seat, power windows, flip up roof etc..

The first month it was only repairs and maintenance. With the new performance spark plugs and general maintenance combined with premium gas, it took 2 months to make this a fast car. The car started to like high revolutions above 4000 RPM and the sound of the engine with the special air filter is awesome.

I have to say that the motor is unbeatable, indestructible. I've tried synthetic oil and the performance was better and the motor was very quiet. No oil consumption or engine problem, even after 1 year of heavy driving (I'm 19 years old).

The car just start to burn some oil, just after I've switched to normal grade oil. But I will change the car soon.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th January, 2002

1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8 SOHC from North America


A quick, stylish, and reliable ride


I've replaced the radiator lining/cooling system.

Replaced the brake rotors once; the brake pads several times.

Continual problems with the vacuum system for the door-locks.

Replaced struts several times.

General Comments:

This Jetta GLi is still a little rocket and handles pretty well.

The interior layout is straight forward and not gimmicky.

Outside styling still turns heads, even for being 15 years old.

A blast to drive daily.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th January, 2002

1986 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8 gas from North America


Extremely well engineered and reliable


Electric window motor.

General Comments:

Almost a quarter million miles, and still runs with zest! Burns NO oil. Nothing replaced except 3 timing belts and a CV joint overhaul (normal maintenance).

Smooth, fast and perfectly balanced.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th April, 2001

2nd Jun 2001, 12:49

I have just purchased a 1986 VW Jetta GL from its original owner and it runs perfect. I agree with the review in that the only problen with the car is the back window motor has blown out. Otherwise it's awesome.

6th Oct 2002, 01:28

I drove an '86 Jetta this summer (all 10,000 miles of it), and up until recently I couldn't have been happier with it.

The car, at least on the outside, appeared to have just rolled out of the factory. Last weekend the steering started acting up and after a week of searching for the reason, we found today that the frame had broken...

Bye bye Jetta! The really strange thing about it is that the whole thing happened overnight with no apparent signs of provocation. Too bad, I guess...

1986 Volkswagen Jetta 1.6 diesel from North America


Very economical and extremely reliable


I changed the drive axles, and did the brakes and exhaust.

General Comments:

My father bought the car new in 1986 and it has yet to ever break down.

It gets a very consistent 58 to 64mpg depending on your foot.

The clutch is getting weak now, as it is still the original.

All maintenance is performed by me or my father as we have a diesel shop of our own.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th December, 2000

1986 Volkswagen Jetta TX 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Slow but at least you will get there without breaking down


Mainly usual parts ie. brake discs etc.

CV joints seem weak.

Rear shocks have been changed.

Diff bearing went in the gearbox - ouch! Big bill.

Generally just plugs and oil changes every 6,000 miles keep it running well.

General Comments:

Has been very reliable car as I do many motorway miles. Not very fast but cruises OK.

No rust at all anywhere. Seems very tough although I do tend to replace things before they break.

Good car on the whole.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th September, 2000

1986 Volkswagen Jetta Basic Model 1.8 from Germany


Had to have a new clutch at 200,000 miles. I've had to have a couple of radiators put in. Brakes of course.

General Comments:

This car has probably 260,000 miles. The odometer went out a few years ago and I drive a lot everyday, city miles, too. I'm constantly on the road.

The engine has never been out of the car and burns no oil. Your questions about reliability and performance should take such long term service into account. I decided a few years ago to drive this car until it drops. It just won't drop!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th March, 1999

7th Feb 2005, 08:14

260,000 miles!! Wow. What a car! If only the newer VW's were made as well. I'd feel more confident taking a 1991 VW Golf on a 3,000 mile France/Germany trip from England than I would a 2001 VW Golf due to the dramatic come down in quality and reliability despite the hype...

8th Jun 2006, 18:51

My 1986 Volkswagen Jetta has 362000 on it and still runs like a charm, uses no oil, has had to have one transmission, two radiators, one rear inside door panel, upholstery is still very good, and the engine is unbelievable, gets 32-36 miles per gallon, have had replaced four CV joints, six sets of brakes on the front, one on the back, have gone through six sets of tires.