1989 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8L from Mexico


Reliable German transportation


Regular wear and tear, air conditioner hose went out when temperatures hit 100 degrees, hose got cracked, not a big problem, replaced it.

Brake pads are a little weak, but I'm blaming this issue on the previous owner.

I had to replace the struts when I first bought it, in fact the whole front suspension had to be replaced, including ball joints and strut bases. Again blaming it on the last owner.

The plastics inside the car are not that good, but can you expect, it's an economic car.

I had a lot of trouble finding the right mechanic for tuning up the engine, if you need to do maintenance job on this car, you need a good Volkswagen specialist.

General Comments:

I love the acceleration on this baby. At first I doubted the performance and such a small SOCH 1.8L engine, but those Germans engineers made it work.

Clutch works fine, it started to slip a couple of weeks ago, but it went away, now working fine.

Handles very well on corners, (with proper tire size 185 60r13) wide for better handling.

I really like the fact that the car is very stable in idle, the tachometer doesn't even move or stutter!!! Feels as if the engine was off, very quiet.

It has very good gas mileage. I would estimate at least 25mpg or more.

Made a recent trip about 160 miles away. Excellent acceleration when I needed to pass other cars.

Comfy seats. But seat belts aren't that great.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th August, 2006

1989 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8L from North America


I think the more recent Jettas are better


The starter and the fuel pump.

General Comments:

This car handles pretty and has (had?) some pep, but it is an old, rusty Northeastern U.S. car and I had a horrible time getting a starter that would hold up. A mechanic pointed out that the starter is in a bad place- under the exhaust manifold and under the back side of the engime block. Therefore, I had a hard time starting the car for years.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 3rd September, 2005

3rd Sep 2005, 10:08

No, it's quite the opposite. Old Jetta's were highly reliable cars, at least when compared with the newer ones.

Have a look at the 1997-2004 Jetta's (or Bora's) reviews and start counting sad faces.

3rd Sep 2005, 15:02

Its known that the starter would get much too hot or melt and not work properly. It is an electric motor after all...

So that's why I had a custom heat sheild built for mine. ;)

1989 Volkswagen Jetta from North America


Textbook Volkswagen: flimsy, but fantastic


The exhaust system fell apartment somewhere around the 100,000 mile mark. Pretty much everything from the catalytic converter back just rotted away and had to be replaced.

At 110,000-120,000 miles or so, the rear struts got so bad that the wheels would literally bounce off the ground.

At 135,000 miles, plus or minus, the exhaust system started to go bad a second time.

General Comments:

The seats were really high and straight-backed, which gave a good view of the road, but also made it feel a little like you were driving a tractor.

It was by no means a performance car, but it kept up well enough with most traffic. It was a little too rickety-feeling to drive at high speeds anyway.

It got pretty good gas mileage - in the 25-30 mpg range.

It was fantastic in the snow. Extremely surefooted, despite its light weight.

Being basically a smallish-to-midsized box, you could fill it to the gills with whatever you wanted to carry -- band equipment, boxes of books, tag sale treasures, you name it.

It had a really cool two-tone blue tweed interior.

If it weren't for the fact that the exhaust rotted out from under it a second time, I would have driven it a lot further. There was nothing particularly special about it one way or another, but it was a real good car, all the same. It sort of marked an end of an era for VW; before long they'd become hipper, faster, flashier, pricier. This was a real Volkswagen: a good, but most importantly, cheap, car you could count on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 25th May, 2005