1990 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8L from North America


12 year old new car smell


Replaced the alternator twice.

Replaced the shocks struts and springs at 175,000, they had started to sag.

Not much else has been replaced besides the brakes at 45,000 mile intervals and the belts at 40,000 miles or so.

General Comments:

What a car, I have been on so many road trips in the last 7 years and the reliability has been outstanding.

I have done most maintenance myself, along with the Robert Bentley Manual.

We just got hit from behind and now have to replace it.

The secret to buying an older Jetta, go with the Wolfsburg Edition.

German quality far exceeds those built in Brazil and Mexico.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th September, 2001

1990 Volkswagen Jetta Flair ? from North America


Great when things aren't falling apart


Sun roof leaks, required expensive repairs.

Electrical mayhem: heated seats stay on and can't be switched off, and then turn off for no reason and you can't switch them on. Radio loses reception sporadically. Back-up lights sporadically don't work, then work fine. Heating fan only works on the highest level.

Two door handles broke and had to be replaced.

Power steering pump had to be replaced after steering became difficult at low speeds (with a loud screech when turning).

Engine block cracked after repeated overheating problems.

General Comments:

Maybe just my bad luck, but everything started falling apart after about five months of owning this car. When it's working fine, it kicks ass and handles very well. It's currently sitting dead in my driveway until I decide whether to tackle the cracked engine block problem or sell it.

I regret buying this car, but I think maybe I just had bad luck, because I've heard good things about it otherwise.

The space inside is great... plenty of room, and the trunk is the biggest I've ever seen.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th May, 2001

17th Jun 2001, 10:49

I used to own a new 1989 Jetta Flair 2-door 5-speed. It was a fun car to drive and the performance and handling was great. Too bad it had some quality problems right from the first day of ownership.

The first problem was water leaking from the right rear passenger door window. That was fixed immediately by the dealer. Then the driver seat release didn't work and the dealer 'fixed' this by tying a knot in the release cable to make it shorter. Eventually the cable broke loose and the driver seat wouldn't release at all.

There was also tapping noise from the engine which appeared only after the first scheduled service at the dealer. Although it was not a major problem but it was very annoying. Repeated trips to the dealer during the warranty period failed to locate the source of the problem.

There was some also some rattling in the sunroof and the engine was not very smooth during idle.

After 2 years and 57,000km I sold the car at a loss. Maybe I just had bad luck with mine because I had heard so much good things about VW. My friends had VW also and they had good experiences with theirs.

Apart from these quality problems, the car was wonderful to drive and there was lots of space in the interior and in the trunk. I would consider buying another VW again but they are becoming overpriced now.

13th Mar 2004, 13:38

To the people with e-brake problem:

Is it manual or automatic?

1990 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8 gasoline from North America


A BMW 3-Series without the second mortgage


Waterpump was replaced under warranty at 48,000 miles.

The silver metallic paint job appears a bit sub-standard.

The starter had to be replaced at about 80,000 due to the fact that the design causes it to get hot because of its proximity to the engine.

General Comments:

Otherwise, it has been an EXTREMELY reliable car. In the six years I have owned it, I have averaged just over 18,000 mostly highway miles per year.

While the engine may not be a rocket, its steering and handling are comparable to a 3-Series BMW! No joke! I used to live in an area of twisty, hilly roads and my GL Coupe held like glue.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 6th January, 2001

20th Feb 2006, 02:07

I loved my Jetta and I'd say it handled quite well. That said the only way you could compare it's handling to my 3 series is if you overlooked the understeer and the torque steer characteristics that the Jetta clearly exhibits. Throw both cars into a chicane at about 40 mph and you'll see what I mean.