This car has character, both good and bad
Initially, it needed cv boots, rear brake shoes, a valve cover gasket, spark plugs, a timing belt and various other minor miscellaneous things. You'll notice that these are relatively normal items for high mileage cars.
The emergency brake cable was broken. I'm not sure how, seems strange that it would brake. I'm a VW enthusiast, and this isn't very common.
My cv joint went bad soon, so I replaced the axle. The exhaust progressively got worse, so I did some patch-up work to keep it livable. A light bulb connection acted up in one brakelight, occasionally. All minor and acceptable for a high mileage car.
A small plastic piece kept falling off the interior of the passenger door. This needed a small $1 grommet from VW.
The temperature sensor was bad for as long as I had my Jetta. I never replaced it, as it wasn't a major problem.
One day, a small wire in the ignition system came loose and the car would not start. This was the type of wire that never comes loose; it's the last thing you'd check. I laughed in anger when I found it.
The heater core blew at 154,000. This is a very common VW problem. Any high mileage VW with an original heater is a rarity. Mine was just waiting to blow. This is roughly a $75 part, but labor is generally 5-6 hours and up to $700-$1000. It is very cumbersome, but for that money one would do it on their own. I didn't, though. I just looped the hoses so that no antifreeze flowed to the heater core, and accepted having no heat.
This car had little problems here and there that you can put up with. If you're handy with cars, you can take care of most of it. If not, and you're the type that needs a shop to change your spark plugs, don't buy any VW.
Otherwise, the engine is bulletproof, and can last for hundreds of miles. The transmissions are generally not problematic. 5 speeds can have sloppy shifters, but automatics are smooth. This one had no problems whatsoever.
The rewards came in the driving experience. VW's are Driver's Cars. There is nothing quite like a VW. Some cars are faster or handle "better," but nothing can match the VW experience. You just get in tune with your VW. Driving becomes fun. You take the long way home. You notice other VW's on the road and wave. You're happy when you drive.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 19th May, 2003