1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


Waste of Earth's resources


I know it is used, and that it is a 14 year old car, but come on.

Where do you start with this car?

My wife bought as used 1996 Jetta when I was out of town for a week. I told her that I perused other reviews on this site, but she insisted on having a Jetta. I tried to warn her.

She bought the car with low mileage 125,000KM, and now it has 160,000KM.

I don't know what it is about Golfs and Jettas, but they appeal to women.

So let's go..

Broken coolant flange.. Made of plastic!! Are you kidding me?

Window regulators 2 needed replacing!

Electronics rear taillight circuit board, burnt right out.

Stalled when going through a deep puddle..

Replaced.. Valve gasket (leaking oil), alternator, starter, spark plugs, spark plug wires, distributor.

Transmission slippage at 145,000 KM. Replaced ATF and filter myself.

Door lock tumblers fell apart.

Just bought a Honda CR-V, and went to sell this car, only to find oil in the coolant, now it needs a head gasket.

General maintenance done like timing belt, serpentine belt, oils changes. We even had a German mechanic do most work on this car.

General Comments:

This car has proven to be a huge disappointment. I have owned many Honda's in the past, and have clocked over 300,000 KM on all of them with no issues whatsoever.

This car is boring to drive, and robs me of all my manhood when operating it.

I had no problems with a 1993 Civic with a b16 motor swap, and buying it with 301,000 KM on the odometer. I still drive it and thrills every time I am behind the wheel.

The Civic is a fun car to drive, but the Jetta is a slush bucket that handles like a school bus.

Obviously the pre 1992 VW's were built in Germany, and once production went to Mexico, it was all downhill from there.

Another friend of mine, that is a Mercedes mechanic, trained on Jetta's, and pointed out that VW cut corners on OEM parts to save money on production.

Well it sure shows up years later.

Every time I see another VW driver out there, I shake my head and think what a lemon that person has got, but I bet they love it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 31st October, 2010

2nd Nov 2010, 05:43

My uncle has one of these. He likes the styling and acceleration, but has a lot of problems with this car. The "German Engineering" is not quite as reliable as it is cut out to be. The build quality is poor in this car, especially the engine and the tacky interior.

2nd Nov 2010, 15:12

I wouldn't blame the issues on being built in Mexico. I had a '87 Audi GT and a '97 VW Passat TDI, both built in Germany. They were both unreliable. It's just the VAG way.

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


Expect electronic issues, but would get another one


Power windows went out around 95,000 miles.

Radiator and cooling fan out at 120,000 miles.

Ignition switch and coil packs out at 120,000.

General Comments:

The car was always fun to drive.

The car was reliable 95%+ of the time.

The car was comfortable.

I had this car for 6 years, and put $1,500 or less in it in maintenance the entire time.

The biggest headache was the power windows would roll down on their own, right after I got it. VW had no idea what could cause this. I replaced them with manual windows/door panels from Ebay for $100 and never worried about it again!

I now have a Saab, but would absolutely get another Jetta. Yes the electronics can be a headache, but as is the case with many European cars, the fun of driving the Jetta was worth it.

Other than maybe 2 "breakdowns" in 6 years, I did almost no maintenance to the Jetta other than oil changes, and it ran great every time I drove it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 17th June, 2010