1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0L from North America


A sometimes mobile piece of JUNK!


It should read was has not happened to the car! In a nutshell the windows don't work temperature sending unit wiring, coolant problems wiper motors, yes. Motor oil leaks broken seats lots of small ongoing problems.

General Comments:

The only thing I can say about these cars is I like the look of them.

I will never have any involement with these make of vehicles again even if it was given to me.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd January, 2005

11th Mar 2005, 08:50

I own a 1997 Jetta GLS, 2.0 Automatic, loaded with options, and I regret buying it more than any other decision I've ever made. You are absolutely correct, Piece of Junk. I feel your pain.

11th Apr 2005, 16:42

I pretty much bought my 96' Jetta to take off to college with me! BIG MISTAKE!!! I cannot count how many times the windows would fall down and sometimes go back up- but when they didn't, I couldn't afford to fix them. I spend a lot of time in college with cardboard and duct tape on my windows so I could save up to get them fixed. That car cost me more than you would believe and I didn't get a dime back because the Class Action Suit was only on window regulators after 99. I would not buy one agaian not only because of the poor mechanics, but because of the lack of integrity of the company.

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0 from North America


Bad customer service combined with high maintenance and bad transmission make this a terrible buy.


Transmission control unit replaced several times starting in the first month.

Transmission problems never ceased.

Oil gasket and pan replaced at every service since 20k.

Rotors went bad several times.

Transmission needed to be replaced at 50k.

General Comments:

Bought this car brand new thinking I would be problem-free for a long time. WRONG!

Auto transmission is weak and car does not perform well even with a 2.0L engine.

When transmission died, the VW dealer and Corporate customer service did nothing to help and made me wait for weeks without a car or even offering me one. Had all service papers since the day I bought it yet they refused to warranty it. Had transmission problems since the first month of ownership.

Bad and weak parts make this car unreliable.

I got a lemon and should have got rid of it long ago.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 21st January, 2005

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0 gasoline from North America


The Jetta is a car with great long-term value.


Rear brake cylinders leaked at 80,000 miles.

Exhaust replaced at 110,000 miles.

Spark plug wires failed at 110,000 miles.

Oil leak (repaired) at 140,000 miles.

Distributor cap cracked at 153,000 miles.

Radiator replaced at 187,000 miles.

General Comments:

I have a 96 GL with manual transmission and I've not had any significant problems. I have performed regular maintenance - timing belt at 105,000 miles, brakes routinely at 50,000 or so. I just replaced the radiator after 187,000 miles. I've gone through four sets of tires and two sets of spark plug wires, one new exhaust system...

It seems that a lot of people on this website feel that a car should last forever - or at least perform as new for the life of the car. This is simply impossible. If you find yourself after five years putting about $1,000 into it per year, you should consider the car a success. A new car payment would be over $3,000 a year!

As for all the little things - holes in the floor mats or carpet, cracks in the dash - this stuff is just a nuisance and has nothing to do with the true value of a car in my opinion. Safety and reliability are most important to me. This car has served me very well.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th December, 2004

14th Dec 2004, 12:02

Finally! A voice of reason! Yes cars do need service and repairs over the years. I'm tired of reading reviews where writer's call their vehicles lemons due to normal wear & tear. Especially the ones who bought their vehicles with high mileage on them to begin with.

31st Mar 2008, 19:36

I'm very much in agreement with these comments that regular maintenance has nothing to do with car being good or bad. In the past, I have owned Jetta, Passat and Peugeot and these cars required regular maintenance after 5 or 6 years of ownership and I considered that a regular work that every car requires. Also too most car owners including me does not pay attention to regular maintenance schedules thus resulting in major work.