1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0L from North America


An all around excellent value


Side molding came loose at about 50,000 miles. The same thing seems to be happening to all similarly aged Jettas around town.

The fit and finish of the interior is a little sub par, even considering it cost only 15,000 dollars. There's just no way to make a half mile of molded plastic look stylish.

I have had no other issues with the vehicle.

General Comments:

This is precisely the car I set out to buy and I've never been anything, but satisfied with it. I know people who insisted that to buy a Jetta would be the biggest nightmare of my life, but I'm a former Fiat owner, and I never had trouble with that car, either. I guess just like with people, a car's reputation can also be exaggerated bu a few people who've had bad experiences.

The inside of the car is a little small, but I'm pretty tall, and the Passat to me, really wasn't worth the extra money for what I would have gotten.

I've added several aftermarket modifications to the vehicle, and the car was very forgiving and easy to work with. Not quite fast and furious, but definitely a kick in the pants to drive. I've still spent far less than I would have on an Audi A4 and I can't say I regret it.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 10th October, 2003

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL from North America


German engineering gone bad


All the side door moldings (except the rear passenger side) have fallen off. I have noticed upon reading the other reviews that this is a common problem with other Jetta owners.

Both the driver side and passenger side windows broke off the tracks and could not be rolled up.

The sunroof also broke off the tracks and could not close.

The car had problems shifting into gear. The entire transmission had to be replaced (luckily this was covered under the powertrain warranty).

General Comments:

I had convinced my wife to buy a VW Jetta because I had previously owned a BMW and we both wanted an inexpensive car with quality German engineering. The headaches involved with the poor craftmanship of this vehicle, however, leads me to the conclusion that I had made a bad decision on purchasing a Jetta.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 7th October, 2003

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL V4 from North America


A great value!


-Oil gasket cap

-pinion rack

-gear busher

-All had to be replaced upon purchase.

General Comments:

Good on gas, great pick up. It is small and sporty, feel very safe.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st October, 2003

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9 diesel from North America


Buyer beware


Rear driver door latch broke. Ont tiny spring in the assembly broke. I had to replace the whole assembly. $130.00 just for part. Then the part seized and now the door does not work.

Drivers front door lock broke. So there for Central Locking system does not work.

Rear Struts replaced twice since I have owned the car.

Wheel bearings replaced twice.

Front springs replaced.

Front brakes replaced Twice.

Rear brakes replaced once.

Most of the front end parts have been replaced.

Molding has fallen off drivers front door and is starting to on passengers.

Trunk leaks and there for the jack in spare tire compartment is rusted and the trunk smells mouldy.

Trunk light never worked.

Cruise control shuts off at any given time.

Motor job done in the summer of 2002 because when the dealer changed the timing belt at 100,000 they did not tighten the bolts properly.

Climate control switch broke last week when I switched it to defrost.

Alternator replaced.

Alternator belt replaced 4 times.

Starter replaced.

Injector hoses replaced.

Crank pulley fell off today as I was driving on the highway.

General Comments:

I bought the car beacause of the VW reputation and on the life of the car. Was I wrong. This model car is known for lots of problems none of which are recognized by VW.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 15th September, 2003

4th Sep 2004, 23:35

I too have a 1996 VW Jetta, and have many problems with it.

Lets see... Replaced the starter twice,

The rear left side window regulator,

A/C control module,

Thermostat housing, had the A/C serviced twice, and the vehicle overheats when you let it idle with the A/C on.

I recently did a tune up on the vehicle with aftermarket parts, and about one week later the car would not keep running, took it to the Dealer, they said they found a bad throttle body assembly and needed to replace it for $500.00 plus labor.

So I went to the wrecking yard and installed a used one and the car still would not run. I then called VW, they said it needed an adaption program ran on the part to let it "talk" to the computer properly, so I let them do this for $80.00 and the car still would not run. I asked them why they did not run this program on my old part they told me it "might" not work so they don't even try it. Finally, they could not find anything wrong with it, but gave me a bill for $250.00 and suggested replacing my tune up parts, so I did.

The car ran OK after $300.00 in tune up parts from VW.

Then I had problems with the automatic transmission. I took it to VW and they said the transfer shaft seal needs replacing at the tune of $700.00 so I decided to wait.

About 6 months later, I found the transmission had completely failed. I could not find a used tranny anywhere under $1500.00, and a reconditioned one was $2200.00 plus $200.00 in fluids, and R+R, so I found an expert rebuilder, did it for $1000.00 and I did all the work.

The interesting thing is when we had the tranny apart, a seal that VW said was wrong had no signs of leakage or abnormal wear.

I put the tranny back in the vehicle, added $200.00 worth of tranny fluid and it works for now.

Lastly after all of this, the service manager was bragging about charging $600.00 for an oil change in the "upper" VW vehicles every 3000 miles???

It is safe to say that I will never own another VW again. I am very dissatisfied with this product.