1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


Fun to drive!


Recently replaced driver's seat bottom cushion.

Ignition coil died while driving back from Ottawa (110000 km).

Rear left window doesn't work.

Replaced both rear brake cylinders.

Sometimes, the factory car alarm will engage when I turn the engine off.

When I turned on my headlight switch, the interior fan blower would turn on; replaced.

Steering pump had a slow leak, but I replaced it just to be safe, but VW re-designed a bracket for the new pump which I had to buy. Have no use for the old bracket.

Washed the engine and got some water in a couple of the wire harnesses. My lights started to work intermittently and the check engine light turned on. I had to take it to the dealer (cost me $80.00 Canadian).

Trunk lock sticks when the key is used, but I can still gain access.

Currently have air conditioning problems.

Car seems to idle rough especially when it's cold outside.

General Comments:

I purchased the car mostly because I could fit in it (I'm 6' 3").

The gas mileage I'm getting keeps improving (especially after a fuel injector service). I'm getting about 520 km per tank and that is city driving.

The interior is pretty roomy, but the seats could be better. The storage compartments are too small and I don't have a glove box (I guess they needed the room to install a driver side airbag).

I really love this car, but the repairs are starting to bother me. I thought these cars were tanks!

The car is very peppy (I drive it really hard) and it does perform. I like the styling; clean and simple.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th June, 2002

28th Oct 2004, 10:19

So where did you happen to find the seat cushion? I used my 95 Jetta for many trips with the family and both sides (passenger and driver have collapsed on the outside face (door side). Since I am having to drive ~70 miles a day, I MUST fix. My back cannot take any more.

Regards from Raleigh.

17th Nov 2011, 01:31

Yes, where did you get the seat cushion and how much? The outside part of the seat (towards the door) on the driver and passenger side have both collapsed. The back support on the driver's side also pushes very hard on the back. I'm hoping I can fix that too.

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL from North America


Car sucks and so does the service (dealers and manufacturer)


Gasket oil leak, within the first months.

Paint defect, freckle-like marks all over the entire car.

Replaced two bad oxygen sensors, dealer states that this is normal. Crap.

The check engine light never went off after replacement of the sensors.

Ignition switch had to be replaced.

The molding is falling off the doors. Interior of the car rattles.

The door locks continue to malfunction.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd October, 2001

3rd Nov 2001, 06:44

This is rubbish dude.

This car is excellent!

19th Jun 2003, 08:07

You're completely right, I have a 96 Jetta GL and it has been nothing but hell for me.

20th Mar 2009, 21:43

If you are paying for labor on those fixes, you're right, it's going to be expensive. It's about a 4-5 hour fix for the gasket because you have to remove the entire intake manifold. So with labor it's probably a 300-400 dollar fix, but if you do it yourself it's 10 bucks.

The check engine light didn't turn off because the mechanic you paid big money to fix your O2 sensor didn't do his job. You have to plug in a machine and turn off the light. NOT THE CAR'S FAULT.

I have put a total of $17.00 into parts on my Jetta, and absolutely adore it. There's no reason not to do the work at home. Even a monkey with a socket wrench could do most of it.

1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0 liter from North America


Exceptionally fast and smooth for the money


Transmission reverse kept making a grinding noise shortly after I bought the car at 53,000 miles. The dealer said that all Jettas make that whinny noise in reverse so I did not think anything of it at the time. Later it started to happen in other gears also, so I had to have the transmission completely rebuilt due to spun bearings inside costing over $1800.00. Reverse does make a whining noise but no longer a grinding noise.

Driver-side visor broke off (not from abuse) at around 70,000 miles.

Rock flew off of the road and through the condenser on the front of the car costing $350.00 for a new condenser and another $200.00 in labor and recharging of coolant in the air conditioning system.

Both right and left passenger-side protective strips flew off on the freeway at around 80,000 miles costing $59.00 a piece from a dealer.

Left front bearing and hub went bad at around 90,000 miles. The right bearing followed at 94,000 miles costing about $450.00 altogether to repair.

Around 90,000 miles while getting the clutch replaced, the automotive technician noticed the rear engine seal was leaking a lot of oil. That was fixed reasonably for about $45.00 because the transmission was already off. That might have otherwise been costly.

The sunroof is slow to open and close. I am not sure if that is by design or an issue with the electric motor. I still haven't had a chance to get that looked at.

ABS light comes on if I remain at a steady 35 MPH for several minutes (usually happens in traffic), and resets when the car is restarted. It is functional though, because I have had to come to a screeching halt with the light on and could hear the ABS piston-like clicking sound engage.

General Comments:

Even though I have had a lot of problems with the car, I also have done my share of racing the car around and pushing it to its limits.

The electrical system and engine work well and without problems.

Amazingly, the car can take corners like no other car I have owned, (including an old Porsche).

The steering is tight and responsive to every move.

The engine has a substantial amount of pep and torque. I race my friends most of the time at speeds in excess of 125 MPH. People seem baffled on how the car can go so fast with the engine that it has. I test drove a same year make model car with an automatic transmission and was extremely disappointed with the performance. It is a night and day difference with automatic and manual transmissions.

The cloth interior remains in great shape.

Various rocks and several other hard objects (including a lug nut) have hit my factory windshield directly, and amazingly didn't leave a pit or crack.

I was sceptical of VWs before I bought the car. Now, I don't think I could buy another Japanese or American car again.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th September, 2001

12th May 2004, 19:03

I think that this person perhaps had a bit of a lack of driving skill or education. This car is amazing as any is if you treat it as a car is meant to be.