To start off with, the cruise control didn't work whatsoever since the car was purchased.
The check engine light is always on.
The trunk button tries, but fails to unlatch.
Thermostat (6.00), fan (75.00 from junk yard and from a '97; was quoted 300.00 for OEM replacement), clutch (350.00), spark plug wires (100.00), distributor cap (16.00), ignition coil (100.00), water pump (100.00? don't remember, may be thinking of another part), housing (80.00) and transmission (I really want to say it was around 1000.00 with labor and all) have been replaced.
Sometimes it feels like it tries to die when idling. It has died when idling... especially with the A/C on.
Recently the passenger side outside door lock stopped working.
It sounds really bad from above, but I absolutely love this car.
The trunk can still be unlocked and opened manually, and though there were a lot of things replaced, not all are my fault or the car's fault. We all know you have to maintain a car and replace belts hoses and the like, and it's not certain that it wasn't the previous owner's contributing as well as my own.
I can tend to be a little hard on cars, where I'm an aggressive driver... but that's another reason I love this car :) This car lets me be aggressive with nice torque in 1st 2nd and 3rd gears. If you ever need to downshift to beat something in traffic, you can by all means do it.
Maybe a lot of people buy these Jettas because they look nice or run well, but I love this model in particular for its base performance, for the price, year, and style. If you really want to make a tuner car, check out Bahnbrenner.com and Neuspeed.com (though sometimes expensive) and also remember the white car from the first Fast and the Furious: 2.0 VW Jetta.
Sure, it's not a VR6, but with modifications for a serious tuner enthusiast, you can knock the socks off of any VR6 by changing it to a 16v and adding a supercharger. Even a Turbo VR6 may find it hard to keep up.
I love this car, I've named it, and I will never part with it. It may not look quite as good as the 99-05 models, but it still is a hot car with a lot of muscle for its size.