1997 Volkswagen Jetta TDI 1.9 turbo diesel from North America


A plain old Jetta with a secret under the hood


Preventative Maintainance upon taking ownership-

Timing belt, timing belt tensioner, cam roller replaced.

Water pump leaking-replaced.

Lower ball joint worn out-replaced.

Muffler is falling apart-will replace with straight through pipe from catalytic converter back.

General Comments:

This car really moves!

I've had it to 105 mph, but the pedal still wasn't all the way to the floor!

Good torque, too.

This TDI motor is a far cry from the anemic, putt-putt, smoke belchers of the late 1970s-mid 80s.

Only smokes when its being put through its paces, showing off.

It will run on #1 diesel too (will need a conditioner added if driven in cold climes)!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th March, 2003

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLS from North America


A drain on your pocket


The driver side window is very frequently stuck, rarely will it roll down (the windows are automatic).

The driver's side key lock (or door lock) came out with my key one night as I went to unlock the car!

The exhaust smell is very intense, resulting in my having headaches if I have to drive the car for long distances.

Frequently, I will step on the accelerator only to sit still and listen to the engine rev, and a moment or two later, the car will jump forward and go.

Most recently, one of the back windows started to slip, and is no longer responding to the up/down buttons. It slips down into the door when I drive.

Cruise control only works occasionally.

General Comments:

I had always wanted a Jetta, so when I finally became able to afford my own car, this is the one I went with. Within one month, it was back at the dealer, who apparently did not know how to fix the sticking transmission, broken lock, and exhaust fumes, as they charged me over $100 and sent me home with the same problems... Its been a very frustrating year for me, I, like anyone my age, need a car daily, and my Jetta has been parked for the past two weeks. I'm afraid to drive it anymore. I'm told it needs a new transmission and I cannot afford it. I will never buy a Volkswagen again! My mechanic said all VWs between the years of 1995 and 1999 are nothing more than lemons... I wish so badly someone had warned me before I wasted my savings on this piece of junk. I'm very disappointed in my Jetta. I know very little about cars, but I will be extremely cautious and will spend hours researching before I buy my next car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 1st March, 2003

23rd Mar 2006, 08:00

Hey man I feel the same way I'm a 19 year old kid. I just bought one and it had problems starting. I am a fan a Volkswagens if they are maintained right.

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


Better than average


The cigarette lighter really ejects when it's ready.

General Comments:

For a 4 cylinder engine this car accelerates very well. It's very good on gas mileage (especially compared to my previous vehicle). And it's roomy for the people in the front.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 26th February, 2003

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GT 2.0 4 cylinder from North America


A great buy!


The malfunction indicator light turns off and on every once and a while, and nothing is wrong with the car. It does it because of the cigarette lighter.

On rainy days, when I drive on the freeway or travel at 50 MPH or so and try and give it half or 3/4 pressure on the gas pedal, the tire won't grip for a few seconds and the RPM's get high until it finally grabs.

Driver's seat is wearing out a little bit.

General Comments:

The car is very roomy, fast, and looks good!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th February, 2003

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GT 2.0 gas from North America


A disappointing series of headaches


Battery died at around 76,000 kms.

Exhaust needed replacing at 87,000 kms.

Door moldings have fallen off front doors.

My power sunroof motor burnt out and had to have it replaced.

Fog light burnt out, filled up with water, and rusted out. I was told by the dealership that I could not replace the corroded pieces and that the entire assembly had to be replaced. Cost: Approx. $300.

This car has been hard to start ever since I bought it, and dealership has been rather unhelpful.

Driver's side door lock is broken. I have to unlock it from passenger's side and then walk around to driver's side and get in. I'm scared to ask what this will cost to have fixed.

Reverse has worn out in my manual transmission. It used to pop out of reverse occasionally when I first purchased the car and the dealership told me I wasn't putting it all the way in reverse. Now I can hardly back up and I need to come up with roughly $1,200 to fix the problem, so I've been told.

General Comments:

I purchased this car to replace my 93 Celica, and I want my Celica back. I thought this car would be a better year round car for me, but it has caused me much grief. I think I must have a lemon or something because I don't know anyone else with a VW who has had the number of problems I have.

This car has been tough to start for as long as I have had it. I have had it in to my dealership 3 times for this reason and they have done nothing to improve my situation.

My father purchased a brand new Jetta about 3 weeks after I purchased my used unit and he has had better luck with his 2001 Jetta TDI. I purchased my Jetta as a certified used Volkswagen with a 40,000 km bumper to bumper warranty. Despite getting the same warranty as I did, the dealership has been much more generous with my father's service work than they have been with mine (before mine expired, that is).

I have not been satisfied with this car and have only kept it because I'm still in University and can't afford to sell it, because I would still owe on it. As soon as I can afford something else, it's gone.

I may purchase another VW someday, but not a third generation model, and certainly not from the same dealership.

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

Review Date: 10th February, 2003

7th Nov 2003, 01:17

Reverse can be a little tricky, I've missed it twice in the last little while. I imagine that partially engaging it and "grinding" the gear will wear it out really quick. I'll make sure to put it all the way in gear from now on. Thanks for the review, it might have saved me $1,200.