1997 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0 liter from North America


Reliable and fun to drive


In cold weather it idles really high and always has; sometimes up to 4,000 rpm. I've messed with the idle speed, but it always seems to revert back to it's original state.

The automatic transmission has always been slow to shift. This has never created any mechanical problems.

The molding on the front doors have fallen off.

I've replaced the battery three times.

There's always been a bit of an exhaust rattle.

General Comments:

I love the car. I suppose my car was built on a good day at the Puebla plant. The car has virtually no rattles or squeaks and it's been a very reliable vehicle. the car uses minimal amounts of oil and starts and runs (aside from cold weather idle issues) like a new car in spite of the fact that I've driven it hard.

It handles very precisely and is always composed around corners though it doesn't handle quite as well as my old Mazda 626.

I've never experienced the types of problems so many Volkswagen owners on the internet claim to have. I've gotten "Honda-like" service out of this car, so to speak.

The main thing I'm disappointed in is the gas mileage is quite mediocre for a 4 cylinder car that isn't exactly high performance. I get about 24 MPG, although most of my driving is in town. I guess that has more to do with it than anything...

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd February, 2003

1st Mar 2004, 11:13

Watch out for that shifting problem. I own a Jetta GL 97 and I am now replacing the entire transmission, as the pump went bad and ruined it. I thought maybe I drove my car hard (not letting it warm up before driving, shifting from reverse to drive before fully stopping) but was told my a dealer not factors for this issue. I complained several times to Volkswagen about shifting issues when I still had a warranty and they blamed it on the settings. They would reset the idle/timing, but the car would still hang at about 3000 rpm.

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


Major source of non-farfegnugen


Front lights failed.

Door molding/side-guards fell off at 13,000 miles. Fixed by dealer. Fell off again at 26,000 miles.

Check engine light comes on for no-apparent reason. Costs $140 to trouble shoot.

Automatic transmission has never been right. Shift points sometimes as high as 4800 RPM under normal acceleration. Continually downshifts to D3 from Drive.

Electrical problems too numerous to list.

General Comments:

We have owned VWs since 1968 (Beetle) to include an early Jetta, Quantum and Fox. This one has been a large disappointment.

The poor 2/24 warranty and the ease of explaining away "drive-train" claims shows the level of confidence that VW has in its own product.

Finally got the Transmission fixed at my own expense for $571. It was a "throttle postion sensor", not covered under the warranty.

Diagnostic procedures are an upfront $100 without regard to later maintenance action (most other major car-makers either drop or reduce this if work is done).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd January, 2003

1997 Volkswagen Jetta GL from North America


Help, someone died on the assembly line and my car has bad Karma or is possessed!


I have had my Jetta not start as a result of needing new glow plugs.

Cigarette lighter gets stuck, blows a fuse. Never been fixed properly.

When carrying a lot of weight or people a funny noise present on one side.

I have had all accessories lights fixed.

1999 New brakes, wheel discs due to leak in cylinder.

New ignition switch.

Uneven wearing of serpentine belt.

Around $3000 bill for new motor after timing belt snapped. leaving me carless for about 2 weeks. Good thing I had extended warranty.

All locks re keyed the same when ignition switch was changed.

Have problems with driver lock.

Replaced trunk lock as alarm would sound when key was used.

New windshield wiper motor.

Passenger seat broken.

Rear ashtray broken.

Glove compartment light choses when it wants to work.

Cruise Control replaced.

Second wheel alignment needed.

Need new shocks.

General Comments:

This car handles well in all weather.

However very uncomfortable.

I was told to by this car as it would resale well. However with my service records I'm scared to sell it. Yet with my service records and my warranty almost over I would like to sell it.

Cup holders are useless when using ashtray.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 18th December, 2002

9th Nov 2003, 11:51

Everything listed here has happend to my 97 Jetta GL. Almost everything has fallen under the "not covered by warranty" excuse. This cars has turned me off VW's forever.

20th Feb 2005, 21:00

The world's most expensive sometimes drivable parts car.