1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


Great MPG, reliable, manuverable and long lasting


- Cup holders are useless, I put my drink between the parking brake and the seat LOL.

- Trim molding on side falls off, adhesive fixes it almost looks new.

- Trunk rusted out where spoiler connects, and my subwoofer makes the spoiler rattle violently.

- Cruise control works sometimes. I am not a huge fan of cruise anyways, so it's no bother.

General Comments:

These things run forever, my neighbor is an expert on these and says many go for at least 250,000 miles.

It has exceptional handling, good mpg, huge trunk space (12" subs fit perfect), awesome comfort, and good speed for a 4cylinder. Awesome for a little car!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 1st April, 2009

1997 Volkswagen Jetta Trek 1.9L from North America


Expensive upkeep and no longeviety


- Door locks malfunction when switch is pressed (either they work, don't work at all, or lock when told to either lock or unlock)

- Horn does not work when I got it.

- Moonroof doesn't always work since I have owned it.

- At 122,000 miles the exhaust downpipe blew out.

- At 123,000 the drivers side window stopped working.

- At 124,000 the distributor cap and spark plugs needed replacement.

- At 125,000 miles the starter needed to be replaced.

- At 126,000 the A/C system died.

- At 127,000 the parking brake cable needed replacement.

- At 128,000 the clutch was showing heavy wear (not replaced as of yet due to expense of replacement)

- At 130,000 the waterpump went out for the cooling system.

- At 131,000 the coolant sensor has gone out.

- At 132,000 the brake lines ruptured.

- At 133,000 the cooling system developed several leaks, as well as a problem with the thermostat.

- At 133,000 the brakes (I have disc on all 4 wheels) on the left front passenger went out.

- At 134,000 the rear suspension and front suspension went out at the same time.

General Comments:

- This car was an upgrade for a Ford Escort station wagon. It was a good upgrade for the price at the time. However it has been a problem from day 1.

- This car handles really well when everything is working. The front wheel drive is a plus in a winter state.

- The car is very comfortable and has a nice interior. The sound system is the premium and works wonderfully.

- The car is speedy for being a 4 cylinder, and accelerates quite fast.

- Car gets around 30 mpg when nothing was wrong with it, and around 25 when it has mechanical problems.

- Now the bad. As you can see above I have had nothing but problem after problem with this car. I have heard about VW gremlins before, but this has to be the worst case of them. I have never had a car with so many problems before.

The worst part about it is that every repair job is around $200-500. For being a garage kept car before I owned it, it was not kept well. VW's tend to run great until around mile 130,000, and then everything goes wrong with them. My previous cars were a Ford Escort station wagon, a Plymouth Duster (6V), Ford Windstar van, and a Mazda Protege.

I help out a mechanic friend of mine periodically, and VW's tend to be reliable until they hit around 100,000 miles, then everything on them dies at once.

I would not recommend this car to anyone who wants something with cheap upkeep.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd January, 2009

2nd Jan 2009, 11:23

VW = Virtually Worthless.

15th Jan 2009, 08:10

Well, it really depends on how well you inspect a vehicle before you buy it. It sounds to me like someone saw you coming. And as a buyer of several used "jalopy's" in the last 5 years, I have learned that if you think you're getting a deal, you will pay for it later. MAJOR UPKEEP. It sounds like all the things you replaced would have shown sure signs of they're age and wear. If you look under a hood of a used car... you don't want to see all "original" equipment. Look for a new alternator, water pump, starter, and master cylinder, check the hoses, belts, and transmission. Look at the battery terminals, corrosion around them, means problem in the electric system, start it up, blue smoke, problem with the emissions/fuel system, black smoke, problem with the engines internals, white smoke, (not the "warm up" white smoke either) but white smoke usually means a problem with the cooling system.

But a really good rule of thumb is, If you think you're getting a deal... think twice on why. If the person selling the car drops the price too easy... think twice on why. And so on and so on. Keep in mind, most cars are sold because they can't be fixed by the owner, and bless their hearts, but even the most honest people turn to liars when they are trying to sell something they don't want!

V-dubs can drain your wallet, but... any, and I mean ANY CAR, can do that. You just can't blame a particular auto maker because somebody "ripped" you off. I'd be mad at the seller, not the maker.

PA-V-dub Owner.

27th Mar 2010, 10:34

First let me state that I do own a '97 Jetta Trek, and I bought it used with 127,000 miles. I now have 132,000 miles on it. Cars need REGULAR maintenance. If you wait until 127,000 miles to change the spark plugs and distributor cap... well it's not surprising it left you stranded. Your maintenance manual will tell you approx. mileage for oil changes, spark plug replacement and so on. The timing belt for instance should be changed at around 65,000 miles.

Cars only give what they get... they are machines however and can't tell you when something is wrong... therefore it is our responsibility (as owners) to know how and when to maintain them.