I encountered my first problem with the rear passenger door speaker (woofer). The sound kept cutting out. Brought it to Dublin VW, CA. Twice. Second time they replaced the entire speaker. (first time they said it was a loose wire) Still under warranty = free (minus my time).
My second problem was with the rear seat cup holder. Opened it once, then it would never close. Fixed by Dublin VW, first time. Still under warranty = free (minus my time).
My third problem was with the engine. The engine light came on. Called and asked Dublin VW if it was OK to drive, until I could get it to the dealership. The said "yes", as long as the check engine light wasn't blinking. It wasn't so I continued to drive it for 4 more days. Once my Jetta was at Dublin VW, they mentioned it was a problem with the oxygen sensor. Replaced and drove away happy. Still under warranty = free (minus my time).
My fourth problem was again with the engine light coming on. Called a different dealer (closer to my house), they told me to bring it in immediately (no driving). Bob Lewis VW mentioned I had a blown head gasket. Major! They had the car for a full week. Very friendly and fixed it the first time. Not a problem since. Still under warranty = free (minus my time).
My fifth problem was with the A/C. A musty, old smell coming through the vents after the A/C was turned off. Bob Lewis deodorized the system and flushed the refrigerant. Fixed and never a problem again. Bob Lewis VW mentioned it might have been caused by the blown head gasket. Leaky oil smell. Still under warranty = free (minus my time).
My sixth problem was with the front passenger side window. Rolled it down and SNAP. The window wouldn't roll back up. A call to Bob Lewis confirmed that VW knew about the problem and will fix it for free (all windows). No longer under warranty = fixed for free (minus my time).
My seventh problem showed up right when I was trying to sell the Jetta. I opened the glove box to get the paper work, and SNAP. The hinge on the glove box broke. How embarrassing. The purchaser didn't mind. I never had to deal with this problem.
With all my problems listed above with my Jetta, I loved the car! I didn't realize it "until" after I had sold it. I bought a 2001 2WD Jeep Grand Cherokee. What a huge mistake. That's another story.
I've experienced some of the problems I've read here on CarSurvey. The seats creaked a little bit. The Auto transmission had an annoying long delay when shifted between park and drive. Other than that, the Jetta is a very, very fun and lively car.
I'm currently trying to sell my Jeep, to purchase another Jetta. If you look closely at the progress VW has made with the Jetta between the 2001 and 2003 model years, you'll notice a drastic decline in unhappy owners. Check it out.
The problems were frustrating/time consuming, but I cannot get over the ride quality and fun of driving this car. For the price, you cannot get the same feel and excitement with any other car!!
Go test drive one today.