2001 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 4 cylinder from North America


If had known all the problems I'd encounter with this vehicle, I never would have bought it


-timing belt replaced

-oil pan replaced

-electrical (lights on console) stopped working

-arm rest latch broken

-air conditioning went out at 85,000 miles

-smells like crayons.

General Comments:

It's so nice to find this site because I see others have the same problems. It seems like my car is in and out of the shop every couple of months. The air conditioning is the worst part-living in Texas with no air is pure misery. However, I don't have an extra $900 sitting around to fix it right now. Also, they're telling me I need to replace the timing belt AGAIN at 100,000 miles when I just replaced it at 75,000 miles. That's a $700 project.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd May, 2006

26th Feb 2007, 14:35

I would just like to duplicate your comments. My Jetta has had the exact, EXACT, same problems. Right down to the detached arm rest and the Crayon smell. I always assumed it was previously owned by a kindergarten teacher and she/he smashed Crayon into the carpet.

2001 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9 TDI turbo diesel from North America


~Rear brake pads were completely worn at 32k km (dealer replaced for free under service bulletin)

~ Intake 90% clogged at 75k km, MAF (Mass air flow sensor replaced under recall)

~ Coolant temperature sensor failed at 80k km.

~ Drivers side heated mirror stopped working at 94k km.

~ #3 cylinder glow plug failed at 104k km.

~ Drivers side heated mirror stopped working at 94k km.

~ Trunk latch assembly broke at 115k km.

~ Alarm stopped working at 121k km.

~ Bulbs frequently burn out.

~ Hazard flasher and brake light switch replaced under recall.

General Comments:

I think the TDI is the only engine to go with when it comes to buying a VW. The engine is extremely fuel efficient, I usually get close to 800km on a tank of fuel in mostly city driving. Diesel prices vary, but at the current moment I'm paying 12 cents less per litre than gasoline.

The car is peppy and relatively quick for a car with only 90hp. The turbocharger helps out with power. It won't win any drag races, but it can move if need be. Much peppier than a gasoline engine is a compact car. The five speed manual makes it more fun to drive and improves overall fuel economy compared to the automatic. Brakes are solid feeling thanks to four wheel discs and ABS. Generally speaking the car handles great, corners well and is very agile.

The interior is very well laid out. Instrumentation is clear and legible, at night it glows blue and red. The seats are firm, but very supportive. They can easily be changed to your liking and are height adjustable with lumbar support. I got mine with the leather and I find that they're great, very easy to clean compared to the cloth seats. Heated seats are a must especially for colder weather when the diesel engine takes longer to warm up. The back seat is a tight fit with leg room, not very much room for larger people unless the front seats are moved way up. The rear seats fold down making it easy to carry larger, bulky items. The truck is very spacious for a smaller car.

Many safety features are standard including both front and side airbags with side curtains. ABS is standard equipment. The Jetta has done very well in government crash testing.

Dealer servicing is poor overall. Many dealers see very few TDI's and are incompetent when it comes to servicing it. Dealers usually ask twice as much for service compared to a qualified, non-dealer VW specialist. Maintenance can be involved and costly, but still cheap compared to the high performance 1.8T and VR6 models and the anemic and oil burning 2.0. For example, there are four different lenghts for when the timing belt should be replaced. It can get confusing. If maintenance isn't kept up problems will occur and will end up costing more to fix in the long run. Timing belt has to be changed on time or engine could fail and water pump is known to break. Brake fluid should be flushed every 2 years to prevent the ABS sensors from gumming up due to corrosion in the system. Find yourself a good mechanic that knows VW's and TDI's and stay away from the dealership.

Reliability is fair, the TDI is very reliable and if well maintained can last for over 600k km with ease. The only problem is that the engine intake clogs up with soot, especially if it isn't driven hard enough. North America has the worst quality diesel in the world. However, better quality diesel (ultra low sulphur) is coming this year. What concerns me is everything around the engine. Electrical gremlins are common, bulbs often fail one after another, electrical accessories aren't built very well etc. If you know how to fix the quirks yourself you will save money in the long run instead of having to run to the dealer or your mechanic for everything.

Overall I really enjoy driving my TDI. I would choose a diesel car over a hybrid any day. The diesel is proven where as the hybrid is still a fairly new technology. VW reliabilty has improved slowly, but surely since I bought my car. I think VW has the quality wows under control with its new models. If I do buy another VW it will surely be a TDI :)

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th May, 2006

20th Jul 2011, 14:22

Fantastic accurate review!

I got myself a 2001 Jetta TDI with 397 000KM.

I now have 404 000KM and running perfectly.

The way I see it, I rather pay less and get it redone by a specialist (DMF Diesel 1 hour north of Montreal) than pay more and have a surprise.

All in all, a great car.