2001 Volkswagen Jetta Wolfsburg 1.8T from North America


A poorly engineered, poorly assembled, expensive to maintain automobile


The power trunk latch has failed and been replaced three times.

Both front power windows had to be replaced within weeks of buying the car as the anti-pinch mechanisms failed.

The driver's seat frame broke. (I'm 5'11", 180lbs.)

The coolant temperature sensor failed. Fortunately, I was able to replace this myself for $7.

All four ignition coils had to be replaced. (A "known" issue which was never publicized, but was fixed for free by the dealer.)

The wipers had to be replaced the day after buying the car as they wouldn't clean the windshield.

The brake rotors had to be replaced at 30,000km.

The clutch plate shattered at 60,000km. The dealer informed me that this could only happen if I repeatedly "popped the clutch at high RPM". I've never done that even once. For comparison purposes, the clutch on my 1993 Honda Civic lasted roughly 200,000km.

The salesperson never mentioned the fact that the air conditioning unit has some form of drip tray underneath it which collects condensation that drops off the unit. After owning the car for about 36 months, I noticed a strong odor when I used the air conditioning. The dealer told me that I need to shut off the air conditioning 10 minutes before I shut off the car so that the drip tray has a chance to dry. I only have a 15 minute drive to work...I'm supposed to shut off the air conditioning 10 minutes before I get there? This is "German engineering"?

The power outlet on the dash didn't work when the car was delivered.

The radio reception is so bad that I can't reliably receive FM or AM radio stations. (I live in a major metropolis.)

General Comments:

The 1.8T engine develops good power and is fun to drive.

Unfortunately, the cost to maintain the car simply isn't worth the fun factor that it delivers.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 12th July, 2004

13th Jul 2004, 09:05

Switch to a Japanese car, i.e. Toyota or Honda. Though they may probably not be so exciting to drive, and won't have the glamor and nice looking of an european car, the reliability is simply bullet-proof. I have a Skoda Octavia (a VW product, since 80% of the car is built based on VW and Audi parts) manufactured in Germany and has been very reliable up to this moment, but Japanese engineering is the easiest-to-maintain and most reliable one.

6th Aug 2004, 12:50

Update: The driver's window fell into the door last week. To VW's credit, they took me for service the next morning and all repairs were paid for.

25th Oct 2004, 16:37

The air is common sense, you should shut you're a/c off at least a few minutes before shutting off your car, and leave the fan on. It will prolong the life of you're a/c-in any vehicle.

26th Jun 2006, 13:34

Your comments on rotors is incorrect in this case. Any rotor will wear out at some point and need replacing, no matter how careful the driver is. In the case of VW's, the problem is an engineering one. They made the rotors too thin. They wear out prematurely, or they warp from the heat. It's a known issue, especially with the rear units. This is the manufacturer's fault.

6th Jul 2006, 10:16

I agree 100%, Wolfsberg's are crap. I will say that it is a very fun car to drive, but not at an expense of $7000 a year.

I am at 60,000 miles, and am having to replace the clutch again for the second time, as well as having replaced the tranny and various other parts.

I am by no means a drag racer, but I am tearing the car apart. The dual mass flywheel is crap. I recommend using a clutch out of a VR6.

Either way, I will never own a VW after this!!!

4th Aug 2009, 19:34

I'm an auto technician and have been for about 18 years I've worked for Hyundai, Nissan,Honda, Mercedes Benz and recently, Volkswagen. People are buying these cars thinking they are the tough, dependable, simple cars that Volks used to build in the 80's and early 90's, they are nothing of the sort. I know many other technicians and it's pretty much unanimous, Volkswagens are over-engineered poorly thought out cheaply built junk.

2001 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8 Turbo 1.8 T from North America


Look then run the other way!


The List:

The check engine light has gone off 3 times.

The transmission had to be replaced--on the 3rd one. NO, I don't tow things with it. One Tran. was bad within 24 hours.

The brakes and rotors out by 27000--that is great by VW standards.

I changed the oil every 3-5 thousand miles. That is problem, soft oil pan starts to wear out from tighting the draining bolt. This with 50k miles.

Water temp sensor out at 30k miles.

General Comments:

I consider it no small miracle the car still runs.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 30th June, 2004

15th Aug 2006, 21:27

I bought my 2001 Wolfsburg brand new. I have had the check engine light go off more than 4 times. VW did replace the ignition coil, fixed the defective windows, and was great while I had the 24,000 mile warranty. Once the warranty was up, I have spent thousands of dollars getting it fixed. I only have 43,000 miles and it has stalled 3 times. I have done the recommended maintenance. The numerous recalls and failures are forcing me to sell it. I will never buy another VW.

18th Apr 2007, 15:10

I have a 1.8 turbo jetta. I have had to replace the spark plugs 3 different times and it only has 64000 miles. spent $510.00 to replace plugs had it towed to dealer, 4 days later it died pulling out of my driveway, had it towed again to the dealership, now it needs a new throttle boot...ready? $800.00. Do not buy a vw they are a nightmare to upkeep...