2001 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0 from North America


The good, the so-so and the ugly


Check engine light came on; oxygen sensor failure diagnosed and fixed by dealer.

Rear brakes went out before front ones -- mechanic questioned whether the front brakes were even operational (he stated "If you'd told me you'd changed your front brakes last week, I'd totally believe you!")

Passenger side front window died -- replaced window motor.

Driver's side rear window on the verge of death -- currently is making a clicking noise when rolled up. I predict it'll be dead in a few more roll ups/downs.

Headlights out prematurely. Front turn signal burned out prematurely. One taillight segment is burned out, but I haven't bothered replacing it as of yet.

EPC light came on -- total brake light system failure in rush hour traffic. Was wondering why vehicles behind me were careening towards my bumper!

Glove box door hinge has snapped off.

Oil consumption is ridiculously high.

Rear struts leaking at 60,000 miles. Replaced by mechanic with heavy-duty struts.

Rear door sometimes hesitant to close (Jetta Wagon).

Front armrest door latch snapped off.

General Comments:

This car is a fantastic handling, riding and driving piece of machinery. I'm getting 30 miles to the gallon, hauling all my goods (Jetta Wagon) and looking great in the process.

However, the many quirks and idiosyncrasies of the vehicle is starting to take its toll on me -- as in, I'm going to start shopping for a new vehicle if another problem occurs.

As a previous Volkswagen owner (1998 Golf with over 100,000 miles and only one problem), the amount of trouble I've received with this car is problematic.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd September, 2003

30th Jun 2004, 12:09

I purchased a 2001 Jetta New as the original owner. At 38K Miles the rear brakes began to grind. Jacked up the car removing all 4 wheels for pad replacement. Much to my surprise, rear brakes completely gone, rotors terribly worn while front brakes are like new. I honestly cannot see ANY wear on the front pads or rotors, as if they are not working. This absolutely abnormal situation is common on Jettas (per numerous complaints on the net) and VW of America and VW dealers have their story very well coordinated. They respond, "This is common with the Jetta, so it is ‘normal’ brake wear and not covered by warranty." I am speechless. They are trying to convince me that they are "supposed" to work this way, saying "the rear brakes are applied first and provide more stopping power than the front to keep the car stopping in a straight line". I asked, "If this is the 'design" then why are the rear pads and rotors 30% smaller? And if they are supposed to provide the greater of the stopping power, why are the front brakes 30% larger, and why, at 38,000 miles are my rear pads and rotors shot and my front 'like new'?", They keep a straight face and tell me that is the common wear on this car, so it is normal. How can you reason with unreasonable people? Someone out there PLEASE help me! The service managers and my (100,000-mile bumper-to-bumper) Premium Service underwriter (MAPS) refuse to acknowledge the obvious failure of the brakes as a problem and suggest I replace the rear pads every 20,000 miles. I will NEVER buy another VW product.

Between this, the brake light switch failure (resulting in an inoperable car), my windows falling down into the doors, the absolutely sorry MONSOON sound system that can’t even support a workable AM radio, repeated Driver’s seat switch failure, erratic shifting transmission and clattering intake reeds, this car has been a maintenance nightmare. That would be somewhat tolerable if good service was available, but Dealers in my area, VW America and MAPS Service Warranty Underwriters have made the service issues as disappointing as the car. Buyer beware.

Charles Potter

Fort Worth, Texas.

3rd May 2005, 12:46

I have experienced the same exact problems (all of them, including the service peoples responses to my problems, down to a tee) as the ones previously stated by other people.


27th Mar 2008, 01:25

The one I have has presented the same problems:

Rear light segments blown (mid light)

Glove compartment hinch snapped.

Major wearing of rear brake pads (front ones are as good as new, but are truly working)

Mileage is good compared to other vehicles of its size.

Front suspension squeaking on every bump and speed ramp.

2001 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0 from North America


Would be a distinct winner if not for numerous minor faults


Disclaimer: This car seems as if it is a magnet for errant drivers, who tend to smash into it every chance they get. At 60,000 miles, it had incurred over 18,000 dollars in body/frame damages. The fact that it has been through major accident repairs notwithstanding, here are the faults:

The car tends to burn oil at an alarming pace, requiring the addition of 1-2 quarts between oil changes.

The check engine light came on at 24,000 miles.

Cracks inexplicably appeared at the lower corner of the windshield, apparently brought on by body flex.

The turn signals failed completely.

The struts have become ridiculously noisy. Getting in or out of the car, as well as driving over bumps, causes loud squeaks.

The trunk release failed, leaving the trunk unlatched.

The rear brakes went metal-to-metal at 25,000 miles, with nary a warning sign. They were fine one day, and the next, they emitted a horrific grind upon application.

The right glove box hinge snapped.

HVAC and headlight switch trim has begun shedding its thin plastic coating, leaving a mottled, junky look.

There is a distinct metal/glass rattle inside passenger door.

General Comments:

I love my Jetta. I often wonder if it would be a better car, had it not been in numerous accidents (none of which were my fault). Regardless, I can't say I'm fully satisfied with all aspects of the car. But let's go through the positives:

It's a gorgeous car, from the distinctively European shape to the subdued, elegant interior. The blue dash lighting is truly one-of-a-kind.

It's zippy. I wouldn't call it fast by any stretch of the imagination, but it does have enough power to move around quite well.

It handles well. Once again, this is no Carrera 4S, but for an entry-level compact, it has a taut, confidence-inspiring feel to it that fortunately has held up over the years.

It is a comfortable car. The firm seats provide more than adequate support on long rides and cut fatigue to a minimum.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 2nd September, 2003