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1996 Volkswagen Jetta

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
7.2
Out of 10

Based on 294 Ratings for the 1996 - 1999 models.

Review this car
more rating details
  • Value
    7.7/10
    Quality
    7.6/10
  • Reliability
    7.7/10
    Performance
    7.9/10
  • Comfort
    7.8/10
    Styling
    7.8/10
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this car was a gift and its time for an upgrade

By on Wednesday, January 04, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 134,958

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
3/10
Comfort
6/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"this car was a pleasure to have while I had the opportunity to have it. But it is time to move on to something better."

I loved this car

By on Saturday, December 17, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 213,800

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Huge trunk, low maintenance, comfortable."

Cons: "No power windows, poor cup holder placement."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"After 12 years and nearly 200,000 miles together, it is finally time to part ways, but I absolutely loved this car. I am not easy on cars and she took all the abuse that I gave her. I never had to make a major repair that wasn't wear and tear (or my own stupidity) related. My dream replacement would have been another '97 Jetta that somebody's grandmother had kept in the garage and driven back and forth to Bingo and the grocery store once a week. I settled for 2008 (my third Jetta) instead. :)"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Its a VW

By on Friday, December 09, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, has charater, fast, comfortable"

Cons: "cup holders worthless, cruise control wothrless"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Ive had this car for about six months now and only had to do the routine maintenance on it, tune up, change struts, change filters, oil change, The normal things. This car is my by far favorite car, definately fun to take on the back roads and cruise. The steering is extremely responsive, and smooth. Only issue I have is the cruise control does not work, which is a common problem on the MK3 Jettas. I'd definately reccomend this car to a friend."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

its got its ups and downs

By on Thursday, December 08, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
6/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "speakers, look, a lasting car"

Cons: "horrible cup holders!!!!"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"it was a great running car when i first got it at 111000 miles. then after 20,000 miles everything seemed to brake all at once. they're a pretty good car, you just have to keep up on things. their looks are great i think. the road noise is loud but the speakers are great. so after fixing it all it was def worth it because it's a V-Dub"

Works great! My first car

By on Tuesday, November 15, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 130,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "cheap to insure"

Cons: "small, only 2 airbags"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

Mine!

"Bought cheap from a local repair shop as a loaner. Cleaned it up, redid the aftermarket sound, replaced the oil pressure sensor ($6.) as it was leaking and am now very pleased. 130k miles and going good. Had a rebuilt clutch and a used transmission before I got it. Changed the oil with mobil 1 and no leaks! very happy with my first car. Easy and cheap to fix if anything goes bad."

4 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Mine!

timing belt issues, ele bugs

By on Friday, November 11, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,800

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
6/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "fun to drive, excellent mpg, lots of power, roomie"

Cons: "timing belt and ele issues kill it"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"have owned 2 of these cars, first was flawless up to 260000 miles. then a 900 dollar repair made me sell it and buy another one like it. huge mistake, the second wolfsburg jetta has been almost constant "bug" brittle wiring syndrome i have been told by a coupl mechanics. first alarm and windows malfunctioned on a regular basis. all due to a broken wire in the power windows that took a act of God to find. all minor and then changed the timing belt at 60000, 30000 miles later the tensioner broke and this destroyed the engine, 1800 dollars later the car is running again with all new parts on a used engine, guess what, less than a year later the tensioner broke again, it was a vw, not a aftermarket tensioner. less than 10000 miles on a brand new vw timing belt tensioner. i know it won't hurt vw but i will never buy another one. burn me once shame on you burn me twice shame on me. take all the bugs out and the timing belt issues these were wonderful cars, big but drive like a sport car. excellent gas mileage for such a powerful car, we averaged 30 overall mpg and 37ish if driving interstate. roomy and comfortable. massive headroom for a sedan. too bad vw couldn't work out teh timing belt issue and use wire that could hold itself together for a few more years."

3 people out of 6 found this review helpful

mixed feelings

By on Sunday, November 06, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 157,897

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
5/10
Reliability
6/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
6/10

Pros: "very roomy"

Cons: "cost of replacement parts are rediculous"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"i believe for a small 4 cylinder, it should have better gas mileage than it gets. If tranny goes it'll be around 750 to remove and replace (with tranny from junkyard). Normal wear and tear parts are super expensive. All four shocks run about 200 plus install. motormounts and tranny mount total up to 160 plus install. If you buy the direct replacement battery from autozone they want 229. I would only get this car if it had super lowmileage. other than that i wouldnt buy another one.."

4 people out of 6 found this review helpful

great vehicle great gas mileage

By on Thursday, October 27, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 175,500

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "gas mileage, performance upgrades, parts are easy"

Cons: "no speedo to go over 140mph :)"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

my jetta with 17s

"ive owned this car for 2 yrs now got it not running and electrical problems (sitting for yrs in the woods) cleaned it all up oil change replaced real box replaced clutch and put about 5gs into the motor and trans and this thing is fast. my speedo goes to 140 and it can pass that and my gps confirms it. i live in washington but travel to southern cal and back 1time a month and does great no problems at all i average 38mpg on premium fuel and couple mods and just cruising 70. if you swap to a 89 jetta tranny it helps alot if you wanna know what you need to do for the swap just ask"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

my jetta with 17s

AMAZINGGG

By on Monday, October 17, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 147,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"this is the most amazing car out there, no lie, i named mine shirley, shes a champ. VW FOR LIFE"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

VERY Reliable Great on Gas

By on Friday, October 14, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 210,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "Great on diesel! very reliable!"

Cons: "no frills, no fun very spartan"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have had this car for four years. I bought it off my folks and it has never let me down I drive about 40 miles a day to work and back and it does the job. It is still very fuel efficent I get around 32 to 34 miles a gallon. Some of the down side is there are no frills it is not roomy or very comfortable on any trip over an hour or so. It is not anything special to drive you get no thrill from it. It won't turn any heads. it can be difficult to start in the winter I put mine in the garage during the winter months but like i said it ALWAYS starts everyday. Its perfect for a daily driver"

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

power Windows are poorly made

By on Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 158,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "cute, good gas mileage, good family car"

Cons: "power windows and sun roof died."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"We have had a continuous problem with the power window motors breaking. They are cheaply made with plastic parts. I love the car but my husband hates it."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

10 years and still going strong

By on Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 136,500

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
7/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Fun, Reliable, Cute, Sturdy"

Cons: "Seat positioning, electrical wiring, trans,"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I bought this car 10 years ago and it is still going strong. It is nice and cozy for 1 or 2 people. It has had its share of problems such as electrical and transmission but still gets me from A to B. I absolutely love me car and I am very sad to trade it in."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best Car

By on Monday, September 26, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 155,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "great price, fun to drive, sold car, good size"

Cons: "AC does not work"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I had this car 4 years ago. I have done some work but nothing was major. I have been traveling all the way from LA to SF 2 every month and I can relay on it. The only thing everyone has this car has a problem with is the AC. mine does not work and most of the car like it at that age with the same situation. I wish there is a way to take care of this."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

very reliable transportation and god in gas

By on Friday, September 16, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"excellent review thanks"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Car!! Would purchase again!

By on Monday, September 12, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 215,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This is a great valued car with nice resale value. I have owned my 97 Jetta for 10 years and it has always been reliable and held up very nicely since 1997!"

4 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Baller

By on Thursday, September 08, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 119,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "All around awesome"

Cons: "I'm not driving it right now"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Best car in the worldz! no one can beat the 1999 Jetta!!! best and first car of my life!!"

awesome car!!!!

By on Thursday, September 01, 2011

I owned and sold this car
Reason: im stupid

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "fun to drive"

Cons: "terrible cup holder location"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"this was the best car i ever had but i sold it cause i wanted four wheel drive.if i find another i will definatly buy it. best gas milage ever.loved this car had almost 300000miles and still ran like a champ."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

very good car

By on Friday, August 19, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 150,000

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
5/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"it was a very dependable compact car. used to go to work good on gas i am very happy"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Volkswagen succeeds!

By on Thursday, August 18, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 127,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Gas efficient, fun to drive, reliable, affordable,"

Cons: "Cup holders awkwardly placed, headlights"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have a 1998 Jetta and it is the most reliable vehicle that I have ever owned. I got it at 90k and it now has 127k, and I have had no serious maintenance issues. Only 1 minor issue, one air hose had a small leak and the check engine light came on but it is cheap to repair. Prior to ownership of the 1998 Jetta, I had a 1997 Toyota Camry with 125k and the performance of Camry pales in comparison to my Jetta. Superior turn radius and handling, and you won't feel like your driving a tin can. The GL model takes a little while to speed up on the freeway. All Volkswagen cars are designed to have the headlights on ALL the time the car is turned on, you can't turn it off, so you will have to replace the bulbs more frequently than other cars. Excellent gas mileage. Its the most reliable and sturdy car I have owned."

3 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Terrible Vehicle

By on Sunday, July 24, 2011

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 160,000

10 1.0
overall rating 1 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
1/10
Value
1/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
1/10
Styling
1/10
Comfort
1/10

Pros: "good gas mileage"

Cons: "everthing else"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"I purchased this car for 2k as a first car, haven't had it yet for 2 years and after about 2 months of first owning it I had to replace front bearings and a whole new front axle. A couple months later had to get a new timing belt. Then just after that had to replace the starter and solenoid. And then needing to replace the rear bearings. Then the last thing that finally went that made me decide to never drive it again was when the heater core went out and blew a head gasket. Had nothing but bad experiences in this car. Not to mention the leaking head light causing full wiring replacement and a whole new light case, and the terrible 2 cup holders that wont fit anything in them due to terrible design and had many cups just fly out of holders and just spill everywhere. The glove box doesn't have room what so ever, it just has a flat part that pops up and no space in the actual dashboard, completely worthless. I will never purchase another VW again after this experience and would not recommend it to anyone."

5 people out of 11 found this review helpful

By on Sunday, May 15, 2011

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
9/10

"I have owned this TDI since new. I now have 124K on it. Last trip was 2500 miles on less than 50 gallons of diesel. Enough said. Drives great. I have the basic manual windows and a five speed. I plan on owning to 250 K. I would be interested in hearing those owners that have some miles on them...Will they go to 300K? All I would say to someone who is interested to see if you can find an independent mechanice that knows TDI. I have one and he keeps it properly maintained."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Reliable and great value

By on Friday, April 15, 2011

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

"I got my '97 GLS new off the truck in Oct 96. It now has 117K, and has been remarkably problem-free. I've never had issues with the power windows or (power) sunroof as others have commented on. Trim strips have been re-glued, but the interior is still in great shape. Replaced the cruise control sensor at 85K, but have had NO other electrical issues . The ignition key slot wore out at 100K, so needed it re-keyed. Replaced one thermostat. A/C still works, but I had the hoses replaced. Had a minor ($135) coolant leak fixed at 115K. I'm on the original clutch. I've replaced the exhaust system twice, but only because I had a 4 mile commute to work and it never really warmed up. Fair car in the snow, but I have a Jeep for serious winter driving. Radio knob is finally starting to fail, power lock on passenger front door needs lubed, and I need a new shift boot. Still has the original windshield, and I should replace it. I drive fairly aggressively, and still get >30 mpg in town, 34 highway. I'm pretty good about regular oil changes. Newer Michelin tires make it fun to drive. Red paint is starting to fade, but I'm lax about waxing. Overall, I've been very happy with the car with the exception of the ride - it's pretty stiff and can get harsh on older pavement."

Great First Car

By on Tuesday, March 29, 2011

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

"This car is a reliable, work of German engineering. Although I would not personally claim it the absolute best car in the world, it is wonderful to just drive. It has a unique way of communicating to the driver that it is either happy with you, or not so happy with you, which is always something to love about a car. It will pick up and go if need be, but it will also drive around calmly saving you fuel and money. Mechanically, a decent Jetta won't cause the driver any serious problems unless it is treated badly. It has wonderful sound, and handles like a dream. The heated seats make a nice addition during the winter, and the moon roof is wonderful in the summer. It has a tendency to want to race, but it doesn't have too much power for a younger driver to handle. A wonderful car for all ages, the Jetta is a car I would recommend to anyone seeking a small, reliable, fuel efficient, quick car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Best Vehicle Ever

By on Thursday, March 03, 2011

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"Aint no single doubt in my mind that this Jetta is one of the best cars availible in this entire country."

12 year owner

By on Friday, February 11, 2011

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

"I've owned my wolfsburg Jetta for 12 years now. I bought mine new, loved it then and still do. I have regularly changed the oil and kept it washed. 145,ooo miles now and it still starts and runs and the exterior looks like new. It does have 3 sore spots, the fit/finish of the interior - typical VW, plastic just breaks or wears out. The power windows have been a problem on all VW autos of this era - be prepared to replace. The exhaust system, I have replaced mine 4 times so far, I suggest going back to the dealer and putting on an original VW exhaust if you need to replace - aftermarket systems do not last on this vehicle. Mechanically if you change the oil and don't beat on it, this model will last you for as long as you still like it."

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