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1996 Volkswagen Jetta

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
7.2
Out of 10

Based on 296 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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Perfect for College!

By on Thursday, August 06, 2009

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I absolutely love my Jetta TDI. Traveling from home to college, I averaged between 40 and 42 mpg. Never lower than 38 mpg. Rarely had any problems. Overall, just a well rounded car that has amazing gas mileage! Perfect for a college student!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Love my Jetta

By on Wednesday, July 01, 2009

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
9/10

"This has been the best car. It has 169K miles now and still runs great. No major problems over the years. Still have original clutch."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

love vw cars

By on Monday, February 23, 2009

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

"Love my jetta , fast and speedy and oh so fun to drive I am 5'3 and it is a perfect fit ! cute too! Owned a 98 vw beetle and I prefer the jetta! now I am looking at a Toureg! exciting!have kids and need a little more room than my jetta, only will buy a vw!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Not a good choice

By on Sunday, February 22, 2009

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I have had this car for a year now and I have replaced every part of the ignition system (ignition coil, plugs and wires, starter, and twice on the ignition switch with locking cylinder). I also replaced the MAF sensor and the car was in the shop for months at a time. The Performance is very good but there are a lot of electrical problems. Interior is great."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Just the best car ever

By on Sunday, August 31, 2008

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

"I bought this car new and love it as much today as I did the first day I got it. June 2008 was the 10 year anniversary and I have 232,000 miles and still going strong. I have never held onto a car beyond 5 years and have no intention of ever selling this one. I'm looking forward to seeing over 300k miles!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Cheap commuter

By on Monday, July 07, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
4/10
Comfort
7/10

"i bought this car about 3-4 yrs ago off a guy who was just looking to get rid of it. it had 197,000 miles on it then, and now it has 240,000 on it! i bought it for $300.00 and have more than got my money back on it. Did brakes and belts only with oil changes at 5000 miles. Recently it started acting up. struggling with power and cutting out if anything under the hood saw a drop of water. Changed to plugs and plug wires and she's running like a champ again!!! Pain to change the wires and plugs but worth it in the end!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

safe!

By on Sunday, July 06, 2008

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
9/10

"I bought this for my daughter as her first car on the advice of my fireman friend who said that because of what he's seen when responding to accidents, the jetta was one of the few cars he would feel safe with her driving. It now has 180K miles, and still running strong!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Always the best

By on Wednesday, June 25, 2008

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
10/10

"Great in snow, turns on a dime. Wonderful gas mileage. Will keep on having them."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Monday, June 23, 2008

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I bought my 1996 volkswagen jetta wolfsburg edition with 95,000 miles on it 7 years ago. I have put 100,000 miles on the car and until just recently nothing has been an issue. I would buy another jetta in a heartbeat."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

pretty good

By on Thursday, June 12, 2008

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"good mechanical condition however same problems as other reviewers problems with all windows and very expensive to fix also air conditioning condenser broken 800 to fix. The problem with vw is the parts are nearly as expensive as bmw but the car is not high end"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Good on gas, very problematic.

By on Sunday, June 08, 2008

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I got this car in 2004 and it was perfect until 2006, when the cable for the power window on the driver's door snapped. It fell down into the door, I had to take the door panel off to get the window up, I had to duct tape it for it to stay up (I know what you're thinking). Then the rear window on the same side did the same thing. Then the window motor stopped working so I couldn't roll the passenger's side windows down. Then, the transmission started acting up, would not easily go into the last gear. Then (the last straw) the air conditioner stopped working! And it had to quit at the start of a week of record-breaking heat. I am very disappointed in this car, I get the oil changed regularly and don't treat it bad. I always thought VW's were great cars, but now I'm not so sure."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great Car

By on Saturday, March 08, 2008

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

"Best car I ever drove. Handles like a sports car."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Horrible car, awfull experience!!

By on Monday, January 21, 2008

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
2/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
5/10

"I bought this car in 2002 and have had problems since than. I recently sold it (thanks God) for only $1500 because I wanted to get rid of it so much. Many, many, many costly problems during these 5 years I have owned it, including new head gasket, sensors, and new automatic transmission. The nightmares started only two weeks after we bought it, in 2002. The engine blew up on the 95 interstate highway while I was driving to a New Years Eve party at 10:45 pm. I missed the party and spent the new years on the road. Surelly I will NEVER buy a Volkswagen again. Not to say the feeling that you have when you drive it. You feel that you are driving a matchbox. Also it has a very slow acceleration response and way too bad gas/milage ratio for a 4 cylinder engine. Too much money spend on gas. Just a piece of junk!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great Car for the money

By on Saturday, November 03, 2007

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
9/10
Comfort
8/10

"These cars last a life time. they take a beating and keep ticking. Engines are strong but the Transmition sometimes go early on Automatic, stick is better."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Love My jetta

By on Monday, October 22, 2007

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
8/10

"I have owned mine for 9 years and the only reason I will sell it is due to the small back seat. The kids with car seats just don't fit. Great for a young couple or single person. College kids, first car, that sort of person will love this ride. I did!!!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

By on Thursday, October 18, 2007

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I love my 97' VW GT. I've only had minor issues like the parking brake and door locks stick in cold weather. I had to replace only minor things. I'm moving on to a new car, but will definitely miss her when she's gone."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Fun to Drive - stick shift

By on Tuesday, October 16, 2007

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I love my '99 Jetta. It's solid, very well made, handles well and has never left me stranded. I really like the interior - the little touches, such as the air vents that look so neat when they're closed. On the downside: electrical system glitches such as doors that don't lock, an alarm that goes off if I leave the door open too long, annoying cup holders and a noisy engine. It feels as though it should have a 6th gear."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Not bad

By on Monday, October 01, 2007

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
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

"I bought my 96GL used and just sold it after 9 years. It ran fine but small things started to break such as cup holders, locks, screws popping out, buttons etc. The AC evaporator broke and was not willing to pay the VW dealership cost--this is what made me sell."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Jem or a Lemon?

By on Friday, September 28, 2007

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
2/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
4/10

"It's what i've always heard of VWs: When you get one that works, it lasts a lifetime. When you get one that's a lemon, boy is it a lemon. I got a lemon."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great Vehicle

By on Wednesday, September 19, 2007

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

"Great reliable vehicle, 150K miles and runs great!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

GREAT CAR!!!!!

By on Wednesday, August 22, 2007

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"33 mpg at 150000mi .... How can you complain about that??!!! And still drives great. Although a glove box would have been an awesom addition to the package. I just gotta love this little car with room for plenty of junk in the trunk and fold down seats. Ill have another someday if I can wear this one out!!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Big $$$ repair annoyances

By on Sunday, January 04, 2009

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

"A great car to drive, but unless you are prepared to fix some things yourself, it could get expensive. The AC system is a reliability nighmare. I have replaced almost every component at least once. The evaporator has failed twice, which involves removing the entire dash to replace. Virtually no one will do this except the dealer. Last time I checked , they wanted over $1800. The ABS controller is notorious for failing. Yes the brakes will still work, but.. dealer wants almost $1000 just for the part, plus the labor to install. Mine has failed TWICE. The Heater Core blew out after 11 years, maybe that is to be expected. The ENTIRE dash needs to be removed in order to replace... count on $1500+ to fix. The engine has been very reliable, no problems after 11 years and 100K miles... just spark plugs and oil changes. Valve cover gasket is due for replacement. Coolant hoses will need to be replaced about every 5 years and they are not cheap, aftermarket silicon hoses are a better choice. The hoses at the back of the engine go first as they are over the exhaust pipes. Exhaust system is still solid, and I am still on the original clutch. Outer CV joints and front wheel bearings needed replacing at 10 years, but that is to be expected. Door moldings have a tendency to fall off, but aftermarket adhesive fixes that. Interior trim (mine is leather) has lasted extremely well, even with dogs riding in the car. I love the car, its styling and performance, but unless you are handy at car repair and finding parts at the junk yard or online, paying for the dealer to fix some things will cost you."

17 people out of 18 found this review helpful

Love this car!

By on Saturday, March 22, 2008

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"I bought (for 3800$) a 98 Jetta in December of 07, as a first car and am really really happy with my decision! Pros: -It's "cute"! The boxiness has grown on me -Good on gas -great handling -It's very, very difficult to steal (see cons) -Easy to park into tight parking spaces -Big trunk...good for moving big things -I LOVE the moonroof -I get an inexplicably good feeling whenever I drive it -The clock is easy to set -...So are the presets for the radio Cons: -Why does it have so many anti-theft features??? (panic alarm goes off if doors are locked when you start it, my battery died and I had to type in a code in the radio for it to work again because it thought that it had been stolen...etc) -Badly placed cup holders -Super annoying seat-belt warning noise if you start it without having your seat belt on (I know that that's the point of that alarm, but it is SUCH an annoying noise) -Wimpy acceleration compared to the 6-cyl. engines that I've always been used to -No alarm goes off when you leave the lights on, which might make you late for class the next morning... -The windshield wipers only have 3 speeds: intermittent, pretty fast, and really fast. This is just a slight annoyance in light rain. -It's hard to not turn on the wipers when you turn the key in the ignition -Lots of road noise...the interior is kind of loud I know it seems like there are more cons than pros, but I think that the pros outweigh the cons magnificently. It's not the sleekest, most powerful car, but it is definitely an awesome car for me. I would totally recommend it. Very well worth the 100$ a month!! I hope I can drive it for many more years."

9 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Best college car ever.

By on Thursday, July 19, 2012

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

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
7/10

Pros: "Fun to drive, gas is ultra affordable, good lookin"

Cons: "Not enough cup holders for sure."

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

Just chillin.

"Great gas mileage, I've gotten as high as 42 on the interstate. It's small enough to park in compact spots, and looks great. Could be a little bit more comfy, but the seats in mine are pretty worn out. I've gotten a million compliments on how good it looks/sounds."

7 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Just chillin.

Very Practical

By on Thursday, October 29, 2009

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"My second Jetta; fourth VW. 2.0 gas 5 spd manual. I've owned it for 12 yrs. 145k miles. Have replaced front brake pads once, rear struts once, muffler twice (2nd covered by Midas warranty), and battery once. Third set of tires need replacing. Garage kept and change my own oil every 5k. Everything else - clutch, belts, hoses, coolant, rear brakes, etc. - original. Car is very practical - I get 30+ mpg in city (drive conservatively) and with the rear seats folded flat, large trunk, tall roofline, and square rear door entry, this car will haul an amazing amount of stuff, and makes it easy to get kids and car seats in/out . Lots of relatively minor body and cabin hardware annoyances as noted by others - power window hardware (not actually a problem with the lifts, but with some cheap hardware that I reengineered), door and trunk lock hardware, occasional alarm problems (that I've always traced down to frayed/cut wires between doors and jamb). I've had similar problems with every VW I've owned, with the possible exception of the 69 Beetle. But all of the important systems have been outstanding. I always drive manual transmission for a variety of reasons, but I've never heard anything good about VW automatics, and would avoid them, FWIW. OEM VW parts are expensive, but worth the price. Don't waste your money on cheap replacement that will cost more in the long run, not to mention the aggravation. Bottom line - I've owned lots of Toyotas and VWs. I'd have to go back to late 80s or early 90s Japanese-built Toyotas to rival this Jetta's reliability and practicality. I'm at a point where I probably need to spend $1k on tires, brakes, belts, hoses, and coolant, but beyond that, I'm convinced that 300k miles with no major repairs is quite possible with this car."

6 people out of 7 found this review helpful

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