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1997 Volkswagen Jetta

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Consumer Reviews & Ratings

Overall Rating
7.2
Out of 10

Based on 297 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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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 17 found this review helpful

264K miles and counting

By on Tuesday, September 18, 2007

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"Bought the car new in '96. The best thing I can say about the car is that it runs well after 264,000 miles. It still gets 30+ mpg regardless of how I drive it. The electronic gadgets started dying off around 150K miles. No more cruise control, automatic cabin lights when the door is opened, or alarms when the lights are left on. However, the A/C still works and the heater can still roast me out of the car if set to high. With that many miles, most of the broken items are not worth fixing. I've replaced the starter, fixed a couple water leaks, and performed general maintenance. That's about it. Nothing major has ever gone wrong... hope I didn't just jink it."

10 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Pretty awesome VW

By on Sunday, July 07, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 197,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Gas milage, dependability, looks, comfort, fun."

Cons: "buying parts, tranny reviews"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Ive only had this car for 3 months and i will never go to another car. Bought it for 1200 and its been reliable ever since. yeah i had to do some maintenance but it has 197,000 miles. changed oil cooler gasket, struts, and all filters."

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Loved it, but those windows, ugh

By on Saturday, August 08, 2009

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
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

"I bought this Jetta new in 1999 right off the truck. (This is a 99A model, based on the 98 body style). I loved this car for a couple of years. Then the power windows started to have problems. At first it was only the driver's window, but slowly over time it was impossible to raise or lower any of the windows consistently. In the end I quit driving this car because I couldn't guarantee that the windows would stay up while parked. I have taken this car to the dealer three times for repair, but the repair never lasted. Apparently many Jettas have this problem with the windows. Even in the end, the Jetta handled like a dream. The 2.0L engine 5-speed manual has better pick-up than you might expect, and it is a blast to drive. My advice: Don't totally dismiss the Jetta, as it could be a great car, but roll down ALL the windows several times before you buy!"

7 people out of 7 found this review helpful

Reliabe, Nice Looking and Confrotable

By on Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 230,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "super fun to drive, reliable, great mileage & cute"

Cons: "little things breake"

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

"I am the original owner and I love it! It is super reliable. The only down side it that I broke the vent and then the sun roof went out, later the cup holder broke, but as far as being reliable, this car is awesome! Never brakes down. I am reaching 230K and only once I had to change the clutch/transmission. No major jobs needed aside form that. I hate to get rid of it, because it's so confortable and plush inside."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Mechanicaly sound, electricaly poor

By on Monday, April 20, 2009

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 owned one for a year until recently being rear ended at high speed and survived so quite good rear impact protection. Replacement parts are very expensive so avoid the dealers and try ebay or auto yards. Expect the electrics to fail like the windows, cruise control, dashboard lights (I replaced mine with some led's spots). The AC needed occasional filling (buy refil cans at auto stores) but was ice cold. If you get a good one then they're great, if you ever need to take it to the dealer then it will be very epensive."

6 people out of 6 found this review helpful

Dependable German Engineering

By on Thursday, April 12, 2012

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

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Dependable"

Cons: "Cheap plastic parts"

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

"I bought this car as a broke college student, I paid cash so I got a good deal. There were a few cosmetic problems with the car but as soon as I turned it on for the test drive I fell in love. The engine was very smooth and two years later still functions very well. The only major issue that I have with this car is the cheap plastic parts. The driver's side pull handle (interior) has came off. When I was trying to repair another part of my car the plastic clips broke off creating another issue. The headliner is sagging. With all that said, I still love my car and defend it when anyone laughs... It runs better than many cars driving on the roads!"

5 people out of 5 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

TERRIBLE and TRAGIC

By on Wednesday, December 03, 2008

10 2.0
overall rating 2 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
2/10
Value
3/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
3/10
Performance
5/10
Styling
5/10
Comfort
3/10

"99 VR6 5-speed manual. THE WORST VEHICLE I HAVE EVER OWNED!!! I had 4 alternators, 6 batteries, nearly EVERYTHING replaced (02 sensors twice, catalytic converter and STILL wouldn't pass smog). I was towed SO MANY TIMES that multiple tow companies in the area knew me by name. Visits to shop were never less than $800. MAJOR ELECTRICAL ISSUES. It was attractive and fun to drive but-DO NOT PURCHASE A VR6- the dealer told me they discontinued this after 1999!!!!!!!!!"

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Electrical/Windows

By on Thursday, October 11, 2007

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

"Just terrible, window tracks/motors broken on 3/4 of my windows shortly after I bought it. One electrical problem after another. Expensive to maintain due to frequent trips to the mechanic. I will never own another VW and will discourage anyone I know from purchasing another one. Garbage craftsmanship and no desire on VWs part to change their poor product. Extremely dissatisfied."

5 people out of 5 found this review helpful

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