"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."
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