"My blue automatic 1998 VW Jetta GLS was the first and only car I've ever had since I was 16. We bought her new and she's been great. Very reliable. I've never been left stranded anywhere or had an emergency issue arise with this car. Any problems I've had, aside from the common car issues, have been cosmetic, or having to do with the window motors. Hardly have any check engine lights come on.
Cosmetic: I don't know if it's because I've had her in very very hot to very very cold climates and back, but I've had to re-glue on the side strips a couple of times. Also, my VW, GLS, and Jetta signs all fell off the back.
Window Motors: My biggest issue. 3 out of 4 of my window motors went bad, which resulted in the windows dropping about an inch or so. I would have to push the windows back up with my hands to close them. I had one motor fixed for $600 and decided that I would deal with the others. (A little embarrassing going through a drive through and not being able to roll my windows down.)
Other than those two issues, my Jetta has been great up until recently (130,000 miles). Something went wrong with the transmission because she's wasn't shifting gears properly. I would have to take my foot off the gas to try and force shift her. This problem just kept getting worst (we didn't want to spend mucho $ at the VW dealership to repair) so my husband and I decided to trade her in. It was a sad day to say goodbye to her.
I would be thrilled to own another VW in the future."
"I bought my Jetta new in December 98 and have been pleased. Still have original clutch with 110K+ miles. Car is finally starting to show it's age--minor rust forming in a few spots.
Mechanically, this has been a great vehicle. I change my own oil every 3000 miles. No major engine problems. Worst things that happened were that I needed a water pump and the cruise control fried. Besides normal wear and tear (belts, plugs/wires, tires, brakes and exhaust), this car has cost me very little money.
There are some deficits to this car. I needed work on the upholstery as the edges of the seats tend to collapse (didn't know my butt was that big!). Some of the plastic trim has broken (along bottom of front seats, cup holder in back). And, the rubber door strips came unglued. After multiple failed attempts at fixing it myself, I had my friend's body shop take care of it and they have held fine ever since.
Even with over 110K miles, I still get about 30 mpg. The car still has the original clutch (last 25K miles have been all on freeway, previous 85 were mix of city/freeway). It drives well and handles great on dry pavement. In the snow, I prefer rear-wheel drive for snow (honest!). The Jetta is a relatively light vehicle, and has some pep, so you really have to go easy when coming off the line on snow and ice, or the front end will slide out from under you. I haven't really driven many winter miles with front-wheel drive, and took it very easy--I drove it in many blizzards this past winter with no problems when many others were in the ditch.
Any problems I had with this car have all been cosmetic and minor. I would recommend this car to others. My Jetta is a solid runner."
"I've had this car for a while, and I've learned from talking to others with this model and year that if it's been kept up from the start, that it's a great car, but if it's abused, and not meticulously up kept, it's the biggest pain in the world. I replaced all rotors, pads, shoes, wheel hub, need new tires, the shocks are gone, the power steering is almost useless, and the manual transmission, that's supposed to give it a little more pep, doesn't. It's possibly the slowest, biggest waste of my time and money I've ever got. The car was given to me after I totaled my first, and I wouldn't have taken it any other way."
"I bought this car 2 years old and have spent a lot on repairs in the last 6 years. The transmission needed replacing in '05, that was the biggest. It is too low to the ground and I just spent $800 to fix a punctured oil pan because of it, not to mention the several times the front end plastic piece needed replacing. There are a lot of little things that broke but they can't be repaired, you have to buy the whole part for several hundred dollars. I have to take it to the dealership because it's difficult for most mechanics to fix it, hard to get to everything.
The reason they sell so many is that this car handles great, it's really tight and fun to drive, good trunk storage and it's cute."
"I had an awful hit and run rear ending and this car crunched exactly how it is designed to and saved me from any serious injury. The car's roof is lifted and the windshield is cracked but the driver was not hurt. Amazing design!!"
"I've owned my 97 VW Jetta GLS for almost 10 years. Every time I think of selling it to get something like the rest of the herd, I realize how much I still love to drive it. It's a 5 speed, handles great, really accelerates incredibly for a 4 cyl.. The gas mileage is outstanding, not sure the actual numbers but I would guess 26-32mpg. I would highly recommend this vehicle to get around town and commute long distances. It would also be great as a first car for a teenager. Maybe one day I’ll sell it or not. If I do it will be hard to part with."
"I have owned my Jetta for 1 year. Repair bills are more than I paid for the car, CAT converter bad, windows fall down. Bad water pump/head gasket failed bad transmission
Expensive repair rate at the dealer."
"Many mechanics won't or can't work on them, which leaves a dealership as your best option for repairs. Parts are expensive, and a lot of little parts on the interior broke right away (cup holders, glove box, arm rest). Does very well on snowy roads. The car is however very charming and fairly reliable. VW owners love VW's, and if you own one you'll see why. At the same time you'll wonder why you can't bring yourself to sell the thing even though the repair costs are high and finding a good mechanic who will work on them is difficult."
"I've had my 1997 VW Jetta since day one. I bought it with 9 miles on it. A few years ago i had trouble with the transmission. The fluid leaked out on my garage floor, thank goodness i had the power train warranty and it was fixed. Other than that I've kept up w/my car. has only 89,000 miles, looks good and runs great. I thought i would be able to give it away to a relative since I want a new car but can't get myself to do it. why fix something when it's not broken! I really don't need the new car, i think i was just having a moment."
"I've had my 97 Jetta for 2 years and have been very pleased with it. I've had to do some minor repair (exhaust, wheel bearing and battery). Other than that, it drives great, gets great gas mileage and is fun to drive. I would recommend this car to anyone."
"I'd had nothing but bad luck with my Jetta. I love it, and when it runs, it runs great. But in the past year, I've had to get my catalytic converter, alternator, brake light switch, 02 sensor relplaced. I am always getting notices about recalls for parts that need to be replaced easily. Parts are also expensive and sometimes hard to find because of the German-make. Good mileage for the V6 though, about 27 highway, 22 city."
"this car will start up every morning but if you dont know anything about any german cars than you gotta realize that they dont know how to wire anything corectly... horriple wireing everything electrical in my car is going out.. light sun roof blinkers.."
"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."
"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."
"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."
"Bought Jetta Trek used for $2,000 at small used dewalership. Had 160,00 miles and needed tires and many gasketts replaced. Just drive 2,200 miles down the coast of Cali and runs like a champ. The trim on the doors is faulty on this model and will fall off.
Good car with routine maintenance."
"i have had my 98 vw jetta gl for over a year now and i absolutly love it it gets great gas milage it does great at high speeds and has great take off the only complaint i have about it is that it is built poorly like the side maker on mine has fallen off and some other things have fallen off other than that it is a great car and i would recomend it to anyone who wants a reliable nice looking car or for someone for a first car"
"I have found the MKIII Jetta Tdis to be very reliable, durable, economical, and fun cars to drive. Along with simplicity of operation, the vehicle has provided safe dependable operation combined with fuel economy approaching 50 mph, yet enough sporty agility to make the driving experience exciting when desired. Maintenance cost are moderate, and finding a reliable VW Diesel Mechanic is not always easy to do. Internet searches usually can find you someone in your area."
"Loved my 96 VW Jetta. Never had any serious problems and only started having problems at all after 150k miles. The 5-speed and small footprint made it fun to drive, and I personally loved the style which is more sleek than a Volvo but different enough to stand out. Great car."
"I have owned many cars. BMW's, Fords, Chryslers, Hondas, Cheverolets, Dodge, Volvo etc. I needed a small car for my buisness that was 'gas friendly' and reliable. I got a 1996 Jetta, 5speed. There are a few small interior problems but it runs just fine, shifts with ease and purrs like a kitten. It has 191000 miles and is fine. My first car was a used 1986 vw Golf that I managed to drive 300000 miles before I traded it in, only issue was that I wished it was standard Transmission because I abused it too much for the auto-trans to keep up with me! I LOVE VW!!! THEY ARE STILL THE BOMB AND WORTH EVERY PENNY!!! as long as you know the history and have been looked after they will run till the wheels fall off!!!"
"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!"