Although it had some issues, like needing the ignition system replaced (Around $400 DIY), I love this car. I've been getting good gas milage and adequate performance. Mine has just over 160,000 miles on it, though the previous owner mistreated it. If you don't want to do any DIY car repair, I would not recommend this car. Otherwise, go for it. I use mine to get to and from school every day along with the occasional road trip and have never had any reliability issues with it. If you do get one, get yourself a good service manual and a metric socket set. I have the GLX 2.8L VR6 engine with the five speed manual transmission.
Fun to drive
Good gas mileage for engine size
Adequate supply of aftermarket parts
Clean up the rat's nest of wiring behind the fuse box
Improve light output from headlights
Make euro style light switch standard
I've had to replace the engine due to a "freak accident" where the block was cracked mid drive($4K refurbished). All of my window motors have broken, if you buy this car, yours will break too. The O2 sensors, replaced, the side paneling has fallen off. And then just random things, such as the glove box will no longer open??? The alarm system had to be turned off completely due to that going crazy. Antenna is cracked, I just purchased fog light covers (cause the original drivers side fell off), new headlight due to condensation. Etc. etc. etc. Buying parts is expensive, they almost always have to be VW. My dipstick magically broke off and I had to go thru VW to replace it.
Same problems as many other people seem to have, power windows are junk. Windows are quite happy to fall down, but never come back up. Replacement parts should be cheap since VW knows this is a major design flaw but they aren't. Exterior trim falls off. Cup holder is in such a poor spot that it's comical. Radiator fan motor has burned up twice due to bad controller. $600 for a radiator fan, not including labor. Quick car, looks decent, starts every day but prohibitively expensive to repair. DO NOT BUY THIS CAR! (unless of course, you would like to buy mine!)
VW, drop the price on the parts that were so poorly designed. Window motors, side molding that falls off, and radiator fans are shockingly expensive. Don't bring a coffee cup on the commute either, bacause it won't fit in the cup holder.
I had a '70 Bug in school that needed infrequent attention and which I remember fondly. Those memories led me to purchase the Jetta thinking that the quality of the Jetta would be all that I remembered Volkswagen being; i.e., a maufacturer of quality automobiles. That is not the case. My Jetta has had numerous, costly electrical, engine wiring and emission problems (two catylytic converters in ten years), two broken glove boxes (how long have they been making cars?) and atrocious customer service. All of that ensures that I will never buy a VW again. My four purchases before the Jetta were Toyotas and Hondas - not as much fun to drive but trouble-free and much, much kinder on my pocketbook.
Not many, unfortunately. Comfortable seating, good handling and great acceleration (VR6). But, a good, reliable car is much more than that.
Much better quality: glove box hinges that don't break under normal use, an emission sytem that doesn't fail regulary, engine wiring that doesn't require frequent replacement, a mass air sensor without rapid built-in obsolescence. In short, a car that can compete with Honda and Toyota.
My Jetta runs great. I take it on the Autobahn and top her out, but take care of her as well. The check engine light is always on, but apparently it will blink if something major happens. Other than that, I plan on keeping it for a long time, add some sway bars and suspension.
I love how fun it is to drive, it's got a lot of pop.