1999 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan GLS 4dr Sedan (midyear)
I bought this car when it was three years old, and it drove like new. I'd been wanting a Jetta for some time and it was everything I hoped it would be. The car is very comfy and everything on the dash and console was within my reach. In the five years I had it, it only had a few engine troubles, and it never cost more than $200 to fix. I never had the $1000+ repair bills like with previous cars (Nissan, Plymouth, Dodge). It served me well for the five years and 120K miles on it. I would still like to have kept it for a few more years, but I just got rear-ended and sadly it's totaled, so now I'm getting a 2005 Jetta Wagon! I love these cars!
The style, the interior, I was comfy even on the longest drives. The dash lights are blue on black - very cool! Velour seats are soft and easy to clean. The car handled very well, smooth driving. Good, strong engine, good acceleration. It was a very safe, solid car (it was totaled, but I was not!)
My only beefs are minor: the floormats would not stay in place, the snaps holding them down either broke or the floormats ripped off of them; the cupholders didn't work well and wouldn't hold large cups. Legroom was cramped for taller people, but I'm 5'4" and had no problems even in the back seat.
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.
I loved my Jetta when I bought it, until one day the air conditioning blew hot and would cost $1,300 to fix due to compressor failure, the windows motors went out before that, so now my car is a portable sauna. It has an oil leek, the automatic transmission automatically drops itself into neutral. The silver paint is oxidizing and rusting (this shouldn't happen), and the dip stick broken and inaccurate. I also agree that the recline twist handle is midevil torture. The timing belt rotated and caused my engine to turn off and not start. This happened while driving...scary and costly. All in all, I'd rather burn my money than buy a '99 Jetta Wolfsburg. Oh yeah and my seat magically came unbolted. The speedometer works once a week if I'm lucky
The one working power window, the fresh smell of burnt oil through the ac vents. the annoying song when you leave your keys in the ignition.
Redesign the window motors for all VWs, give it better everything. and realistic sized cup holders
1999 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan GL 4dr Sedan (midyear)
I bought this Jetta two years ago from my local dealer, as a third car for my teenage boys to drive. It's a stick, with few options, but was in good condition. We've had virtually no problems with it and it's turned out to be a tough car, too. It provides superb basic transportation. It's fun for the boys to drive, but not too flashy either. We maintain this car and plan on keeping this Jetta for a long time.
It seems like the most fun-to-drive economy car out there. The whole driving experience beats the "appliance" nature of Japanese cars, and quality is much better than US economy cars.
For the low price we paid, it's been a great value and no necessary improvements come to mind.