I love my car. It's powerful, fun, and efficient. It has 230k miles and I still love it. Only had the timing chain replaced and the glow plugs replaced and it's still running strong. About 40 mpg going 80 mph on the highway.
The automatic transmission 01M of this car made between year 1999-2003 are known to be the most unreliable transmission ever made. Look for it online, there are so many reports of these transmission breaking down from 100k to 150k miles. Mine is even considered a good case, where it broke down right after 200k miles, but throughout my ownership of the car I dropped so much many to fix and maintain the transmission, that in the end, I don't think it is worth it.
Pros: Gets decent MPG. Can reach high speed. The manual version seems reliable from reviews.
Cons: Horrible auto transmission. Loud. Weak acceleration. Expensive to maintain.
I bought my 02 Jetta new from the dealer and put 263,000 miles on it.
The Good: I fell in love with gas mileage..700 miles to a tank. This was my first import car and the handling was awesome. I traveled from Washington to N. California and never broke down. The most comfortable seat I have ever sat in... maybe because I spent all my time in this car, it was custom fit to me. The resale value of this car only took me 24 hours to sell.
The Bad: The cost of maintenance on the TDI was enough to drive you mad. $500 every time they had to look at the car. I had some check engine lights come on after 30k, 60k and 90k. Burned through countless o2 sensors.
Car seats, gas mileage and resale value.
Fun to drive around the Redwood forest and the mountains of the Pacific Northwest.
I drove this little car very hard and he(Hans) never left me stranded.
After 263k miles together...I will miss my little German car!
I'm going on 316K miles with this car and averaged over 53 mpg on my last tank of fuel. Yes, there are flaws in the interior design (cup holders in particular) and yes, it's difficult to perform maintenance on it sometimes but how can you find fault with a car that is so reliable? Oil changes every 10K, timing belt every 80K and everything else like brakes, tires, filters, etc., are done simply as req'd. I've had the clutch, water pump and other components each replaced once but this engine is a beast. Maintenance is certainly more expensive when required but fortunately, I have a local (non-dealer) repair shop that specializes on German cars and that helps keep the bill down.
Turbo shield needs to be more easily removed