Preface: I've owned a LOT of cars. I bought a very clean, used VW Jetta TDI (2010) thinking I'd get a reliable car with great mileage. Well, mileage: yes! Reliability: no. VW engineering is--and I say this honestly--very strange. I think they design with the idea that nothing should fail. Very idealistic. But stuff DOES fail! That's real life! And boy did things fail. I replaced sensors, a glow plug, an intake manifold, a radio, bulbs, a battery...all in just two years on a car with not many miles. The little diesel is great, don't get me wrong. But reliable this car is not. And very expensive to maintain. I don't say this lightly: I will never buy another VW.
Car handled and drove great. Diesel has great torque and was reasonably comfortable. Designed more for cold weather than hot (think Germany), the seat heaters and heated mirrors were nice.
VW made this car far too complex from a maintenance standpoint. Example #1: A very inexpensive sensor is integrated into the $800 intake manifold. When that little sensor fails, guess what you have to replace? That's right, the whole intake. Example #2: The exhaust system has a particulate filter with a finite life ("DPF", look it up). So is that filter accessible? No, absolutely not. MAJOR surgery to get to that filter. Just dumb engineering for a car that's got a motor that will run forever. If you get a VW you better enjoy working on it, because history tells us you will be doing that a lot. If you think this is the German version of the Civic or Corolla think again.
Got this guy new in 2010. I have put close to 80,000 miles on it since.
For the price a great car. Fuel economy is amazing( especially if you're a mostly highway driver). I've averaged 45 mpg in mostly highway driving. City driving gets 32mpg.
The torque band is equally awesome. DSG is fantastic.
As it is a VW and a diesel you can definitely count on annoying little things going wrong with the electric(AC went out, covered under warranty, O2 sensors died wayyy earlier than they should have etc). The one BIG issue I had was the High Pressure Fuel Pump exploding and destroying the fuel line. VW covered it as they know it's an issue.Hope I can get 200k out of it.
TDI . Torque. MPG. High quality interior for such a utilitarian machine. Recently thought of getting rid of it. Tried Honda,Mazda,Toyota etc but nothing made me excited enough to make a move. They all felt cheaper than the TDI.
Electrical needs improvement. Also the suspension is too doughy. I replaced mine with Eilbach/Bilstein at 75k and it rides like a dream.
Also this car works MUCH better when you switch to winter tires for snow time.
Do not buy this car or any VW-they refuse to stand by their product!
In 7/13 my AC completely quit.
VW said I needed a new AC compressor for $1700.
VW of America helped-cost brought down to $700.
AC worked until 5/14 where delayed/intermittent cooling started.
6/13 VW said AC had a leak.
Had diagnostic done today and told I need a new AC unit.
The AC compressor- new 7/13- is breaking down and sending debris thru system-cost to replace $2+K.
VW of A will not help to replace AC system because 93K miles on car even though new AC comp was put in 7/13..
Warranty on 7/13 work was 12 month/12K miles-17K put on car in 10 months no warranty.
Go read VW forums.
Diesel, interior design, gas milage, drives great.
VW needs to fix known problems with AC-defective AC compressors, refrigerant control valve (RCV), cooling fans.
VW also needs to redesign and use different AC compressors than Sanden.
Radios also defective-replaced 3x's in 2 years.
Drives great. Love the mileage. Functionality is outstanding. Carries three bikes on top, three young kids, lots of luggage. But, AC compressor replaced under warranty 14 months ago, and is out again. VW knows they have a problem with this and won't deal with it. Nearly entire fuel system replaced under warranty. Another problem VW is aware of, yet won't do a recall. Car has been in shop numerous times for fuel system and AC issues, particularly after 25,000 miles. Now has 59,000. Was hoping to get 200,000 or more with a diesel engine. Not looking good. First VW. May be my last if they don't replace this second AC compressor. Would consider VW again only if there is proof of improvement.
Very capable cargo hauler. Low end torque and low roof lines make carrying things on top easy, leaving all the rear cargo room for luggage. Fun to drive, with a sporty feel and surprising acceleration. Mileage is outstanding at 42-45 on hwy.
Back seat is very tight. Good for young kids like mine, but they don't have much longer before they can't fit. AC system is terrible. Been replaced once, and is out for a second time just over a year later. Fuel filters have all been replaced, one of them twice already. Some interior components are cheap, particularly internal compartment doors and hinges. Electronics, displays, controls are dated. New models do not seem to have much of an upgrade here either.
I opine that Volkswagen of America (VoA) does not stand behind their warranty process. I brought my 2010 JettaWagen TDI to a VW dealer for sunroof problems, during the warranty period. It was serviced, but the problems with intermittent failure to open/close continued. Subsequently the sunroof failed, of course out of warranty now. It cost me almost $2,000 to repair. When I contacted VoA today, they denied my warranty claim. Buyer beware - if you have intermittent problems during the warranty process, you may be stuck paying for the repair later, even though you brought it to VoA''s attention. This is not right. I gave VoA multiple chances to address this issue, but they have refused.