In 1996, I traded my '85 Jetta ( which was still running well) for the 1995 Jetta that I am still driving. It now has 188,000 miles and performs like new. I NEVER had a problem with either car. My '95 still gets 32 mpg on the road and about 25 mpg in town. I always kept up their routine maintenance and replaced a few parts due to normal wear. Such a dependable car, lots of power, fun to drive, handles like a dream, and a champ on winter roads and snow. No intention of trading this car in - ever. Have had second cars over the years, but none equaled the Jetta... including the Mercedes E-400.
First of all I'll start off by saying this is my 3rd VW, having owned a 2004 Jetta and a 2000 GTi Vr6, and it is still my favorite by far. If you are into the Euro car modding scene this is a great platform. It has timeless styling, great potential, and from a Automotive Technician's standpoint faily simple to work on especially for a VW.
I couldn't pinpoint a specific feature. The car overall is a very solid car. Great for a first car or a tuning veteran.
The only problems I've had (which I was aware of when I purchased it) were putting a new heater core in, new CV axles, and some cosmetic work. All that can be expected from a car with such miles as mine has.
Live in LA, bought w/110K on it for $3K. Now, 1-1/2year later, it has 120k. Had a 528i at the time of purchase, but Jetta is a lot easier to park along the curb. Handling is very nice ("poor man's bimmer"), although I miss the RWD. Turns on a dime. The acceleration is good enough to leave 90% of cars behind from a stop (just keep RPM around 3-4k). It lacks in creature comforts (no CC, leather, glove box, power seats or windows) and it has rattles, noisy on the freeway. However, the lack of power features makes it VERY dependable (with routine maintenance). Sold my bimmer b/c of electrical issues, but Jetta GL is so reliable I'm afraid to buy another car! A great deal for the money!
Turning radius, fuel economy, acceleration, reliability. It sure beats 95 civics and corollas for interior quality, peppiness and road feel! And for the price, the only better bargain is 95 525i, if you don't mind the added dimensions.
Freeway noise levels, acceleration. Glove box. Trunk is large but I wish they made a wagon in 95. Sadly, will probably sell it soon for a nice turbo wagon.
This is a fun car to drive, but expensive to repair. I bought it from a friend who bought it new; it sat through a New England winter without being driven & took a real beating from it! I now live on the West Coast, & feel that because of the expensive repairs (over 3K on new clutch, timing wheel & belt, ball bearings, rotors, brake pads, muffler, fuel line, air filter) this would be a better car to buy on the West Coast. Be sure to take ANY Volkswagen/Audi to a mechanic who specializes in German cars. Being familiar with only Japanese & American cars, some egotistical mechanics made matters worse for me by messing with the electrical wiring.
speaker system has held up well, still good gas mileage (average 28 mpg), very solid & "safe feeling"
The interior design is awkward- especially the cup holder; this has since been improved in the Jetta.