Used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan

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1996 Volkswagen Jetta
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Edmunds' Expert Review

vehicle overview

Volkswagen's sedan version of the Golf, the Jetta, has always been one of our favorite sedans. Like most cars conceived in Germany, the Jetta has an uncanny ability to keep the driver in touch with every undulation and irregularity in the road without sacrificing comfort. It has a cavernous interior, logically laid-out controls and displays, and zippy performance.

GL, GLS, Trek, and Wolfsburg Edition Jettas offer enough oomph to keep most drivers satisfied, when equipped with a five-speed transmission. The optional automatic saps what little power the Jetta has to offer, and we don't recommend it. Most drivers who want a Jetta will be of the persuasion that eschews the autobox in favor of rowing their own gears anyway because, let's face it, why buy a VW if you don't enjoy driving?

Driving enjoyment is what the top-of-the-line GLX is all about. Sporting a powerful and compact V6 engine, thick alloy wheels, and newly lowered sport suspension, the GLX is a poor man's BMW 325i. If you have a need for speed, this is the Jetta to buy.

This year, Jettas get a sharp new grille, smoother automatic transmission, and a new Bose stereo system is available. Three new colors are available for 1996. A Turbo Direct Injection (TDI) arrived in showrooms mid-year. Volkswagen claims this car will change the way you think of diesels, touting how quick, quiet and clean it is. We don't think Americans will be interested.

Regular Jettas are a blast once they're moving. Sharp steering response, a taut chassis, and a superb driving position combine to make you forget about the wimpy 2.0-liter, 115-horsepower engine under the hood.

Reliability has been a problem with Volkswagens in the past. However, a new 10 year/100,000 mile warranty backs up the powertrain, and free roadside assistance is provided for the first two years of ownership.

Not that you couldn't afford to fix it once in a while. The uplevel GLS, loaded with antilock brakes, sunroof, CD changer, and a fun-robbing automatic transmission, doesn't crack the $20,000 barrier. Prices like these make the Jetta very competitive with the Chrysler Cirrus, Toyota Camry, and Honda Accord. The GLX undercuts premium German sedans by thousands of dollars, without sacrificing performance, features or that Teutonic feel. Sign us up.

1996 Highlights

A new three-bar grille is added up front. GLX models get a firmer front suspension and new "Bugatti" style wheels. New colors sum up the changes.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 1996 Volkswagen Jetta.

Overall Consumer Rating

Most helpful consumer reviews

The best I've had
SHIREEN,04/07/2009
I bought this car used with 98,000 miles on it. I had the timing belt replaced when I bought it. It was an oil leaker when I got it but had the valve cover gasket and new oil filler cap put on it. NO oil leaks or burning. I've owned Toyota and Nissan and Honda, but I love this car. It runs great and handles well. The mileage I'm not too sure of, but it passes smog with flying colors, and I live in california. The Germans built a car you can't lock your keys in. You must lock it from the outside with the key. Brilliant!! If you can find a good price on a 1996 jetta, buy it.
Everyone should buy a Jetta
I LOVE MY JEttA,05/29/2002
I bought my 1996 Volkswagen Jetta GLX/VR6 in February 2001. It was 5 years old with 46,000 miles. I have had it for one year and I have had no problems with it. There are 60,000 miles on it and I plan to drive another 60,000.
Jettas handle well
Geoffrey,10/18/2010
I have put approximately 97,000 miles on this car, and the major complaint I have is having the clutch replaced three times in the six years I have owned the car. I have used aftermarket parts, so perhaps that is why the clutch has been replaced. The Jettas don't have the ugly and bland styling of Japanese cars, but I would say they are not quite as reliable, although parts (after market) are as cheap. The gas milage is great, it starts even on the coldest of MN winters. I keep it well maintained, and use synthetic motor oil. If you go to a regular parts store, and not a dealer, the parts are not that expensive. The ignition coil, for example, was $60.00 at Napa.
great car!!!!!
Mark,11/27/2010
I bought this car approx 10 years ago. Over the years, overall has been a fantastic car for me. I am able to do all work myslef, ample space in engine compartment to do work, has only been towed 1 time. I have replaced water pump, timing belt, and misc items, but nothing too huge. This car has 260,000 miles on it and still going strong. I would buy another one.
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Features & Specs

MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 5400 rpm
MPG
17 city / 24 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
172 hp @ 5800 rpm
MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 5400 rpm
MPG
20 city / 28 hwy
Seats 0
5-speed manual
Gas
115 hp @ 5400 rpm
See all Used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver3 / 5
    Passenger3 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    RolloverNot Rated
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Marginal

More about the 1996 Volkswagen Jetta
Used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Overview

The Used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan is offered in the following styles: City 4dr Sedan, GLX VR6 4dr Sedan, Trek Limited Edition 4dr Sedan, GLS 4dr Sedan, Wolfsburg 4dr Sedan, GL 4dr Sedan, and TDi 4dr Sedan.

What's a good price on a Used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedans are available in my area?

Used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan Listings and Inventory

Simply research the type of used car you're interested in and then select a prew-owned vehicle from our massive database to find cheap used cars for sale near you. Once you have identified a used or CPO vehicle you're interested in, check the Carfax and Autocheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan.

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Sedan for sale near you.

Can't find a used 1996 Volkswagen Jetta Jetta Sedan you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 9 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $25,498.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 11 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $22,390.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Jetta for sale - 6 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $14,539.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 9 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $20,381.

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Should I lease or buy a 1996 Volkswagen Jetta?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Jetta lease specials