I have owned 2 Jettas 1999 and a 1995. One Got into an accident and had a little over 175,000 miles and the other is still running till this day at 206,000. Jettas are great reliable cars. If somone has a complaint about jetta's they either got the very few bad ones out of the bunch or the previous owner just mistreated it before it came to you. My aunt has one that is over 250,000 miles and running. If these cars are well maintained they run like champs for a very very long time.
I totaled my Jetta in a head on collision with a guard rail after a tire blew, and walked away with minor bruises. I then turned around and bought the same exact car. People can say what they will about cup holders breaking and plastic peeling, but I say quit complaining. You either are a VW person or your not, and I am 100%. I had to replace my battery, timing belt @ 120,000k (which was a choice to avoid problems), brakes, and my battery, but these are all things that should be fixed on any vehicle with over 100,000 miles. I am a VW believer all the way.
I love my Jetta vr6 2.8 liter it's fast I'm going to be adding a turbo to it the only thing about it is that I do not like about the car was replacing parts that expensive hard to find for the vr6 otherwise the car is great to drive looks nice on the road with all the fences stuff that I put on it hard to find the right suspension system to lower my car now I gotta replace the clutch after 182000 miles on the car but the cars been great to me never had major problems so now is time to give her stage 1 racing clutch and a full air suspension ride behandle bility and replace my 17 inch low profile rims and tires for 18 inch low profile rims and tires my wife hates the car because I love my car more than I love her Thank You Volkswagen I wish you made another vr6 in the newer model with the sunroof I would buy it in a heartbeat but now I will not give up this car no matter what even for new one even if you gave it to me for free I still would not trade it in for seems to me every time I go by the dealership somebody's always offering money to buy my vr6 they said it's hard to find and very rare in this condition special all the things I've added to the car to make sure dress up beautiful and fast it's hard to give up something that you built by hand
I just bought my 1999 VW Jetta, private sale, and it only had 97K on the vehicle. I reconditioned it this weekend and I honestly can't believe this car is 16 years old. It drove well on the ride around the block, so I just knew it had potential to be one of these cars that you hear about making it to 300K. So I have taken the maintenance schedule in stages, because I am not under any illusions that things won't need to be replaced, BUT it will still be cheaper than making a car payment and paying full coverage insurance and maintenance costs.
Although it had some issues, like needing the ignition system replaced (Around $400 DIY), I love this car. I've been getting good gas milage and adequate performance. Mine has just over 160,000 miles on it, though the previous owner mistreated it. If you don't want to do any DIY car repair, I would not recommend this car. Otherwise, go for it. I use mine to get to and from school every day along with the occasional road trip and have never had any reliability issues with it. If you do get one, get yourself a good service manual and a metric socket set. I have the GLX 2.8L VR6 engine with the five speed manual transmission.