2001 Volkswagen Jetta Consumer Review: Be wary of VR6 w/ auto trans

2001 Volkswagen Jetta - Consumer Review

Average Consumer Rating

397 Total Reviews

GLS VR6 Sedan (2.8L V6 5-speed Manual)

Build Quality
Reliability Value
Be wary of VR6 w/ auto trans
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2001 Volkswagen Jetta GLS VR6 4dr Sedan (2.8L 6cyl 5M)


Bought a used 2001 Jetta VR6 automatic to replace a 2001 Beetle 1.8T 5-Speed. This was the 8th VW I've owned (several GTIs, Sciroccos, a Karmann Ghia) but the first VR6, the first 4-speed automatic and the first with unexpected issues. Electrical gremlins made themselves known within the first 1000 miles we put on the car. First, it would occasionally refuse to start unless you reseated the battery-box fuses. Then the sunroof began opening spontaneously. The dealership wasn't able to sort the electrical problems, so I took it to my usual private VW expert. He rolled his eyes and said that VR6 automatics are notoriously problematic (though he had praise for the 2.0 and 1.8T manuals).

Best Features

Impressive performance (almost equals my GTI 337) and excellent long drive comfort. Build quality was good; not as good as a German or Brazilian VW, but good for a Mexican VW.

Worst Features

The electrical system seems to have been the major downfall. Hopefully the MKVs (and forthcoming MKVIs) have this sorted. Fuel economy could be better, but for a heavy VR6 I didn't expect much. VR6 timing chains can be expensive to replace (fortunately, I never had to) and the auto trans is slushy.
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