Used 2001 Volkswagen Jetta Review

While the Jetta isn't quite the bargain it used to be, its sleek looks, spirited demeanor and quality interior materials make it one of our top recommendations to small sedan and wagon buyers.

what's new

For 2001, improved cloth and velour interior materials come standard in the GL and GLS trim. Side curtain airbags that offer head protection for front and rear passengers are introduced this year, and steering wheel controls for the audio and cruise systems are available on GLS/GLX trim models. Optional 17-inch wheels and a sport suspension can be had on GLX models and GLS models with the 1.8T or VR6 engine. The Wolfsburg Edition returns as a limited-edition model in early 2001 -- standard features include sport suspension, bolstered sport seats and 16-inch BBS wheels. All models get redesigned cupholders and a trunk entrapment release button. A wagon arrives in the spring of 2001.

vehicle overview

The Jetta, Volkswagen's sedan version of the Golf, has always been one of our favorites. Like many cars conceived in Germany, the Jetta possesses an uncanny ability to keep the driver in touch with every undulation and irregularity on the road without sacrificing comfort. For 2001, the fourth-generation of VW's best-selling Jetta sedans will see only minor equipment changes. The wagons, however, offer a new way to enjoy the Jetta.

Jetta sedans are available in GL, GLS and GLX trim, while wagons are either GLS or GLX. GL and GLS models come with a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 115 horsepower and makes 122 foot-pounds of torque at 2,600 rpm for decent off-the-line acceleration. Standard features on the GL sedan include side airbags, a cassette stereo and ABS. GLS models offer more standard goodies like cruise control, power windows and mirrors, and a center armrest.

A turbocharged direct injection (TDI) diesel engine is optional on the GL and GLS sedans. When mated to a manual transmission, the TDI will achieve approximately 49 mpg. A gas-powered, turbocharged 1.8-liter engine, sourced from Audi and good for 150 horsepower, is also available for GLS sedans and wagons and imbues them with a spirited ride. We feel the 1.8T is the powerplant to get if you're shopping for either the sedan or the wagon. Wagon buyers will have to wait until the summer of 2001, though.

Optional on all GLS models and standard on the top-of-the-line GLX is a buttery-smooth 174-horsepower VR6 engine. GLX also provides nifty equipment like rain-sensor wipers, automatic climate control, leather seats, self-dimming rearview mirrors and wood trim.

For 2001, all Jettas get a side curtain protection system that provides head airbags for front and rear passengers. GLS and GLX models can now be had with multi-function steering wheel controls and 17-inch wheels. A new-for-2001 sport suspension is available for GLX models and GLS models with the 1.8T or VR6 engine.

Volkswagen will send 20,000 Wolfsburg Edition Jetta sedans to the United States in 2001. Besides their sporty suspension, seats and wheels, these models come with the 1.8T powerplant; a leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and brake handle; and Wolfsburg Edition exterior badging.

The Jetta's exterior is sleek and curvaceous; built with high-tech bonding agents and laser-welding techniques, the Jetta is structurally rigid, which makes for crisp handling and a solid feel. The Jetta has always been a driver's car, providing an enjoyable experience despite a simple MacPherson-strut front suspension and a torsion-beam rear axle. Accented by stabilizer bars and four-wheel disc brakes with ABS, Jetta's underpinnings provide decent handling and braking qualities.

Due to its popularity and subsequent price increases, the Jetta is not quite the bargain it used to be. Still, Volkswagen's bread-and-butter sedan offers upscale interior components, and the top-level GLX model feels downright luxurious. And the wagon, with its additional cargo space, arrives just in time for the sport wagon movement. If cost is not your primary concern in selecting a compact sedan or wagon, you should give the Jetta a look.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.