This is a great car. It has very good
handling and performance. There’s lots
of power with the 1.8T Engine. Car’s
Interior is attractive. The adjustable
sports seats and leather steering wheel
and leather parking brake are a plus.
The overall quality is very good.
I have owned this 2003 VW Jetta, since 2006, bought w/23788 miles. It now has 196483 miles, still on its original clutch, its fifth set of tires. The first set went via burning rubber on launches for the first 20k of my ownership. If any portion of this car has a problem it would be caused by my abuse. I've only replaced the timing belt twice, and its still good as new. Interior is still as new except driver side entrance bolster. The engine has only gotten better and the transmission easier to shift. This car is miles of smiles for the dollar, and should be tops on your list. 31 mpg on long drives, 25-27.3 in town avg. Keep tire pressures all around at 4 lbs under max, for best handling!
Updated 4/12/16 car has 231600 miles, still on original clutch, and turbo. The mileage is now between 21 and 26 depending on how I drive, but no smoke, a bit of oil burning, interior looks fantastic except bolster on driver left side of seat. Best purchase ever, love this car, handles like a dream, best tire for this car is a Cintinauro P7 Pirelli, check the tire rack for proof. You'll be like where has this tire been all my life?! Just replaced the speed sensor, it corrected a stalling issue, poor mileage, and a lack of power, all with one part. Best 527.00 I've spent, first dealer experience, and certainly won't be the last. I am still in love with my Yetta Jetta, and as I initially said, I'll drive it up til it pops. When it does, you'll be the first to know.
First thing, I love my Jetta. Despite it's tiny 115hp, it is a blast to drive thanks to the manual transmission, great steering and fun ride. I have owned my Jetta for three years now, and have had very few issues. I live in Wisconsin, and this car surprised the hell out of my friends who had trucks and SUVs by its' performance in heavy snow and ice. For some reason, it is unstoppable in winter weather. I am also 6ft 1 and have plenty of head and legroom while driving. I am disappointed with the gas mileage, I usually average 26 mpg combined, but have gotten 31-32 mpg on long highway trips. The biggest downside with this powertrain is undoubtedly the engine. I frequently have difficulty passing or I have to downshift 2 gears to make it up a small hill. I wouldn't mind if the return was excellent mileage but the mileage as I mentioned is somewhat mediocre for a car of this size.
My only truly negative experience was an EPC censor that would put my car in limp mode. The censor randomly would go off when I would start it, and acceleration was limited and the car would max out at 50mph. I took it to several mechanics and a dealer and eventually found out that a botched repair from a previous owner was to blame. Just be careful with these cars though, as the electronics are really touchy and can be expensive to fix.
Other than that, I love my car and have had no other mechanical issues to speak of. I highly recommend this car as a cheap, fun to drive car that isn't as vanilla as a Ford, Chevy or Hyundai.
I purchased my 2003 1.8T Jetta 5-speed new. Aside from a new water pump at 60k miles (normal) and a faulty coil over arc this car is the best car I have ever owned. It is now 2011 and have 100k miles with original brake pads and original clutch and trans. The car runs beautifully.. It helps A LOT if you drive your car gently and DON'T "over tach" and screech your tires!
When it comes to having a good or bad car, it's a 50/50 thing. Just getting lucky and picking a good one combined with how you drive it and maintain it.
I highly recommend using synthetic oil. I have used Mobil 1 from day one and my motor doesn't burn a DROP of oil 100k miles later.
Love your car & it will love you back!!
Fun to drive. Too expensive to own! Breaks often, all unusual problems, always over $1K to repair. Engine design is terrible! Water pump broke at 32K miles/4yrs. 2/3 of transmission needed replaced at 100K from the plastic hydraulics reservoir bursting. Plastic parts throughout engine are designed to last <10 years. An engine fuse didn't burst when shorted causing a small engine fire. Plastic parts break when removing to get to broken parts. Metal fuel lines bolted over plastic coolant parts with no line flex make DIY very difficult. Most parts can only be obtained through dealers. Aftermarket parts cause check engine light to be constantly on, only solution is dealer parts @>2-3x cost. ETC. Worth of vehicle always less than repair costs.