Compact car; Built in Brazil, Germany, Mexico
  • 2-door hatchback
  • 4-door hatchback
  • 4-door sedan
  • 4-door wagon
  • transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive
Good condition price range: $1,800 – $10,500*


2000 Volkswagen Jetta GLS


2001 Volkswagen Jetta Wagon


1999 Volkswagen Jetta interior


2000 Volkswagen Golf GTI-VR6


2001 Volkswagen Jetta GLX

Pros:
  • Acceleration (V6)
  • Build quality
  • Cargo room (Golf)
  • Fuel economy (4-cyl, TDI)
  • Interior materials
  • Quietness
  • Ride/handling
  • Visibility
Cons:
  • Acceleration (4-cyl w/automatic transmission)
  • Automatic-transmission performance
  • Audio and climate controls
  • Rear-seat entry/exit (Golf)

Though priced at the top of the small-car class when new, even base models had plenty of features as well as solid build quality. No competitor offers a V6, and few provide as much driving satisfaction. Lately we’ve been somewhat dissatisfied with the reliability of these cars and as a result don’t recommend them to those on a tight budget.

Overview

As the 1999 model year opened, Volkswagen dealers continued to sell remaining Golf and Jetta models from the prior generation. Redesigned models emerged a couple of months later. As before, Golf models were hatchbacks while Jetta denoted the notchback design. Golf hatchbacks came in 4-door GL and GTI form, along with a 4-door GLS. Jetta 4-door sedans were offered in GL, GLS and GLX trim. Jettas consistently outsold their hatchback Golf counterparts.

GL and GLS models again got a 4-cylinder gasoline engine that produced 115 horsepower. A turbodiesel 4-cylinder went into GL TDI and GLS TDI versions. A 2.8-liter V6, rated at 174 horsepower, was available for the GTI and GLS, and standard in the Jetta GLX. Five-speed manual shift was standard, but all models except the Golf GTI GLX had the option of a four-speed automatic transmission.

Standard features included front side airbags, a tilt/telescopic steering column, 4-wheel disc antilock braking, and a remote central-locking/antitheft system.

Yearly Updates

2000 Golf/Jetta
All Golf and Jetta models gained an antitheft-coded ignition keys this year, and a dashboard light illuminated when brakes might need servicing. Newly standard on GLX models and optional on others was an 8-speaker Monsoon sound system. Dealers could now install an in-dash CD player.
2001 Golf/Jetta
Turbocharging was the big news for 2001. A new 1.8-liter turbo four, delivering 150 horsepower, became available for the GLS and was standard in the base GTI. Turbodiesel (TDI) engines were not sold in California or New York, due to their stringent emissions regulations. Volkswagen’s V6 was standard in the Golf GTI VR6 (manual shift only) and Jetta GLX.
A Jetta station wagon joined the sedan at midseason. Curtain-type side airbags became available, too. A new Sport Luxury option group for the Jetta GLX 1.8T and VR6 included a sport suspension and 17-inch tires. A firmer sport suspension also was newly optional for the Golf GLS 1.8T.
Steering-wheel audio controls now were available in certain models. The GTI VR6 and Jetta GLX gained leather upholstery, and all cupholders were revamped.
2002 Golf/Jetta
The 1.8-liter turbo 4 cyl had 180 hp, vs. 150 last year. That engine was found in the new Golf GTI 337, a limited-edition model that arrived midyear with 18-inch wheels and special interior and exterior trim. Also at midyear, the 2.8-liter V6 got a boost to 200 hp, and a new Jetta GLI replaced the Jetta GLS VR6. A 6-speed manual transmission and 5-speed automatic with manual shift gate replaced the 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic. An in-dash cassette/CD player became standard on all but GL models for ’02. And VW’s bumper-to-bumper warranty was now 4 years/50,000 mi. vs. 2/24,000. The powertrain warranty was 5/60,000 vs. 10/100,000.
2003 Golf/Jetta
Added midyear, the 20th Anniversary GTI had 18-inch wheels, sportier suspension tuning, and unique trim. Only 4000 were produced, all with manual transmission. Also added midyear were special-trim Wolfsburg Jettas. An antiskid system was now standard with the V6 engine, optional elsewhere. In other changes, GL models gained standard power windows, heated power mirrors, and cruise control; and GLS versions now included alloy wheels and a sunroof.
2004 Golf/Jetta
Added midyear is the high performance Golf R32, a 2-door hatchback with All-wheel drive, a 237-hp 3.2-liter V6 engine, 6-speed manual transmission, sport suspension, and unique trim. Other changes for the duo this year include minor exterior updates like new taillights and a restyled grille.
2005 Golf/Jetta
Volkswagen’s best-selling line mostly marks time for 2005, as redesigned models began arriving in spring 2005. Dropped for ’05 are Jetta’s GLI VR6 sedan and the limited-edition all-wheel-drive V6 Golf R32. A redesigned Jetta with larger dimensions became available midyear. VW says Jetta-based Golf and GTI hatchbacks will go on sale by mid 2006.

Engines

transverse front-engine/front- or all-wheel drive

Initially, the Golf GL, GLS and GTI GLS, and the Jetta GL/GLS, shared a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that developed 115 horsepower. A 2.8-liter V6, rated at 174 horsepower, went into V6 and GLX models. Volkswagen also offered a turbocharged diesel engine for its TDI models. Each engine was available with either a 5-speed manual transmission or a 4-speed automatic. In 2001, a turbocharged gasoline engine, rated at 150 horsepower, became available for for select GLS and GTI models. Horsepower for that turbo engine was upped from 150 to 180 in 2002. In mid-2002 the 2.8-liter V6 got a boost to 200 hp. A 6-speed manual transmission and 5-speed automatic with manual shift gate replaced the 5-speed manual and 4-speed automatic on the V6 as well. in 2004 VW sold a limited run of R32 models with a 3.2-liter V6 that made 237 horsepower. It was available only with a 6-speed manual.

ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 115
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 122
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
24/31
22/28
25.0

Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/109
Engine HP 150-180
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 155-174
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
24/31
22/28
22/29
26.1

ohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.8/170
Engine HP 174-200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 181-195
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
20/28
19/26
23.5
18.9
dohc V6
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 3.2/195
Engine HP 240
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 236
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual

19/26

18.0

Turbodiesel ohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.9/116
Engine HP 90
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 155
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
4-speed automatic
42/49
34/45
41.5

Road Test

Sporty road manners, a refined ride, and top-notch interiors lead the list of merits For VW’s economy cars. In all models, the ride is firm but comfortable, cornering stable, steering linear with fine on-center feel. GTI and V6 models handle best with only a modest sacrifice in ride comfort, though they suffer more body lean than expected. R32 ride can grow rough on bumpy roads, but handling is fantastic. Braking on all models is terrific.

With automatic, the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gas engine furnishes only modest acceleration and tepid passing response. Manual-shift models with the same engine are somewhat more sprightly, one Jetta GL took 10.8 seconds to reach 60 mph and 5-speed got a pleasing 25 mpg. V6 models have authoritative acceleration and spirited passing response, though the automatic transmission is reluctant to downshift at moderate speeds. A 5-speed GTI GLX did 0-60 in 7.6 seconds and averaged 23.5 mpg. Jettas with V6/automatic returned 18.9 to 21.6 mpg. The 1.8T turbo engine provides a nice balance between the two, accelerating from 0-60 mph in 8.9 seconds and averaging 26.1 mpg. TDI models are surprisingly sprightly around town and get terrific mileage. A 5-speed TDI Golf averaged 41.5 mpg. Finally, the rare R32 is a jackrabbit with great passing power, but managed only 18.5 mpg in our tests. Noise levels are among the lowest in the class. All engines are quiet, though the TDIs are somewhat noisier at high speeds.

Interior materials and workmanship excel. Front head and leg room are exceptional. Rear seats are more subcompact-snug. Modest leg room shrinks quickly as front seats move back, though Golfs feel more spacious, thanks to their straight-back roofline. No body style is wide enough for three adults. All seats are comfortably firm. Height-adjustable front buckets are supportive on long trips. Gauges and switches are simple, logically arranged, and nicely backlit. Low audio and climate controls are tricky to adjust while driving. Rear access in 2-door Golfs far surpasses most coupes. Narrow doors make rear entry/exit a squeeze in Jettas and 4-door Golfs. Jettas have large trunks, and all have folding rear seatbacks.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2000 Volkvwagen Jetta GLI VR6

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 6
60%
Ride Quality - 5
50%
Steering/Handling - 8
80%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 7
70%
Room/Comfort Front - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 6
60%

Other

Value - 4
40%

Total: 55

Specifications

2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.9 163.3 68.3 56.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
28.0 14.6 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.7 41.3 33.3
4-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.9 163.3 68.3 56.7
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
18.0 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.5 37.7 41.3 33.3
4-door sedan
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
98.9 172.3 68.3 56.9
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
13.0 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.7 37.2 41.3 33.3
4-door wagon
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.0 173.6 68.3 58.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
34.0 14.5 5
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
38.6 38.3 41.5 33.5
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: 1999 GTI 2-door hatchback

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - 5
100%
Front Passenger Injury - 5
100%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision 173
Injury 118
Theft 321

Trouble Spots

Clutch
Description: Due to the return spring falling out of position, the clutch pedal may not fully return and the cruise may not disengage. (1999)
Coolant leak
Description: Backfires due to faulty plugs dislodge the idle control damper from the rear of the VR6 engine causing rough, or no idle. (1999-04)
Engine noise
Description: Due to the throttle cable contacting the engine cover, the throttle pedal vibrates and there is a rapping noise under the hood. (1999-2000)
Hard starting
Description: Diesel engines may be hard to start or run poorly below in cold weather due to fuel clouding. VW recommends using Stanadyne One Shot during the winter. (2000-02)
Audio system
Description: The door speakers may rattle due to loose rivets or wiring harness contacting the speakers. Requires new fasteners and rerouting wires. (1999)
Rough idle
Description: Backfires due to faulty plugs dislodge the idle control damper from the rear of the VR6 engine causing rough, or no idle. (1999-04)
Vehicle noise
Description: A humming noise when cornering may be coming from the differential. Draining the automatic-transmission fluid and replacing it with synthetic may help. (1999)

Recall History

1999
Description: Sound-absorbing mat attached to inside of B-pillar side-trim panel could ignite when exposed to exhaust gas of seatbelt pretensioner, if it’s triggered during a crash.
1999 Jetta
Description: Some vehicles do not comply with head-injury criterion requirements.
1999 Jetta
Description: If the vehicle is driven with a rear flat tire, the fuel-tank filler neck can wear, causing a fuel leak and possible fire.
1999-00 Jetta
Description: The brake light switch on these vehicles may malfunction. Dealers will inspect and replace affected parts.
2000-01 Golf
Description: Front-suspension control arm could gradually loosen and ultimately separate from its bracket in normal driving.
2001-02
Description: ABS Electrical Control Unit can short circuit, causing a fire.
2004-05 Golf/diesel
Description: High-pressure diesel pump may contain an improper fastener, which could allow diesel fuel to escape.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.