After spending 10 years driving a Nissan Maxima, I bought a 2008 Volkswagen Jetta 2.5L 5-speed manual transmission.
It is Certified Pre-Owned (2 year / 24k), bought with 47k. I've put 20k on it in those 18 months. I'm trading it in very shortly. My Jetta is grey, SE package with the heated mirrors and seats.Exterior:
I generally like the exterior. However there is some kind of noise generating bit near the windscreen that makes a high pitch whistle that I notice sometimes. The paint is holding up well and nothing appears to be fading prematurely.
The heated mirrors option is a nice touch but I dislike that it must be turned on/off by a jog dial that means it's very easy to leave it on unnecessarily. A switch that defaults to "off" each time the car is started would solve that.Interior/Comfort:
The interior layout is quite sensible. The seats are of good quality and the seat heaters are terrific when it's cold outside. The seats do not fit me particularly well: they completely lack lumbar support. The driver's seat has that all-important bucket tilt that lets me support my longer legs well.
I regularly extend my trunk space by laying the rear seats flat. Simply pull a release handle at the top of each rear seat and the seat backs lay flat on the seat bottoms. The flat seat backs sit a couple inches higher than the rest of the trunk bottom but because the opening to the trunk is wide and relatively tall it's not an issue.
It is reassuring to know that the Jetta comes with 6 airbags, given how many massive vehicles are barrelling around out there on the roads.
I use the standard radio / CD player almost entirely in radio mode. It works, the sound is clear, there is plenty of volume if you want it, but I'm not the right person to discuss it's audiophilic qualities.
Not sure if this is interior but I like that I have a full-size spare tire in the trunk. It's not a donut. If you puncture a tire just change the tire and keep going. No limping down the highway or wondering if the donut will hold up. Bless the Germans for taking this need seriously - I wish it would be US law to require a full size spare.Drivetrain:
My Jetta is equipped with the 2.5L 5-cylinder engine. I would rate it as average, with reasonable power. It's downside is that fuel economy is limited to 30mpg, in fact after tracking every fill-up the overall economy is steadily at 26 miles per gallon. (EPA is 21 city / 29 highway). My driving is a mix of highway and country driving with very little city stop-and-go. So if you've looked up the "real world" fuel economy of this car on fueleconomy.gov, take the reported average of 32mpg with a great grain of salt if not raw disbelief. So overall for a compact car with ordinary power I believe the fuel economy is below average.
The 5 speed manual transmission works well and has given me no problems. I prefer shifting manually and this meets my desire.
This may be too picky, but I dislike that Volkswagen uses plastic caps to cover each lugnut. They break easily and require a special hook to pull off the lugnut.Reliability:
This is where the Jetta has disappointed. The first problem appeared when a large piece of plastic fell off the front passenger door. This is a piece of trim that covers the edge of the door and faces the B-pillar when the door is shut. In short, the plastic pop-clips that hold it in place were all cracked apart, and Volkswagen wanted $7.50/ea and it needs 8 of them. Even after the dealer discounted these pieces to their cost, I've never felt more ripped off than the day I paid $50 for those plastic clips that collectively weighed no more than their plastic bags. I'm sure those flimsy fasteners will to break again so this piece of trim remains in the trunk of my car waiting for the day I sell the car.
I also had a door lock actuator fail. The symptom was that the driver door occasionally wouldn't lock using the remote or electronic switch. It would lock using the key. The dealer replaced the actuator under warranty.
One of the heated mirrors has stopped working.
Lastly, the car started having major running trouble on my last drive home from work. The engine would cut out any time I revved over 2.5k under even light load. The dealer is working on the issue currently.
For a car with 67k on it, this level of issues is higher than it should be and the cost of repairs are much higher than it should be. I have been assured by other Volkswagen owners that it will only get worse and that by trading in now I am saving myself a lot of future heartache.Driveability:
I do like driving this car. While it's no sportscar, it is nimble and the suspension is responsive without being rough. In winter the limited slip front differential improves traction. Using winter snow tires I can get through anything that will pass under the car.
Amount Paid (US$):
2008Model and Options:
SE w/ 5speed manual transmission