In the beginning of 2003 my husband wanted to replace his old VW Quantum. He'd had some VW Bugs previously and wanted to get another Volkswagen, so we headed to our local dealer and ended up buying a 2002 Jetta.
We were lucky, the car we bought was a service loaner car but it was still considered new and had just 5000 miles on it. We got a nice discount since it was last year's model, but we still got the full new car warranty. We got a GLS model and paid a little under $17k.
I like the inside of the Jetta. It is very comfortable to sit in, and there is a decent amount of leg room in the back. Our son's car seat fit in just fine with the latch system it has. And it is a four door sedan which makes it great for our family. The driver's seat is adjustable in height and distance and the steering wheel is adjustable too. The cruise control, turn indicators, and wipers are on stalks from the steering wheel. The headlights are controlled on a switch on the dash behind the steering wheel, but the brights are also controlled on the stalks.
It is easy to reach the radio and air controls from the driver's seat. And the really neat thing about all the dash controls is that when the headlights are turned on (not the daytime running headlamps) most items on the dash have a blue light to brighten them up. Red lights highlight the door locks, windows, and radio controls too. It looks really impressive and cool.
The outside of the car isn't too shabby either. This model year is slightly less boxy than early years, and it looks sleek and stylish while maintaining a cute look. The shocks have been good too. It is a smooth ride in this car.
The diesel engine model was decided on by us because of the better gas mileage. We get about 38 mpg and although diesel is sometimes more expensive, it was still a cost savings over my car, a 1998 civic
, at the time. The engine is louder than regular car engines and slightly smellier, but it runs well, with no problems at all so far. In the cold it takes just a little bit for the coils to heat up (which are required for diesel engines) and it does have a little light that turns off when it's ready for you to fully start/turn on the ignition key.
As far as power, it has a lot. TDI stands for Turbo Direct Injection and it has good get up and go after waiting at a stoplight. We have an automatic and I am not sure what the 0-60 times are, but we've never felt like it didn't speed up fast enough to be safe and have never had any problems maintaining speeds over 70 mph on the freeways. Also the car has a lot of weight to it and a good center of gravity. It takes corners well.
So if it is a smooth ride and a nice looking car with good gas mileage what's the lower rating for? Well this car has just had problem after problem. First there was a recall on the power windows. Then there was a recall on the brake lights not working. We had to bring the car in twice for this actually because it seemed to be a problem again about a year after the first time. We had the cup holder break within 6 months. (And this is a design flaw because when the cup holder is in use it blocks the air vents for a/c or heat). Most recently the brake problem made it so we couldn't drive because the car has to recognize that the brake had been pressed down. Which meant my husband had to jiggle wires to get it to start. And currently the trunk lock is broker. The car will still alarm itself but there is nothing preventing someone from just opening the trunk anyways. I think the fact that our brake lights didn't turn on when we were braking is a safety issues, but the others have been minor. But they are still annoying.
I am glad our warranty covered most of the initial work we had done on the car, but sort of dread future problems. We have been using biodiesel when we can and maybe one day we will make own own biodiesel. Besides the problems listed they are just been your regular maintenance, oil changes, wipers, new tires, most recently a new battery.
Like all German cars, the auto work seems to be more expensive than American and Asian cars. Because it is a diesel it is even more expensive because with each oil change you need to change a water filter and a few other things. An oil change costs $60, no $12.95 coupons for us.
My husband still likes his car, but I've finally convinced him that we should not buy another VW in the future. I can't recommend this car.
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