tjthom New Reader
Nov. 21, 2009 8:50 a.m.

My son is thinking later model Jetta for his next car.

Miata, Honda, I can help...but when it comes to VW I got nothing....

What should the young man be on the lookout for?

Travis_K Dork
Nov. 21, 2009 2:56 p.m.
tjthom wrote: What should the young man be on the lookout for?
 Something other than an Mk4 Jetta?  Most people i know of dont like them much.  I know the automatics should be avoided, and if they are anything like the Mk3, the 2.0 5 speeds usually need a clutch becasue the leaky valve cover gasket has filled it with oil.
vwturbo New Reader
Nov. 21, 2009 6:55 p.m.

What is he looking at? The mk4 (1999.5 - 2006) or the mk5 (2006-onward)? They are two totally different animals. If he's looking for a vehicle to have fun with I'd avoid the mk5 Jetta and go straight for the mk5 Golf/Rabbit. Same power, but much less weight. Both are a significant advancement over the mk4s. Lots of variables at play here... what are his reasons for one? I've had experience with every generation between mk2 - mk5. No experience with automatics, but I avoid them like the plague.

1966stang New Reader
Nov. 21, 2009 7:35 p.m.

+1 on avoiding the VW automatics. I would try to find a low miles TDI with a good maint. record.

Or get a Golf, as someone else said.


ditchdigger Reader
Nov. 21, 2009 10:14 p.m.

I agree that the Mk5 rabbit/golf is a different animal than the Jetta. My wife just HAD to have the new rabbit when it came out and the dealership didnt have a 5spd one in stock so they brought one in from a couple of hundred miles away. During the wait they gave us a Jetta and after driving it I was simply terrified about what we had done. Rear visibility was dodge intrepid level of awfulness. It was just heavy and slow and insipid. The next day when the 4dr rabbit showed up I was delighted in that it...compared to the Jetta was fun to drive and almost "lively". A bit later I had to drive a friends 2dr rabbit and was blown away by how much lighter and more nimble it felt than ours.

I did end up trading the 2006 MK5 rabbit in on a 2001 GTI less than a year and 17k miles later because the rabbit got terrible milage (about 15mpg city), the interior didnt hold up (polyester that pilled up like an old blanket) it ate front tires in less than 12K miles with my wife driving it gingerly, and the 2.5 liter 150hp motor revved like a diesel. We have not regretted the decision.

Travis_K Dork
Nov. 22, 2009 3:57 a.m.

Unless the new ones are terrible (I have only heard good things, but no personal experience), it would be better to pay $23k for a brand new tdi than 18k for a 100k miles mk4 TDI imo.

curtis73 HalfDork
Nov. 22, 2009 12:45 p.m.

I personally wouldn't own anything past an A2. Our shop would go broke if it weren't for 98-2008 VWs.

tjthom New Reader
Nov. 22, 2009 8:11 p.m.

Shared the posts with my son.

Thanks! He really appreciates your experience and opinion.

He's going to give it quite a bit more thought! And think more about the Honda.

Best board there is!

1966stang New Reader
Nov. 22, 2009 8:52 p.m.
Travis_K wrote: Unless the new ones are terrible (I have only heard good things, but no personal experience), it would be better to pay $23k for a brand new tdi than 18k for a 100k miles mk4 TDI imo.

To me the only "newer" VW's worth owning are the MK 5 and MK 6 GTI's and the TDI's.

The 5 cyl is nothing to write home about...

And yes, I would probably buy new for a TDI.


ditchdigger Reader
Nov. 22, 2009 10:57 p.m.

I forgot to add my biggest pet peeve about the 2.5 motor. It does not decellerate. You lift your foot off the throttle at 55mph and the car just coasts, no compression braking whatsoever it just sails along as if you had depressed the clutch. I found this baffling. In 3rd gear if you take your foot off the gas at 40mph it will coast until it eventually slows to 20mph when it will suddenly and quite harshly decide to engine brake hard enough to make your head bounce off the steering wheel.

The VW techs I know say that it is by design and they cannot change it

vwturbo New Reader
Nov. 22, 2009 11:32 p.m.
ditchdigger wrote: I forgot to add my biggest pet peeve about the 2.5 motor. It does not decellerate.

I've also noticed that the revs hang a bit on upshifts on the 2.5. It's possible that a chip might rectify it... dunno. I like the mk5 Jetta, but only as a highway car. It's why I've stuck with the mk3 Jetta (and the fact that they're really easy to work on with great parts interchangeability). However, the trick with older veedubs is finding one with little to no rust.

If you're interested in a TDI, buy a new one... I find that prices of used ones are inflated. An extra 4k for an additional 80-100k trouble-free miles is worth it.

Much like VW's, I prefer pre-2000 Civics and Integras for both their simplicity and their independent suspension (especially the double-a-arm, non-MacPherson setup up front).

curtis73 HalfDork
Nov. 23, 2009 12:09 a.m.

Just be prepared... VW did an excellent job of designing everything under the hood to be VW-only territory. All of the hoses use proprietary mounting that can't be bypassed with bulk hoses. They start failing at 60k, and they are insanely expensive. One of the first to go on the 2.8 V6 is the PCV hose. It is a very complex molded piece of corrugated plastic tubing that costs $180 wholesale. The other thing that always goes bad on VWs is the secondary air injection hoses. There is a particular set of three hoses in a special harness that go for $78 wholesale, and it includes a tiny piece of plastic, 3" of steel line, and 9" of molded rubber hose.... and they can't be ordered separately.

They did an incredible job of making all of the hoses different sizes at each end and each junction, so replacing these brittle pathetic pieces can't really be done at home depot or Auto Zone. It really requires using VW parts.

Couple that with squeaky, plastic interiors that smell like crayons, interior finishes that turn gummy and scrape off, and suspension bushings that are complex and cast integral with the control arms (more VW price gouging), and you won't see me own one.

Don't even get me started on $1500 ABS modules that fail religiously, or instrument clusters that die at 50k. How about upholstery that peels off the armrest at 70k, head gaskets on 1.8T and 2.0L engines all the time. How about timing belt changes listed at 5.8 hours compared to most other japanese engines being listed between 2.7 and 3.8 hours. For cripes sake, there are DOHC V6s out there with four cams, four idler pulleys, and two tensioners that require less time to change than a 1.8T with two idlers, one tensioner, and a single cam.

Not to mention, an aftermarket stereo installed properly in a 96-up VW can render it un-smoggable. The factory radio diagnostics default the low-voltage VAG lead to the diag port to 12v. That makes communication with the ECM impossible.

If it sounds like I'm trying to talk him out of a VW, I am. If you want the crayon-smelling joy of owning a squeaky car that looks nice and are willing to pay 4-5 times as much for maintenance and repairs, by all means... get a VW.

Travis_K Dork
Nov. 23, 2009 1:23 a.m.

I think a large number of vw owners fall into one of two groups. Either femals who buy them becasue they are cute, and trade them in when things start to go wrong, or people who buy them becasue would rather walk than drive anything else.

You'll need to log in to post.

Also on Grassroots Motorsports

Mark Your Calendars: August 18 Is Wear Your Helmet to Work Day

9 hours ago in News

Wear your racing gear to work and win prizes.

Your Projects: Wide-Body, V8-Powered Porsche 944

10 hours ago in News

Wing, flares, V8 swap and more!

You Need This: A Real 1LE Camaro

10 hours ago in News

Chevy only built 62 1LE Camaros that year.

We're Back In Monterey for Car Week

20 hours ago in News

And so it begins, another trip to Monterey Car Week.

Little Car Show: Celebrating All Things Quirky and Small

1 day ago in Articles

As the name suggests, the Little Car Show is all about little cars.

Concours d’Lemons to Ruin Monterey Car Week Yet Again

1 day ago in News

What started as the anti-concours has transformed into a major event on the Monterey Car Week schedule.

You Need This: A Quite Eye-Catching Green Over Red Ferrari

1 day ago in News

Not your usual Ferrari color combo.

Your Projects: JDM Autozam AZ-1 Kei Car

1 day ago in News

What are the realities of importing a JDM kei car to the U.S.?

Bid on a New Helmet and Save Some Puppies and Kittens!

1 day ago in News

Four helmets will be auctioned off.

Tonight on Grassroots Motorsports LIVE! Lee Grimes of Koni Shocks

2 days ago in News

This may shock you, but suspension is arguably the most important part of going fast.

Classic Motorsports Monterey Welcome Party Welcomes 2000-Plus Gearheads

2 days ago in Articles

Last night we threw a party, and more than 2000 people came to celebrate.

You Need This: E46-Chassis BMW M3 for $6000!?

3 days ago in News

Could this M3 donate its heart to your next project?


Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More