1994 Volkswagen Jetta

Change Vehicle
Not Yet Rated Write a Review
1994 Volkswagen Jetta
Available in 5 styles:  Jetta 4dr Sedan shown
Asking Price Range
Estimated MPG

18–23 city / 25–31 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 1 of 3
1994 Volkswagen Jetta 0.0 0
$ 641-1,025
April 22, 1994
I WENT TO lunch and never came back. The day was too beautiful, the road too inviting; besides, I get paid to drive.

The car was the 1994 Volkswagen Jetta III GLS sedan, a not-terribly swift thing. No matter, I wasn't rushing. Along Skyline Drive in Virginia's Blue Ridge, the brilliance of spring could lift the most trodden spirits. At least, I thought so; the Jetta III GLS seemed to have other ideas.

The car was a bit wheezy in the heights. I assumed it had a pollen allergy. But actually, the Jetta III's Bosch Motronic engine management system was just trying to do its thing. It uses a microcomputer to monitor stuff such as altitude and temperature in a bid to increase fuel economy and reduce tailpipe emissions. Vehicle performance suffers a tad in the process. But, what the heck -- a drive along the Blue Ridge Skyline would be meaningless if there were no trees.

Background: Maybe Volkswagen won't disappear from the U.S. market after all. For a while, I had my doubts. The company seemed to be working overtime on perfecting managerial incompetence -- misjudging the market; shutting down its manufacturing facility in Westmoreland, Pa., just when most of the world's major car makers began putting plants in the United States; and then, last year, introducing the 1993 Jetta III so late on the East Coast that people here thought it was a 1994 model.

But now that the 1994 models are out, it's easy to see the difference. For example, the new car generally is done right. Those dumb automatic front-shoulder harnesses are gone. Sensible three-point, manually latching belts are in their place, along with standard dual-front air bags. Side-impact crash protection has been bolstered in the 1994 model, and more structural supports have been placed under the dashboard to better control the force of destructive energy in a front-end crash.

The new Jetta is bigger and prettier than the old boxier-than-thou models (dating to 1980), with more volume in the front cabin, more front headroom and more rear legroom.

The Jetta III comes three ways: base GL, the tested upscale GLS and the hot-rod GLX. Both the GL and GLS are equipped with standard two-liter, in-line four-cylinder engines rated 115 horsepower at 5,400 rpm. Maximum torque is 122 foot-pounds at 3,200 rpm. The GLX comes with Volkswagen's now-famous VR6 engine, rated 172 horsepower at 5,800 rpm with a maximum torque of 177 foot-pounds at 4,200 rpm.

A five-speed manual transmission is standard in all three models. A four-speed automatic is optional. Power front discs/rear drums serve as standard brakes on the GL and GLS. Anti-locks are optional on those models. Power four-wheel-disc, anti-lock brakes are standard on the GLX.

Complaints: Wheezy high-altitude performance was the biggest irritation. Also, there was no glove box in the model I drove. Other makers have been able to put in a passenger air bag without removing the gl ove box.

Praise: The front-wheel-drive, five-passenger Jetta III GLS is an overall excellent automobile -- strong, competent, practical, reliable and generally well-designed.

Head-turning quotient: An attractive work of rounded edges, Teutonic dignity without the arrogance.

Ride, acceleration and handling: Triple aces in the lowlands; acceleration demerits in the highlands. Braking was very good. The test car had standard five-speed manual transmission and optional anti-lock brakes.

Mileage: About 27 miles per gallon (14.5-gallon tank, estimated 379-mile range on usable volume of regular unleaded), running mostly highway and Skyline Drive.

Sound system: Volkswagen "Premium" system of eight-speaker, AM/FM stereo radio and cassette. Very good.

Price: Base price on the Jetta III GLS is $15,700. Dealer invoice on the base model is $14,251. Price as tested is $17,440, including $775 for anti-lock brakes, $575 for a power sunroof and a $390 dest nation charge.

Purse-strings note: A highly likable compact car surrounded by numerous competitors, such as the Oldsmobile Achieva, Mitsubishi Galant, Chrysler Stratus and Cirrus, Ford Contour and Mystique, the Toyota Camry.

    Expert Reviews 1 of 3

Featured Services for this Volkswagen Jetta

  • Sell your current car quickly and easily on Cars.com.
  • Not sure what auto repair should cost you? Use our price estimator.
  • Get help with car repair now on Cars.com. Visit Repair & Care

Search Inventory Near You

Calculate Monthly Payment

What will my monthly cost be?

Check Payment

Calculate Affordable Price

What is the most I can afford?

Check Price

More Calculators

Compare finance offers to decide what's right for you.

Certain specifications, prices and equipment data have been provided under license from Chrome Data Solutions ("Chrome Data"). ©2013 Chrome Data Solutions, LP. All Rights Reserved. This information is supplied for personal use only and may not be used for any commercial purpose whatsoever without the express written consent of Chrome Data. Chrome Data makes no guarantee or warranty, either expressed or implied, including without limitation any warranty of merchantability or fitness for particular purpose, with respect to the data presented here. All specifications, prices and equipment are subject to change without notice.