1999 Volkswagen Jetta

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1999 Volkswagen Jetta
Available in 10 styles:  Jetta 4dr Sedan GL shown
Asking Price Range
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Estimated MPG

19–42 city / 26–49 hwy

Expert Reviews

    Expert Reviews 2 of 5
1999 Volkswagen Jetta 4.0 15
$ -
May 10, 1999

It's time for us to kiss and make up with Volkswagen - well, at least for Anita anyway.

We grumbled about the 1999 Golf in a recent review, but we actually thought the redesigned 1999 VW Jetta with the VR6 engine provided loads of fun in the compact market, and in some respects was more than a match for the competitors in its class.

VW relies on the Jetta for a good chunk of its U.S. sales. Now we know why after a couple of weeks in the GLS model, which carried a sticker price of $22,325.

She: I know you want to talk about what a screamer that V-6 engine is on the Jetta, but I want to reassure buyers who worry about safety in a car that is dwarfed by the Navigators and Suburbans of the world. VW has done what it can to make you feel better. Not just with simple stuff like daytime running lights that help other drivers see you, but they've also included standard side air bags on the Jetta and anti-lock brakes.

He: You're such a mom. Why don't you lighten up and admit that you enjoyed that 2.8-liter V-6 as much as I did?

She: What I enjoyed more was the styling. The fourth-generation Jetta has Golf roots, but I think it's a much more handsome car. It's not that ugly hatchback style. Most importantly, it looks different from the Escorts and Corollas of the world. I thought it looked more expensive than it actually was.

He: The Jetta came at just the right time of the year for me. We got socked by a couple of good snowstorms and I had a hefty dose of cabin fever. What a pleasure it was to take the VW out on the freeway and put the VR6 through its paces. It's got to be one of the most responsive engines in its class. It's a nice reward for buying a car that gets decent gas mileage and doesn't hog the road like some of the big boys.

She: While you were having fun curing your cabin fever, remember I was stuck in the back seat. I loved driving or riding in the front of the Jetta, especially because it has height-adjustable front seats and height-adjustable seat belts. But the back seat can be a bit punishing for an adult. By the way, it's adequate for two big people, but not three.

He: You remind me, I had problems not just with the size, but with the suspension and the sticker price. Even in the front seat, I felt constricted, especially bundled up in winter clothes and there's just not much room to move for a guy my size. As much as I like the engine, I was really annoyed that VW seems to have softened the suspension on the Jetta GLS, to the point where handling begins to deteriorate when you're driving this car at the limit. The bottom line for me is that I'd rather spend 22 grand on something larger, say, an Accord V-6. I mean, let's put things in perspective, you can get a very nicely equipped Taurus for several thousand bucks less than this car.

She: I'm tempted to ask when was the last time you got on the treadmill. I also wonder why you'd push a car to the limit. But I do agree wit h you on the value equation - if you'e strictly worried about dollars and cents, a well-equipped Chevrolet Malibu V-6 can be had for well under $20,000. But then you miss the cachet of owning a European sedan.

He: While we're on the subject of European sedans, I screwed up in our review of the Golf several weeks ago. It's built in Germany, not in Mexico. It's the Jetta that's built in Mexico, alongside the New Beetle. Sorry, Volkswagen.

She: I'm a little nervous. VW has a great 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty on the Jetta. But only a two-year/24,000 mile limited warranty on the rest of the car. That makes it harder for me to give the Jetta four stars.

He: Parts of the car, such as the VR6 engine are brilliant. But in my book, the rest of the Jetta is strictly middle of the road.

    Expert Reviews 2 of 5

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