Their long and diverse history means there is quite a bit for drivers considering a used Volkswagen Jetta to learn. During the course of its life, VW has updated the Jetta a number of times. As is typical, the Jetta has gotten a little bigger over the years. The first Jettas were rather spartan, (as with many German cars of the period they didn’t even have cup holders,) but the latest models include everything from traction control to satellite radio.
Here are 10 facts used Jetta shoppers may be interested to know:
Every Jetta sedan, regardless of engine or trim level is front-wheel drive. Additionally, many share a vast number of components with similarly equipped Golf models.
Generations are commonly divided with the Mark (or MK) distinction. The MK1 Jetta was introduced in Germany in 1979. The fifth (or MK5) generation was unveiled in 2005.
The Jetta was available as a two-door coupe (although in quite limited numbers) until the onset of the MK3 generation.
Gauge cluster problems are common with first and second generation cars, so odometer readings may not always be totally accurate. As of the MK3, all Jettas use a digital odometer, making readings much more trustworthy.
The MK3 was the first model to include standard daytime running lights. This practice has continued on to current models.
The Jetta wagon was originally introduced as part of the fourth generation. In 2007 an updated Jetta Sportwagen was released, but never sold in the US.
Non-turbo diesel engines were available in both the MK1 and MK2, but the popular TDI engine was not introduced until 1992 in the MK3. Older diesel powered models make excellent candidates for biodiesel conversions.
The differences between the MK3 Jetta TDI and the MK4 Jetta TDI are numerous. Buyers looking for a diesel should make a point to research each model separately.
Special editions have been produced in abundance. The GLI model is typically billed as having a sporty character, and is usually accompanied by alloy wheels and an upgraded interior. The Wolfsburg Edition is another sporty model produced with the enthusiast in mind.
Shoppers looking for a used VW Jetta should know that engine oil is quite important in any model equipped with a turbocharger (this includes TDI models). VW has created a list of approved oils to help alleviate sludge issues. If you find your car of interest has not lived its life with an approved oil, it may be wise to find another candidate.
Each generation Jetta has a very different feel. Buyers looking for a project car or a “toy” may want to spend some time figuring out which type they prefer. Those simply looking for a comfortable daily driver would probably enjoy one of the newer models, as they are a bit more refined. While this list simply provides some of the basics, it should add a little more clarity to the sometimes confusing world of used VW shopping.