European design and quality with Japanese affordability are just some of the benefits of purchasing a used Volkswagen Jetta. 2005 marked the debut of the 5th generation of the VW Jetta. Originally introduced in 1979, the Volkswagen Jetta was an instant success. Volkswagen delivered a European Sport sedan, akin to a BMW or Audi, at a very reasonable price. With the engine and suspension based on the VW Golf, Americans embraced its bigger brother and purchased it in large numbers.
The fact that it does sell in such high numbers is another reason that used Volkswagen Jetta is such a good buy. You can go out and get the right combination of options that you desire without much searching.
Each of the 5 generations of VW Jettas has its own benefits to purchase used. Here they are listed in order of desirability.
4th generation: The 4th of the five generations of the Volkswagen Jetta was the most popular. Manufactured for 10 years, from 1995 to 2005, it was also offered in a wagon version from 2001 to 2005 under the name Jetta Sportwagen.
Considered by many to be the best-looking of the Jettas, the 4th generation combined style with good performance and handling, which made it fun to drive. Material and build quality was vastly improved by VW compared to earlier generations, which suffered from poor-quality in the interior parts. It also had a minor styling and interior upgrade in 2004. Front seat-mounted side airbags were standard, and in 2001, full-length side curtain airbags were added. All of these features make the 4th generation the most desirable of used VW Jettas.
3rd generation: almost as popular as the 4th generation, a used 3rd generation Volkswagen Jetta is also an excellent acquisition. Sold from 1993 through 1999, dual front airbags were standard and ABS was a popular option. All Jetta models have responsive handling and the 3rd generation is no different. A 4-cylinder engine was standard, but the optional 2.8 L VR6 6-cylinder engine was popular and found in the GLX model if performance is what you are looking for.
5th Generation: The current generation VW Jetta is a technological marvel with a myriad of options and it would be impossible to list them here. One option worth noting is the 6 different gearbox options, including the dual clutch DSG six-speed. Excellent design and build quality combined with a superb and transferable warranty makes buying a 5th generation used Volkswagen Jetta almost like purchasing one right out of the showroom.
1st & 2nd Generation: Built from 1979 to 1984 for the 1st generation and 1984 to 1992 for the 2nd generation, these make a good choice if one is looking for a European Sport Sedan on a budget. They have precise handling with satisfactory power, but tend to suffer from breakage of parts made from poor-quality materials. In particular, interior parts like handles and switches.
Jetta TDi (All Generations): A diesel-powered Jetta which delivers impressive mileage in the 40 mpg range has been offered throughout all generations. The turbo-diesel four-cylinder supplies more than adequate power and gobs of torque. Used Jetta TDi are not that common on the market, since their owners tend to not be in a hurry to part with them.
With prices ranging from $20,000 for current generation to less than $1000 for early versions, a used Volkswagen Jetta benefits from excellent handling, good performance and European style at an economical price in all its generations.