By on April 9, 2015

IMG_20150302_113211

Reader iMatt shares his experiences with the Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 “Quebec Special”

Is the old 2.0L engine really as bad as the internet believes?

I knew it was only a matter of time before I’d need to buy a second vehicle to compliment the Honda Fit shared by my girlfriend and I. That time finally came with a forced relocation at work and after taking many months to decide what I wanted in my next vehicle, I decided my top two priorities were value and comfort, neither of which being the focal points of the Fit.

I opted for a base model 2015 Jetta with the 2.0 L engine and 5 speed manual transmission with nary an option, not even A/C (ironically). Price after fees and taxes came to just over $17 000 CAD. Standard equipment did include amenities that were once optional such as cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity, a trip computer, a back-up camera and a touch-screen head unit.

The plain exterior is a familiar sight nowadays, even with some minor tweaks for 2015. I appreciate the understated styling compared to the more stylized competitors such as the Mazda 3 or the Corolla. The Jetta just seems to have a more mature and refined air to it. My biggest complaint is that the base steel wheels look cheap and a tad undersized, luckily that’s easily remedied should I choose to do so.

The interior design reflects that of the exterior. I have to say though, I was surprised at how nice it feels. Hard plastics abound (don’t care) but materials are nice where they count. The instrument cluster and center stack are a joy to use on a daily basis, although I do lament the lack of an engine coolant temperature gauge. The gear shifter and steering wheel have nice shapes and so-so plastics but don’t offend. The 6-way adjustable driver’s seat is comfortable for my smallish frame but provides less thigh support than I would like. On the other hand, there is a fair bit of side bolstering. Larger people may find the narrow seats uncomfortable. The trunk is large as is the backseat.

My favourite attribute to the interior is the driving position combined with the low cowl. It reminds me a little of older Honda Accords providing excellent forward visibility with easy access to controls.

When I was researching this car, I could hardly find any actual reviews of the entry level engine. Even still, in most summaries, auto writers have no issue labeling it as an outdated boat anchor and as the engine to avoid at all costs. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on one to try it out.

Starting with the facts: Displacement is a tad less than 2000 CCs. Output is rated at 115 HP @ 5000 RPM and 125 lb-ft @ 4000 RPM.

Initial impressions on the test drive were that the old engine is entirely adequate for normal use in town – I would even dare to say more than adequate. There’s enough torque to keep you ahead of traffic from stoplight to stoplight if that’s your thing. I found you still have to be mindful of being in the optimal gear. This engine won’t pull you out of wrong gear situations like other more powerful cars will.

The bulk of the 3000 kms I’ve put on the car thus far have come from mountainous highway driving on single lane roads. The grades are steep, corners sharp and in this region of Alberta, the pavement beat to a pulp from the plentiful heavy industrial traffic.

On rare stretches of straight and level road, the Jetta has no issues maintaining speeds of 80 – 90 MPH in 5th gear running around 3000 RPM – something that I was entirely not expecting. Passing on two lane highways is also drama free and can easily be done in 4th gear. Obviously you won’t get the effortless blast of acceleration afforded by more powerful cars, but it’s not the real world slug “enthusiasts” would lead you to believe it is.

Climbing steep grades of 7% or more will require a downshift to 4th gear, if not 3rd in some cases. Under no circumstances was I unable to maintain the posted speed limits.

Under all driving conditions, the engine has proven to be quiet and relaxed, able to do it’s job at relatively low RPMs; quite the opposite from the rev happy and noisy 1.5 L in the Fit. It even has a pleasant and unique sounding growl to it that I don’t normally associate with a 4 cylinder engine. At idle and at low engine loads, you can feel slight vibrations coming through the steering wheel. Personally, I like to be reminded I’m piloting a machine with moving parts compared say to any modern V6 sedan with an engine so isolated, you can’t even tll if it’s running. The mechanical feel is part of the driving experience, perhaps explaining why I’ve been partial to older Hondas for so long. I honestly and surprisingly have not been disappointed by this “boat anchor” of an engine.

The gear shifter is easy to use with somewhat notchy shifts at times but is still substantial feeling unlike a Honda Civic’s for example. I was a little let own and liken the feel to that of an old and tired Mazda 626 I used to own (note: 5000 km later, it seems to have loosened up a bit with a smoother action). Clutch take-up is lighter than what I was expecting but still heavier than the aforementioned Civic’s. It is easy to use and provides for no surprises.

Back on the winding roads, the ride and handling of the Jetta don’t egg you on in a playful way the Fit or a Mazda 3 do. It turns out the Jetta drives a lot like it’s styling suggests it would. The ride is on the stiff side of smooth and composed. Only twice on a 200 km stretch of bruised and battered highway did I bottom out the suspension travelling at higher rates of speed. The car feels very stable in most conditions. The same trip in the Fit was always a white knuckled affair – in a more fun but sore back kind of way. To get the same thrills in the Jetta, you’d have to travel at a pace that could land you in a lot of trouble.

Approaching the Jetta’s handling limits is smooth and predictable. Body roll, while present, is minimal and mid corner frost heaves don’t upset the balance of the car. Steering inputs are met with crisp responses but like I said earlier, the car just doesn’t change direction as eagerly as some other sporty feeling cars. Pushing the relatively high cornering limits, you can feel the moment the front tire begins to rollover onto its sidewall, not exactly fun but there it is. The steering has a lighter feel than I was expecting as well, lighter than what I would like.

The upside to the more sedate handling is a very competent highway ride. On one occasion, on these same torn up and bumpy roads, I asked my partner how fast she thought we were going without looking at the speedo, she knew why I was asking ;). Her guess was a good 30 MPH less than what our actual speed was. Somehwat faint praise, but it gives you an idea this car doesn’t feel like a cheap econobox out on the highway. Adding to the experience is a low wind and road noise level.

The brakes work. I can tell you that moderate braking from highway speeds or down steep grades is smooth and drama free. I haven’t attempted any emergency stops in reverse yet so I can’t comment on whether the rear disc brakes feel like a noticeable improvement over the old drums.

Fuel economy has been reported by the trip computer at around 8.0 L/100 KMS (29.4 MPG). This was in a driving style as explained above at temperatures ranging from -10 C to -25 C (14 F to -13 F). In my opinion, that is fantastic.

As I wrap up this review, I’ve noticed a few patterns emerge from my thoughts and reflections. The words drama free and comfortable continue to pop up throughout. I would like to reiterate that although this car and powertrain are fairly comfortable, especially for the price, it may not be ideal for lazy drivers or people who simply don’t like to drive. The powertrain does require attention to ensure you’re always making the best of the limited power available. For example, if you don’t like to plan your passing maneuvers, have trouble maintaining a constant speed even on small grades or just all around don’t pay attention to your driving, I would suggest you step up to a more powerful car.

If you’re like me however and take pleasure in anticipating the road or traffic ahead, enjoy interacting with your vehicle (and no, I don’t mean having it read your emails to you) and will sometimes go for a drive just for the sake of driving, then this car can provide a great driver’s oriented compromise.

In this neck of the woods, people (men) are quick to tell me all the time I NEED a pickup truck out here – that I’m crazy to travel on any highway in a 2wd drive vehicle. Some go as far as to say that cars shouldn’t even be allowed on the highway. I gladly point out my girlfriend got by just fine this past winter commuting within the city limits in our winter tire equipped Fit without so much as ever getting stuck.

Point being that cars are far more useful and capable than people give them credit for. The Jetta’s measly 115 HP isn’t so measly on it’s own merits and suits my needs just fine. Could I have afforded the payments on a more powerful version or even a shiny new pickup truck? -Certainly, but aside from bragging rights and rollercoaster acceleration, I’ve got other priorities at this point in my life. (Spoken like a true Canadian -DK)

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

Recommended

209 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2015 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 “Quebec Special”...”


  • avatar
    sirwired

    How long has VW been selling that same 2.0L NA I4? 20 years? 25 years?

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      Which is exactly the reason to buy it. Proven, cheap, durable engine.

      Honestly, having driven the new 1.8T, the turbo engine makes this car come alive. However, from low cost of ownership and durability standpoint, it is hard to argue against the base engine.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        I was all pumped up when I saw the 2015 SportWagen with the new 1.8TSI was starting at $21k, and decided to read up on the new “EA888” engine and what initial impressions were like reliability wise from the folks that have had them in Jettas and Passats for a bit over a year now. Big fat NOPE on that one. Leaking rear main seals seem to be a common theme, on low mile cars with as little as 5k miles on them. My theory is that this is probably related to how the PCV valve is operating, perhaps in an effort to minimize oil vapor blow by (to reduce intake valve coking) they’ve unintentionally ended up with way too much pressure in the crankcase (not uncommon in a highly pressurized combustion chamber of a small displacement turbo motor), with oil seeping out past seals as a result. Not sure as to just how widespread this oil leak issue is, but going off of VW’s both recent and not so recent history with small turbocharged motors, I’ll stick with the good old “2.slow.”

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Does it just seep, or does it cause seal failure?

          Because some oil seepage is a “meh”.

          Seal failure, not so much.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Seepage through a rear main seal on a car I just dropped $21k on is most definitely beyond “meh” in my book.

        • 0 avatar
          Manic

          Well, there’s nothing much “new”, EA888 is nearly 10 y.o. now and is in millions of cars probably in Europe. My recent DD’s (2 of them in 7 years) have both been 1,8 T(F)SI’s and AFAIK this motor is considered to be quite good here.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Well I guess standards must be significantly lower over there perhaps, the number of VAG products with serious issues that crop up by 70k here in the states is truly stupefying, much of them linked to the engines fuel injection systems (high pressure fuel pumps shredding themselves on the TDI cars, intake valve coking on DI gas cars), and issues linked to high crankcase pressures (due to failed PCV systems or otherwise). A coworker who is a dyed in the wool Audi guy (member of the Audi owners club and everything) recently ended up getting rings and pistons replaced on a 2.0T 2009 A4 with 60k miles on it after a supposed TSB for the PCV system didn’t help. 1 quart of synthetic every 500 miles. These VAG turbo motors are notorious oil users, it’s enough to glance over VWVortex to get a pretty good idea. Even the 2.5 inline 5 isn’t totally immune from issues, bad batches of ignition coils STILL crop up, albeit the engines themselves seem to be made for the long haul. The 2.0 8 valver is perhaps the only VW engine in the US market that is trustworthy. Out of the older VAG stuff, the old iron block 12 valve 2.8 V6 is a sturdy, trouble free beast. I wouldn’t touch a timing belt tearing, failing coil 1.8T with a 10 foot pole. The V6 is a fun motor in a 5spd B5 A4 Quattro.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I always take forums with a grain of salt. Nobody ever goes online to say “absolutely nothing went wrong with my car today”. Problems tend to get blown way out of proportion relative to the number of cars that actually have them.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            You’re right on that, and hopefully the oil leaks on these brand new motors are a tiny minority. But speaking to the well known issues with the 2.0 TSI motor, having known 3 people personally who’ve had nothing but trouble, it’s enough for me to start drawing conclusions.

        • 0 avatar
          Manic

          @gtemnykh

          Well I know 3 cars with 1.8 TSI, 2 of my own DDs + 1 Skoda Superb and there really haven’t been any problems.

      • 0 avatar

        Have they fixed the issues with the 2.0? Because I don’t remember them being problem free when I looked into it.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    Can’t argue with 17k OTD.

  • avatar
    Pinzgauer

    2.SLOW

    I cant believe a car with cruise control and blue tooth would NOT have a/c.

    I bought a car new with no a/c once and Ill never do it again. The small savings isn’t worth it in the long run, if you ever want to sell the car its harder to do, plus obviously, you don’t have a/c. Could be different up north in Quebec, though – maybe it is not needed enough to be worth it.

    Im surprised on the fuel mileage. My 2.0 TSI Beetle with a 6MT has no issues turning 30-32mpg on the highway in cold weather.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      He’s in Alberta. It doesn’t really get all that warm there in the summer. They still build new houses with no A/C units there.

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        It gets hot enough! I’d certainly not consider a car without A/C. Not a chance.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        If he’s where there are a lot of steep grades, he’s probably in the SW part of the province…it regularly gets over 80 degrees there, and with lots of sunshine, temps inside a car can get pretty high.

        Having a house with no A/C, but where you can vent during the cool nights to get indoor temps down before the sun comes up, as you can in that area, and having no A/C in a car, where there is no way to dampen out the temperature swings, are two different things.

        I can’t ever see myself owning a car with no A/C. This guy has only 3,000 kilometers on his car, all the photos are with snow on the ground, and it’s a 2015 MY car…I’d bet he has seen no ambient temps over 45 degrees since taking delivery of it…let’s see if he’s singing the same tune six months from now. At least the car’s white…

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It’s not necessarily about summer temps — it’s about the ability to use the A/C to defrost the car.

        Pretty much no houses have AC here in Seattle, we have maybe 2 weeks a year when temperatures are over about 83, and there is still absolutely no way I’d ever buy a car without AC. It would be miserable in the winter.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Here in Saskatchewan, I use the A/C to help defog my car maybe once or twice a year, during an afternoon downpour on an unusually warm, humid day. It just isn’t necessary in a climate as dry as the Canadian prairies. We rarely even get any winter days that are warm enough for the compressor to be capable of operating.

          Cruise control, however, is something I use almost every time I drive, and highway trips here regularly involve two to three hour periods where you don’t need to touch the brake or throttle at all.

          Home A/C isn’t necessary in Calgary’s moderate climate, but most of the prairies make good use of it during July and August.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        A car with a black interior would get hot enough for A/C at the North Pole.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      This engine is a positively geriatric design; I don’t think it’s received any significant upgrade since the early-mid-90’s. I’m surprised it makes mileage as high as it does.

      OTOH, it’s absolutely bullet-proof and a lot less complicated than a turbocharged engine.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        It’s the only VW engine I can actually recommend to people without feeling like a bad person. The 2.5L isn’t so bad I guess.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I really appreciate the fact that VW offers such a rock solid, simple drivetrains for some of us luddites that don’t want to deal with coked up intake valves and eye watering DSG fluid servicing. It’s a relic no doubt, but’s it’s an interesting anomaly with its 2 valves per cylinder and torquey, gruff character. Some might see this as a grave insult, but this is the sort of motor that would work well in a third world taxi somewhere in Mexico, and I’m the type of person that appreciates that kind of simplicity and ruggedness. I love it.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          I do find it amusing that it’s higher displacement AND (~10%) lower power than the 1.8 in my Corolla.

          Admittedly peaking 200rpm higher, of course.

          Which is also a now-archaic design of great sturdiness, being 18 years old.

          (I mean, my Corolla’s not new, but they still use the same engine, or close enough.)

      • 0 avatar
        Pinzgauer

        Agreed on the reliability. I have no expectation to run this Beetle to high mileage without a lot of maintenance.

      • 0 avatar
        never_follow

        And the funny thing is… even with forced induction, it’s bulletproof. I have a Mk3 with nearly 400000 kms on it, and the last 50k have been supercharged with a bolt on Neuspeed kit. That and some better breathing have raised power to about 145 hp, and the engine hasn’t put up a single complaint, nor does it burn oil.

        Admittedly, it takes premium now, but fuel economy is only off about 5% compared to stock. If only VW’s g60 didn’t seem to scare them off of supercharging, I could see a supercharged 2.slow being a perfectly acceptable factory solution.

      • 0 avatar
        Athos Nobile

        “I don’t think it’s received any significant upgrade since the early-mid-90’s. I’m surprised it makes mileage as high as it does.”

        Probably hasn’t received as many development $$$ as the TSI ones, but they have had to invest on it to keep it up to date on emissions. And while they’re there, tweak the fuel economy.

        • 0 avatar
          Mandalorian

          To be fair, most Canadians get around by riding bears with plaid saddle blankets. The off-road capability is impressive, but those don’t have AC either.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      I can guarantee that if cars were still available here without A/C, PLENTY of people in Maine would buy them. Amazes me how many people I know who literally refuse to use it, ever. Like it is some point of pride thing. Not me, I want icicles on my testicles all summer, thanks much.

      Houses with central A/C here are rare as hens teeth too. I have only EVER been in one (other than condos), and it belongs to a guy who owns an HVAC company!

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        People have this very durable idea that A/C introduces impurities to air and that cooled/dehumidified air is somehow not “fresh.” I think it’s akin to organic food nuts looking everywhere for unspecified “toxins.”

        People, all A/C does is cool air down and take water out of it.

        • 0 avatar
          rpn453

          Mold can grow on the condenser. It depends a lot on the environment. I prefer the smell and feel of our dry summer air, so I only use A/C at highway/freeway speeds on hot days. When I do, I turn it off as I’m getting onto city streets and open my windows, leaving the fan running to dry the system out. I’ve never had a problem here in Saskatchewan. But when I moved to Peace River, Alberta for a couple years during an internship in university, my A/C would smell so musty that I’d have to keep the windows open wide for the first ten minutes of use before it became tolerable. I thought about how I was going to deal with the problem when I got back to Saskatchewan and had a garage again, but it went away the minute I moved back. Similarly, my girlfriend at the time had no nasal allergies living in Edmonton, but did when she moved back to Peace River, where she was raised, for a summer.

      • 0 avatar
        dtremit

        The long-standing preference for oil-fired hot water heat in New England has slowed the uptake of A/C dramatically, I think. Detroit is cooler than Boston, but since everyone already had gas-fired hot air heat, they were able to cheaply retrofit A/C in the ’80s.

        • 0 avatar
          mcs

          >> I think. Detroit is cooler than Boston

          I’ve lived in both places and Detroit is colder in the winter, but much hotter in the summer. New England is more heavily forested with cool breezes off the ocean. The roads in New England are generally narrower and often have a tree canopy overhead to help block the sun. Where I live, there are a lot of large conservation areas with small ponds interspersed with residential areas that help cool things down even further.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            All depends on exactly where you are, I guess. I spent ten years in Detroit, 17 and counting in Boston, and I don’t notice too much difference in the summertime.

          • 0 avatar
            mcs

            I was in the downriver suburbs of Detroit many years ago and we didn’t have a lot of tree cover back then – it was just after the big Dutch Elm wipe out. I remember as a child the massive cut-down of diseased trees. Just high density suburbs and concrete grid pattern streets afterwards. Very little in terms of tree cover to protect me from the sun while on my bike.

            Now, I’m north of Boston surrounded by thousands of acres of reservations in the Andover/Boxford/North Andover/Topsfield area. Cold spring water feeds the ponds and streams and when the wind blows through the forest, it’s natural a/c. When I’m on my bike, I really feel the blasts of cold on a hot day.

            If you go to the Ward Reservation in Andover (Trustees of Reservations) and climb either Holt or Boston Hills, you can see Boston, but it’s a carpet of green tree tops for most of the 20 or so miles between you and the buildings. Lots of trees shading the ground that were lacking in the time period I lived in Detroit.

          • 0 avatar
            dtremit

            Ah, see, I spent about half of my time in the Detroit area out near Brighton, and my dad always lived on big wooded lots. (Though I also lived with my grandparents in Wyandotte during high school.) I’m in Somerville now — so rather the opposite of your experience.

            Fun fact, there’s actually a dividing line between growing zones that runs somewhere around 6 mile road — there are things that would winter over at my grandparents’ place in Wyandotte that my father couldn’t grow.

      • 0 avatar
        brettc

        I got a forced air heating system installed a couple years ago here in Maine specifically to be able to add central air to it. People here are insane with their hatred of A/C. It’s hard to comprehend it when I see people driving around on hot humid days in the summer with their windows rolled down. Meanwhile I’m in my tinted car with the A/C cranked. I’m definitely not a Mainah, I just happen to live here.

    • 0 avatar
      palincss

      There are articles on this here from time to time. Here’s one: https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/06/quebecs-obsession-with-no-frills-cars/
      It appears that Quebec constitutes a large market for cars we would otherwise consider incredible strippers, and no A/C and manual transmissions are the major characteristics.

    • 0 avatar
      brettc

      Looks like you have to move up to the Trendline+ in Canada to get A/C. The difference in cost between the Trendline and Trendline+ is close to $3000 out the door if you pay MSRP. I loves me some A/C, but I can see why some people might just get the Trendline.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So AC is optional but Bluetooth is standard?

    Unbelieveable.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      It must cost no more than $5 to include Bluetooth (probably more like $1 at VW’s volume levels). That’s not worth loosing a sale over.

      What’s unbelievable is that some manufacturers don’t include Bluetooth in all their cars.

      • 0 avatar

        You beat me to it. I can get 1 usb bluetooth adapter for under $7, so to build it into thousands of radios, it can’t cost much.

        A small air conditioner with all the wires, the belt and tubing…

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          I guess what makes it unbelievable is that to add an aftermarket Bluetooth to a used car dealers want $250

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            Most of that’s labor and markup, and that “adding” tends to involve a low-volume custom adapter box that is necessarily not cheap.

            The actual cost as a delta to a head-unit itself is basically zip.

            (And it gets you a feature checkbox and helps sales in places with a “you must use hands-free!” laws.)

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    Basic all around understated competency. I like it

    “Hard plastics abound (don’t care)” Me either, I don’t get the current frequently heard complaint about those dreaded hard plastics. WTF? Do these journalists drive around constantly fondling and feeling up the interior bits of the cars they drive?

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Hard plastics mean lots of squeaks and rattles and easy scratching.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        We own a 7 and a 14 year old TDI,and neither squeak anymore than our “luxury” equipped SUV at -40*F.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Oh yes, Jetta plastics certainly scratch – very easily. I can confirm that from my sister’s. I think she scratched the dashboard when she accidentally dropped a pair of plastic sunglasses on it once.

        • 0 avatar
          tonycd

          I’m glad the owner is happy with his car, and I’m sure he wrote this review in good conscience. But, Derek, candidly the level of writing and particularly the standard of criticism are not up to the historical standards of a TTAC review.

          • 0 avatar
            tmport

            I disagree. Yes, there were a few typos, but I thought the author did a great job of describing what it’s like to drive the car. It’s a good first (?) effort.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            It’s a ur-turn review. Why don’t YOU write one about your car and see how it is received? I think he did a fine job.

          • 0 avatar
            Wheatridger

            No, it’s better than most reviews here. There was no flashy wordplay, but also no imputations about VW owners, no redundant styling analysis for a car whose lines are years old, and little of the reliability rant that has derailed and ruined every VW article here for years. The writer just described the experience of driving the car, and the mindset necessary to enjoy it. That was more valuable to me than all the rest. It was a workmanlike writing project, honest and simple, just like the car.

          • 0 avatar
            30-mile fetch

            Can’t agree, tonycd. I appreciate the variety of reviews we get on TTAC now, from Alex to Jack to Tim to Blake to Satish to Ur-turns. Different flavors, different personalities provide variety, and I think variety is good.

            I’d like to see MORE Ur-Turn articles on TTAC, there is real value to me in reading what owners think of their cars.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            It’s not a great review, but it’s a lot more informative than most automotive reviews, including a lot of the ones on this site.

  • avatar

    Does this motor have a Timing Chain yet? That was always my big peeve: the expense of replacing a belt when your competitors used a real chain.

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      Still a belt. On the positive side, they seem to go well past their service interval without snapping. Not that I’d advise it.

    • 0 avatar
      Pinzgauer

      VW hasn’t had great luck with timing chains in their vehicles. In a lot of ways, it could be much cheaper to have a timing belt replacement than to deal with the common timing chain problems they seem to have with a variety of motors which get very expensive out of warranty.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Yes this. Ugh, Audi. 4.2L.

        • 0 avatar

          Yeah, the 3.2-liter (which was really 3.1 liters, but who’s counting) V6 and the 4.2-liter V8 have horrible chain stretching/failure rates. My friend was scared out of his pants last year after he bought a TT with the 3.2-liter and I casually mentioned this to him, until I explained to him that the 3.2-liter VR6 was a completely different (transverse) engine, and didn’t have nearly as many issues.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            There’s an ’06 Passat that visits for repairs with the 3.2L. No timing chain issues yet, but with 150,000 miles on it now, it could be only a matter of time. The rest of the car is falling apart right on time, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Nick_515

            Thanks for mentioning this. I have the 3.2 (well, 3.1) and it’s been good to me. I will ask my mechanic to look for chain problems. Any telltales?

            I had the 2 liter in an earlier 2000 Jetta. It was soldiering like a champion when i sold it with 130k miles later. How many times did i find myself risking tickets above 90 mph while just chatting with my wife. It did have two real problems however. Too loud above 80 mph (five speed – this reviewer puts it at 3k, mine was 4k rpm, gearing must have changed as i NEVER had to downshift going up mountains).

            The second problem? a particular scenario where power was indeed inadequate… having to brake down from 85 to 60, and being unable to go back up in speed quickly without killing it.

            Maybe that’s becuase it was old (though had new spark plugs as required) but i never touched this kind of mileage. once again, must be the new gearing.That said, i wouldn’t buy it, simply because i am giddy about 1.8T. keeping my fingers crossed about a new job opportunity that will require a second household car. THere’s a brown 2009 335d with 10k miles being sold locally…

          • 0 avatar

            @danio3834–Are you sure that the Passat has a 3.2-liter? The “B5/B5.5” Passat (1998-2005) was the last generation to technically be on the Audi “B” platform, and therefore accept longitude engines like the 3.2-liter V6. Although later Passats have gone by the “B” designation (such as the 2006-2011 “B6” Passat), they are actually on a subversion of the Golf/Jetta “A” platform, and thus only accept transverse engines. So that means that this particular Passat doesn’t have the 3.2-liter longitude Audi engine in question. And as far as having the 3.2-liter VR6 engine (used, in, for example the R32 Golf), that’s also unlikely if you live in the States. Here, the B6 Passat had the larger 3.6-liter VR6 as its premium engine option.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            My bad, you’re right it’s a 3.6L.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          At what point did the Audi 4.2 get a timing chain? My 00 A8 with that engine had a belt – I know because I had to pay for the ridiculous service.

          • 0 avatar
            Pinzgauer

            The 2.01 TSI also has timing chain issues. Its actually the tensioner on all of the cars earlier than late 2013 that fails when starting, the chain jumps a tooth and in some cases valves get bent etc. Not good.

          • 0 avatar

            I’m not quite sure. Earlier versions of the 4.2-liter did indeed have a belt. I believe the chain was added in 2005, when the “FSI” combustion technology was introduced, and that was the problematic version.

            I’m fairly certain that engine’s replacement (the 4.0-liter twin-turbo used in the S6, S7, A/S8 and Continental GT/Flying Spur) also has a timing chain; it’s unfortunately too new to have a reliability record.

    • 0 avatar

      I forgot there are (were?) problems with the chains on VW 2.0s also.

      The Jetta’s value proposition degrades when you have to rip off the side of a motor to replace a belt. Luckily it does look easy, from what I’ve seen on a Mk IV Jetta.

      • 0 avatar

        With Volkswagen, I’d be far more comfortable if the engine had a belt, which I believe my Mk.6 TDI wagon has (but alas, my older Mk.3 VR6 has a timing chain). VW has been historically bad about stretched chains.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Not sure I understand why a routine service that only needs to be done every 60k miles is such a deal-breaker for people.

        • 0 avatar
          PrincipalDan

          @dal, for me its the bull argument that belts are quieter than chains. Like anybody can hear the chain over the other engine noises. Plus I remember the timing chains of my youth that didn’t need any maintenance over 200,000 or 300,000 miles.

          “I can’t hear the chain over how awesome my V8 sounds!”

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            I think part of the problem is overhead cam designs mean a really long chain, so that’s why belts were used. Lubrication issues and the chain flexing overtime becomes exaggerated.

            On overhead valve engines, a much smaller chain can be used and those issues aren’t there.

            I’m fine with timing belts but I think they should all be non-interference engines.

            The slight gain in efficiency win an interference design is simply not worth it to a consumer that could grenade their engine.

          • 0 avatar
            PrincipalDan

            @jacob – I find it interesting that when Hyundai/Kia rolled out their 100,000 mile warranty they quietly started switching from belts to chains.

          • 0 avatar
            jacob_coulter

            I think it probably had a lot to do with the fact that Hyundai would then have to be on the hook for a timing belt change and reimburse the dealerships doing the labor.

            But timing chains on OHC engines can obviously be made, but they’ve had a lot of really expensive teething issues.

            I definitely though see the trend going from belts to chains, I think early on though in OHC engine development a belt looked like the right solution at the time.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            @Dan

            Agree with all your points. Plus the service on a German vehicle with the belt is freaking expensive.

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            @ Jacob_coulter

            Chains in larger (car sized) OHC engines have been utilized successfully for quite some time going back, my brother’s 1989 2.6L I4 Mazda MPV used a chain, for example. Original unit at 230k miles, never any issues that I recall. Chevy quad4s and ecotecs used them as well for a very long time (tensioners are known to fail, however). Nissan’s KA24 is another popular older motor that ran a chain. Ford’s 3.0L Duratec, Nissan’s VE30DE in the 92-94 Maxima and subsequent VQ30 95-99. I think that many manufacturers shied away from chains for a long time because they were the definition of “thrashy sounding.” Massive advances in metallurgy and chain design have quieted things down, and cut down on stretch. Borg Warner Morse has a factory right by my parents near Ithaca NY, they make a lot of the valvetrain drive components seen in most VVT equipped vehicles on the roads today. As much torture testing as they do on those (and the tests are really brutal), chains continue to be a sensitive part of the engine when it comes to timely oil changes with good quality oil, on some engines more than others. Never an issue with belts, which were kept dry and outside of the engine innards. As we’ve seen, some manufacturers still struggle with stretching chains to this day, VAG and GM 3.6 motors (particularly on Lambdas) come to mind. I suspect that at least part of the GM issue is Traverse buyers who maintain their fancy new direct injected 3.6L engines like they would an old OHV Impala: take it to a Jiffy Lube if they happen to remember.

          • 0 avatar

            We had a 2005 Murano SL, which I believe had a timing chain (VQ35DE?). It never gave us any issues, and never needed any maintenance. But this is VW we’re talking about, so that’s a bit much to ask.

            I didn’t realize the 3.6-liter GM engine had this problem. I did know that the Lambdas have had lots of transmission issues, which sort of makes sense, as they’re not all that dissimilar to minivans.

          • 0 avatar
            SC5door

            “I think it probably had a lot to do with the fact that Hyundai would then have to be on the hook for a timing belt change and reimburse the dealerships doing the labor.”

            The 100K warranty doesn’t cover maintenance items. The Beta II 2.0L has a belt and was covered under the 100K warranty. Owners manuals outlined on when the belt was to be changed.

            Reason why they went from the Beta II to the Nu 2.0L (designed with a chain) was that it had been in production since 1997 and was severely outdated (Iron Block), and had VVT only on the intake side. NU 2.0L engines added the ability to support GDI as well.

          • 0 avatar
            Sigivald

            “But timing chains on OHC engines can obviously be made, but they’ve had a lot of really expensive teething issues.”

            Well, I guess.

            I mean, by OM617 had one, and they were *bulletproof* in the OM617.

            And that’s an OHC engine from 1974, essentially identical in chain design to ones from 1968, and not too different from the OM621 in 1958.

            (By “bulletproof” I mean “typically not needing a new chain within 250kmi”, often farther.

            With neglect and poor oiling, I’m sure you could abuse a chain to fail before that.)

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            @Sigivald

            The OM engines may have had bulletproof chain mechanisms, but the contemporary Mercedes 3.8 gas V8s had big issues. Mercedes had to release a double-chain upgrade, which has surely been fitted to every surviving 3.8 by now.

        • 0 avatar
          Nick_515

          I did mine at 98k miles (i knew about the 60k required interval, but there it is). It cost &600 at a local mechanic that never failed to do IMPECCABLE work on my cars. I understand why a timing belt becomes a talking point… but it’s not that big of a deal.

          • 0 avatar
            Dan

            Consider the overlap between the people driving an economy car with 100K on the clock and the people who can comfortably pay a 6-8 hour shop bill.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            6-8hr shop bill on a 2.0L VW?? Maybe if the mechanic takes a paid vacation in the middle of it. I can do an A4 TDI motor in 3-4hrs as an amateur, working slowly, and that is a lot harder than a 2.0L. I could do the belt in my old 1.8L Jetta in an hour.

            There are VERY few cars with timing belts where the belt service is a big deal. The issue is that a lot of dealerships charge flat fees for doing it, not time. When I had my ’00 Saab 9-5 V6t, the dealer charged $1000 for a timing belt service which worked out to better than $400/hr. Nice work if you can get it.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          “Not sure I understand why a routine service that only needs to be done every 60k miles is such a deal-breaker for people.”

          Because it’s rather labor intensive (expensive) and there are many cars nowadays that don’t require it.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        I can do a timing belt job and intake cleaning in 3-4 hours time at a beer an hour rate. Usually I’m already a few beers into the process so if I was determined to keep on task I could likely cut this time down. The cost is right around $350, and this includes timing and serpentine belt and all tensioners, idlers, water pump, seals, gaskets, torque to yield bolts and 1.5 liters of VW long life coolant. This has been a 100k service for many many years ever since VW upgraded their belts to be backward compatible with previous models. People love to point this shortcoming of VW yet turn around and pay $400 for a starter replacement. Oh well.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      I had an earlier Jetta with a timing belt. It had a non-interference engine, so the timing belt wasn’t worth worrying about.

    • 0 avatar
      TOTitan

      The only competitor that uses chains is Nissan. Everyone uses belts

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        @TOT – I am aware, just for one example (and I’m sure the B&B can come up with others) that the Toyota 1.8 4cyl switched from belts to chains back in the late 90s. The Corolla is certainly a competitor.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The engines in the Corolla, Mazda 3, Elantra, Focus, Cruze and Dart all use chains.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        I’m not sure what current Toyota engines use but their chains in the late 90s to early 2000’s were very problematic as well. I remember seeing very well cared for Celicas with the front timing cover (and sometimes more) completely destroyed with well under 100k miles. The 22R and RE engines were some of the biggest offenders of crummy timing chains ever, and that comes from a long time owner of that particular engine in various models.

        • 0 avatar
          gtemnykh

          I’ve only heard of 22REs start having problems when the timing chain guides finally fail, usually at 200k+ miles. The chain starts to saw through the head, meanwhile those damn motors just keep running.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            “I’ve only heard of 22REs start having problems when the timing chain guides finally fail, usually at 200k+ miles.”

            Regardless of where you heard this it is very much untrue. Toyota recommended replacing them at 100k miles and at times that could be a stretch. The reason the guides “fell off” was because the chain stretched so incredibly much those cheap plastic guides could only take so much abuse from the chain before breaking off. Then the chain went to work on the cover, if you were lucky it would chew through to atmosphere and hopefully notice the massive oil leak before the sump ran dry. Alternately it would chew through into the coolant passage and you’d end up with chocolate milk in the crank case. Usually the chain would come off under a high load condition before either of those happened and then it was time to pull the engine apart to inspect the carnage.
            I’m not knocking the 22RE, I owned several and really enjoyed running the snot out of those engines.

            And no, I’m not stuck in the 90’s, Ive simply moved on to the world of diesel and dont pay much attention to the rest of the world anymore :-)

          • 0 avatar
            gtemnykh

            Sorry my comment was for TOTitan thinking most engines still used timing belts.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            No those guides on the 22RE failed often at just over 100K and them grinding through the timing cover into the passage between the water pump and block was the norm. Fixed that on way to many of them to count. Replaced way too many others because the fact that the oil had been filled with coolant and the owner continued to drive it until it overheated meant there was no saving that particular engine and a used engine was the best option. It also made the 22RE the second best selling remanufactured engine right behind the “good old” Chevy 350.

          • 0 avatar
            jrmason

            @ Scoutdude, why do you think the guides broke? For no apparant reason? It was due to the chain stretching. The tensioner could only account for so much stretch and once it reached its max travel, the chain would literally beat everything to death. A semi coherent owner would notice the god awful racket on cold start up as the oil pressure driven tensioner took a few seconds to take up enough tension to quiet the chain up and would take it in for repairs of what most assumed to be an engine problem. The not so coherent owners/drivers drove it til it grenaded or chewed a hole through something.

            Ive seen tensioners end up in the bottom of the oil pan as well because it was operating at max stroke with no chain guides and the chain eventually put enough stress on it it snapped the end off.

        • 0 avatar
          Sigivald

          Huh.

          The chain *tensioner* had failed on my 22RE when I finally got rid of my truck (chain hadn’t slipped yet, but it Was Eventually Going To).

          But as it was 18 years old with 280kmi on it, I wrote that off as “lasted more than long enough to be satisfied”.

          Interesting to hear they had a bad rap in general.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Huh?

        Sounds like someone is stuck in the 90s! :)

        Danio got it right, just about everyone uses chains on everything, the only mainstream engine still using a belt, off the top of my head, is Honda’s J series V6, some of VW’s TDIs(?), and this old 2.0L.

        EDIT: interesting to hear about the Dart and the 150k interval, that’s non-interference I hope? Relying on an FCA promise for a timing belt to last 150k on an interference engine would truly be living life on the edge.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I’m guessing Toyota made the switch for their larger engines around 2005-2006? Like when the 330 became the 350 and the 430 went to 460.

        • 0 avatar

          My TDI has a belt, yes.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          Subaru still uses belts, as far as I know.
          Toyota, of course, has switched back and forth a half dozen times by now. I guess they are currently using chains, which is what they were using in the 1970s.

        • 0 avatar
          heavy handle

          The Dart 1.4 uses their MultiAir technology. That probably explains why the belts last so long, since the camshafts only provide a base amount of lift and oil pressure does the rest.

          I wonder what happens if the belt breaks. Is the base camshaft profile non-interference? Would the MultiAir be quick enough to respond? Does the CPU keep track of both cam angle and crank angle?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            All modern engines use crank and cam position sensors. The one on the cam however is sometimes only needed on start up and it failing will not shut down the engine but it won’t restart once shut off.

          • 0 avatar
            heavy handle

            Scoutdude,

            I guess my question is whether or not the MultiAir engines know to depressurize the system in the event of a timing belt failure, and thus avoid bending valves.

        • 0 avatar
          dal20402

          Funny how that Honda J-series, with a belt, is one of the very most quiet, smooth, refined V6 engines on the market.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        The VW 2.0T and 1.8T both use chains – together, they are overwhelmingly more common in the Jetta than the base 2.0.

  • avatar
    Timothy

    The first new car I ever purchased was a ’02 Jetta GLS, 2.0 5spd. Because I was young and stupid I beat the ever loving shit out of that car every chance I got. I beat it so bad that looking back on it now I actually feel sorry for the car.

    But you know what? In 80,000 miles it never broke. I traded it in on a Mazda 3 2.3 that was decidedly less bulletproof. To this day I wish I had kept it.

  • avatar
    cgjeep

    Very nice review, please do one on the Fit as well. I thought I might like this version, I tried the last version with the 2.5 and stick and hated it. This might be more connected, I like the idea of driving being involved. Miss my 91 Integra and the feeling I got driving it. The gearing on the 2.5 was weird. I would have to shift in into 3rd to pass on highways, was like 4th and 5th were both over dive ratios.

    Ac comes standard in the US and they have 1k on the hood right now (at least for leases) so can probably duplicate the 17k here but with AC.

  • avatar
    bumpy ii

    Does this one still have the torsion beam rear, or was that banished altogether?

  • avatar
    gsf12man

    That’s a nice car. I had quite a few miles in a friend’s early Jetta, which was 1.8/100 hp if memory serves, and another friend’s 2.0L, the one that’s “two Jettas back.” What a sweet, smooth, nice-sounding engine the SOHC four is. You’ll never be burdened with excess horsepower, but you can use every scrap of what the engine offers, and enjoy the soundtrack while doing so. Of course I’m referring to a manual car in each case.

    • 0 avatar

      It seems this engine is better in practice than on paper. I know I am almost embarrassed my 2003 Mazda 2.0 has only 130hp/135 torque, though I think I would trade some of that for mpg over 27 in a 2750 lb car…

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        Possibly like VW’s turbo engines, this one is underrated – ?

        • 0 avatar
          gsf12man

          I don’t think so, the 130 hp Focus ZX3 I had at the time would have clobbered the Jetta; but both Focus and Jetta are good examples of how quickly you can get around in the real world in a ‘slow’ car. (I’m excluding really slow cars here!)

  • avatar
    gtemnykh

    Fantastic to see this reviewed, I tested out one just like this before buying a 2012 Civic, except the US variants get A/C as standard.

    My impressions were that the engine is definitely overmatched by the curb weight going up hills, but around town it’s totally fine. I appreciated the “European” highway gearing rather than the usual “Asian buzz” of 3000 at 70 mph. I also enjoyed the gruff ‘workhorse’ character of the torquey 8 valve motor, with a distinctly old-school exhaust note that’s missing from my Civic’s electric-smooth 16 valve iVTEC R18 engine. One of my biggest complaints was that the clutch was insanely light but the gas pedal was unusually heavily sprung, a very odd sensation IMO. Maybe a tight pedal is to mask the sensation of a weaker motor? It’s a very solid driving car, especially appreciated on the highway, again moreso than my Civic. Actually I just looked up the curb weight and its nowhere as high as it seems, a mere 2800lb. How they got it to feel so solid without going the Cruze route with ending up with a 3100lb curb weight is beyond me, kudos to VW engineers. Another thing to consider is that the Jetta wins out on both rear seat room, and has a substantially larger trunk than the Civic’s paltry 12.5 cu ft.

    I have a bone to pick on ‘substantial feeling shifters” comment. After the toy-like, weightless little stick shift in my father’s 2007 Fit, the Civic’s shifter has an excellent weight and fluidity to it that I notice and enjoy every single time I drive the car. I don’t recall the Jetta feeling any more ‘solid.’

    I ultimately ended up choosing the Civic because even as a guy that isn’t a speed freak, 140hp in 2650 lb with shorter gearing was a lot more sprightly than 115 hp in a taller geared car weighing 2800lb, and the lack of factory cruise control (at least in 2012 on US “Base” cars) was also a deciding factor. Of course my inherent bias towards perceived Civic reliability and against a Mexican assembled VW played a role as well.

    If I were to do it all over again, I’d have to re-test both cars, having owned the Civic for 2 years now, I wouldn’t mind a larger trunk, or a more relaxed, more confident highway drive. On the bright side, the trade in value on the Civic is basically the going price for a low-mile 2013 2.0 jetta 5spd, so I could definitely arrange that if I wanted to.

    • 0 avatar
      Nellakwah

      My wife has a 2003 Jetta with the 2.0. It only has 95k miles as we used to live in a city, and still runs great. Enough power and torque around town, handling is very solid. The only thing that gets me is the buzz and RPMs at highway speeds. That 4-speed makes the engine turn around 4k at 75-80mph, which gets grating on longer trips and overpowers the stereo.

      Makes me wonder how much the 6-speed on these new models helps the refinement and cabin noise at cruising speeds. A decent amount, I would guess.

    • 0 avatar
      Thatkat09

      If I remember correctly, the Civic with the CVT cruises around 2000 rpm at 70. Not sure with the 5 speed.

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        Yeah I’m sure the CVT manages highway revs a lot better. My 5spd sits at 3000rpm at about 72 mph. Mind you the engine is laser smooth so it’s not really a bother, road noise masks engine noise, and the car can still manage 38-40 mpg at that speed depending on A/C use and cruise control application. In fact Some of my best mileage has been in pretty dense, high speed traffic where I end up doing a sort of unintended ‘pulse and glide’ hypermiling technique. I might be traveling 75+ mph in spurts, followed by some coasting down to 70. Onboard MPG is up to 41 mpg (checks out with hand calculations to within .5 mpg).

        • 0 avatar
          vvk

          That’s good to hear. Short gearing is not a problem if the engine is smooth and refined. I can cruise all day in 5th with my straight-six at 4k rpm without ever noticing. Quiet, relaxed and turbine smooth.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Lots of manufacturers in Canada offer a cheap car for $15,0000 without air conditioning. If you want air you usually have to buy a package which ends up costing $3000 or $4000. In other words, its just a model to advertise at a cheap price that no one will buy.

    • 0 avatar
      never_follow

      There’s a reason it’s called a Quebec special. I’d say more than 60% of Honda’s in QC are baseline Civics with no air.

      • 0 avatar
        Kevin Jaeger

        While I have AC in my car, living in Quebec I almost never use it. I’ll occasionally get stuck in rush hour traffic in a summer heat wave, or very occasionally use it to clear foggy windows.

        When the AC failed in my last car I didn’t bother spending the $750 or so it was going to cost to fix it. In the mountains in Alberta I’d say it’s even less needed.

  • avatar
    smartascii

    This may out me as the overprivileged twat that I am, but do you Canadians not have humidity? I can certainly understand it not ever being hot enough to get a cost benefit from A/C, but what about defrosting? I can’t imagine going through the colder months in my neck of the woods without A/C, but then, I’ve never had a car without it. Does it not fog up the insides of the windows if you breathe?

    • 0 avatar

      Toronto is like Washington D.C. in the summer. But Calgary, in the west is dry and cool, never cracking over 75 in the same season.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        It’s really about the winter. If you heat up the interior of a car when it’s still cold out, and there is any moisture in the air, you’ll get condensation on the glass. So you use the A/C to dry out the air and keep the glass clear.

        • 0 avatar
          Whatnext

          Here in Vancouver we get cold and wet winters and I never use the AC to defog the car. Just the defroster. In coastal BC A/C is really only required 1-2 weeks in the summer and most of us lived without it for years, so no big issue.

          • 0 avatar
            dal20402

            Many cars turn on A/C automatically when the defroster is on. If you have no problem with fog in the winter your car is likely one of them.

            I grew up in a car without A/C in Seattle (same climate as Vancouver except a bit drier) and my memories are of constantly having to clear the windshield and glass with rags in the winter.

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            What do you drive, virtually all cars built in the last 20 years or more that are equipped with AC run the AC compressor when you put it in Defrost mode.

          • 0 avatar
            319583076

            The AC condenser will run on defrost mode to provide dry air on the interior glass, thus removing any moisture condensing on said glass.

            In today’s “green era” a very dirty secret that most people don’t know is that commercial HVAC systems cool outside air to about 53 degrees prior to warming that air prior to delivery in an occupied space to satisfy the local setpoint. Cooling air to 53 degrees allows for humidity control. So your office and all the offices you visit are cooling then warming that air to keep the occupants comfortable. It’s incredibly inefficient and wasteful.

            Most of the “green building tech” you hear about is nothing more than incremental efficiency improvements to a system that *by design* uses energy to both cool and heat outside air for your comfort.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            @ dal20402

            It is WAAY too cold in Alberta for A/C to be particularly helpful most of the winter. Same in Quebec and here in Maine (coast excepted, sometimes). Seattle is a tropical paradise by comparison.

            A/C only works down to a bit above freezing, below that the outside air is too dry for it to matter much, and the colder it is the less moisture it can hold. The A/C has a temperature switch to keep it from running when it is too cold – IIRC on my Volvos and VWs it was ~40F.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          When it’s below freezing, the A/C compressor won’t run to prevent the compressor from trying to compress liquid refrigerant. The systems are designed that way. In the winter, heat on defrost works just fine.

      • 0 avatar
        Fordson

        I live just on the other end of the Lewiston/Queenston Bridge, and visit TO often…it is nothing like DC in the summer. You may live in Toronto, but it doesn’t sound like you’ve spent much time in DC. Average daily July temp in TO is 79; in DC it’s 88, and slightly more humid.

        Calgary supposedly has an average humidity in summer of 45%, but in winter it’s 55%, and the concern here with no A/C is that it will be tough to defog and defrost the car.

  • avatar
    30-mile fetch

    Nice to see a thoughtful, thorough review of an underdog car from an actual owner rather than a band of journalists hopping out of far more expensive machines and excoriating a basic car for not living up to expectations it never was designed to provide.

    The author is correct, say what you will about the cheap hard dashboard of the current Jetta, they still got the driver ergonomics, tight panel fits, common touch points, seat comfort, and composed highway dynamics right. That stuff certainly isn’t a given at this price point.

    To me, it sounds like the power delivery of the 2.0 is similar to the phased-out 2.5. Unremarkable acceleration stats but surprisingly likeable and relaxed in the real world.

    I see a LOT of 2.0 Jetta S models in my town, they probably account for 25-30% of this generation around here. The 1.8T makes this an excellent car, but it is good to hear it is competent and enjoyable with the old 2.0.

    • 0 avatar
      gtemnykh

      Agreed in full. Let me just add that this review was much more informative to prospective buyers than a few others we’ve recently seen, namely the Colorado review. I’ll go a step further and say that this was one of the better reviews I’ve read on this site, full stop. The lack of painfully awful and forced metaphors and sticking to just presenting the facts and impressions in a succinct and competent manner really impressed me. Let’s see a review of the Fit now!

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      I appreciate the even tone of the review, but I feel it’s lacking much context. The 2.0 doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it’s up against competition at the same low price point. The review does not mention any of the alternatives, even though some of them have engines that are quite clearly better in base trim (Focus, Mazda3).

      • 0 avatar
        gtemnykh

        That’s true I suppose, but with only so many words/space available, I personally appreciated the depth and focus on the actual car being tested rather than competitors.

        For me, the Focus is a non-starter. Interior space is possibly the worst in class, sitting in the back row, your face is comically close to the front headrest. But price/spec wise a Focus S is definitely price competitive, and you get a MUCH stronger 160hp 2.0L DI motor. As far as a mazda3 goes, I seem to recall Derek saying that in Canadian dollars they start at a good deal more than $17k. And frankly I trust a VW to hold up to road salt a hell of a lot more than the Mazda (yes that rusty Mazda meme won’t die).

        • 0 avatar
          vvk

          In my view, Mazda3 is such a bad car, it is not even worth a mention. I cannot believe how well received it is in the American automotive press. Compared to the Jetta it is such a punishment chamber. I have not driven any of these cars with an automatic, so my opinion is based on the manual gearbox version.

          • 0 avatar
            rpn453

            Some people want a car to tell them everything that’s going on at the wheels, while others want complete isolation. Those who lean toward the latter are not going to enjoy the Mazda3.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        ” some of them have engines that are quite clearly better in base trim”

        Yes, but you don’t buy just the engine, you buy the whole car. I felt this was a good whole-car review.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        dal, you make a good point about the 2.0 not existing in a vacuum, but I think the author was arguing for the engine’s adequacy in the face of reflexive internet scorn rather than its supremacy over the competition. i.e., keeps up with traffic just fine, delivers power lower in the rev range, watch your gearing or you can catch it out of the powerband, etc.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        The guy’s not an auto reviewer, he’s an owner. It’s not reasonable to expect a comparison between competing powertrains in an owner review. He’s giving a perspective of how the car works for him, which is fine.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    I miss the 2.5L 5-pot. There, I said it.

  • avatar
    wmba

    Very well-written review. Yes, indeed.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I have never in my life owned a car with such a small amount of horsepowers! Between this Jetta and the Fit, you’d flip if you drove a V6 Altima or something. What to do with all the POWAH.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      Must be a kid! Had a 40hp VW but that was in the days of 55mph speed limits.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        I think my 5-cyl 5000 was close to the HP figure of this Jetta, but I bet it was lighter.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          I believe it had exactly the same HP of this car, and it was a couple hundred pounds lighter.

          I have had lots of 115ish hp Volvos (EGR cars only have 112) with 4spd slushboxes, and they were entirely adequate in performance, with the exception that maintaining 80mph highway speed in hilly CT was a noisy affair. This was mostly due to the fact that the old Volvo AW slushbox could not run in 4th gear with the TC unlocked over ~50mph, so your choice was not enough rpm to maintain speed in 4th, or screaming revs in 3rd.

          I’ve had a number of 2.0 automatic Jettas as rentals, and find them entirely adequate. The only thing I find annoying is that the automatic is waaay too eager to downshift. Slipping it over to manual mode on the highway fixes that. Otherwise, you just drive it with foot pinned to the floor, which is no hardship, these are very smooth motors.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Since my 5000 was an auto (3-speed? 4?) I can recall having a struggle to maintain 65mph+ with the AC on. My foot had to go pretty far down. At speeds under 45 or so it felt zippy enough I suppose.

            However, the transmission was geared so right at 35mph (the speed on town roads where I lived in IN) it shifted up or down all the time.

            Also, the speedo and tach needles wobbled all the time.

        • 0 avatar
          danio3834

          I remember driving an early 90’s Audi 100 with a 5 banger and being disappointed when I realized that a Vulcan powered Taurus would blow it’s doors off.

      • 0 avatar
        jrmason

        My first car was a 56 HP non turbo/non intercooled diesel engine with a 5 speed in a Golf. It was a slow accelerator even by the standards of the day but it cruised down the highway with ease and the low horsepower never put me in any dangerous situations. And the 48+mpg was nothing to sneeze at, either.

        By contrast, I currently own a quad that puts down 80 horsepower. The acceleration is a bit more of a handful to hang on to than the Golf :-)

    • 0 avatar
      JuniperBug

      What to do with the POWAH, indeed?

      I had the spiritual ancestor to this Jetta when I was 18-23: a white ’92 Jetta Coupe, with the predecessor to this engine with 100 hp (and admittedly less weight to haul around) with windup windows and no A/C, and found it got out of its way, and then some, just fine. Yeah, you had to work it to go, but it could, especially given the fact that 90% of the time, the traffic around you is unable, or unwilling, to use the power in their cars.

      I remember the time a 5.0 Mustang was in front of me at a set of lights and was trying to get the pair of sport bikes beside him to run him. For fun, I wound up the engine and tried to see how well I could keep up. Mustang boy didn’t know how to launch, spun the wheels, and I stayed right on his bumper until the next block, where we both turned left where he held me up through the turn. (The guys on the bikes, much more mature than I, didn’t even bother to acknowledge the challenge.)

      That’s not to suggest that the Jetta could actually win races, but to get around through traffic and have some fun, it’s just fine. I regularly would keep it at 80-90 MPH for hours on end and pulling down >30 MPG when visiting my girlfriend in upstate NY, as well.

      If funds are tight, I’m much more liable to spend my money elsewhere than to have more torque than the front tires can handle when I breathe on the accelerator.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Well if funds are tight I’m buying a used car. 80-90mph for hours and >30mpg sounds like rose tinted numbers to me. A good fishing tale.

        You had either 54 or 68 HP.

        • 0 avatar
          JuniperBug

          I measured my MPG with almost every fillup. Those are the numbers I got, and given that I was doing the same Montreal-Albany trip on a regular basis, I did it consistently. Put differently, my record was 550 miles to a tank (averaging around 55 MPH), with a summer Interstate cruise allowing me to do 500 without having to walk to the gas station. It had a healthy 14.5 gallon/55 Litre tank.

          Not sure where your hp numbers are coming from, unless you’re imagining that I had a diesel.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I was looking on Wiki. There were a number of engines available, but not that many at the end of that model for the 92 year.

          • 0 avatar
            JuniperBug

            In 1992, if my memory serves, there were 3 gas engine codes. Base, RV code, was 100 hp and 107 or 109 lbs-ft. Then you had the 8v GTI/GLI, (PF?) which was the same engine but with a better downpipe, rated at 105 hp. Finally was the 16v, rated at ~135 hp. There was no way to get a gas engine with less than 100 hp in a North American ’92 Jetta, and none which made less than 90 hp in the North American Mk2 (1985-1992) lineup – I believe the car gained 10 hp when it moved from Bosch CIS-E to Digifant II engine management around the 1990 model year. The N/A and turbo diesels respectively made in the 52 and 68 hp range.

            The gas car was geared to rev at its ~3700 RPM torque peak at 75 MPH in top gear, which is actually not a bad thing for MPG for a low-power engine, despite the fact that North Americans often think it’ll make their engines explode. In my experience, its Autobahn pedigree was evident, complete with the door tag stating what tire pressure to use when planning to exceed 100 MPH. Fastest I saw was an indicated 120 on a flat road, which I guess to be somewhere in the 110-actual range.

            Given that my other ride during my ownership of that car was a motorcycle that turned 6,000 RPM at 75 (11,000 RPM power peak ftw), I considered the VW positively serene.

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            I believe you!

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        You had the “big motor”. :-) I had an ’85 Jetta 2dr with the 85hp version – no knock sensor, lower compression. Utter base model. Crank windows, no A/C, no power steering. 5spd. Weighed less than a modern Fiat 500 of course. Way more than adequately fast for 19yo me, though the ’84 Jetta GLI that replaced it was quite a bit faster, though only nominally 5 more hp. Before I put the Euro camshaft, Euro manifold and downpipe, gutted the cat put a Techtonics exhaust on it, hehehe. Then it was stupid fun.

        Of course, by the standards of the mid ’80s 100hp was a lot. Most Japanese cars in the Jettas class were still carb’d with less than 80hp. Sometimes a lot less.

    • 0 avatar
      vvk

      First car I ever drove had 30 hp. My own first car had 68 hp and I often redlined it in 5th gear at 110 mph driving from school to work on the Schuylkill Expressway.

      115 hp in the Jetta feels well matched to the simple chassis and the limited traction of its front wheel drive. The 8-valve engine has excellent low end torque and is very flexible and easy to drive in traffic.

  • avatar
    Brumus

    I have a tough time believing “passing on two lane highways is also drama free and can easily be done in 4th gear” considering this engine’s output and vehicle’s curb weight.

    • 0 avatar
      heavy handle

      You have to look at the torque curve for 4th gear passing power. The power peak in 4th is probably close to 100 mph, which isn’t exactly two lane highway stuff (Dukes of Hazard excepted, of course).

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      You don’t need a billion hp to pass safely. It’s fun and all to have lots of hp and BLAST past that slower car, but the reality is you only need to get 5 or so mph faster to pass safely in a reasonable distance. 10 mph will get you past a trailer truck in short order. On two lane state routes here in Maine, I rarely even have to drop out of the cruise set at 10 over to pass.

      People are just spoiled today.

    • 0 avatar
      rpn453

      Wouldn’t you be amazed that I occasionally passed long rows of cars sitting closely behind RVs at 55 mph on two lane 60 mph highways, hitting 100 mph by the time I got to the front, in a 1987 Grand Am with a 98 hp Iron Duke.

      I wish I had GoPro videos of all my favorite driving moments of my youth.

  • avatar
    Thatkat09

    The Jetta is the best looking entry IMO, but the 2.0 is a non starter for me. The god awful rear seats with the huge hard plastic humps, no AC and no center armrest make the S trim Jetta the worst base trim in the segment I think.

    • 0 avatar
      Kevin Jaeger

      The 2.0 is indeed an outdated engine. The 115hp is certainly weak compared to others that get 150+ with DOHC and VVT 2 liter engines.

      But it’s also surprising just how rarely you really use that peak horsepower in normal driving. If you take this car racing or fully load it going up a steep mountain road, yes, this engine’s weakness would be fully exposed.

      But in normal driving – even very brisk driving, a typical person probably uses no more than 80% throttle and will usually shift by 5000 RPM. And in that type of driving there’s essentially no noticeable difference between an ancient 8 valve SOHC engine and a modern high revving DOHC VVT engine. That high RPM power peak is almost never actually used by a typical driver.

  • avatar
    hf_auto

    Congratulations on the car and great review. I’ve always been a fan of the interiors on the base Jetta/Golfs. I’d go so far as to say they set the benchmark for ergonomics- everything is logically laid out and either square or circular depending on the operation of the switch (no weird trapezoidal/triangular shapes a-la Ford and Honda). I love how information to the driver is typically backlit in blue or white, and driver inputs are backlit in red.

  • avatar
    Dave M.

    This is a great and useful review – thanks! Question – how are the headlights?

    • 0 avatar
      iMatt

      They’re a huge improvement over what I had to work with on the Fit but still don’t give me a heck of a lot of confidence travelling on the back roads at night.

  • avatar
    Stevo

    Nice review of the spiritual successor to my first car, a 2nd Gen Jetta bought with 35K on it. No AC, but cruise control (!), crank windows. 85HP. And that was plenty for passing on mountain roads. That car went close to 150K just with me and only had a soft clutch when I sold it. For you youngsters, learn to drive in a VW Squareback and you understand pacing and timing your moves. “How can you drive with only 115 Hp?” You actually drive.
    /End get off my lawn soapbox

  • avatar
    Conslaw

    “Honda Fit shared by my girlfriend and I”

    It’s “shared by my girlfriend and me.” By is a preposition. Your girl friend and you are objects of the preposition. That’s why you would use the first person objective pronoun “me”. Now write that out one hundred times, and if it’s not done by sunrise, I’ll cut your balls off.

  • avatar
    Cabriolet

    My mother-in-law purchased the same car back in 2010. She of course purchased the automatic transmission with A/C. Out the door for approx $17,000.00. She has about 35,000 miles on it and the only time she went back to the dealer was to get the 10, 20 & 30,000 free service. It is a nice car and drives well. Funny when she was looking for a new car to replace her old car we took her to the local Toyota dealer to look at the Corolla. She sat in the car behind the wheel as the salesman went to get the keys so she could drive it. When he came back she told the salesman as she was getting out of the car she could never drive a car with such a cheap interior. I thought the salesman would pass out. She walked out of the dealer with us following her. The VW serves her well and she is very happy with it.

  • avatar
    HerrKaLeun

    thanks for the nice review, I learned a bit about this mostly unknown car. glad you got a good price (i already account for the fact cars in Canada are more expensive than the US to begin with). I’m a bit concerned you will hate summers depending on your climate.

    Very good to have a review of a car/engine combo that doesn’t get many reviews, especially if it comes from an actual owner.

    That 2.slow (or 2.sufficient?) may be the most reliable engine VW has (I realize the bar isn’t high for VW) and if the power is sufficient for you, it is a good choice compared to all the trouble-turbos.

    I was surprised you drove 80-90 mph at 3000 rpm. My Mazda 6 MT with the 2.3/155 hp is at 70 mph at 3000 rpm. It seems VW didn’t make the short-gear ratio mistake as most other EOM make with MT. That may explain your relatively good mileage. Based on your comment ont he Fit’s rpm, i assume you have an MT? I have automatic Fit at work and they have much longer gears, they drive at ~2000 rpm at 60 mph, while the MT are at 3000 rpm or so at same speed. Sometimes the German stubbornness may be good when they don’t change the transmission setup just to satisfy enthusiasts.

    Hope you don’t get all the non-engine trouble.I think it being MT saves you lot of trouble as well. i don’t know the Mexican VW, but know VW usually has really good MTs.

    I didn’t realize they sell so cheaply, must be the 2.0 motor. Pricewise it seems to compete with your Fit. I see you wanted a more quiet car (hope repairs don’t make you regret). I wonder how utility and space use compare to the Fit?

    Did you look at the Golf at all? If you get the MQB Golfs up north, it should be much better and has a hatach and interior space should be equal or better.
    I see the Golf (US) doesn’t have the 2.0 motor. And i saw the 4-door cost $3K more than the 2-door and doesn’t offer MT. Big fail as this would be one of the reasons for me to even consider VW. If that is similar up north, i see how you chose the Jetta if you ever have passengers.

    I know recently I complained about them offering the 2.slow. But looking at their issue turbos, and for me 115 hp being sufficient, I may change my mind and be sad the Golf doesn’t offer it (but once I’m off drugs I realize I’m a conservative Toyonda guy who never wants to go to the shop).

    Well, great review. I’m very outspoken against VW and their shortcomings, but really liked your review and hope you continue to update us (hopefully no big repair updates).

    • 0 avatar
      DeadWeight

      I’m under the impression that the 2.5 liter 5 cylinder, despite its many detractors, is among the most reliable VW motors ever produced (interpret that as you will), based on many reports of VW owners, and the highly “listened to” Consumer Reports reliability index, itself (the 2.5 5 cylinder has gotten full red or half red circles for many years now).

      I was under the impression, conversely, that the 2.0 4 cylinder didn’t fare nearly as well in this regard.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        The 2.5 boat anchor and the 2.0 boat anchor are the same engine except for the number of cylinders. They are reliable and tractable at low rpm but have almost nothing else to recommend them.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          The 2.5 has double the valves per cylinder, twice the camshafts, and chain driven camshafts instead of a belt driven cam. The 2.5’s specific output is also 18.2% higher than the 2.0’s. If someone wants a VW for whatever inexplicable reason, what they have to recommend them is that they’re not absurdly short-lived.

        • 0 avatar
          30-mile fetch

          “They are reliable and tractable at low rpm but have almost nothing else to recommend them”

          Regarding the 2.5, what more can you expect for the ~$18K starting price of the Jettas and Rabbits/Golfs they were putting them in? Consider what they were competing against. The Passat’s a different story, it was outgunned in that segment.

      • 0 avatar
        30-mile fetch

        “I was under the impression, conversely, that the 2.0 4 cylinder didn’t fare nearly as well in this regard.”

        It may be difficult to parse that out. One would have to find older Consumer Reports giving data on MkIV Jettas and Golfs running that engine since the annual auto issue only shows reliability stats for the last six years or so. The last one I saw didn’t even show data for the MkVI 2.0 and TrueDelta doesn’t either, perhaps because the take rate is low enough to have insufficient data.

  • avatar
    ravenchris

    It’s good to see happiness can be found at 17K.
    How low can it go?

  • avatar
    Brumus

    Can’t help but think if an American automaker was selling a car of this size with a wheezing, ball-less 115-h.p. engine the stampede of posters racing to the “submit comment” button with all manner of snark.

    • 0 avatar
      jrmason

      Why do you think that?_

      There are a handful of hybrids out there at the sub-100 HP level. The Honda Civic is listed at 110 HP with its entry level engine. People buy these types of cars to go from A to B in a practical fashion. High horsepower is not needed to do this.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Um, have you been on The Internet lately? Go look at any glossy-auto mag website that reviews this generation of Jetta. Any article that mentions the 2.0 is offered is full of comments about 2.SLOW! 2.SLOW! LOL OMG WHAT WERE THEY THINKING??!!!

      Now, the real question is whether you read this review, by an actual owner, who clearly articulated why he thinks this motor is adequate in this car even if it is down on power compared to the competition.

      • 0 avatar
        JimC2

        But what about towing an 8,000 pound boat to Pike’s Peak and I need more horsepower because I NEED to pass? Rawr safety rawer horsepower! You mean to tell me I have to downshift a manual transmission to go up a steep hill?!?

        And thus the internet explodes.

        By the way, iMatt, very smartly written review.

  • avatar
    Maymar

    I test-drove one of these when I was looking for my last car – probably would’ve been my choice if I lived somewhere a little more rural, or did more highway driving (as it was, I benefit from something a little smaller). You’re right, the 115hp is far more adequate than it sounds, and it feels larger than the interior dimensions suggest. I find the steering wheel a little oddly shaped for my hands (the leather-wrapped wheel on the higher trim models feels much nicer), but the interior is perfectly adequate.

  • avatar
    dundurrbay

    My best friend Lexy has a 2012 Jetta with the 2.0l engine, the same one as my 1993 Jetta! Hers is mated to the six-speed auto and it honestly isn’t as bad as people believe, only as a runabout for town. Highway passing power leaves much to be desired, but it will cruise at 120 km/h at around ~2.8k RPM and get around 33-35 US MPG in the process. It is a quiet car as well, and hers is the “comfortline” so it does have A/C but has the older head unit. The vents have a chrome surround which seems to be deleted on this model but the plastics are mostly of the hard variety, although the general design of the dash is pleasing. It isn’t a bad car. She got hers for 16,600 CAD which is cheap as we pay a lot for cars up here. It should hopefully be reliable for her. Driving around town, it is torquey enough to keep up with traffic, the only time you notice a real power deficiency is at highway speeds when trying to pass. My old jetta had the 5 speed manual and it also wasn’t bad – the 115 HP rating seems low, feels more like 125-130. For comparison, the BETA II engine in my 2007 Kia Spectra has 141 HP but the torque curve is more peaky. Her 2012 Jetta and my car feel just as eager, hers having 26 HP less and mine being hooked to a 5 speed. VW either underrates this engine or it has a very flat, wide torque curve before it peaks.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      “VW either underrates this engine or it has a very flat, wide torque curve before it peaks.”

      If it’s anything like the 2.5 5-cylinder, it is the latter. I don’t think either the 2.0 or 2.5 are underrated, their measured acceleration times are about what you’d expect for the hp and weight. Unlike the 1.8T and 2.0T.

  • avatar
    PentastarPride

    I don’t know what it is with the Jetta and its largely female ownership base, but my girlfriend has one, a 2009 with the inline-5. I actually think it’s OK, if I didn’t have that feeling of impending catastrophic failure before it makes it to 100k.

    Being very tangentially optimistic, it may outlast my Chrysler 200 (who knows?), but honestly, I have a big doubt about that. I let her know about my concerns when she bought this car, as I know of several people who have owned VWs and Audis that have had nothing but trouble and perhaps a bit of heartache. I tried to talk her into an Avenger, a Fusion, even an Accord, but she wanted the Jetta. No problems so far, so that’s good, but I’m dreading that text message from her asking to be picked up 90 miles away from home.

    I will say that it isn’t bad-looking, it doesn’t look like a weird spacecraft as similar cars of its class and model year range do, and it’s pretty comfortable. The interior and exterior is conservatively styled yet sleek, the leather is durable. I can see that the newest Volkswagens/Audis carry this tradition of a decent design, among the sea of jellybean Kias, Hondas and so on.

    • 0 avatar
      30-mile fetch

      Reliability stats show the the 2.5 5-cylinder equipped cars to be the most reliable in the VW fleet and, IIRC, average or better than the industry average. Certainly far better than the early 2000s VWs that cemented their reputation here. I bought a 2010 VW 5-cylinder because the Consumer Reports stats showed it to be a clear improvement over the last generation.

      Just yesterday I saw a ~2009 2.5 Jetta parked at Costco, driven by the kind of girl that gave it a chick car reputation, and apparently beat to hell. Not a body panel without some kind of neglect-derived damage on it. Rear bumper fascia peeling off from some unrepaired fender-bender. VW logo gone from the grill with the hood dented behind it. But up fired that 5-cylinder with its usual unique growl and away she blasted in it, pink flower lei swinging from the rear-view mirror.

  • avatar
    GST

    Internet criticism of 1.8 and 2.0 four cylinder turbo engines does not resonate with my family. None of the cars that we drive has ever had an engine related problem (except one water pump on Jetta).

    Son in Law 2003 Jetta Wulfsburg 135,000mi, daughter Sportwagon diessel stick 85,000 mi, son 2006 Audi A4 160,000 mi, wife 2011 Audi Q5 85,000, me 2001 Audi TT Roadster 150,000 mi and BMW 320i 17,000 mi.

    • 0 avatar
      JD23

      Glad that these engines have treated you well, but I have a 2011 A4 with a 2.0T that drinks oil like a two-stroke engine. At least the warranty for oil consumption has been extended to 8 years/80,000 miles as a consequence of a class action lawsuit settlement.

      • 0 avatar
        heavy handle

        There’s a goodwill recall on those, provided you meet certain prerequisites (use a certain amount of oil, have records of scheduled oil changes).
        Audi dealers often don’t offer this unless prodded. It’s a big, low-paying job, and they would rather sell sell you a new Audi.

        I have a friend who used to be an Audi tech and specialized in this. He would rebuild one or two engines a week. He’s since moved-on to other employment (still in the industry). Apparently the current 2.0Ts no longer have this issue.

        • 0 avatar
          JD23

          My car underwent the stage 1 oil consumption repair in 2012 and it seemed to work for several years, with oil consumption below 1 qt./4000 miles. In the past six months, I’ve had to add oil between oil changes and the rate has increased to approximately 1 qt./2000 miles. I am going initiate the recall process when I bring in my car for its next service.

  • avatar
    DeadWeight

    iMatt or ANYONE who has driven the current Jetta & Chevy Cruze:

    Which one feels more comparatively solid & better built when traversing less than ideal road surfaces, which one has better switchgear & fit/finish, and which one eels more substantial/refined overall?

    I have not driven the current Jetta, but the current Cruze impresses me as one of GM’s best vehicles given its intended competitors (and one of GM’s best vehicles of the modern era, on a $ for $ basis – real world pricing), and in fact, I would rather get a rental Cruze than many of the larger cars that the rental fleets are chock full of, such as Altimas, Camries, Malibus, Sonatas, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      The Cruze is better on the volume end. It will be much slower than a 1.8T equipped Jetta though. The Cruze lacks a top end engine. I do like the GLI, but I wouldn’t buy one over the MQB GTI, Focus ST, or V6/Ecoboost Mustang.

  • avatar
    ponchoman49

    This one brings new meaning to the word plain. And cheap. LOL at having cruise control and that god forsaken touch screen but no A/C. For real! I would take that over hyped grossly overrated fingerprint magnet for A/C any day of the year. And for the love of god will VW ever get rid of that ancient 115 HP 2 liter engine already. Even an NA version of the new turbo 1.8 would be preferable I’m sure.

  • avatar
    iMatt

    Thanks for the positive feedback everyone. In response to a lot of comments regarding the engine, to reiterate, the only reason I was able to buy this much car for the price I paid was because I made a huge compromise in going with the old motor. I did look at a Cruze at a Chevy dealership, but the only one they wanted to show me started at well over 20 grand…gotta the love “The Alberta Advantage” they refer to around here. The same dealership also told me they don’t sell ANY pickup truck for less than 40 K. LOL.

    I also considered a Mazda 3 but there were a number of things that dissuaded me. First, the base model has all but one dial on the gauge cluster. A tachometer is not even standard equipment. Second, I’ve come across too many rattly and rusty Mazda’s in Quebec to have any faith they would last for an extended time out here. Lastly, they just didn’t offer the same value dollar for dollar that I felt the Jetta did.

    As to where here in Alberta is, some of you were close. The pictures were taken in Grande Cache and I bought the car in Grande Prairie, about 300 miles Northwest of Edmonton.

    Gtemnykh and Heavy Handle summed it up better than I was able to; at this price, you don’t buy the engine, you buy the whole car. Even if it does come with a tractor engine…one that I actually kinda like.

    I’ll submit a review of the Fit to Derek, we’ll see if it passes the mustard test!

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • chiefmonkey: Ummm, Honda does the same thing. This isn’t such a big revelation anymore.
  • FreedMike: By today’s standards, practically everyone in Lincoln’s day was racist. Lincoln himself...
  • FreedMike: I always thought there was something great in that Buick dealership, just waiting to get out.
  • Lie2me: They are, around where I am 2018/2019 Continentals are going for high $20s, low $30s
  • FreedMike: The acting profession is all about gettin’ paid.

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Matthew Guy
  • Timothy Cain
  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Chris Tonn
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber