The Volkswagen Jetta is a sedan version of the Volkswagen Golf hatchback, which forms the basic starting point for several other designs. Despite the different body design, the Jetta maintains the basic design goals of the Golf. The Jetta is a moderately-priced passenger vehicle with a good balance of comfort, performance, and price to satisfy the needs of most drivers. The Jetta is not the flashiest model out there, but it gets the job done without breaking the bank.
Performance-wise, the Volkswagen Jetta is a solid vehicle across the board. Its main advantage over the competition is value. Drivers are going to be hard-pressed to find a similar quality vehicle with the same amount of cabin space, performance, handling, and standard features. The Volkswagen Jetta is a solid value for any driver looking for a car, but unwilling to sacrifice the same level of comfort common in most entry-level vehicles.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel, 2.8-liter six-cylinder
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Jetta GL, Volkswagen Jetta GT, Volkswagen Jetta Jazz, Volkswagen Jetta Trek, Volkswagen Jetta GLS, Volkswagen Jetta TDi, Volkswagen Jetta GLX V6
Volkswagen redesigns the 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine in some of the 1996 Jetta models. The Jetta Wolfsburg model is no longer available, and the Volkswagen GT is a new model introduced this year.
Measuring 193.6 inches long, the Volkswagen Jetta is a fairly average-sized sedan. The Jetta is actually designed based on the much smaller Volkswagen Golf hatchback. While the two have different body styles and sizes, the same chassis is used for both vehicles.
The Volkswagen Jetta has a roomy, spacious interior. All models come standard with an anti-theft alarm system and power locks. The Jetta Jazz and Jetta GLS also include an AM/FM radio and cassette player. The Jetta GLX V6 is the best-equipped model, coming standard with power-heated mirrors, power locks, power windows, a power moonroof, a trip computer, cruise control, an anti-theft alarm system, a leather trim steering wheel, air conditioning, an AM/FM radio, a cassette player, and a Bose audio system.
Performance & Handling
The Volkswagen Jetta offers relatively good performance and handling. It is a good day-to-day driving vehicle, but it lacks the high-end performance offered by some vehicles. Both four-cylinder engine options are a little underpowered, resulting in weak acceleration, but the six-cylinder engine does improve upon this issue.
The only standard safety feature on all models of the 1996 Volkswagen Jetta is dual-front airbags. A four-wheel Anti-lock Brake System (ABS) is available as an optional feature on most Jetta models, while the Jetta GLX V6 comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes. The Jetta Trek and Jetta Jazz do not have four-wheel antilock brakes available, even as optional equipment.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Jetta 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel, five-speed manual: 33/44 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta 2.0-liter four-cylinder, five-speed manual: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta 2.0-liter four-cylinder, four-speed automatic: 19/26 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta 2.8-liter six-cylinder, five-speed manual: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta 2.8-liter six-cylinder, four-speed automatic: 16/23 mpg city/highway
- Good performance and handling
- Good fuel economy
- Roomy interior
You Won't Like
- Blocky body design
- Underpowered engine options
A soon-to-be perennial classic.
If You Like This Vehicle
- Honda Accord
- Nissan Altima
- Toyota Camry