The 1997 Volkswagen Jetta is a well-priced midlevel sedan. With barebones and feature-loaded options, it fits most people's needs as comfort and drivability are keen. It offers a Turbo Direct Injection (TDi) model that runs on diesel, gets better fuel economy, and runs cleaner than expected. The sportier models boast anti-lock brakes, but the stripped down models have plenty of available options. Overall, it ranks average in safety, low in power, and high in drivability.
Body Styles: sedan
Engines: 1.9-liter four-cylinder, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: Volkswagen Jetta GL, Volkswagen Jetta GT, Volkswagen Jetta Jazz, Volkswagen Jetta Trek, Volkswagen Jetta GLS, Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6, Volkswagen Jetta TDi
The 1997 Volkswagen Jetta makes the GT match the GLX's sportier looks while keeping the smaller engine under the hood. Meanwhile, the newly-designed cylinder head makes the GL, GLS, Trek, and GT run quieter, and the Trek receives alloy wheels. The Turbo Direct Injection (TDi) model is released, and it takes diesel gas.
The 1997 Volkswagen Jetta comes in seven factory color choices, and metallic paint jobs are optional. All models include daylight running headlights and tinted glass. The GL is the only model that doesn't include 14-inch alloy wheels, but is available as an option. The GLX VR6, Trek, and GT come standard with a rear spoiler. Other exterior options include powered moonroof and powered heated mirrors.
The 1997 Volkswagen Jetta comes standard with a single interior trim color and cloth seating with options for leather seating. The Jazz, GLX, TDi, and GLS come standard with an AM/FM/Cassette audio system, but these must be added on other models. A disc changer can also be installed on all models as an option. The GLX VR6 comes standard with high-quality Bose audio technology for the best audio experience possible, while the GLS have the option of Bose audio. The GLS and GLX VR6 come standard with air-conditioning and cruise control, but these features are extra on other models. Overall, the interior is simple in design.
Performance & Handling
The 1997 Volkswagen Jetta handles with a sporty reaction and responsive steering, despite the small four-cylinder engines in most models. The well-built chassis and driving position make this a great drive. The Turbo Direct Injection (TDi) model is a sedan that uses diesel fuel, and it manages to be relatively clean when burning fuel. The optional automatic transmission will take away what little power these engines have to offer. The GLX provides a little more power and speed, but the seating is less comfortable due to the sportier design.
The 1997 Volkswagen Jetta comes standard with driver and passenger side airbags. Other standard features include an anti-theft alarm system and daytime running lights. The GLX VR6 comes standard with four-wheel anti-lock brakes, but this cost extra for other models. The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS) rated it ""marginal"" in overall safety. Other than the chest area, the IIHS claims that a frontal collision would most likely lead to injuries. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's (NHSTA) passenger and driver frontal crash tests resulted in a three out of five star ratings. Overall, it's relatively safe when compared with sedans in its class.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Jetta GL: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GT: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta Jazz: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta Trek: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLS: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta TDi: 33/44 mpg city/highway
- Interior space
- Quiet and smooth ride
You Won't Like
- Strange controls
- Plain styling
- Lack of engine power
An affordable and fun-to-drive sedan.
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