The Volkswagen Jetta used to be a pure economy car and it now is becoming a reasonably priced compact that leads its segment thanks to an impressive features list, multiple engine choices, great handling and ride quality, top-level safety, and solid build quality. Available as a sedan or wagon in many trim levels, there is a Jetta for just about every need. Buyers in this segment should at least check out the 2002 Jetta before making any final choices.
Body styles: sedan, wagon
Engines: 1.8-liter four-cylinder, 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 1.9-liter four-cylinder diesel, 2.8-liter V-6
Transmissions: five-speed manual, four-speed automatic
Models: sedan - Volkswagen Jetta GL, Volkswagen Jetta GLS, Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8T, Volkswagen Jetta GLS VR6, Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6, Volkswagen Jetta GLI VR6, Volkswagen Jetta GL TDI, Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI; wagon - Volkswagen Jetta GL, Volkswagen Jetta GLS, Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8T, Volkswagen Jetta GLS VR6, Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6, Volkswagen Jetta GL TDI, Volkswagen Jetta GLS TDI
For 2002, the turbocharged, four-cylinder engine receives a horsepower boost and can now couple to a five-speed automatic with Tiptronic. The 1.8T is now available for both sedans and wagons. The GLX sedan's optional 12-valve, 174-hp VR6 is replaced by a new 24-valve unit producing 200 horsepower. A six-speed manual gearbox and the aforementioned five-speed automanual are now available with the new VR6. The GLI sedan that includes the new VR6, the six-speed, and stability control minus expensive GLX extras now replaces the manual-shift GLX. There is now a 1.9-liter, turbodiesel engine for GL and GLS wagons. The base GL trim level can be had in wagon form. A CD player is now standard on all GLS and GLX models. Changes affecting all trims include a new on/off switch for auto-dimming rearview mirrors, a cruise control indicator light, a trunk escape handle for sedans and Reflex Silver replaces Silver Arrow. All Volkswagen vehicles now come with a four-year/50,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, increased from two years/24,000 miles. Volkswagen now offers a fully transferable limited powertrain warranty that covers five years or 60,000 miles.
The Jetta uses two body styles: sedan and wagon. There is a dizzying array of trims and engine choices, including diesel models that get great fuel economy. The exterior of the Jetta offers all the things buyers expect in one trim or another. Rain-sensing wipers and fog lights appear to be the only major omissions.
The cabin offers a great amount of luxury, comfort, and standard features for a compact. The Jetta can be outfitted with nearly every gadget or toy a prospective buyer could want, and a majority of them come standard on one trim level or another. Power seats, memory seats, and automatic temperature control are the only typical cabin gear not available.
Performance & Handling
The GL and GLS sedans are offered with the 115 horsepower, two-liter four-cylinder engine making 122 lb-ft of torque or a turbocharged, 1.9-liter, direct-injection, four-cylinder diesel rated at 90 horsepower. The GLS 1.8T model uses a turbocharged, 180-horsepower, four-cylinder, gasoline engine making 174 lb-ft of torque. The 2.8-liter V-6 used for the VR6 model develops 201 horsepower. A standard five-speed manual and optional four-speed automatic transmission are available. The GLS 1.8T gets a new five-speed automatic with a Tiptronic shifting provision.
Handling is quite good despite some body lean. A sure grip is accompanied by responsiveness. The ride is about as good as it gets in the compact class.
The Jetta comes with a generous list of safety gear, including multiple airbags, all-wheel antilock brakes with electronic brake force distribution, child seat anchors, anti-theft system, rear door child safety locks, rear center 3-point belt and emergency interior trunk release. In NHTSA tests, the Jetta scored five out of five stars for driver and passenger safety and four stars on all other tests. In IIHS tests, the Jetta received the highest rating of ?good? for frontal offset crash safety. The Jetta is one of the best in its class at occupant protection.
EPA Fuel Economy
Volkswagen Jetta GL sedan: 18/28 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLS sedan: 18/28 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8T sedan: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLS VR6 sedan: 17/26 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 sedan: 19/27 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLI VR6 sedan: 19/27 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GL wagon: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLS wagon: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8T wagon: 21/29 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLS VR6 wagon: 17/26 mpg city/highway
Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 wagon: 17/26 mpg city/highway
All Volkswagen Jetta TDI models: 35/45 mpg city/highway
- Cargo room
- V6 acceleration
- Build quality
- Ride quality
- Cabin material quality
- Fuel economy on select models
- Standard features
You Won't Like
- Getting in and out of rear seat
- Four-cylinder acceleration
- Automatic transmission lacks performance
- Pricy for its class
Former economy car is now top choice for a small sedan or wagon.
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