Avoid This 1 Volkswagen Jetta Year at All Costs

The Volkswagen Jetta is VW’s best-selling North American car, and 2019 marked its 35th year on the road. Introduced to the world in 1981, the Jetta¬†arrived in the U.S. in 1984. Its family-friendly features, affordability, and German engineering quickly made it a favorite among American drivers, and it remains one of the most popular models on the road today. However, there is one model year that buyers should definitely avoid.

What makes this sedan so popular?

Volkswagen's 2015 Jetta TDI is cleaned while on display at the LA Auto Show's press and trade day in Los Angeles, California
The Volkswagen Jetta | FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images

There are many reasons drivers have loved the Volkswagen Jetta since its introduction. Initially, it wasn’t much more than a Rabbit in sedan form. The Volkswagen Jetta has four doors and a spacious trunk as well as the gas mileage of a compact sedan.

As the years went by, Jetta models became larger with more curves and more refined details. Over the years, Volkswagen has introduced both diesel, sport, and hybrid Jetta models to broaden the sedan’s appeal and even offered a wagon version for several years. Currently, the Jetta is only available as a sedan with a four-cylinder turbocharged engine under the hood.

One of the key factors that have made the Jetta so popular with North American drivers is the price. The 2020 Volkswagen Jetta has an MSRP of $18,895, keeping the price-point at comparatively affordable when up against the 2020 Honda Civic priced at $19,850 or the Toyota Corolla at $19,600. 

The 2009 VW Jetta is a year to avoid

The problem with the 2009 Volkswagen Jetta is actually ranked as the No. 1 problem for all Jetta owners ever, according to the website CarComplaints.com. The issue that caused so many complaints was Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS) modular failure. The ABS control module failure typically occurs at around 98,500 miles.¬†Car Complaints gave the issue a severity rating of 8.3, which is pretty bad, and it’s the reason why the 2009 model is the one Volkswagen Jetta year you should avoid at all costs.

The reason ABS module failure is such a serious problem is that it could cause drivers to lose control of their vehicles and crash. In December 2016, a recall was issued by Volkswagen that recalled the 2009 and 2010 Jetta and Jetta SportWagen, along with the 2009 Rabbit, EOS, and GTI. Audi models included in the recall were the 2009 Audi A5 and A3 sedans and the 2010 Audi A6. All these models were recalled because the ABS control unit could fail when the anti-lock brake system or electronic stability control system activated. This could cause a loss of control and a possible accident.

Did the Jetta’s problem get fixed?

Luckily, the current VW Jetta model has left those problems far behind. As a way to help people get over their hesitation about Volkswagen after diesel-gate, Volkswagen started offering a much better warranty than its competitors. The 2020 Jetta has what Volkswagen calls the People’s First Warranty. It’s a 6-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper, transferable warranty. This gives drivers an extra layer of peace of mind and helps build trust in the Volkswagen brand.

The 2020 model has seating for five and available heated and ventilated seats with leather upholstery. It has all the digital bells and whistles you’d expect, including a 10-inch touchscreen, smartphone compatibility, and even an app that tells you whether you’ve left your sunroof open in the rain.

It has a standard six-speed manual transmission and an available eight-speed automatic transmission that is found on most Jetta models. Safety and security features include lane-keep assist, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. After the 2019 redesign that gave the new Jetta a premium look and feel, this familiar vehicle seems ready for another 35 years on the road.