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With its comfortable ride and quiet, high-quality interior, the Jetta Wagon feels as substantial as cars costing much more. It is quick and has plenty of cargo space. Further, the VW has good safety equipment and its crash-test results are commendable. However, power delivery with the turbo engine and automatic transmission is uneven and the rear seat is very tight.
Alerts
There are 4 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Road Test Results

Performance
Acceleration Acceleration Acceleration tests are conducted on a smooth, flat pavement straightaway at the track. Time, speed, and distance measurements are taken with a precise GPS-based device that’s hooked to a data-logging computer.
0 to 60 mph 0 to 60 mph (sec.) The time in seconds that a vehicle takes to reach 60 mph from a standstill with the engine idling.
Transmission Transmission Transmission performance is determined by shifting smoothness, response, shifter action, and clutch actuation for manual transmissions.
Fuel Economy Fuel Economy We perform our own fuel-economy tests, independent of the government's often-quoted EPA figures and the manufacturers' claims. Using a precise fuel-flow measuring device spliced into the fuel line, we run two separate circuits to represent city and highway consumption.
CR's Overall Mileage CR's Overall Mileage CR's overall mileage is a composite of measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course and highway cruising; and CR's 150-mile test trip of mixed driving, if tested. In recent road tests, we've discontinued the 150-mile trip test.
CR's City Mileage CR's City Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed city course.
CR's Highway Mileage CR's Highway Mileage Measured fuel usage on a prescribed highway cruising.
Annual Fuel Cost Annual Fuel Cost The cost and amount of fuel used in 12,000 miles and is calculated from CR's overall mileage.
Braking Braking The braking rating is a composite of wet and dry stopping distances and pedal feel. Braking distance is from 60 mph, with no wheels locked.
Emergency Handling Emergency Handling Several factors go into the rating, including the avoidance maneuver speed and confidence, as well as how the vehicle behaves when pushed to its limit,
Comfort / Convenience
Ride Ride Our expert judgment of how well the suspension isolates and absorbs road imperfections and how steady it keeps the body on various road surfaces.
Noise Noise Our expert judgment of the vehicle's interior noise level in everyday driving.
Front Seat Comfort Front Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the front seat is for drivers of various heights.
Rear Seat Comfort Rear Seat Comfort Our judgment of how comfortable the rear seat is for two passengers to sit across.
Interior Fit and Finish Interior Fit and Finish An expert evaluation of the interior quality and craftsmanship.
Trunk/Cargo Area Trunk/Cargo Area Our rating is based on the amount of luggage or cargo space that a vehicle has in the trunk or cargo area.

Owner Reports

Worse Better
Reliability History Reliability History The reliability charts are based on responses on hundreds of thousands of vehicles from our latest Annual Auto Survey. Consumer Reports subscribers reported on any serious problems they had with their vehicles during the past 12 months that they considered serious because of cost, failure, safety, or downtime, in any of the trouble spots included in the table below. The results are presented relative to the average model that year. Extra weight is given to the more serious areas such as major engine or transmission problems. Based on this data and further analysis, we predict reliability for the latest year. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
NA
2001
NA
2002
NA
2003
2004
2005
NA
2006
2007
NA
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
NA
Reliability Trouble Spots
Engine Major Engine Major Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.
Engine Minor Engine Minor Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.
Engine Cooling Engine Cooling Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.
Transmission Major Transmission Major Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.
Owner Satisfaction Owner Satisfaction To learn about satisfaction, CR has collected survey data from our annual survey on more than half a million vehicles. Our subscribers provide great insights into their satisfaction by answering one simple question: If they had it to do all over again, would they definitely buy or lease the same model? In addition, respondents also rate their cars in six categories: driving experience, comfort, value, styling, audio, and climate systems. N/A indicates that we did not receive a large enough sample size to provide data for a specific year. An X indicates that the vehicle was not manufactured for a specific year.
2000
2001
2002
2003
2004
2005
2006
2007
2008
2009
2010
2011
2012
2013
2014
2015
2016
2017
2018
Driving Experience Driving Experience Includes acceleration and handling
Comfort Comfort Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride
Value Value Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?
NA
Styling Styling How it looks inside and out
Safety Equipment
ABS standard. Side air bags standard, available in rear from 2006. Head protection air bags standard from 2001. ESC available in 2003, standard from 2009.
Road Test

With its comfortable ride and quiet, high-quality interior, the Jetta Wagon feels as substantial as cars costing much more. It is quick and has plenty of cargo space. Further, the VW has good safety equipment and its crash-test results are commendable. However, power delivery with the turbo engine and automatic transmission is uneven and the rear seat is very tight.

Seating
2 front, 3 rear
Drive Wheels
Front
Warranty

In most cases, automotive warranties are based on the vehicle identification number (VIN), and the warranty will be valid regardless of ownership. The dealership can tell you exactly how much warranty is left.

Read more about extended warranties
Body Styles
wagon
sedan
Transmissions Available
  • 5-speed Manual
  • 5-speed Automatic
  • 4-speed Automatic
  • 6-speed Manual
Engines Available
  • 1.8-liter 4 turbo (180 hp)
  • 1.9-liter 4 turbodiesel (100 hp)
  • 2-liter 4 (115 hp)
  • 2.8-liter V6 (200 hp)

Owner Reported Trouble Spots

The Reliability score is based on our latest subscriber survey of 2004 Volkswagen Jetta owners. The owner comments describe problems respondents experienced with this vehicle.

Electric System

Alternator, starter, hybrid battery and related systems, regular battery, battery cables, engine harness, coil, ignition switch, electronic ignition, distributor or rotor failure, spark plugs and wires failure.

What Owners Say

“Moisture infiltration in housing caused rear brake lighting assembly to short out”

Dean F., HI (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Had to replace the turn signal switch 2 times”

Anonymous, CO (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“continuously blows out brake lights”

Anonymous, MN (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Headlights

“Opaque lens covers needed replacement - $525 on each one at VW Service Center - - -I replaced both for $290 TOTAL at an aftermarket shop”

Timothy R., FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“I have to replace the headlights about every 3 months”

Anonymous, CO (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Heated seat drivers side stayed on and was not able to shut off”

Rick R., ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Keyless entry

“Sometimes the doors won't unlock, sometimes they do”

Tim R., VA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Keys no longer open the door using the buttons. The batteries have been replaced and still no action”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“keyless entry and auto locking haven't worked for several years”

Anonymous, MN (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

Paint/Trim

Paint (fading, chalking, cracking, or peeling), loose interior and exterior trim or moldings, rust.

What Owners Say

Rust

“Despite warranty rust repair by VW, rust still coming through on many areas of car that VW didn't repair... but it is 13 years old!”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Front panels are both showing rust over each tire well. Got a quote to replace these panels. Estimated cost is $1,100”

Michael L., UT (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“rust on front rocker panel, both sides of car. Started at year 5”

Anonymous, ME (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“I am needing to have two new front fenders and lights....the lights over andover looked scratched and when i have had them "fixed" it comes back in a short time....I am sad to say the drivers seat also has holes--this started right after I purchased”

Anonymous, MI (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Rust in the driver's side rocker panel, around drivers front quarter panel aroung wheel well and on rear lift gate around the glass”

Jackson C., MB (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Loose exterior trim or moldings

“Trim mold came off on passenger side door. Finally just pulled it off”

Michael L., UT (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Loose interior trim or moldings

“headliner peeling off”

Anonymous, GA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Center console lid broken”

Anonymous, OR (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“The interior trim on the doors and front pillars has fabric that is pulling away. the same thing has happened on the 2006 Jetta GLI which I did not have any opportunity to mention. The headliner in the 2006 is falling off badly in the rear seat area”

Elke S., GA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Suspension

Shocks or struts, ball joints, tie rods, wheel bearings, alignment, steering linkage (includes rack and pinion), power steering (pumps and hoses, leaks), wheel balance, springs or torsion bars, bushings, electronic or air suspension.

What Owners Say

“Ball joints worn out”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Shocks or struts

“They have worn out and needed to be replaced”

Travis S., MI (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“after 350,000km one rear shock failed”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“one of the rear coil springs failed, a wheel bearing also failed”

Joel G., IL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Steering wheel vibration

“After the boots were replaced, at high speeds the car would shake and the steering wheel would vibrate when it was at center or right of center but not left of center. The noise was terrible too”

Anonymous, ID (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“wheel bearing failure”

Joel G., IL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Power steering pumps and hoses

“Pump was making noise”

Anonymous, NM (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“The rear beam suspension on the 1999.5-2005 VW's is very weak and can permanently bend. I had to replace the whole rear beam and the VW I bought the parts from says this happens quite often”

Elke S., GA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Transmission Major

Transmission rebuild or replacement, torque converter, clutch replacement.

What Owners Say

“I've driven over 2 million miles on VW's and this is the 1st time I've had to replace a clutch- but I wasn't surprised with 360000 miles on the vehicle”

Timothy R., FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“The car was running unevenly and I thought it was an engine issue. Dealership advisor new immediately it was the clutch. He gave me a loaner because of seriousness. Showed me replaced parts. I was very lucky. All is perfect now. looking for 300k!”

Raymond D., TX (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“pressure plate unbalanced, resulting in severe clutch chatter”

John S., CA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Transmission rebuild or replacement

“Getting a replacement transmission took too long. Was told the part was coming in 3 days and the car would be back in service in 5 days. Inventory was incorrect, and there was none in the US, so part had to come from Germany. The car was at the dealership for 42 days. There was no clear accountability for the delay”

Anonymous, NV (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Car was stuck in 3rd gear. Could have repaired but it was the same cost to get a new (used) transmission”

Tim R., VA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“New transmission was put in but the problem of slipping was still occurring”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“The transmission needed to be replaced at 90,000 miles due to second and third gears failing. The transmission was deemed a lemon”

Anonymous, MN (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“The transmission went for the second time since owning the car. there was also a fuse problem”

Anonymous, PA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure Unsure)

Brakes

Antilock system (ABS), parking brake, master cylinder, calipers, rotors, pulsation or vibration, squeaking, brake failure or wear.

What Owners Say

“rusted”

Anonymous, VA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Rear calipers seized”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“the calipers seized on 2 wheels which then ruined the brakes which cost a fortune to fix”

Anonymous, BC (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“standard wear”

John B., GA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Out of round, corrosion. After market, non VW parts failed”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“No problems with brake repair”

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Regular brake failure

“just standard wear”

John B., GA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Minor

Accessory belts and pulleys, engine computer, engine mounts, engine knock or ping, oil leaks.

What Owners Say

Engine computer

“This a persistent issue. The "check engine" light is always on. A mechanic has worked on it (initially it was some sort of sensor), we replaced not a few times. Came to the conclusion that it was something wrong with the "check engine" light”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“either significant fuel or electronic ignition system; causing major hesitation/stalling while driving at speed and/or unable to start engine from cold condition”

Donald M., VA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“Engine difficult to start when warm. Occasionally dies for no reason. Check Engine light comes on for specious reasons. No one has been able to diagnose the causes. Otherwise it runs fine. It is one of life's mysteries”

Bruce-Dana M., CA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)
Oil leaks

“Oil leaking from the tandem pump”

Andrew K., TN (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Tandem fuel pump oil leak. Replaced fuel pump and gaskets. Aprox costs $700”

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Slight engine oil leak too costly to repair so we live with it. Cheap plastic engine parts that deteriorate in warm climates (Florida)”

Glenn G., FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Fuel System

Check engine light, sensors (includes O2 or oxygen sensor), emission control devices (includes EGR), engine computer, engine computer, fuel cap, fuel gauge/sender, fuel injection system, fuel pump, fuel leaks, stalling or hesitation.

What Owners Say

Fuel pump

“The tandem pump on the side of the motor failed and started to leak oil down the side of the block as well as into the fuel”

Andrew K., TN (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“fuel pump failed, way before its time”

John S., CA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Fuel pump failed and had to be replaced”

Anonymous, SC (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Car died and wouldn't start, had to be towed to the shop”

Anonymous, NM (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“The car wouldn't start, and I had to tow it to a local shop. They replaced the fuel pump, it cost ~$750”

Anonymous, OR (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Climate System

Blower (fan) motor, A/C compressor, condenser, evaporator, heater system, automatic climate control, refrigerant leakage, electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Blower (fan) motor

“Blower heater fan replaced $200”

John O., WA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

“replaced twice in the last 10 months”

Timothy R., FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Wiring harness melt down”

Rick R., ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLI 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Heater system

“The heat stopped working. It is not a simple fix such as replacing the radiator thermostat”

Harry V., FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“slow leak which doesn't show when using dye. Refill and it lasts about 12 months before needing another refill”

Anonymous, FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

Engine Major

Engine rebuild or replacement, cylinder head, head gasket, turbo or supercharger, timing chain or timing belt.

What Owners Say

“timing belt broke prematurely at 82000 and belt valves”

A D., NJ (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Turbo or supercharger

“Clamp that holds the air intake on the turbo charger broke off while driving. Had to be towed and replaced at dealership”

Anonymous, OH (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Needed replacement for proper engine functioning. Major expense”

Robert G., NY (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“TURBO CHARGER FROZE. OIL CHANGES WERE DONE AT FACTORY RECOMMENDED TIME AND USING VW APPROVED SYNTHETIC OIL, FILTERS, ETC. FAILURE UNEXPLAINED”

Anonymous, NV (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“turbocharger failed, required replacement of entire assembly, costing upwards of $2,300”

Peter S., NY (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

Transmission Minor

Gear selector or linkage, leaks, transmission computer, transmission sensor or solenoid, clutch adjustment, rough shifting, slipping transmission.

What Owners Say

“Problems when shifting from park to reverse; won't engage all the time and requires shifting back and forth a few times before it engages. Problem is intermittent”

Dean F., HI (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Slipping transmission

“The 5-speed transmission quit shifting out of the 3rd gear into 4 th or 5th gear due to a bad solenoid”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“The original transmission was slipping so under warranty a new transmission was put in but that transmission was also slipping”

Anonymous, NY (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)
Transmission sensor or solenoid

“transmission stoped shifting”

A D., NJ (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Body Integrity

Squeaks, rattles, wind noises, loose or cracked seals and/or weather-stripping, air and water leaks.

What Owners Say

“The cooling system is getting a new leak about 3 months that requires maintenance. This is due to aging cooling system parts that keep breaking one after another”

Anonymous, CA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)
Seals and/or weather-stripping

“Cars with 200,000+ miles frequently have weather stripping issues. This car has had every weather stripping has been replaced. With cars lasting longer, automakers need to make it easier to replace these items. Rubber does not last in the Las Vegas, 120F heat”

Anonymous, NV (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“Various trim rattles”

Shiloh S., WA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

“Car is unusually noisy and a rough ride”

Glenn G., FL (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.8-L 4 Cyl turbo)

Body Hardware

Power or manual windows, locks and latches, tailgate, hatch or trunk, doors or sliding doors, mirrors, seat controls, safety belts, sunroof, convertible top.

What Owners Say

Seat controls - temperature

“Drivers side, heated seat controls no longer maintain consistent temperature at low settings. Passenger side still works consistently”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“We've been through two passenger side in-seat heating pads. Both times the heat continued to increase over time causing burning of holes through the seat cusion onto the seat surface”

Jackson C., MB (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

“rust under license plate covered under warranty”

Anonymous, ON (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

Drive System

Driveshaft or axle, CV joint, differential, transfer case, 4WD/AWD components, driveline vibration, traction control, electronic stability control (ESC), electrical failure.

What Owners Say

Electrical failure

“Climate switch and fan control replaced $300”

John O., WA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GL 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Engine Cooling

Radiator, cooling fan, antifreeze leaks, water pump, thermostat, overheating.

What Owners Say

Thermostat

“Check Engine codes indicate the thermostat is not functioning properly. It has been replaced twice and we get the same codes. Computer firmware upgraded. Check Engine light comes on for a week or so, then turns itself off. .. one of life's mysteries”

Bruce-Dana M., CA (2004 Volkswagen Jetta Unsure 1.9-L 4 Cyl diesel)

In-car Electronics

CD or DVD players, radio, speakers, GPS, communication system (e.g., OnStar), display screen freezes or goes blank, phone pairing (e.g. Bluetooth), voice control commands, steering wheel controls, portable music device interface (e.g., iPod/MP3 player), backup or other camera/sensors.

What Owners Say

Speakers

“front speaker cuts out. This occurred from day one of ownership. Dealer attempted to correct it 3 times and could not fix it”

Anonymous, ME (2004 Volkswagen Jetta GLS 2.0-L 4 Cyl)

Exhaust

Muffler, pipes, catalytic converter, exhaust manifold, leaks.

Power Equipment

Cruise control, clock, warning lights, body control module, keyless entry, wiper motor or washer, tire pressure monitor, interior or exterior lights, horn, gauges, 12V power plug, remote engine start, alarm or security system

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