The original Jetta was simply a Volkswagen Rabbit with a vestigial trunk tacked on the back. It made a more conventional-looking car than the Rabbit, and a very successful one, for the past decade, the Jetta has been VW's best-selling model in America.
The Jetta III was made the same way as previous Jettas; a Golf III with an extra 13 in. of trunk added behind the rear wheels. It competed with the Toyota Corolla, Geo/Chevrolet Prizm, Nissan Altima and other small 4-door imports. Upscale Jettas held their own against more expensive imported sedans. The Jetta was mechanically identical to the Golf, and came in three trim levels: GL, GLS and GLX.
An alarm system, dual airbags, lighted vanity mirrors, central door locking with remote control, air conditioning, 8-speaker stereo, daytime running lights, cruise control, remote-control outside mirrors, alloy wheels, split folding rear seatbacks, a rear-window defroster and a 5-speed manual transmission were all standard on the GL. ABS and 4-speed electronic automatic transmission were optional.
The GLS added power windows and mirrors, premium cassette/stereo, heated front seats and power glass sunroof. Both the GL and GLS had the base 115-hp Four.
VW's innovative 172-hp narrow-angle V6 came only on the GLX, along with all of the GLS equipment, plus leather sport seats, stiffer suspension, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, traction control, 15-in. alloy wheels, power glass sunroof and a trip computer. The GLX was a sport sedan that's comparable in performance and quality to BMW's 325i, but at a fraction of the cost.
- $16,675 (1994 Volkswagen Jetta III LE)
As of mid-1994:
- $13,475 (1995 Volkswagen Jetta III)
- $15,675 (1995 Volkswagen Jetta III GL)
- $17,025 (1995 Volkswagen Jetta III GLS)
- $19,975 (1995 Volkswagen Jetta III GLX)
As of early 1995:
- $12,490 (1995 Volkswagen Jetta III City)
- $13,950 (1995 Volkswagen Jetta III Celebration Edition)
As of October 1, 1995:
- $14,250 (1996 Volkswagen Jetta III GL)
- $16,300 (1996 Volkswagen Jetta III GLS)
- $20,610 (1996 Volkswagen Jetta III GLX)