S Smg purchased this Volkswagen Jetta used for $7,000 (including all on-road costs) in 2020. S Smg wouldn’t buy this car again because: “It doesn’t particularly provide any ‘joy’ as a car enthusiast owner. Don’t get me wrong, it does the job and does it very well, however the benchmark of doing a double take and looking back at your car as you walk away after parking it and locking it from the key fob – this car doesn’t do it for me.”
Can’t really complain. The previous owner had carried out all the required manufacturer recalls (which I could gather from the documentation were all in relation to the ‘infamous’ DSG gearbox).
There is this quirk though, where when I start the car and immediately put it into ‘D’, its almost as if I’ve moved too fast for the car and the gear does not engage. So when I accelerate it just revs as if it’s in neutral.
The way to do it is to (1) start it (2) wait a while (putting on your seatbelt first is a great time buffer) and (3) then engage ‘D’ to drive off.
Also, when I’m in the car driving, the engine sounds fine, great even, when revving and at idle. However when I step outside, it totally sounds like a bomb! Lots of clickety clackety. Maybe I should take the hint that the car might be due for something major?
Previous cars I have had include a Suzuki Vitara, Jeep Cherokee, Proton Persona, Toyota Starlet, Ford Falcon XR8, Peugeot 206 GTi180, Proton S16, Honda Civic, Toyota Aurion, Lexus IS250, Nissan Qashqai and Nissan Pathfinder. The Cherokee, XR8, GTi and IS were my favourites while this Jetta would be classified together with all the others in the I gotta eat to live basket.
I must say however, there is one very good positive about the ownership experience in that this car is so vanilla, meek and humble that using it for daily runabouts is a very peaceful experience where no one gives you attitude (or notices you for that matter) and in fact almost always give way to you readily (like they feel sorry for you!).
Price was fair at the time purchased, during the early days of COVID. Feature wise, its got some gold nuggets. For example, the cupholder separator in the centre console also functions as a bottle opener. Folks I thought this was a German car, not an Australian car?
Another feature I like which I think is common of European cars of that vintage, is that you can set it to keep either its right or left side of lights on when you leave it parked. Handy when parking in the crammed residential areas of Newtown or inner-west for a night out. Its like a dog snoozing but keeping an eye out.
Okay, so it is only meant to take 98 RON, however economy is quite good – 7.0s on average mixed use and down to 5.0s on freeway runs.
Now I must talk about performance. Is it just me (and my low standards) or does this thing seem quite fast? I know the teeny 1.4 has got both turbocharging and supercharging and I do enjoy hearing the supercharger whine when I’ve got the windows down.
When I pull out onto a main road into oncoming traffic, I take the pains to make sure I get up to speed quickly so as not to cause the approaching car to have to brake, and what happens is I always manage to pull away such that I’m ahead of them and maintaining distance.
Honestly, it’s got everything you would need. Dusk sensing headlamps, rain sensing wipers, auto-dimming rear mirror and this very good feature where when you put it in reverse, the side mirrors can tip down to show you the kerb to make parallel parking very easy.
A downside is that it doesn’t have the latest phone connectivity features where I can simply plug in the phone and stream music. The car only came with a MMI cable in the glove box which is for the older 30-pin type iPhone.
As such I have brought out and dusted off my old CD cases, which used to sit in my XR8 together with the trusty Melway and am reliving the panic of changing CDs at red lights and getting tooted at in the process.
Ride is average. Being the second owner, it seems as if the suspension is a bit worn as it is noisy/clunky when I go over the bumps.
Handling I must say is rather good. Although front-wheel drive, it doesn’t feel bland the way Toyotas do and the feeling the driver gets when taking into account responsiveness and tracking through turns actually can put a smile on your face.