There are few television commercials I can tolerate these days, most of them easily fade out like white noise until I tune back into my program. There is, however, the exception: Target's smart use of graphic images fading in from one shape to another; Gap's yesteryear commercials showcasing models dancing to catchy music; and Volkswagen's clever ads that never seem to bore me. Their latest advertisements for the Jetta include a young dancing couple moving from an apartment to a house, and a young executive-type trying to impress his colleagues.
Volkswagen's motto for the new 2005 Jetta is that "It's all grown up ... sort of." The marketing campaign speaks to me, but does the car?
Volkswagen reports that the Jetta continues to be their most popular brand in the U.S., accounting for 40 percent of the brand's overall volume. This must be true because I see them everywhere, and now I am a part of the "drivers wanted" group, at least for a week.
The 2005 model offers more legroom and cargo space than ever before, and it shows. There's a nice roomy feel to the car, but something troubles me. I feel like I am sitting too low and the car is swallowing me. I can almost relate to the short little old lady struggling to see over her steering wheel. Feeling smaller than ever in this roomy car, I make sure I can see my blind spots, check my mirrors and off I go.
Wow! This is a smooth ride. From stop to go, this car has a fluid transition. I guess it has something to do with the Tiptronic transmission. Can't say I know the technology behind it but the drive is definitely silky smooth. I give the multifunction trip computer a glance to check my speed: 16 mph? Huh, that seems much slower than I feel like I am driving. I check the speedometer, which actually registers 28 mph. What? Come to find out the multifunction trip computer doesn't actually record the current speed, rather the average speed. This confuses me each time I glance up to check it.
The center console area offers two cupholders, a small storage area in the console (which also slides forward for better arm resting) and leads up to the controls for music, radio, and A/C. All the buttons are easy to see and use. However, the stick-out controls around the steering wheel (i.e. signal switch, wiper blade control, cruise control switch) are troublesome because each time I reach to signal a lane change, I hit the cruise-control stick.
I notice that my arm seems to rub against the seatbelt while I am steering. The seatbelt connector, while it is a three-point harness, sticks up slightly forcing the seatbelt strap to come up higher. This is a bit irritating because I like to keep both hands on the wheel but the only way to keep the belt from rubbing up against my arm is to just drive with one hand.
Another thing I have reservations about in this car are the automatic sliding windows in the back. When they roll down, the area between the glass window and the door offers an inviting space for my son to put his fingers. Each time I go to roll up the window I worry his little fingers will get squished between the frame and the window. So, I avoid rolling his window down more than a third of the way.
On a completely different note, the Latch connectors are extremely accessible! Hurrah, hurrah! I honestly set a new record for installing my son's child car seat. I can actually see the Latch connectors so I am not forced to reach under the seat and fish around for them.
Another fun feature is that the car mats actually lock into place. There's a little switch I can turn to remove or lock them into position so they don't move around. This is slick! There have been many times (in the snowy winter season) that I have stepped into my car and noticed that the mats are all moved up towards the break and gas pedals. Not what they are supposed to do, I'm sure. I'm excited about the notion of NOT having crud under my mats.
Volkswagen coins the Jetta at the "quintessential mid-size sedan." While there are many likeable "sort of grown up" features to this sedan, it just isn't as fun as its commercials.
Let's Talk Numbers LATCH connectors: 2 Passenger seating (including driver): 5
It's the Little Things That Count Storage Compartments (puny, fair, ample, galore): fair Cargo/Trunk Space(puny, fair, ample, galore): ample
Sense and Style Family Friendly (not really, fair, great, excellent): fair-great Fun-Factor (None, some, good times, groove-on): good times