Final Drive: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T Wagon volkswagen motoring memories final drive car culture car culture
Final Drive: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T Wagon volkswagen motoring memories final drive car culture car culture
Final Drive: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T Wagon volkswagen motoring memories final drive car culture car culture
Final Drive: 2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T Wagon volkswagen motoring memories final drive car culture car culture
2003 Volkswagen Jetta 1.8T Wagon. Click image to enlarge

37 km – Having had it with this transmission, I put it in ‘manumatic’ mode and find it to be marginally better. The delay in response is gone, but the vertebrae-compressing changes are still present and accounted for.

50 km – In a battle to ‘drive’ me crazy (Get it? GET IT?!), road roar is in a close competition with wind noise in this squarish wagon.

63 km – Now cruising along comfortably on the highway in fifth gear, I notice there is a massive two pronged gaping hole in the driver seat. I make a mental note to inquire with Jonathan if there was a wolverine attack in the Jetta once, or if he occasionally carries a Sai on his right hip. [That’s where the seat heaters started smoking and nearly started a fire. Electrical issues? What electrical issues? –Ed.]

71 km – Having exited the highway, I decided to test out the legendary Volkswagen handling and steering feel around some fun back roads. [This was the generation before VW fixed the steering feel… –Ed.] I hit the gas hard coming out of a corner and I notice a light begins flashing on the dash. Damn German ca… oh wait, it is the traction control kicking in. Sweet; this car is advanced.

79 km – I can now honestly say that every panel, spring, button, attachment, and component of this Jetta flexes, creaks, and rattles as the wagon moves down the road.

87 km –Being a little thirsty, I pull into an undisclosed coffee shop and grab myself some java. I get back into the Jetta and cannot find the cupholders upon first glance. I finally realize they are a pop-out unit located near the top of the dashboard. This pop-out cupholder looks like they may have issues holding an empty Dixie cup, but I throw caution to the wind and place my large coffee in there anyway. It holds… but allows the cup to leans to the left, threatening my right leg with a searing hot accident-waiting-to-happen.

90 km – I try to listen to some music, but the genius cup holder precariously “holding” my coffee cup is completely blocking my view of it. I try to ‘feel’ around for the radio controls and accidently engage Jonathan’s three-year-old daughter’s ‘Booster Seat Car Ride-Along Sing-Along Fun Songs’ tape. Yes, I said tape.

100 km – I return the car to Jonathan, who reluctantly takes the keys back. I tell him, “Might be time to head upstairs and fire up autoTRADER.ca.” “What do you mean? It’s in mint condition!” he replies. I shake my head as I head back to my desk. Volkswagen owners…




About Mike

Mike Schlee is the Social Editor at Autos.ca and autoTRADER.ca. He began his professional automotive writing career in 2011 and has always had a passion for all things automotive, working in the industry since 2000.