September 19, 2012
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…