Like/Dislike About My 2002 VW Jetta

So I think we’re buying a car. We tend to make these big decisions pretty quickly, and I think we’re doing it again. Last night we finally came to the realization that as much as we like our Jetta, it doesn’t meet our needs anymore. And as much as it might make sense to have two cars now, we can’t afford it and we really like being a one car family. So we’re planning to trade in the Jetta and get a Mazda5. Hopefully.

Which has prompted me to reminisce about what I like and don’t like about the Jetta.

What I Like About My 2002 VW Jetta

  • It’s a fun, sporty little car that makes me feel like I’m crusing on the autobahn. That’s how it felt when we took it for a test drive and the dealer suddenly shouted, “Go! Go! Go! Punch it!” on the entrance ramp to the freeway. I punched it and suddenly didn’t care if I was getting a crappy interest rate and paying $3,000 more. This was fun. Of course later I discovered some of that peppiness comes at the expense of running 4,000 rpm at cruising speed on the highway.
  • The blue glow from the instrument panel. Sweet.
  • The cup holder. It looked like the cheapest piece of crap that couldn’t hold anything–but oh so wrong. Those flexible arms and woosie little stands could hold anything from a meager can of pop to a big gulp. They looked wimpy, but they cried, “Bring it!”
  • Heated seats. Every Jetta at the dealership came with the cold weather package, so we really didn’t have a choice. It’s not something I’d spring for. But man, were they nice.
  • Switchblade Key. Now everybody’s doing it, but back then how cool was that?
  • The hood release latch. Nobody likes fishing around under the hood for the release so you can open the hood. You end up touching something greasy. Every time. But the Jetta had a little knob that shot out when you popped the hood. No more searching for the hood release.
  • Heavens to mercatroid. Ah, the full size spare tire. Now there’s bragging rights. Of course we never needed it.
  • The 6-disc changer compartment. The trunk had a cool little compartment to hold the 6-disc changer. Nice and convenient place to stow it away and not lose cargo space. Notice I’m impressed with where they put the changer, not with the actual changer itself (see below).
  • Daytime running lights. Some people think these are a stupid safety feature, but I kind of like them. Though not for safety reasons. I like them because I can never forget to turn the lights on. They always come on. No more driving in a well-lit parking lot and suddenly getting on the road and wondering why it’s so dark. I actually got pulled over for that once.
  • I suppose there were other benefits, like the air bags and the 60,000 mile warranty, but those aren’t worth telling your friends.

What I Dislike About My 2002 VW Jetta

  • The 6-disc changer. Talk about money wasted. It was pickier than any other CD player about the CDs it would play and it wouldn’t shuffle between discs (even though the owner’s manual said it would). Doesn’t sound like a big deal, until you try that combo on a 12 hour road trip.
  • Our car seat will only fit in the middle of the back seat where it can partially fit between the two front seats. That combined with the bulk of the car seat means our entire back seat is now useless. Our five-seater is suddenly a three-seater. This is quite honestly what spelled the end for the Jetta.
  • The windshield wiper controls. I know this sounds stupid, but in the four and half years I’ve driven this car I’ve never figured out how they work. Push the lever up once to get the intermitten stage. Push it up again to get low. Push it up a final time to get high. Sounds simple. Except when you’re in intermitten, there’s another little lever you push left or right to get varying degrees of intermittenness. So that’s two different controls to adjust the speed of my windshield wipers. I’d spend rainy days going back and forth between the two levers trying to find the right speed. Apparently German engineering isn’t good for everything.
  • The driver’s side headlight being located so close the battery. I’ve been over that one before.
  • The lack of space. This really isn’t the Jetta’s fault–it’s a small car. But you just can’t carry a baby, two dogs, and all your stuff and have any room leftover for anything.

I guess we should enjoy our few remaining days with our little red car. We’ll miss you, Jetta.

One thought on “Like/Dislike About My 2002 VW Jetta”

  1. It’s interesting you mentioned the cup holders. I recall riding only once in your Jetta, and the cup holders were one of the things that instantly struck me as being really cool. It’s surprising that such a simple thing that people would normally pass over could be done so well.

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