Archive for March, 2008

average is boring

far past public speaking, clowns, and pointy shoes, being a boring person is without a doubt my greatest fear. every so often, i meet a person who possesses the conversation skills of a sack of turnips and immediately, i panic and fear that one day, i may become like them. these sort of people could tell a story of how they had to jump out of a plane because their hair was on fire, only to land in a jungle to face hordes of cannibals who eventually made them their worshiped deity that fell from the sky and you would be fast asleep before they even got their parachute opened.

this brings me to the volkswagen jetta. you see, when i am on the road during my commute to and from work, i enjoy watching the cars around me and the people driving them. whenever i see a mid-sized sedan driven by a middle aged person in the middle lane of the motorway at a very reasonable speed, pangs of fear stab into my heart as i envision myself slowly becoming beige and boring. but every once in a while, a mid-sized sedan comes into my field of vision and instead of a nervous face, a smile tugs at the corners of my mouth.

by no means is the volkswagen jetta a pretty car. something about the square back doesn’t quite match the roundish front, the shoulder line is all wrong, and the tail lamps looked like they were nicked from a toyota parts bin. in addition, the grill contains acres of chrome and the garish red colored car i received from the dealership probably came straight out the crayola color palette (yes, my GTI is in the shop again for air bag repairs).

underneath the hood is a 5 cylinder engine that has the power of a 4 cylinder and the gas efficiency of a 6. if there is one thing that really lets this car down, it is the standard engine. the noise it makes isnt that good either; it sounds like a mix of combustive arthritis and asthma. if at all possible, get the jetta with the 2.0L turbo or the diesel, which will be on sale in all 50 states very soon.

when you step inside, things don’t get much better. the sea of grays and blacks remind me of the insides of a coal miner’s boot. however, the materials used for the interior are well made and are easily a notch above similar offerings from japanese rivals. as you explore the various dials and switches, you come across little touches that volkswagen added to make this car just a little more interesting.

the door latches for instance are made from a brushed metal that is smooth to the touch and hides fingerprints well. the lock and unlock button isn’t the usual beige/neon orange (why was neon orange chosen?!) you find in other economy cars but is a LED backlit toggle switch that glow red when the door is locked and orange when it is unlocked.

the most pedestrian of all car switches, the window switch, is treated with similar regard. a clear and easy to understand window icon is back-lit with a red LED in the dark so you can find it easily. you can sort of make out the texture of the plastic used – it is textured and slightly grippy, nothing like the playskool switches you find in other economy cars.

the instrument panel is where german efficiency and sleekness comes through. the dashboard bathes you in an electroluminescent glow of indigo and red and because this is a volkwagen, you will definitely become acquainted with the various error lights flashing here (mein gott…). all dials are very legible and arranged with the logic of the german motorway network.

the volkswagen jetta is in no way a good car. it is ugly, overpriced, thirsty, and because it is a volkswagen, it will never be as reliable as a toyota or honda. unlike a toyota or honda, it will depreciate like a stone and cost a small fortune to maintain. but unlike a toyota and a honda, the jetta has some semblance of style and is more interesting than wet cardboard. i wonder how well glossy black spray paint adheres to that atrocious chrome grill…

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March 8, 2008 at 10:15 pm 1 comment


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