A Tale of Two VW Jettas – 2010 and 2011 From a Woman Tortured by the Purchase Experience

Posted on September 24, 2010

Twenty-four hours ago I thought that the labor was over and that I would be delivered of a Special Edition 2010 Jetta.  I swallowed the idea that trading it a few yeas hence might see me  lose money because it was a special edition? Ah but I was enamored of all the bells and whistles one should ignore in the face of a good, sensible purchase.  My chief concern: Safety.  VW is tops in this.

Well, next morning didn’t the salesman call to say he had forgot to add sales tax?  Mon Dieu.  Quelle horreur.  Of course I was partly to blame because he said we had added things up together.  And I of course freaked and yelled “and so you went to your boss and said you took your customer’s figures?  And you still have a job”?

I hung up and took a nap.  Sleep is the great escape – and the cheapest these days.  But who can take a nap with the companion Jack Russell Terrier whimpering away because she sees her pal the mail woman-of-the-treats a block away.  So I lowered my body full of fast foods – the staff of life  when on these car buying attack missions – into my Japanese rental car to drive to another VW dealer in a galaxy far away.

Enter a very nice young man, Chris,  (old ladies like me are absolute fools for these) with a good idea: “do you really need all the extras on the Special Edition 2010 Jetta”?  “Wouldn’t you like to pay less and get only what you need and end up with  a 2011 Jetta instead?  So I found myself lowering my even more fully stuffed frame into the new 2011 Jetta base model as Chris related that the car is top of its class in safety.

I considered that buying it meant Jettisoning the 2010 Special Edition extras:

  • Leatherette seats.  My favorite has always been cloth.  Why?  Warm in winter; reasonable in summer.  You don’t need heated seats.  Money saved.
  • No cruise control.  I never used it anyway.  If I need cruise control, I’ll ask someone else to drive.
  • CD player.  I’m a radio freak.  I have all I can carry without adding CDs into the mix and I would not want to store them in my car.  That was easy.
  • No fancy overhead console with blue tooth for your phone.  Ouch.  You mean I can’t play my phone through my car speakers?  People would think I was really talking to myself if they didn’t see headphones or an ear thingy.  At my age the last thing you want is for anyone to think you are talking to yourself.  You may end up in a cell with Paris and Lindsay as den mother.
  • No lumbar adjustment on the seat in the base model.  Now this is important to me because I have a bad back.  I have been devoted to VW because of its air-craft manufacturer-designed seat. Surprise, the 2011 seats have been widened (I guess they measured me in my sleep) and re cast so I do not need a lumbar adjustment.

And now some “official specs:”

the Jetta’s wheelbase is now 2.76 inches longer than the outgoing model, while its length increases by 3.54 inches, putting the overall length of the sedan up to around 182.6 inches. As a result, the interior is the roomiest ever offered on a Jetta. The sedan is a mere inch or two shorter than the popular fifth-generation Passat, which was sold here from 1996 to 2005 [I was trading my 2001 Passat with dead automatic transmission].

The Jetta’s interior now features 2.6 inches of additional rear legroom and a revised overall design. New switchgear is said to have been improved for additional comfort and convenience.

Four trim levels (S, SE, SEL, TDI) will continue to be offered, although the base price has been dropped to $15,995 for the entry-level S model. The 2011 Jetta sees the return of Volkswagen’s 115-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder powertrain as its base engine, while the previously standard 2.5-liter five-cylinder will be on the options list. More performance-oriented Jettas will come with the 2.0-liter turbocharged TSI four-cylinder, while the ever-popular 2.0-liter TDI diesel four-cylinder will be available as its own trim level.

VW is also planning to introduce a Jetta hybrid in 2012. [leftlanenews.com]

After thinking through the above, I took a test drive.  I can tell you the ride was smoother by far than the 2010 – largely because of the slight increase in length of the car and in also an increase in overall weight.  But the surprise is that the highway gas mileage has gone from 30 mpg to 32 through the return to the engine described above.  It’s all  you need unless you frequent drag strips.  A sport gear on the transmission gives you the extra power for passing or showing off – whichever!

My passion for the car engaged,  I signed on the dotted line.  I deftly put through a stop payment on the check for the other dealer for the 2010.  And I made arrangements to have my dead 2001 Passat towed to this other, nicer dealer of refuge.  Oh, and I had managed to get what this dealer cited as an unusually high customer appreciation allowance from VW of America transferred toward the current purchase.  Happy ending – except….

The color of the car is gray; the interior an even darker gray.  I had no choice in the matter, it was all they had on the lot and Susie Orman says not to be picky about the color in the middle of a good trade.  Help me make the best of this thing. I live in an area that is dark and gray most of the year. Tell me, shouldn’t I call this thing something clever like the Blah Buggy or the Mist Mobile?  Perhaps add a red pinstripe?  OR how about red pinstripes all over and slap on a sign “it suits me.”