Published on July 5th, 2016 | by Subhash Nair0
11 (Little) Things the Volkswagen Jetta Did Right
Last week we gave up the Volkswagen Jetta at the end of our long-term ownership test. As our time with the Jetta came to a close, we found ourselves paying extra attention to the little things about driving a Volkswagen that really made it stand out. Of course, we could go on about the superb chassis and well-balanced suspension setup that made the Jetta a great car, but most of that has been covered in our review here.
What we really want to highlight is the ownership experience – how using a Jetta on a daily basis lifted our expectations of a C-segment car.
- Turn signal indicator on the inner side of the wing mirror
Let’s begin with a really trivial feature. We noticed on the Jetta (and other VW models), this little cutout on the inside of the wing mirror. Through the cutout, the turn signal light is visible to the driver. It was really effective at reminding us to cancel a signal after a lane change. I also believe it incentivised using the turn signal, as the driver is made aware that the signal light is not engaged when he checks his wing mirror.
- Clearly marked points in engine bay
We have to admit, going from one car to another can be just as rewarding as it is tedious. Every manufacturer follows their own logic as to what goes where. That’s totally fine, but we appreciate little details like this that will help owners find the parts that are most relevant to them. In the Jetta, the orange hood release latch and yellow oil dipstick immediately ‘pops’, making it extra easy to find especially in low light.
- Floor mounted accelerator pedal
This is more of a personal preference, but floor-hinged pedals are just a lot less strenuous than hanging pedals. It follows the natural movement of the ankle and makes highway driving an absolute breeze.
- Theft-proof rims
No worrying about coming back to a car with no wheels. The Jetta and a number of other VW cars have a two-stage system to dissuade potential thieves from rim theft. First, you need to pop out the black plastic caps. Then you have to break into the car and look for the adapter. Most thieves don’t want to create a scene and will simply walk away.
- Independent rear suspension
Believe it or not, many cars of this size are still equipped with torsion beams. While there are valid reasons why this is still the case, there’s no denying the difference having great rear suspension makes. Speed bumps, potholes, and corners were never an issue with the Jetta.
- Fuel Cap holder
Perhaps the finest example of the company’s approach to practical engineering. Simply latch it on and fill up. The repeated contact hasn’t caused any wear on the paint around that area either.
- 100% Auto windows
In the Jetta, up/down operations are automatic on all four windows. Just press the buttons till you feel a tactile bump and you don’t have to worry if you’ve left a small gap open for excess wind noise and pollutants to creep in. Also great for getting a cool whiff of Kampung air once you’re out of the city. Oh, and you could operate all windows by holding down the lock/unlock button on the key.
- Auto headlights in easily visible position
Yes, a lot of other manufacturers have Auto headlights as well. But having the function relegated to a separate circular knob makes it much easier to tell if you’re driving with your lights off or if you’ve left them on ‘Auto’.
- Fully adjustable front armrest
Being a little bit on the large side, it’s rare to find a vehicle that lets you customise just where my elbow rest. Having that in the Jetta was a very nice touch and made driving long distance less fatiguing.
- Wing mirror tilts when in reverse gear
The Jetta didn’t have a reverse camera. We don’t think reverse cameras are essential. They’re sometimes even a little distracting. Instead, what the Jetta had was a ‘Mirror Down’ function that would tilt the passenger side wing mirror. This made it easier to estimate how close the rear tyre was to a sidewalk or bumper was to a wall.
- Locking glove box
While leaving electronics in here locked is still ill-advised (heat can still get to it), we found it very helpful for storing SmartTAG units, house keys, and other small things you can’t carry out of the vehicle with you all the time.
Oh, and it’s worth noting that we had no problems with the DSG/TSI combination. Admittedly, we were a little tense from all the anecdotes about Volkswagen ownership in Malaysia. But the Jetta had about 28000km on it by the end of our test drive and never once did we have a problem. As far as we’re concerned, Volkswagen’s new mechatronic unit has worked.