2016 Volkswagen “Dune” 1.8T Turbo Beetle

20160825_163702Volkswagen Beetles were built from 1938 to 2003, and  over 20 million have been manufactured and sold worldwide since the inception of the car in Germany.  A man named Porsche designed the car, and along with the rear engine placement, the car was air cooled, without liquid coolant or a radiator.

What is commonly called a “New Beetle” with coolant, a front engine, and front-wheel drive, has been marketed on and off since 1997.  Such a car is what I picked up at General Mitchell Airfield in Milwaukee to drive on a midwest vacation.  It was a 2016 Turbocharged Sandstorm Yellow metallic unit with “Dune” equipment specified, including a rear spoiler, raised suspension, ten-spoke polished alloy wheels, exclusive bumpers and air intakes, black exterior cladding, aluminum pedal covers, and special badging and decals.20160825_153231

Power for my front wheel drive test car was supplied by a 1.8 liter, 170 horsepower (184 lb. ft. of torque) four cylinder gas engine with an EPA mileage rating of 25/city, 34/highway, 28 combined MPG.  The fuel tank capacity was 14.5 gallons.  The transmission on hand was a six-speed automatic, and it seemed sturdy and somewhat enjoyable.  For having a turbocharger, the engine had a definite grumble to it, belying the high RPM turbo operating in the power department.  Turbochargers whir at about 150,000 revolutions per minute – roughly 30 times as fast as the engine.  They are nice in Colorado, spinning faster at that altitude and mitigating power loss that can be associated with naturally-aspirated (i.e. fuel injected) engines.  I can’t say I hated having turbocharged power in Illinois and Wisconsin – the technology is just great.

Inside the four passenger Volkswagen, a Fender premium stereo was on hand as well as heated cloth and leatherette buckets with yellow piping and stitching, Bluetooth connections, pushbutton starter, flat-bottomed steering wheel, rear view camera, and satellite radio.  The theme inside was tasteful and coordinated well with the outside styling.  Beetle “Dune” looks was great, featured a wider track, honeycomb grill, LED tail lights, and while on our trip several tourists stopped by to comment on our ride.

Acceleration of the 3,093 lb. VW was great fun, road manners were on target, and handling/guidance were fine, as well.  It’s a pretty quiet sedan and visibility is fine.  List price was $25,065.00 for the 2016 that I drove and that included freight.  The only optional uncharge was for the Sandstorm paint, at $250.00.  The Volkswagen Beetle has a niche market and doesn’t sell over 400,000 per year (in the U.S.!) like the old days, but still has a nice following and a fan in this reviewer.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line SEL

20160517_150234I remember the first time I laid eyes on a Volkswagen Beetle, in Grant, Nebraska in about 1963.  A young man in town named Charlie Brixius had purchased a used one (perhaps a 1959), and made quite a splash driving it up and down Main Street over and over.  We all did that back then – gas was cheap, the pace was leisurely, and that was the place to be seen.  The U-turns were made at the same intersections on the north and south end of this town of 1,000 population, and some of the guys out cruising were lucky enough to have a girl sitting in the middle of the front seat for the ride.  20160517_150306

Charlie never had a girl sitting in the middle of his front seat, because the “bug” had two bucket seats in the front of the four-passenger, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive VW.  Neither did I, as I rode a Honda 50 scooter/cycle.

Volkswagen Beetles were built from 1938 to 2003, and  over 20 million have been manufactured and sold worldwide since the inception of the car in Germany.  A man named Porsche designed the car, and along with the rear engine placement, the car was air cooled, without coolant or a radiator.

What is commonly called a “New Beetle” with coolant, a front engine, and front-wheel drive, has been marketed on and off since 1997.  Such a car is what was brought to me a week ago for testing, a 2016 Turbocharged Tornado red unit with “R-Line” equipment specified, including a spoiler, “twister” alloy wheels, extra gauges, aluminum pedal covers, and special badging.

Power for my test car was supplied by a 2.0 liter, 210 horsepower (207 lb. ft. of torque) four cylinder gas engine with an EPA mileage rating of 23/city, 31/highway, 26 combined MPG.  The transmission on hand was a six-speed manual, and it seemed sturdy and somewhat enjoyable.  For having a turbocharger, the engine had a definite grumble to it, belying the high RPM turbo operating in the power department.  Turbochargers whir at about 150,000 revolutions per minute – roughly 30 times as fast as the engine.  They are nice in Colorado, spinning faster at our altitude and mitigating power loss that can be associated with naturally-aspirated (i.e. fuel injected) engines.

Inside the Volkswagen, a Fender premium stereo was on hand as well as sunroof, heated leather buckets, Bluetooth connections, navigation, pushbutton starter and satellite radio.  The theme inside was two-toned black and gray and somewhat kicky.  Styling was great with ten spoke polished alloys and attractive black trim work low on the outside.

Acceleration of the VW was great fun, road manners were on target, and handling/guidance were similar.  It’s a pretty quiet sedan and visibility is fine.  List price was $32,270.00 for the 2016 that I drove and that included freight.  It has a niche market and doesn’t sell over 400,000 per year (in the U.S.!) like the old days, but still has a nice following and a fan in this reviewer.

 

2015 Volkswagen Jetta SE FWD Sedan

SAM_3695

The number one selling Volkswagen is the Jetta, produced since 1979.  It is currently in it’s sixth generation form, this new design having been introduced in June of 2010 as a 2011 model.  For 2015 the Jetta received a mid-cycle update in the front/rear styling and in standard equipment offerings.  A Platinum Gray metallic Jetta SE four-door sedan was brought to my home on a recent Monday morning, and I immediately got inside to check out the optional equipment.  Heated leatherette seats, heated mirrors, and Sirius satellite radio: check.  Power lumbar “V-tech” Titan black leatherette bolstered buckets  and leather wheel: check.  Touchscreen radio/CD changer and Bluetooth and IPod connection: check.  Pushbutton start (on the console along with the emergency brake) and five-speed manual transmission: check.  Although most of the buzz with Volkswagen has recently been about the new masculine (supposedly) Beetle introduction, this Jetta is almost the newest VW in the lineup and, as mentioned earlier, the most popular.  It’s easy to see and feel why, because this is a real nice car.

I jumped in and took off for Interstate 25 for a test drive and a chance to do some mall shopping somewhere along the way.  A real firm ride is in store for the operator; a feeling of quality (and quietness).  The steering wheel is rather thick with many controls, and the five-speed transmission quite manageable.  The turbocharged four cylinder (EA888), 1.8 liter, 170 hp (6,200 rpm) engine provides an ample amount of power.  More, in fact, than would seem available with that horsepower rating.  Torque is 184 lb. ft. (1,500 – 4,750 rpm), and the highway fuel economy rating is 37 mpg on the highway, 25 mpg in the city, and a combined mpg figure is 29.  The fuel tank holds 14.5 gallons.

Guiding the Jetta up the Interstate is pleasurable.  Once again, the ride is firm, but handles the aging Interstate quite well. I had plenty of punch for changing lanes and running by service trucks and seniors.  At the mall parking lot I stepped outside to view the styling of the VW.  It’s good, if not spectacular, and looks particularly nice from the front with the new 2015 grill treatment.  The mirrors have lighting stripes on them and up front are good-looking fog lights.  The Jetta has a wheelbase of 104.4″, overall length of 183.3″, and the car weighs 3,047 lbs.  Backseat legroom is suitable for a big human being, and the trunk is the biggest in its class, at 15.5 cubic feet.  In the center of the back seat is a flop-down armrest/cup holder, and this VW had no power moonroof

This is the best-looking Jetta to date, and has 16”, Sedona ten-spoke alloy wheels to dress it up.  Tires mounted on them are 205/55R 16” mud and snow radials.  Base price for the SE was $18,995.00 and a lighting package ($995.00) and freight ($820.00) were added, bringing the M.S.R.P. to $20,810.00.  Bottom line; I could see myself owning a car like this.  The styling, roominess, drivability, and value puts the car high on the list of its segment competition.

2014 Volkswagen Turbo Beetle R-Line Sedan

DSCN3704    I remember the first time I laid eyes on a Volkswagen Beetle, in Grant, Nebraska in about 1963.  A young man in town named Charlie Brixius had purchased a used one (perhaps a 1959), and made quite a splash driving it up and down Main Street over and over.  We all did that back then – gas was cheap, the pace was leisurely, and that was the place to be seen.  The U-turns were made at the same intersections on the north and south end of this town of 1,000 population, and some of the guys out cruising were lucky enough to have a girl sitting in the middle of the front seat for the ride.  SAM_3526

Charlie never had a girl sitting in the middle of his front seat, because the “bug” had two bucket seats in the front of the four-passenger, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive VW.  Neither did I, as I rode a Honda 50 scooter/cycle.

DSCN3707 Volkswagen Beetles were built from 1938 to 2003, and  over 20 million have been manufactured and sold worldwide since the inception of the car in Germany.  A man named Porsche designed the car, and along with the rear engine placement, the car was air cooled, without coolant or a radiator.  SAM_3525

What is commonly called a “New Beetle” with coolant, a front engine, and front-wheel drive, has been marketed on and off since 1997.  Such a car is what was brought to me a week ago for testing, a 2014 Turbocharged Reef blue metallic unit with “R-Line” equipment specified, including a spoiler, “twister” alloy wheels, extra gauges, aluminum pedal covers, and special badging.

Power for my test car was supplied by a 2.0 liter, 210 horsepower (207 lb. ft. of torque) four cylinder gas engine with an EPA mileage rating of 24/city, 30/highway, 26 combined MPG.  The transmission on hand was a six-speed automatic with a manual option that shifted into higher gears in a hurry, but seemed sturdy and somewhat enjoyable.  For having a turbocharger, the engine had a definite grumble to it, belying the high RPM turbo operating in the power department.  Turbochargers whir at about 150,000 revolutions per minute – roughly 30 times as fast as the engine.  They are nice in Colorado, spinning faster at our DSCN3708altitude and mitigating power loss that can be associated with naturally-aspirated (i.e. fuel injected) engines.

Inside the Volkswagen, a Fender premium stereo was on hand as well as sunroof, heated leather buckets, Bluetooth connections, navigation, pushbutton starter and satellite radio.  The theme inside was two-toned black and blue and somewhat kicky.  Styling was great with ten spoke polished alloys and attractive black trim work low on the outside.  SAM_3523

Acceleration of the VW was fine, road manners were on target, and handling/guidance were acceptable.  It’s a pretty quiet sedan and visibility is fine.  List price was $32,215.00 for the 2014 that I drove and that included freight.  It has a niche market and doesn’t sell over 400,000 per year (in the U.S.!) like the old days, but still has a nice following and a fan in this reviewer.

 

DSCN3702

2014 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid Crossover

_DSC3364Volkswagen’s Touareg, named after a nomadic people that inhabit the Saharan interior of North Africa, has been manufactured by the company since 2002.  It is a mid-size luxury crossover made in a plant in Bratislava, Slovakia that is owned by the Volkswagen Group.  That Group owns Audi and Porsche, and the Q7 and Cayenne models marketing by those firms are SUV’s based on the Touareg platform.

The Touareg, now in its second generation offering, comes handsomely equipped with power lift gate, big panoramic moon roof, navigation with 8” display, Vienna leather seating for five, heated front and rear seats, and keyless access/pushbutton start.  Thus, the base price is $64,745.00 and coupled with freight, the total M.S.R.P. is $65,655.00.

The above listing of equipment is just part of the package, and the Touareg comes off as a very swanky mode of transportation.  Passengers in the Touareg with Ruth and I gasped at the big, glass moon roof that of course powers open from the windshield to the middle of passenger compartment.  Leather is present on the seats as well as the gear shift and heated steering wheel.  My test car had black Anthracite trim inside.SAM_3350

Outside, the Touareg was painted Tungsten silver metallic with chrome trim on the lower four doors featuring a “Hybrid” designation.  In a departure from many hybrids, the Volkswagen was equipped with large, dual, chrome exhaust finishers in the rear.  A possible reason for that is the power plant, above and beyond for a hybrid.  System power is 380 horsepower and the torque is a muscular 428 lb. ft.  It is all lined up with an eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic capability, and acceleration is reportedly is zero to sixty in 5.9 seconds.  The gas engine in the Volkswagen is a supercharged 3.0 liter V-6 and the drive system is 4Motion all-wheel drive.

Fuel economy ratings for the Touareg are modest, with the highway rating at 24 mpg and the city rating at 20 mpg.  I observed 20.9 mpg for the week that I drove the Touareg.  What Volkswagen is selling here is a performance hybrid;  it would take a high mileage application to pay for the upcharge in this vehicle.  Touareg Wheel

Touareg EngineStyling is a hallmark of this SUV, and the silver paint was striking.  The 19”, five-spoke alloy wheels were surrounded with Michelin Latitude Tour HP’s in size 265/50R19.  On the rear was a trailer hitch and towing capacity was nearly four tons.

SAM_3357    Back inside, the Touareg features an all-around camera system to allow the driver to effectively see the vehicle from above, parking lot stripes and all.  The rear camera is present, as well, and it stays on until the car is moving forward at about three miles per hour.  The navigation seemed above average and driving the Volkswagen was fine.  Ride, interior noise, handling, and guidance on pavement were good.

The Hybrid Touareg is an elegant vehicle and I enjoyed my week driving it. SAM_3359

2013 Volkswagen CC R-Line FWD Sedan

2013 CC I

Volkswagen’s CC is a derivative of the Passat sedan that has existed in one form or another for 40 years.  The CC was introduced as a 2009 model and was first viewed at the 2008 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.  With the same wheelbase as the Passat (106.7”), the CC is an inch longer (188.9”),  two inches closer to the ground (5”), and an inch and a half wider (73”) with what Volkswagen likes to call “sports car” dynamics.  Weight of the five-passenger, front-wheel drive sedan is 3,450 lbs.

I recently tested a CC, one with an M.S.R.P. of $33,020, including freight charges and a base price of $32,195.  The vehicle was the “R-Line” version of the CC, which meant it had the turbocharged, intercooled 2.0 liter 4-cylinder (200 hp/207 lb. ft.) direct-injected engine and a six-speed manual transmission.  The R-Line has specific fascia on the side of the car and on the bumpers, as well as 18”, ten-spoke alloy wheels.  Tires mounted on this CC were Continental 235/40R18 95H Conti ProContact m & s radials.  The grill with its fog lights and the trunk with its built-in spoiler were particularly attractive.

Acceleration of the R-Line is reportedly zero to 60 in 6.4 seconds with a top speed of 126 mph.  Rear wheel drive would be nice for stomping on the gas because the mud and snow tires like to break loose, but on snow the entire setup would provide pleasure, I’m sure.  I enjoyed the maneuverability of the CC as well as highway manners and sound level.  EPA ratings for the drive train is 21 and 32, city/highway, and overall rating is 25 mpg.  I observed 24 mpg during my 300 miles in the Volkswagen.CC Cartoon

The CC seating is covered in V-Tex black leatherette upholstery, and the buckets were heated and supportive.  The five passenger classification does not allow for three full-size rear passengers, in reality, but the safety gear is on hand, nonetheless, for such travel.  All the expected power equipment and connectivity was installed in the CC, including backup camera and navigation, but no moon roof was present.

I drove the CC to the Greeley KELS FM radio studios for a showing, and five individuals came out and made very positive remarks about the car.  They jumped in the driver’s seat, peeked into the 13.2 cubic foot trunk, and gazed at the turbocharged power plant; pretty much all positive.  This was the fifth Volkswagen I have tested, and once again I’d have to say it belongs on the mid-size sedan shoppers’ list of prospective purchases (or leases).

CC Interior

2013 Volkswagen Passat SE FWD Sedan

Passat I

The Volkswagen automobile manufacturing company, founded in 1937 by the German Labor Front, involved production of an inexpensive car for the German common man, and included state-sponsored financing (“five marks a week you must put aside, if in your own car you want to ride”).  Until then Germans could typically only afford motorcycles, but with the advent of this new Volkswagen factory, hundreds of thousands could afford this new “Beetle”, designed by Ferdinand Porsche.  Volkswagen automobiles started crossing the Atlantic after World War II, and sales in the United States peaked in 1970, when the company enjoyed 7% market share.

The 2013 Volkswagen Passat, built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is a mid-size family sedan that has been produced since 1973.  It’s Volkswagen’s biggest sedan, and comes with a choice of 4 and 6 cylinder gas engines and a diesel 2 liter offering.  The V-6 is a 3.6 liter (280 hp/265 lb. ft.) with EPA mileage ratings of 20 city, 28 highway, and 23 mpg overall.  The Passat gas tank holds 18.5 gallons, and zero to 60 acceleration of the 3.6 is reportedly 6.4 seconds.  That’s seems pretty fast for such an entry, but my recent test of the Passat in Phoenix made a believer out of me.

Passat TaillightWhile in Arizona I drove the V-6 SE Passat, which featured V-Tex leatherette seating for five including supportive heated front buckets, 60/40 fold-down rear seat, power driver seat/mirrors/locks/windows (with pinch protection), cruise control, tilt/telescope leather steering wheel, satellite touchscreen radio, power tilt/slide sunroof, Bluetooth connectivity, console-mounted emergency brake, and Fender brand premium stereo.  While putting 400 miles on the Volkswagen, I stayed comfortable and cool in the SE, and as mentioned, passing and getting away from stoplights was a snap.

Ride of the SE was particularly satisfying, with guidance and wind noise acceptable, as well.  The car was painted Candy white, and had ten spoke alloy “Bristol” 18” wheels fitted with Hankook Optimo H426, 235/45R18 all season radials.  The windows didn’t roll down entirely out of sight, but I still was successful in getting a nice photograph of the Volkswagen.  The trunk lid was light and easy to handle, with 15.9 cubic feet of cargo space under it.  Halogen fog lights were up front, as were daytime running lights and a bold three-bar chrome grill and iconic “VW” round emblem.  The SE look was pretty much all-American, even though it was styled in Germany.

M.S.R.P. of the press car was $30,030, including freight.  The Passat was named 2012 Motor Trend car of the year, and my experience with it confirmed what the magazine editors discovered during their test.   Passat Painting

   

“Beetlemania” 2013 Volkswagen Convertible

VW Convertible @ NBCEI’m mixing metaphors on this date, February 7th, because 49 years ago today the Beatles (band) appeared on the Ed Sullivan show to perform their smash, “I Want to Hold Your Hand”.  The single had sold 1.5 million copies in under three weeks, and Americans were hungry for something enjoyable, just eleven weeks removed from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.  The Beatles were wildly popular in the UK prior to the Sullivan show, and they toured the U.S. at various dates over the next two years, including Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Colorado on August 26th, 1964.  That was the only Beatles U.S. concert that failed to sell out, and the group was through with live concerts by 1966.

I’m not writing about the Beatles at this time, however, but about the Beetle Volkswagen convertible that was introduced late in the fall.  The company has had quite a smash on its hands, as well, having manufactured over 21 million Beetles since 1938.  Volkswagen was originally founded at that time by the German Labor Front, a Nazi trade union.  The venture included production of an inexpensive car for the common person utilizing state-sponsored financing (“five marks a week you must put aside, if in your own car you want to ride”).  Previously, Germans could typically only afford a motorcycle, but with the advent of a new Wolfsburg factory, hundreds of thousands could afford the new Beetle, which had been designed by Ferdinand Porsche.

The 2013 convertible I got to test was equipped with a five cylinder, 2.5 liter, 170 horsepower engine and six speed automatic with Tiptronic feature.  It came in Platinum gray metallic with Titan black V-tech leatherette buckets for four inside.  The rear seat is kind of a bench seat, kind of a pair of buckets.  Five people should not enter the car, but four were in there on several occasions this week, and had fun.  The VW had pushbutton start, proximity keyless entry, tilt/telescope, electric windows and locks, navigation system, cruise, and a Fender branded upgraded stereo with satellite radio.  Front seats were manually adjustable, but seemed to get out of the way OK for entering rear passengers.  The car has front-wheel drive, and a smallish trunk.  The convertible top electronically races up and down and there exists a cover for it folded up in the trunk (unless installed, which I did with some exertion).  Even with the top up, it’s fun to roll down all four windows and cruise like you’re driving a two door hardtop.

The styling of this new, third generation Beetle is the best yet, with more ample taillights and 18” aluminum/chrome wheels.  Tires are 235/45R18 Hankook Optimo all-season radials.  All on board enjoyed the VW ride, and road noise is acceptable considering the rag top.  Fuel economy ratings are 22-city and 29-highway, with a 19 gallon gas tank that holds regular.

M.S.R.P. for the Volkswagen is $28,495, and that includes freight, technology package, and the Fender stereo.  Friends that visited with me in the presence of the convertible during the week seemed to always express surprise at how little such a car listed for, and that is in the car’s favor.  It garnered my respect, and it was fun to test.

“Good Vibrations” 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan SE

VW Tiguan

    I drove around in a VW Tiguan this last week and experienced some vibrations (more on that later), but overall found the vehicle to be very good, so therefore the Beach Boys megahit came to mind.  Brian Wilson and Mike Love wrote it, and Rolling Stone magazine ranked “Good Vibrations” at number 6 on “The 500 Greatest Songs of all Time” list in their 2004 special issue.  That lofty perch is higher than any Beatles hit (“Hey Jude” is number 8,) and bandleader Wilson took seven months, four studios, and $50,000.00 to piece together the song for its late-1966 introduction.  Reportedly Wilson got the idea to write the song because his mother, Audree, taught him that dogs picked up “vibrations” from people, therefore choosing to bark at some, but not at others.

Is this article about a car, or about music?  It’s about a car; specifically the Volkswagen Tiguan (name = tiger + iguana.)  The unit came in Night Blue Metallic and featured a beige leather interior.  M.S.R.P. was $33,300.00, including freight, and the SE 4Motion (all-wheel drive) model came handsomely equipped.  The drive train consisted of a 200 hp, turbocharged, 4 cylinder, 2 liter engine with 207 lb. ft. of torque.  And behind it was a 6 speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic shifting and sport mode.  I mentioned vibrations earlier, and here’s the deal.  To enhance fuel economy, Volkswagen has elected to direct the transmission to move into the higher gears at lower rpm (perhaps 1,350.)  So in residential areas, for instance, the drive train tended to vibrate somewhat.  Stepping on the throttle quickly put the transmission in a lower gear, and off you would go.  I thought perhaps it was a dealer adjustment, but upon visiting the blogosphere, I found quite a bit of discussion about the tendency.  The car reminded me a little bit of a diesel city bus – they jump into their higher gear ratios the same way.  I’m writing quite a bit about this, so let’s move on.

Highway driving and manners of the Tiguan were par excellence, to be sure.  The interior had that Teutonic luxury look that you would have expected, and on hand were the navigation system, satellite radio, tilt/telescope, heated buckets, fold down rear seat, Bluetooth and media device interface, and a huge panoramic power sunroof that extended over the back seats.  It was a lot of fun around town, especially so if you employed the Tiptronic transmission.  And doing so involved a city fuel economy rating of 21 mpg (27 city).  I observed 23.5 during my week with the car, and it required premium unleaded gasoline.  Weight of the Tiguan was 3,434 lbs. and its wheelbase was 102.5”.  Styling was sleek and European, and the car rode on attractive, 18” alloy wheels.

I enjoyed the “good vibrations” of spending a week with the Tiguan, and if I was in the market for a small SUV such as this VW, Toyota’s RAV4, or Honda’s CRV, I would be taking a long look at the Volkswagen.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta SEL

Jetta at Chapungu Sculpture Park

Volkswagen was originally founded in 1937 by the German Labor Front, a Nazi trade union.  The venture included production of an inexpensive car for the common man along with state-sponsored financing (“five marks a week you must put aside, if in your own car you want to ride”).  Previously, Germans could typically only afford a motorcycle, but with the advent of this new Wolfsburg factory, hundreds of thousands could afford this new “Beetle”, designed by Ferdinand Porsche.  World War II cut off civilian automobile production, but not before Adolf Hitler received a Cabriolet model for his 49th birthday (1938).

Fast forward to 2011, and we find that Volkswagen (People’s Car) has enjoyed almost 60 years of success in the United States, with sales peaking in 1970 at over a half million cars (7% of the U. S. market).  Current market share has been cut roughly to half of that,  but the company has a long-range U. S. target of a million cars and trucks, counting Audis, by 2018.  Audi is the premium automobile brand of Volkswagen AG.

The number one selling Volkswagen is the Jetta, produced since 1979.  It is currently in it’s sixth generation form, this new model having been introduced in June of last year.  A Candy White 2011 Jetta SEL2.5 four-door sedan was brought to my home on a recent Monday morning, and I immediately got inside to check out the amenities.  Heated seats and mirrors, plus color-screen navigation and Sirius satellite radio: check.  Power lumbar “V-tech” leatherette Titan black bolstered buckets  and leather wheel: check.  Metal pedal covers/ door sills and Bluetooth and IPod connection: check.  Pushbutton start (on the console) and six-speed automatic Tiptronic transmission: check.  Although most of the buzz this summer is about the new masculine (supposedly) Beetle introduction, this Jetta is almost the newest VW in the lineup and, as mentioned earlier, the most popular.  It’s easy to see and feel why, because this is a real nice car.

I jumped in and took off for Ft. Collins for some lunch and a test drive.  A real firm ride is in store for the operator; a feeling of quality (and quietness).  The steering wheel is rather thick with lots of buttons, and the transmission is a treat.  One complaint I had is that it travels up to top gear rather hurriedly, but two solutions exist for that problem – the sports mode and the Tiptronic (manual) selection.  Operating this car manually is a snap; the best I have driven.  Speaking of snap, the five cylinder, 2.5 liter, 170 hp engine provides plenty of that.  More, in fact, than would seem available with that horsepower rating.

Guiding the little Jetta up the Interstate is pleasurable.  Once again, the ride is a little firm with our beat up Interstate along the Front Range.  I had plenty of punch for changing lanes and running by service trucks and seniors.  At the Charco Broiler parking lot I stepped outside to view the styling of the VW.  It’s good, if not spectacular, and looks particularly nice from the front.  The mirrors have lighting stripes on them and up front are good-looking fog lights.  The new Jetta, brought out last year, is longer than its predecessor, resulting in an enlarged back seating area.  Indeed, there is legroom for a big human being.  Plus the trunk is the biggest in its class, at 15.5 cubic feet.  Also in the center of the back seat is a flop-down armrest/cupholder and this VW had a power moonroof.

After lunch, I drove to Centerra shopping area and took photos of the Jetta at Chapungu Sculpture Park.  This is the best-looking Jetta to date, and has 17”, fifteen-spoke alloy wheels to dress it up.  The back windows do not roll out of sight, as do those of many models that compete against it.  But bottom line; I’d own a car like this, perhaps in a more exciting color.