How this humble silver 2022 VW Jetta S (with a manual!) took me back in time

A short whilst ago, a memory popped up on my Fb newstream from 16 years back: a photograph of the working day I offered my beloved 2000 VW Jetta VR6. It is a working day and event I have lengthy regretted. I wasn’t just stating goodbye to an aged close friend, I felt like I was betraying that mate. It was like sending my pet dog to the pound. How could I quite possibly wander absent from a pal that went all over the place with me as a result of my most formative several years? It was my companion via the very last two yrs of superior school, all four years of university and numerous cross-place journeys together the way. That includes becoming with me in a few of the places most connected with my youth: Indianapolis where by I went to higher school, Malibu exactly where I went to higher education, and two summers browsing Toronto, wherever I grew up. When you are living a somewhat migratory existence, it’s likely not shocking that a motor vehicle turns into like a buddy.

Any way, I’m in the process of shifting back again to Southern California from Oregon. Particularly, an space not that much from where by I went to faculty slash initial tore through the Santa Monica Mountains in a specified Jetta VR6 painted Silver Arrow. The nostalgia feels had been already very robust as I boarded the plane for a swift vacation down to Malibu to travel the revised 2022 VW Arteon. To get me there, the Volkswagen individuals remaining a motor vehicle for me at LAX. I actually did not glance closely at what it was likely to be.

It was a silver Jetta. I stood there for a conquer to respect how fitting it was. “Driving to Malibu in silver Jetta” is almost certainly second to only “sitting on sofa viewing Star Trek” in terms of quintessential “me” items to do. I nearly known as up my faculty roommate and requested if he preferred me to pick him up and do lunch at Howdy’s.

Naturally, this silver 2022 Volkswagen Jetta is pretty various from mine. For 1 matter, it’s essentially more affordable, by about $3,000. And no, not altered for inflation. Partly that is because mine was a loaded GLS (not very best of the line), although this was a base-as-foundation-can-be Jetta S trim amount. Nonetheless, the principal explanation is that Volkswagen transitioned the Jetta from a top quality entry in the compact segment to a benefit-oriented one two generations back. This Jetta goes for $21,360, like desired destination. In 1999 dollars, that would only be $12,308. A foundation-as-base-could-be 2000 Jetta GL went for all over $17,000 again then.

That car’s engine was abysmal, on the other hand. I distinctly don’t forget Vehicle and Driver at the time pining that Volkswagen’s 2.-liter inline-four would be superior suited to marine responsibility … as a boat anchor. Very clever that ton. By natural means, I needed the 2.8-liter VR6. The 1.8-liter turbo-four hadn’t been introduced however, but there is no way I’d want that. Why have 150 horsepower when I could have 174 horsepower? I’m recalling those figures from memory, by the way. No clue what the torque determine was. Most likely trigger I didn’t know what torque was at all in 1999, but turns out that VR6 experienced a great deal of it and it was ample to plant a deep-seeded really like for the things in my automotive style profile. Large strung and revvy would not be my factor, as my Jetta’s Acura TLX successor would prove.

I really do not consider I’d seek out an upgrade for the 2022 Jetta’s base engine. It provides the torque: 184 pound-toes of the stuff courtesy of a 1.5-liter turbocharged inline-4. Which is truly 3 torques far more than my previous VR6 (I experienced to search it up), and its 158 horsepower outstrips the outdated 1.8T enhance. Of system, matching or surpassing 20-calendar year-old automobiles is hardly something to be happy of, but try to remember, this is the base engine not an optional improve. It’s a easy mill with a deep very well of small-end grunt that certain appeared reminiscent of the auto I remembered. Similar throttle and brake pedal responses, way too. Of course, it will get 29 mpg metropolis, 43 mpg highway and 34 mpg blended. My Jetta VR6 got 19 mpg blended, or about what you can hope from a 2022 Lincoln Navigator. But it was 1999 and fuel was like $1.20 in Indiana so who cares?

Oh, and here’s the other enjoyable surprise of the day: this Jetta experienced a handbook. A six-pace with regular-Volkswagen long throws and a nicely modulated clutch that normally takes gain of all that torque to make it primarily easy to travel. A 1st-time guide driver would be properly-served with this a single. Unfortunately, I had the 4-pace computerized back in the day (that unquestionably did not assistance the gas economic system) because the seller designed it distinct it wouldn’t be receiving a manual any time before long. The VR6 was a major ample ask. I also didn’t know how to drive stick still, but hey, I would’ve figured out. And my parents wouldn’t have experienced to worry about an individual else driving my car. Cause that absolutely didn’t come about in college.

Speaking of which, there is confident as hell a much more substantial back again seat in today’s Jetta. It has 37.4 inches of rear legroom, which is basically what you’d get in a 2000 Honda Accord. Mine had 33.5 inches, which meant that exactly no 1 could in shape powering my pushed-back driver seat. Not even my 5-foot-zip long run wife. Really do not stress, I was awesome plenty of to scoot up my seat as required. The trunk has essentially only developed by a cube, but that is as substantially a testomony to ye olde Jetta acquiring a very huge boot. Came in useful for the duration of all those faculty moves and cross-nation trips.

All that extra sizing is 1 way today’s Jetta provides excess benefit in contrast to its predecessors bought in the 2000s, but a a great deal decreased cost is another, and you can definitely see that in the resources. There is a great deal of difficult, scratchy plastic within that is worse than what you obtained in the remarkably upscale A4 Jetta (my generation) and the even nicer A5. My loaded GLS was not that much off in terms of quality and ambiance than entry-degree luxury sedans of the time – today’s Jetta, even in comparably ritzier guise, is not. No one particular is such as today’s Jetta in a comparison take a look at with an Audi A4 or BMW 323i (or Saab 9-3! or Infiniti G20t!) as Auto and Driver did again in the day. That is Okay, as all over again, it has a reduce cost, provides way additional space and is therefore a far better possibility for more persons. If you want a remarkably upscale cabin with cramped lodging currently, there is the Mazda 3.

A person of those people will definitely tackle better than this Jetta, as like 20 decades in the past, VW’s compact sedan is additional about all-close to driving dynamics, with an emphasis positioned as a lot on convenience and refinement. At minimum today’s Jetta purchaser can change to the GLI for some more zing (it would be a mid-cycle addition to the A4 technology). That reported, the 2022 Jetta fortunately zinged by itself as a result of the very long, higher-pace sweepers of Kanan Dume Street, showing alone to be composed and responsive to inputs. It could have grown a good deal, but it is still lesser than a midsize sedan, and feels like it powering the wheel.

Sure, I’m being rather nostalgic, but I believe this 2022 VW Jetta S with the handbook transmission would make a fantastic 1st auto. It is straightforward to travel and not a bore to travel, it’s fuel productive and properly-geared up, and its crash scores are fantastic. You do have to spend $995 additional for vital basic safety tech features such as ahead collision warning and computerized unexpected emergency braking, but to a father or mother paying that monthly bill, that’s truly worth it.

A good deal has absolutely altered in 20 a long time, but this was still a silver Jetta. I would not say it was like reuniting with an aged pal, but perhaps his son? It is not the identical, but there is a little glimmer listed here and there to transport you again in time. This content very little Jetta with the punchy motor and handbook transmission assisted me do just that.

And thankfully, it did not occur with my ’99 wardrobe.