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new jetta (NO AUDI CONTENT!)
I just went up an took a look at the new Jetta at my local VW
dealer. He has a black 1999 GLS in the new body style, with
slightly patterned light gray interior. My overall impression is
that for about $18,000 it didn't seem like it was worth getting
instead of the $21,000 for a base model Passat.
I didn't drive the car, but my impressions about the interior
were generally positive. It was simple and clean, like the
current Jetta, but felt a little more solid. The seats are still
made of rock (and not terribly well bolstered), and there is
still too little rear leg room (although, it must be said, more
than in an A4 - see, Audi content!), but it would be bearable for
anyone under 6' for reasonably long drives. The trunk is still
the size of a NY city apartment, and there is actually a
suprising amount of room under the hood as well.
All of that said, it seemed like what you gave up in room and
comfort wasn't really enough to offset the price of the larger
and faster Passsat. The Jetta simply feels like a car that has
given considerable consessions to economy, and the Passat doesn't.
I think it mostly has to do with what a good value the Passat is
to begin with. They had to wedge it in under the A4, but above
the Jetta, and there simply isn't a whole lot of room there- so
it comes out as a great deal. I think if you compare the Jetta
to other cars in its class it is slightly expensive on the surface
(take the Honda Accord for example), but one would hope that the
driving experience and build quality would justify it over time.