Replacing my 87 5ktq

Doyt W. Echelberger Doyt at
Sat Aug 3 05:49:28 EDT 2002

No, it's not gone yet, but it is getting pretty old.  My 87 5ktq is turning
250k miles this year and I am thinking about what my next car will
be.....around the time the 87 hits 300k. Candidates certainly are the 91
200q and those that followed in the "S" series, or maybe one of the new
VW's that share some Audi engines.

The local VW store asked me to help do a dealer trade that involved moving
a 2002 Jetta GLS 1.8t automatic 250 miles (about 5 hours drive) and driving
a 2002 Passat GLS 1.8t automatic on the return trip. The 500 mile circle
provided an adequate evaluation of both cars. I accepted and did the trade,
and have formed some opinions about how these mid-$20k new cars stack up
against my old mid-$2k 1987 5ktq. Each is 10 times as costly to buy on
today's market.

Both new cars had steering characteristics that were numb and a little
vague.....the Passat more than the Jetta. My 87 5ktq beats both cars by
500% in this category. The Jetta steering wheel was rather small and
positioned at a slight angle to the driver seat. I couldn't get directly
behind it, as it was about an inch to the right of the driver seat.  The
Passat had a larger steering wheel that was centered on the driver seat,
but it shared the vague numb feeling of the Jetta. I was reminded of a
similar steering feel in a Tauras a few years ago.
The Jetta held a straight line better than the Passat, which was a little
boaty over the bumps.

The  4 cylinder 1.8t engine with automatic was a much better choice for the
Jetta than the Passat. Neither car matched the
whoosh-push-you-back-in-the-seat of the 5 cylinder chipped 2.2t in my old
5ktq. But the Jetta was a fun drive.

Unfortunately, the Jetta cabin felt cramped and crammed for both driver and
front seat passenger. My knees had about an inch clearance everywhere and
rested against the console or the door at the sides. The Passat provided
adequate knee space for the driver and front seat passenger. I didn't like
the blue light illumination in the dash of the Passat, and I couldn't turn
the intensity down to zero when I wanted the cabin dark.  Can't comment on
the dash lights of the Jetta 'cause I only drove it in daylight.   87 5ktq
cabin lighting wins, plus it has a dash computer that displays many more
categories of information.

The Jetta seats were only marginally supportive in the right places, but
the Passat gave adequate support and comfort for a long trip. Neither came
close to the 875ktq seating, which included electric seat controls and full
leather. Both new cars had heated seats, which was a surprise.

I was annoyed during the entire trip in the Passat by the 3 rear headrests,
which blocked my rearview mirror by about 40% where it counted.  Make them
go away.  Neither new car allowed me the peripheral vision of the 87 5ktq.

When it comes time to move out of the 87 5ktq, I will not be ending up in
either of the cars mentioned. And the $25,000 difference in cost has
nothing to do with that. I think I'll end up in a used "S" car.  This 87
5ktq has spoiled me beyond any car I ever owned, and I appreciate it more
every day.

Doyt Echelberger
Ohio  USA

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