VW Jetta test drive.

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Click on the picture to see the “Jetta Movie”.

The previous Jetta was a well loved car in the US. Its shape made sure it didn’t look like the Japanese competition. It had its own take on the compact sedan.

Not anymore…
The new model looks like a blend of other designs, mostly Japanese. To me, it looks like a cross between the TSX and the Corolla. Who would have thought someone would ever be inspired by the Corolla…

Inside, everything seems to be well put together. Everything looks and feels solid.
But it has to be the most boring interior design I have seen in years. There is nothing that is remotely interesting to look at.
And it already looks dated to me.
The rear view mirror for example, looks like it came from a Pep Boy store. It is that generic.
Everything you need is there. It just looks like it was designed by a robot, with no human input whatsoever.

What else about the interior?
The doors are solid, but you have to push really hard to open them all the way.
And the “power seat” is actually half manual, half power. (In my model at least)
The seats are very firm. Borderline hard.
But the back seat is much roomier than before.

I also noticed quite a bit of exposed metal from the door, visible inside the car.
It just gives you the feeling that “something isn’t quite finished here”…

How does it drive?
The first thing you hear is the new 2.5 Liter 5 cylinder engine. It has more power than the old 2 Liter it replaces, but that’s about it.
It is the roughest, most unrefined sounding engine I’ve heard in years. (The old 2.0 was quieter and more refined) Any other car in that price range has a much better sounding engine. (the weird thing is that it is almost silent at idle)
The Mazda 2.3 Liter for instance, is a jewel compared to this.

Once you get going, you don’t hear the engine that much anymore. Because it is covered by such a loud road noise!
On the freeway, it is really noisy and tiring. There is even quite a bit of wind rush from the A pillars.
Something most manufacturers have fixed years ago…

The steering is pretty heavy, but it has a strange robotic feel to it. And it is pretty hard to keep it straight on long freeway drives. It is very sensitive in the center.

After a few days, I must say I almost got used to the hard seats, and the steering.
But the suspension is just too stiff for a “family car” . And the Jetta isn’t that sporty anyway. So way bother?

One thing I never got used to was the amount of noise. Most of the time, it sounded like some insulation was missing.

The Jetta cannot compete with the more polished Japanese competition. And it doesn’t look different anymore.
So I don’t see the point of this car.
The one attraction might be their “around $200 a month lease”.
That is a good payment for a brand new car.

But you can also get an Altima, Camry or Accord for similar lease payments. All much better cars.

It you like it rough and noisy (and probably unreliable), go for it. Get one.
But if you want the best for your money. Get something else.
The MSRP on my car was almost $24 000. (sunroof, auto and semi power seats).

The Ford Fusion I drove a few weeks ago was light years ahead of the Jetta. And much better looking. For that price, it was loaded with almost every options, including a V6.

It is amazing to me how such a huge car maker, can be so far behind most others. I hear the new Passat is also noisy on the road. And that car can top $40 000.
VW seems completely out of touch with what the market requires.

On a side note, I am now testing a base Chrysler 300. It costs around $24 000 too. (no options though…)
A Rolls Royce compared to the Jetta.

Conversation 45 comments

  1. I don’t think a product is inferior because it is built in Mexico.
    Lots of American cars are made over there.
    And tons of good ones.

    The Mexicans have nothing to do with the Jetta being an inferior car.
    They do their part quite well actually. The car was very well put together.

  2. German cars are on their way down, its really amazing that so many people still love them so much. Its all about marketing i guess…

  3. i guess when v-w put all those techs and designers in the malibu house for a few months ( project squat ? ) to garner american tastes, they thought we will buy crap ! v-w said that program was soo successful that there are building a duplicate of the malibu house near there headquarters in germany, i say dont even bother !

  4. Yeah, you’re right ‘Anonymous’, German cars are absolutely rubbish and on the way down!
    Example 1 – the Bugatti Veyron. It gets rubbish mileage compared to the Camry.
    Example 2 – The BMW 5 seies, it committed the sin of looking completely different to it’s predecessor. Luckily the new Camry didn’t do that, it managed to look almost identical to the previous generation.
    Example 3 – The BMW Z4 is awful value! You don’t even get a roof, which is one of the many reasons the Camry is so great. It has a roof.

    Vince, good review; but don’t forget the looks of the car come from the 2003 Golf, which is an evolution of the 97 model. So in that respect I don’t think you can really accuse it of being a clone! However this car was clearly built with tapemeasures, clipboards and benchmarks.

  5. Andrew. I see you point.
    But the Camry is exactly what it supposed to be.
    No more, but no less. It doesn’t pretend to be a BMW. And it is price accordingly.

    The Jetta pretends to be a lot of things.(different, a driver car etc…) Which it is not.
    As a mid sized, mid priced familly car, it is not as good as the new Camry.
    (which doens’t look like the old one, by the way.)

  6. I see lots of new Jettas around here and they don’t look any better than any other sedan IMO.
    The new Jetta as a 5 cylinder engine and a 5 speed automatic transmission.
    The Honda Accord has a 4 cylinder engine and a 5 speed A/T, so one less of each.
    But the Accord is faster from 0 to 60 MPH (according to Consumer Reports) and the Accord gets better gas mileage.
    So, the Jetta’s extra cylinder and extra gear are pure hype with no advantages at all! Just makes the Jetta appear much less efficient.
    So, why bother with one of these things at all?

  7. I see lots of new Jettas around here and they don’t look any better than any other sedan IMO.
    The new Jetta as a 5 cylinder engine and a 6 speed automatic transmission.
    The Honda Accord has a 4 cylinder engine and a 5 speed A/T, so one less of each.
    But the Accord is faster from 0 to 60 MPH (according to Consumer Reports) and the Accord gets better gas mileage.
    So, the Jetta’s extra cylinder and extra gear are pure hype with no advantages at all! Just makes the Jetta appear much less efficient.
    So, why bother with one of these things at all?

  8. this review is a joke, caranddriver rated the jetta gli above, the g6 gtp, the accord tsx,accord v6, mazda speed 6, im so tired of reading these rediculous comments that make the japanese car the best car ever and present and future. more polished japanese competition, please let me guess the civic, that is what has always made the vw the better car, is the refinement. yes the styling is more compact luxury than sport compact, but that is vw. how ashame that your opinion contradicts, “real” magazine editors, and to be honest im not big on vw at all just tired of reading these fantasies in blogs of the japanese car being superior to all others. The jetta costs more than the civic, 3, and corolla, and has a much nicer interior much higher quality, and detail, as does all vw in comparison to the competition except maybe the soon to be gone phaeton. the passat is exspensive but its interior saids luxury, not upgraded affordable luxury sedan. the jetta is the 3 series, a4 or c class for those that cant afford one, not a plastic laden econo sedan. inferior, the inferiority lies in the tester not in the car that was tested……

  9. You should actually “read”…
    C&D tested the GLI model of the Jetta.
    With a different engine and transmission. That makes the car a lot different than the one I drove.
    Still, the Jetta has a well made but horribly designed interior. And the road noise is unacceptable.
    At $24000, it does not compare with the Civic and Corolla anymore.

    The Mazda6 and Ford Fusion are vastly superior cars for the same money. And, IMO, much better looking.
    And I am sure, much more reliable.

    C&D are just looking for the next BMW. They don’t care about regular people who actually pay for their cars…

  10. I agree. Just because a car is made in Japan doesn’t make it better than EVERYTHING. What people don’t understand is that a Jetta doesn’t compete with an Accord, or a Civic….NEITHER. The Jetta is more like an entry-level Audi A4…but I guess I shouldn’t even say that because the Acura TSX exists, so they should just cease to build Audis, because Acuras are just so so so much better…

    …and here is something I can say about this review. I was coming out of a 2003 Honda Accord EX auto i4… That car was slow and got horrible gas mileage. It only got like 21 miles per gallon in mostly highway, and it only had 40,000 miles on it. I was going to trade it in on a VW Jetta, and the Jetta with a lower power rating of 150horses, and lower fuel economy figures, felt a lot faster, and performed better in real-world driving situations (torque, torque, torque, something the beloved Japanese cars will never have), and got better gas mileage. Around 27 miles per gallon in the city…

    Everyone forgets that cars like Honda and Acura have no torque, and to get them to get out of their own way they must rev all the way to their redlines, which eats up gas mileage….So while you think that the Jetta is slow, and gets bad gas mileage, this is highly unrealistic. The Jetta, while having its own faults, is more inline with what American cars should be. Sensible, and refined…Something that a Honda Accord doesn’t seem like to me, despite however much “reviewers” like this will say about that car.

    The only thing I found in this review to be true is that the Jetta’s perhaps a little too loud inside.

    Oh, and the Ford Fusion is made in Mexico. Plus, the model he was driving usually retails for $20,500-$21,500 according to my looking of Jetta 2.5L on Edmunds.com…not $24,000

  11. speaking of edmunds.com, inside line called the mazda 3 the “jetta volkswagen should have built.” i thought that was a really strong comment.

    the main thing that irks me about the new jetta is the styling. the old one was taut, sporty and a bit chunky. the current one looks like a gussied up corolla. it’s sad, really.

  12. Well, it seems like I’m one of the few who like the new Jetta.

    Only I wouldn’t touch one with a 10 foot pole.

    I bought a old body style 2005 jetta, new, in June of 2005. Within 11 days it was already in the shop – which is where it pretty much stayed for the next 8 months (one repair a month!). VW always gave me the new Jetta to drive while they fixed my car and it was much more refined and I really liked the interior. I thought that it it looked very upscale-Audi like.

    What I didn’t like was the fact that it seemed like the acceleration was a little touchy, and I just never felt comfortable driving it. Also, the fact that one of the cars that they gave me to drive had an internal water leak in one of the doors.

    I actually traded the ’05 Jetta for an ’06 civic lx about 3 weeks ago and considered the new Jetta for a while- but I couldn’t get over the fact of how many problems my jetta had (and others like me) and how much better the Civic was was in it’s handling and mannerisms.

  13. so i guess a person who drives a bmw, doesnt actually pay for their car…., i think i figured out exactly what the problem is here and my constant disgust for the comments on this site, “everyday” reasonably cheap cars, are excellent and better than everything simply because everyone can afford them…that is crazy im 22 drive a 2004 bmw 325i that i payed for, down payment and payments that im financing and not leasing,its sad that people like you feel that just because someone drives something “nice” they are a bad person or spoiled or pampered you buy what you like, and you are so convinced of this that anything that isnt an accord or civic, or horrible 300, that by the way has a very cheap looking interior rolls royce yeah…., or something else cheap couple that with the fact i guess japanese cars are suppose to be more reliable and you have a very brain washed person that seems to be upset at the world of people that drive cars that arent “average.” the old jetta looked better than the new one but the new has a better quality interior, and the old one had better quality than the likes of the civic, and as did the old passat and the accord, and the new one. so get off the craziness and start producing reviews not driven by “emotions,” and bias and advise people on things that matter.

  14. I bought my wife an 06 New Beetle Convertable for Christmas. The day after we drove it off the lot, the check engine light came on. Why is this relavent you ask? Because I ended up taking it in for a new computer and the loaner they gave me for two days was an 06 Jetta 2.5. Now it is better appointed than the car Vince drove but not as nice as my Murano SL. However, I did enjoy the car. I completely disagree with you about the engine. That 5 cylinder is superior to the 2 liter in every way. It certainly isn’t any noisier. Also, that 6 speed auto is dead on solid. One of the best automatics out there. BTW, it is sourced from Porche. Vince, if you are going to make a claim about it being a rougher and unrefined (it orginally was built for Audi) then you should get a sound meter in two cars and get solid proof. 5 cylinders are by nature very balanced engines. My wife has own a couple of new beetles (she’s weird that way) and there is no way the 2.5 is rougher than the 2.0.

    I personally wouldn’t buy this car, but then I need something significantly larger. Also, it IS a very bland looking car. The benchmark for compact cars is the Mazda 3 and VW doesn’t come close to touching it.

    Oh, one more thing. WTF can’t VW put a decent AM radio in their new cars? The Beetle is the only one with a good AM radio. Perhaps someone should tell VW’s Moonraker team about the craze in the US known as Talk Radio. I have never heard a worse AM radio. I think a ’50s RCA transistor radio gets better reception.

  15. this review is an absolute joke. here’s why.

    firstly, every car enthusiast has to recognise the fact that most, if not all, carmakers are moving towards thinking locally, selling globally, that is, their products have a distinctive local flavour that is then used to generate interest worldwide.

    similarly, this critically acclaimed jetta (by UK’s CAR Magazine) holds true to its german values. the interior reflects typical germanic rationality and quality. the reason why it looks remotely dated is because the same interior has been in the golf mk v for almost three years now. it’s bound to lose it’s freshness. the grip handles/spars under the centre console add a touch of excitement, refinement and elegance as seen in the audi a3.

    the 2.5 liter engine, while certainly not the best, is torquey and gives the jetta adequate shove. when testing a car, don’t drive it with the preconceived notion that it’s going to be a bad drive based on the looks that you apparently don’t admire very much. that’s just naive.

    the most hilarious thing about this “review” is how you mentioned that a base chrysler 300c is “a rolls royce compared to the jetta”. i’ve tested one a few weeks ago, and while it has the best interior of almost all other american cars, it simply cannot hold a candle to the germans. a long way to go, then. hard plastics, leather that doesnt look or feel like leather, and the 300c has very possibly the most uncomfortable armrest ive ever rested my elbows on. if that’s a rolls royce to you, then you need professional help. the engine? dont even get me started. gruffy at 3000rpm, unnecessarily noisy at idle, i cant even begin to comprehend your line of logic. if you’re using a 1970 trabant as a yardstick, then maybe the 300c can be seen as a rolls royce.

    in conclusion, do adopt a longer range perspective when you’re reviewing cars. there’s no place for childish naivete in this business. exalting what is CLEARLY an inadequate product to the germans and slamming one of the most reliable, complete cars just comes across as being biased. and to actually question the reliablity of the jetta? you really dont know much about cars, do you.

  16. OK…
    I don’t really care if anyone doesn’t like what I think about the cars I drive.
    This is just what I think… I don’t lie. I just say how I feel. You don’t have to agree.

    -I never said the Jetta was slow and had bad mileage.
    Quite the opposite,, I mentioned the 2.5 had very good power.

    -I very good friend of mine owns a 2005 New Beetle Convertible.
    I cannot count how many times I’ve driven him to the dealer for ‘”service”.
    Within a year the car required over $10 000 worth of “under warranty work”. (including a new top and transmission)
    While waiting there, I heard countless horror stories…So yes, I do “question the reliability” of any VW.

    -My friend’s 2.0 Liter IS much smoother than the 2.5 Liter I drove for 3 days. The 2.5 Liter is just the roughest engine I’ve been driving in years.
    And it’s OK for anyone to think the opposite. I don’t really mind…

    -By BMW they don’t pay for I ment the car magazine writers, and Automotive press in general. Read…

    -Someone here quotes a UK review. the US 2.5 Liter is not available in Europe. And I don’t really care what the Auto press is saying. I have seen first hand how the manufacturers “own” them.

    -“don’t drive it with the preconceived notion that it’s going to be a bad drive based on the looks that you apparently don’t admire very much”
    I actually was looking forward to drive it. I like the previous one a lot and thought this one would be great. even though I think the design is a total mistake.

    And let’s not forget. These are just cars. machines.
    Let’s not take my opinion so seriously.
    This isn’t brain sugery.
    You don’t need to call people names when you don’t agree with them.

    Again, get a girlfriend, and cut the prozac in half…

  17. get a girlfriend? haha, good one vince. my girlfriend’s been good, thank you very much. that’s coming from a man who adores the chrysler sebring.

    anyway, i just reviewed you, the reviewer, on my blog. a blog that is read by almost 5000 people every single day. i like to think of it as enlightening others.

    congrats, then, and keep up the GREAT work.

  18. just how in the hell does this little boy get over 5000 hits on his boring life blog i will never now, i had to take a prozak just to look thru his blog, of friends and family and travels ( yikes ) also blogs dont and wont have counters on them so how the hell does he know he even gets one view a day ? do they all tell him ? all 5000 kiddies ?

  19. here is what little pimple faced boy stated about the 300c in his blog————–It may be far off the benchmark in sophistication, driving finesse and overall fit and finish, but its character more than makes up for it. Rear wheel drive American with a 3.5 V6 up front? Bring it on, y’all! God I love it. It would make a wonderfully impulsive buy, and it’s the kind of car you’ll wake up in the middle of the night to go touch. Wheeeee. Sick as that sounds, I’d surely do that if daddy bought me one. 🙂 Black please!

    seems like he kinda liked it and seems to be asking his daddy to buy him one .. of geeze, btw 1970 is calling and they want there tacky sunglasses and horrible leisure suit back now ! dammit !

  20. haahahaha! anon, you’re a bloody sad sod. ever heard of invisible counters? but then again, you’re probably drowning your sorrows in budlight and nachos whil u waste away your sad existence. what are you, 45, balding, a definite virgin?

    im from singapore, by the way, so unless you’re remotely familiar with the culture over here, do the world a favour and shut the hell up. you people amuse me to no end.

  21. by the way, i never said that i didnt like the 300c, but clearly it’s far off from the germans.

    your comments are pathetic with a capital P. and hilarious to boot! using “pimples” to attempt to hurt my feelings? a absolute riot!

    try to hide your inferiority complex better in the future okay? i know it’s heard to dsguise the fact that you’re a loser, but do try your best. 😀

  22. such big words for such a little boy ! you my friend are the one that needs to shut up and go back to your sad pathetic life in singapimplepore, if you dont like a certain review then move on, vince was only reporting how he see’s it, he is not being payed by a car magazine, he is just sharing his thoughts and opinons on HIS blog. I truly doubt that hes gonna stoop to your level and cry on his blog that someone didnt like what was wrote, like you did ! just by the virtues of you attacking him and myself is showing your age and mentality level !

  23. ooh. slamming my country on a public blog! keep in mind that it’s singapore you’re slamming, not very wise considering the fact that singapore has never tolerated defamation.

    yes, i thoroughly disagree with vince, and ill stick by my beliefs.
    oh, and by the way, you’re remaining anonymous! so who’s the pathetic one now? 😛

    i rest my case.

  24. Yeah, stop the squabbling. And you in Singapore, chew some gum–it’s delicious;-).
    Was in Singapore a number of years ago and enjoyed it very much. Was warned about gum, too (rarely chew that crap anyway).
    With respect to the Jetta and an above comment from someone whose ’03 Accord i4 averaged only 21 mpg on the highway, that’s nonsense. My ’04 i4 Accord A/T gets 22 in the city and over 33 on the highway. I understand that’s typical for the current 4 cylinder Accord–overall average mpg of about 24 to 25. I think that’s good for a 3,200 pound car that has power. And it does have enough power for any reasonable person.
    The VW Jetta’s lousy service record and comments by Vince and others suggest that the car isn’t as good as many competitors. I see no reason to even visit a VW dealer these days.

  25. The thing that doesn’t make sense is if you want to buy a Corolla why not just get the Toyota version? Its cheaper, gets better fuel economy, more reliable and its not made in Mexico. Why would anyone buy the inferior VW Corolla clone? Just doesn’t make sense.

  26. Burlapp writes a lot of crap being one of those self made testers, he can only post his personal impressions about a certain car, there are no objective criteria here. And if you say C&D is German-loving, well, it might be, allthough I doubt it, but it’s 100% true, that you’re a priori Euro-bashing.


  27. Holy crap! All this for a VW Jetta. This is not a trend setting car. No matter how many C&D articles are written about it whether it was the NOT the model Vince drove this pig is not a hit for VW.

    Everyone remembers how they used to produce great cars earliert on in the ’80s and ’90s but they’ve lost touch with who their customers are. You wanna know how I know that? Their 2005 overall unit sales are down month over month in the U.S. market. Check their sales # from last year and market share is declining.

    So whine all you want about how good this car is compared to asian makes and then fudge your defense of this shallow POS that you are so wrapped up in that you can’t see the reality that consumers aren’t flocking to this turd for obivious reasons: Over-priced, under-powered and over here!


  28. C&D is like every other car magazine. They are comprimised by the fact that their advertisers are the manufacturers of the same cars they review. I only look to car magazines for non subjective reporting. I pretty much take anything subjective. with a grain of salt.

    Even though Vince isn’t bothered by things like advertisers. His reviews are just as subjective, but they are honest and they are his. You don’t have to agree. I certainly didn’t agree with his impressions about the engine. They are his reviews.

    Oh Vince, don’t take it hard man. Only people that keep their mouths shut have no critics.

  29. Many thanks to all for being so involved in this.
    This is what gives life to this site.

    I can’t wait to post my Chrysler 300 review….(!!!)

    I really don’t think I am European bashing. It is a fact these cars aren’t that reliable. And for the average buyer, it IS a big deal.
    One of the advantage of buying a new car, is that you hope it will be more reliable than your old used one…

    I love driving most European cars. I actually really like Jaguars. Even the X type is a great driving car.

    But I still think the Jetta is pretty much behind anything else for that price…

    Thanks again for breathing life into this.

  30. Just be honest with your reviews; I’ve read enough of them to know a little about your likes and dislikes and take them into account when reading any review now. You love cars, you’re honest, that’s what counts the most.

    As to the 300, please go into a lot of detail, because I have been considering a Magnum with the 2.7, or a Charger which comes stock at the same price with the 3.5 plus stability control plus abs.

    The alternates I am considering are the Accord, Camry, and Impala – but the LX cars look appealing for their RWD and “hand me down” German engineering.

  31. MicWeb.
    Have you driven any of these cars?
    The 300 is very different. Kind of love it or hate it thing.
    I have to say I loved it.

    I’ll try to be detailed as I can. I’m always afrid of being too long. I know a lot of people just don’t read that much stuff on the Web. They tune out .

    But I’ll try to balance it.

  32. “With respect to the Jetta and an above comment from someone whose ’03 Accord i4 averaged only 21 mpg on the highway, that’s nonsense. My ’04 i4 Accord A/T gets 22 in the city and over 33 on the highway. I understand that’s typical for the current 4 cylinder Accord–overall average mpg of about 24 to 25.”

    Yes I have to comment on the person who wrote that nonsense. I have 2005 accord v6 EX with auto and I average about 24mpg. And this car really sips gas on highway. I got 480 miles out of 13.5 gallons from my trip to VA. And that’s with A/C turned on for in a 1:30hour in a nasty DC traffic. Without that, 500miles would’ve been no problem. That’s 35mpg on highway.

    Who really gives a hoot about what a 18 year old singaporean boy has to say about cars. We were all immature back in our teens. God knows how many 13-14 year olds post on this board…

  33. I have to ask Vince… what’s the music you use in all of these videos? Why are there so many variations on it (unless it is your own?)?

  34. First off, I would like to start off saying that I own a 2004 VW Golf automatic. It was actually built in Brazil instead of Mexico. I wanted a manual at first because I looked up something that said you have a much greater chance of a maintenance problem with a VW if you buy a VW automatic made in either Mexico or Brazil. This information was even backed up by my local dealer, who warned me of this. But anyway I decided against a manual because I wanted my daughter to learn to drive on an automatic whcih would be easier and safer for her.

    Well, I have owned the car for almost two years now, and I have only taken it the dealer once to buy a new key since one of them was lost. But other than that visit, I have never taken it in before for anything mechanical. I put regular-grade gas in it and it has gives me at least 25 MPG mixed.

    One other thing, I would like to comment on the Jetta’s new styling. It isn’t ugly, but when the new Golf eventually makes it way over here, it will have the same face as the Jetta. This, I think, is where VW went wrong. They are trying to move the Jetta more upmarket, but when Americans see the Golf, they will assume it is an economy hatchback and think the Jetta the same.

    So to anyone out there considering the Jetta, my advice is to buy a car with a manual transmission for better reliability, and, if possible, wait for the Golf as it will be cheaper, weigh less, and will have more cargo room.

  35. Completely incorrect review.

    Jetta != Camry, Accord, etc.

    You can not compare something that is not the same size, same price point, same performance, etc. Vince, you make the dear mistake of comparing based on price and the model you got to drive.

    I do not own a Jetta nor do I plan to own one. I have however owned 3 Accords, Scion tC and an Acura TL.

    Ford Fusion.. you compare this to a fully loaded Ford Fusion? Are you kidding me? Just cause these two cars cost the same you can not compare them. Have you thought about the fact that they are built by two different companies, functioning in different socio-economic climates/countries so on and so forth. Fords are using the same parts across their entire line to save money, slash prices and stream line the living h3ll out of their supply chains to present such “great” cars. VW does not have to have this luxury. There is still rest of Europe that will happily buy a VW over Japanese or American car brands.

    Now on the matter of the Passat. You do not hear properly in that area as well. It is one of the most refined sedans you can get for $24000. You can get a fully loaded 2.0T Passat for $24K (lux package 1&2). The 2.0T actually drives better than most V6s out there and the car has great fit, finish, low noise, features, safety, etc. I’ll take it anyday over a $24K Accord or Camry. Not to mention it’s 80% built in Germany with the tranmission (6-AT) coming from Toyota/Lexus – Japan built.

  36. I would take a V6 accord over a 2.0T jetta any day. More power, more reliable, better handling, more interior space, 80% US content and I won’t look like a poser driving it. But most of all, unlike the Jetta the Accord doesn’t try to look like a Corolla.

  37. Vince, you asked me if I have driven the 300, Accord, Camry, or Impala – I test drove a Magnum 2.7 on an extended drive, including a little stretch of freeway on running across the Oakland hills; a 2004 Impala LS and Base; a 2003 Accord Coupe V-6; but no Camry; a Fusion recently; and owned a string of compact sedans and hatchbacks over the past 5 years.

    I want to move up to a larger car for a quieter ride, mainly, but also so I can more comfortably (and hopefully more safely) haul around a new family with a toddler. So I need a large trunk, ability to handle mountains (Yosemite/Tahoe), and back seat comfort (mom sits in back with the toddler).

    Problem is, as usual I am on a budget, and the car magazines only write about Hemis and heavily optioned cars.

    I guess I am more a candidate for an “ad special” Accord or Camry 4 cylinder (plentiful), but my heart longs for something with more soul (and potentially better handling with RWD).

    Hence, my interest in the “entry level” LX cars, like the Magnum and Charger. The Charger looks like a steal, with the 3.5 thrown in for free, plus ABS and stability control. I even think the 2.7/3.5’s could handle pretty well, since they have a lot less weight in the nose. All I’d need would be side curtain airbags and a set of upgraded tires (on stock steelies would be OK with me) and I’d be in hog heaven (ram heaven).

    Waiting for your 300 review…try to get your hands on a base model Charger someday to compare. I hear Chrysler goes for cush, Dodge goes more for taut ride.

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