My aboriginal car was a VW Jetta, so the nameplate will consistently authority a bulk of specialness to me, and accepting apprenticed the most-recent abundance of the adventurous GLI on the Tail of the Dragon aback it launched, I was acquisitive to see how far the Jetta has appear during its lifetime.
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First-Generation Volkswagen Jetta Test: Beginning of a Lineage
The first-generation Volkswagen Jetta, or A1 Jetta as it’s accepted internally and amid enthusiasts, is altered from its best contempo apotheosis in about every way, best conspicuously in agreement of its amour drivetrain. Its 1.7-liter four-cylinder agent produced aloof 74 application and 90 lb-ft of torque. The agent is decidedly coarser than avant-garde powerplants and it makes absolutely the agitation beneath adamantine acceleration. At idle, the complete car vibrates like a Sharper Image beating chair. I concluded up putting it in esplanade at stoplights aloof to abstract the agent from the blow of the drivetrain to accumulate it from awkward the accomplished cabin.
Test active this 1982 Volkswagen Jetta, I didn’t get the aforementioned affable commendations I accepted from adolescent motorists. Instead, added drivers seemed angered at my slow-speed cruising. In fact, I traversed about 40 afar at aloof 55 mph, article I alone apparent after aback I started application my phone’s aeronautics system. As it turns out, an adumbrated 65 mph on the birr was absolutely aloof 55 mph. Hitting an adumbrated 75 mph took a lot of assignment and yielded a bald 65 mph on my phone’s screen; no admiration a agronomical truck’s commuter addled his average feel against me as the barter accursed past, honking all the way.
First-Generation Volkswagen Jetta Test: Italian Architecture
Similarly, alike admitting the first-generation Volkswagen Jetta is technically the almsman to the acclaimed Beetle, the Jetta doesn’t accomplish the aforementioned bulk of “Aw, beautiful classic” contentment from assemblage in general. The bodywork was bound by allegorical artist Giorgetto Giugiaro at the acclaimed ItalDesign architecture house; Volkswagen attempted to capitalize on the success of the Jetta’s sibling, the Rabbit, by continuing the affair of boxlike angles and Giugiaro’s admired beeline lines. I suspect, to abounding onlookers, this museum-grade analysis car looked like a boilerplate abridgement box, not a acquiescently adequate allotment of history.
Still, I had a bang active the first-gen Jetta. Alike admitting the three-speed transmission, which has about-face credibility adumbrated on the speedometer, is cool slow, the auto has the aforementioned abeyance bureaucracy as its abreast Rabbit: MacPherson struts in the front, and a bewilderment axle in back. The accouterments provides connected, adequate ride quality, and the baby Jetta, which rides on tiny 13-inch wheels, is blessed to be chucked through corners.
There’s no ability council here, so the first-generation 1982 Jetta is difficult to action from a standstill or aback ample through a parking lot. However, the council feel is admirable on ambagious roads, and the VW handles with absurd responsiveness. Brake-feel is linear, and the advanced disc/rear boom bureaucracy has no notable botheration slowing the car from freeway speeds. This is by no agency a achievement car, not alike in its day, but its antic administration and tactility accomplish it an agreeable runabout.
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First-Generation Volkswagen Jetta Test: Roughing It
The 1982 Jetta’s autogenous is abnormally handsome in the ambience of what you would apparently apprehend from an early-1980s abridgement car. According to Volkswagen, this accurate first-gen Jetta has a “chocolate-covered dash” and “latte-colored, cut-pile carpet,” and the amber covering seats adverse with the darker brownish acrylic to somehow accomplish the car attending a bit added premium. The chairs are bendable and comfortable, too; had it not been so hot on my capital active day, I’d accept been in complete comfort.
Indeed, the day of my analysis drive was an complete scorcher; alike admitting the Jetta came able with air-conditioning, the arrangement was so weak, I had to able accessible the windows to get some able circulation. As nice of an archetype as this archetypal Jetta was, I additionally could not get the radio to function, so it was aloof me and my thoughts for the complete drive. The cardinal of berth accommodation holes was appealing advantageous for stashing my phone, barn remote, and camera, but aloof a day with the Jetta larboard me missing the clarification and about affluence of avant-garde cars.
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First-Generation Volkswagen Jetta Test: Apprentice from Your Elders
Putting the 1982 Jetta to the test, you apprentice some affection motoring acquaint from this about 40-year-old sedan. The apathetic dispatch wasn’t too abundant of an affair on adjacency streets, but accepting up to acceleration on faster boulevards was an exercise in backbone and bravery. I acquired a new acknowledgment for aloof how quick avant-garde cars are as they leached assimilate my rear impatiently; it absolutely didn’t advice my anxiety, but it was a abrupt admonition of what acclimated to authorize as accustomed performance.
When the Jetta aboriginal came to our shores, it was a serious-looking car with boxlike Italian administration that replaced the airy little bug that had become so emblematic of Volkswagen in the U.S. and about the world. Volkswagen’s auto would become a sales success, acceptable the company’s top-selling archetypal (as of 2014) worldwide. The first-generation Jetta today may not accept the aforementioned address to non-enthusiasts as its air-cooled predecessor, but this upright, boxlike four-door still has agreeableness in spades.
First-Generation 1982 Volkswagen Jetta S Highlights