Pros: Handles well, gets good gas mileage and looks pretty
Cons: Weird behavior from time to time.
Last year after many years of faithful service, it became apparent to my wife and me that her beloved 1987 Toyota Celica GTS Coupe was on its last legs (125,000 miles). Would it cost us another small fortune to fix, yet again? This was a car that underwent two engine rebuilds in a year (one to fix the engine, and one to repair faulty Toyota parts installed in the first rebuild). There were also an increasing number of small problems that added up($$$) over time. It broke down on trips to the in-laws with regularity and always on a Sunday(?). A trip was coming up.
We went and packed with the other provisions we usually needed (cell phone, AAA card, extra snacks to await the tow truck, extra $$ for the driver, etc). While there, we discussed the probability of ending our relationship with "Ceily" and moving on to our next automobile with the in-laws. They wholeheartedly agreed and, in their retirement zest, wanted to find us our next car. It was thought that a car from the suburbs of Connecticut would be a much better deal than something from the urban wasteland of Northern NJ.
We settled on three possible cars: a Saturn, Honda, or Volkswagen based on their dependability, quality and resale-ability. Within a day our in-laws had a bead on 1998 Golf but the negotiations went nowhere. They then found a 4-door 1996 Volkswagen Jetta GL (4 cylinder automatic, sunroof, airbags for driver and front seat passenger) with only 53,000 miles. A deal was quickly consummated for about $2,500 less than we would have paid at a used car dealer.
We Bought a Used Car Unseen?
Yes, we did, but by having our in-laws as proxy bidders we were able to learn much about the auto and have it checked out by my father-in-law?s mechanic. It passed with flying colors. Our father-in-law raved about the handling, gas mileage, brake system, and hard grip on the road.
Ceily Takes a Last Drive
My wife took one last drive in Ceily and dropped her off at our mechanic (Pat) who agreed to sell it for us. [He knew the car intimately.] He sold the car in three days.Hint: When in doubt try to have your car sold by your mechanic if he offers that service. It was easy, and done fair and square. It can be negotiated based on a percentage of the sales price. Pat wanted no $$ but we did give him a major token of appreciation and our continued patronage.
Greta the Jetta
Our first date with Greta the Jetta (also known as ?Grete the Sleek?) involved some major wooing and a bubble bath. Yes, we were forward with her immediately but she was seemingly happy to have new passionate owners to drive her crazy. A bath brought her true color (Red) to the fore and she unveiled herself as a major road beauty. Though there were small dinks to her paint job from road gravel, and her clear coating was peeling in spots, she is a classy looking lady.
Proportioned Well. Greta is a Germanic beauty with a formidable front and tight package in rear. Her indoor proportions are comfortable and she?s easy to get into. Some of her interior space is not as well designed (poor cup holder and no dashboard storage).
Greta is a Performer with Some Quirks
Like many artists, Greta has performed some of her best work under stressful conditions. At the start of our relationship, we immediately went long-term with road trips to Richmond, Virginia and later Ogunquit, Maine. Greta performed flawlessly and without complaint. We were totally infatuated.
A Year Together with No Major Issues
A year later Greta has continued to perform with no major issues. Greta handles extremely well and we have grown used to her welcome good gas mileage on long trips. Her quirks have come to the fore, though.
Indoor Fog.Greta does have trouble handling quickly changing weather conditions. Her indoor environment will fog with quick snow or rainstorms. The temperature control console is rather unwieldy and it takes time to adjust all the possible settings and get the windows cleared. The large wipers handle large rainfall well. However, they have trouble with clearing small, intermittent rain amounts completely.
I Shiver When It?s Cold.On a cold night before Christmas on the way to a movie and on the eve of a three hour trip to Connecticut Greta started with a lurch and emitted a gurgling noise never heard before. Off with her hood? What are we looking for? My more mechanically inclined friends said "go ahead and drive her." My wife and I with knowledge of the breakdown lane on the GW Bridge said "no way, we like the train."
We were relieved to find out later that her fuel injectors were clogged only. They were quickly blown out and cleaned. Though we find the braking system to be very good, about this time we also had a buildup of brake dust which was looked at. In any event, our girl returned from Pat?s ministrations? rosy cheeked and pleasant to be around.
My Covering is Bare.
Greta has occasionally been plagued with a poor presentation of self to the public due to usage of faulty accessories. Her molding on driver?s side has loosened twice but has now been fixed with a healthy dose of foundation (rubber cement).
Red is Her Color
Greta?s good qualities include her color. Studies have shown that Red is a great color for most women and leads to high self-esteem. Greta has a good idealization of self and is able to handle the roadway with aplomb.
Admittedly, Greta is not fully engaged from a standing start and doesn?t like to go up long stretches of incline. However, on a straight roadway/parkway she performs well and can easily stay ahead of most pursuers. She enjoys the thrill of speed but in small doses. She especially enjoys her sunroof and a summer?s drive on a coastal highway.
Packing?s a Breeze. Greta is blessed with a posterior that almost defies description. Many other cars swoon at her posterior?s ability to squeeze into and accommodate the most unmanageable items. Her trunk space is superb and can readily handle weekend suitcases, not to mention a Weber grill and cases of beer from my brew haunts.
A Well Lighted Area. Boasting daytime running lights and healthy nighttime illumination, Greta is not afraid of even the most lonely country roads.
We Think We?ll Keep Her: Four Stars
We?ve put about 12,000 miles on Greta with minimal but high quality maintenance and always high quality gasoline. It?s important to have a quality mechanic that can handle Volkswagens, or any car for that matter. A foreign specialist is required. Pat has had nothing but praise for Greta so far and told us that 1996 was a good model year. Pre-96 Jetta?s do have a checkered history. Also, according to some reports I?ve read there is a measurable difference between the German made and the ones built in Latin America. Greta is a German-built version.
Note: this Epinion is part of a write off in honor of the late roadiem, (Mike Lambert) who was one of Epinions? finest writers and all-around nice guys. It was organized by wolfman309. Please visit his page for the final list of writers and help make this a successful endeavor. All proceeds will be donated to the Lambert family.
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