EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Business

February 9, 2014

Volkswagen Jetta straddles two countries

My first time driving a Volkswagen Jetta last week, the car could have been completely camouflaged and I still would have picked it out as a VW.

Even if every emblem was removed, its shape disguised and its interior scrubbed of any identifying characteristics, I would have sensed immediately that I was inside a Volkswagen from its fast-acting steering, from the seriously stable balance of its suspension, from the affirmative reaction of its floor pedals, and from the quick precision of the shifter (my test model had a manual transmission).

The car moved with the same, sure certainty and control that has remained a characteristic of Volkswagen models for as long as even us old timers remember.

Other people see the VW distinction too.

“When you take someone out of another car and they get into this one, they see that it’s different than what they’re used to,” explained Charles Daher Jr., sales manager at Commonwealth Motors, Lawrence. “They can tell that it’s a European design. They realize that driving a car can be more fun than what they’re used to.”

The product of German engineering, the Jetta sticks closely to that country’s ideals of motoring precision and active engagement with an automobile. That provides the contrast people notice about this well-sized sedan that is value-priced at $17,715 to start. And at Commonwealth Motors, they find plenty of models to compare to the Jetta. In addition to Volkswagen, the dealership sells Chevrolet, Honda, Kia and Nissan vehicles – cars from companies that wrap the world.

Alongside its distinctly solid and serious road handling, another worthy aspect I noticed about the VW Jetta was its generous interior space – both for people and for things. The model’s wide, deep trunk looked more commodious than the cargo boot of many much larger cars. You can expand it too, by either folding down the split rear seat backs, or using a smaller, center pass-through door for long items like skis.

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