Jetta Test: VW Navigation
I love gadgets. iPod connections, in-car navigation, premium audio and remote start are some of my favorite things about many new cars. Having recently relocated to a new city, I've been using the Jetta's factory installed navigation system on pretty much every outing.
For the most part, the navigation system works well. One thing I really like is that it doesn't lock you out when the car is moving. Having to pull over on the highway or in an unfamiliar neighborhood at night just to operate the navigation system is the opposite of safe. I get that it can also be distracting but the fact that a front seat passenger can find an address while the car is moving is a great example of how technology can be freeing and not restrictive. The graphics are also easy to read even though the Jetta's nav screen isn't huge (5 inches). The system calculates address and directions quickly which is another huge win.
However, there are a few low points when it comes to the Jetta's in-car navigation unit. One thing I don't like is that it seems to give turn commands too late. If you're traveling at speeds over 40 mph, the "turn now" command simply comes too late almost every time. Also, the system does not say street names which is frustrating in an unfamiliar area. It does say highway names like "I-80" or "State Route 7" so that's nice. The final frustration is that the voice and icon driven guidance will tell you to "turn right in 500 feet" even when that upcoming turn is just the natural bend in the road.
The Jetta TDI is such a great car overall that these minor hiccups are just that, minor. I'd still recommend buying the Volkswagen navigation system when ordering a new Jetta, but there is room for improvement.