Only 24 hours after Olga, our long-term Volkswagen Jetta TDI, landed in the AutoTrader garage, our CEO, Chip Perry, asked to borrow the keys. Now, this isn't too surprising; as you'd expect from the founder and CEO of AutoTrader.com, Chip is a confirmed car fanatic, with his own collection of special vehicles. He often likes to go for a ride in one of the test cars, just to see how it sizes up to other vehicles he's driven. But he seemed especially keen to check out the Jetta, so we delivered the keys and awaited his ruling.
And then he absconded with the car.
Fast-forward a week and a half later, and the keys finally arrive back on the editorial desk. Olga has traveled a few hundred miles to North Carolina and back again, and all over Atlanta, all on just a half tank of diesel. And surprisingly, Chip loves the Jetta.
"When I travel for work, I normally rent a midsize Japanese car, like a Camry or Altima," says Chip, "and this is a heck of a lot nicer than either of those." In his personal collection, Chip has a variety of European cars, including a vintage BMW 2002, classic Porsche 356-A, sporty Porsche Cayman S, rugged Mercedes-Benz GL and performance tourer Maserati GranSport. "The Jetta felt familiar, intuitive and tight, the way a German car should."
He raved about how quiet the diesel engine was and how sporty the DSG transmission felt, but the highest praise came to the interior of the car, a hotly debated topic for the 2011 Jetta. "It felt good, and the navigation was the easiest system I've ever used," said Chip. "I much prefer it to anything it competes with right now – Corolla, Elantra, Civic – the Jetta is just more fun to drive."
So, he likes it. As we progress with our updates on the Jetta TDI, we expect that the honeymoon will eventually end, as it does with any car.' But until then, we're impressed with just about everything this Volkswagen has to offer.
Next Story: A long-time Jetta owner tracks the evolution from her third-generation 2005 model to our brand-new TDI.