Ich habe noch einen Volkswagen gekauft

41 comments on Ich habe noch einen Volkswagen gekauft
3 minutes
2024 VW Jetta GLI

I bought a new car, another Volkswagen — this 2024 Jetta GLI.

My 2013 VW Passat was easily the best car I’ve ever owned — roomy, powerful, reliable. That last one really surprised me, as VW has a middling reputation for reliability. But that car just kept going.

Yet things were starting to wear out, as things do. Over the summer I replaced the control arms and tie rods. After a double blowout, I replaced all four tires. The car was about to need brakes again. There was one repair that wasn’t a wear item — the AC compressor died and had to be replaced.

I’ve always driven my cars well into the era when they needed occasional repairs. I’ve brought a couple cars right through to the end of their natural lives. It’s a giant hassle, but it saves me a car payment. For many years, driving cars until the wheels fell off was a pillar of my personal finance strategy. But with the Passat I realized that I don’t have to do that anymore. I can afford a car payment and enjoy the ease a new car brings.

2024 VW Jetta GLI

As I began looking at cars, I hoped to find one with a manual transmission. I like driving manuals, and have been sad to watch the number of everyday cars with an available manual dwindle to just a handful over the years. I was able to find manuals only in the Honda Civic, the VW Jetta, the Kia Forte, the Hyundai Elantra, the Subaru Impreza and Crosstrek, and the Nissan Versa — and then, only in certain trim levels. As I researched, I decided that the Civic was number one on my list because of Honda’s legendary reliability and because the Civic with the manual was a hatchback. I love hatchbacks! The Jetta was a close number two because of my excellent experience with the Passat. I decided not to consider any of the others.

Both the Civic and the Jetta are available in manually shifted boy-racer versions, the Si and GLI, respectively, with powerful engines and tight suspensions. I wasn’t considering those as they were well beyond my budget. Or so I thought: while looking through cars.com, I saw this brand new Jetta GLI priced just at my budget.

It turns out that this is the Jetta GLI’s 40th year, and VW produced a special run of 1,984 40th Anniversary Edition cars at a special lower price. I had stumbled upon one of them.

Margaret and I went to drive it and it was just a ton of fun. At 224 HP, it has gobs of power. It also has a good, stiff suspension that lets the car corner flat at speed. Thankfully, it also has very strong brakes. Crucially, thanks to several driving modes I can choose one that moderates the power and suspension for pleasant everyday driving.

A side note: Long ago, I swore off buying new cars. I could get a car 2-3 years used for a steep discount over the same car new. But right now that’s not true. I found plenty of 2023, 2022, and 2021 Civics and Jettas that were only three or four thousand dollars off the new-car price, and they had 30,000 or 40,000 miles on them already. It made more sense to buy new this time.

2024 VW Jetta GLI

I’ve always wanted to own a fun car. I figured it would be a classic that I’d drive occasionally, but I’m happy that it’s this new car that I drive daily.

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41 responses to “Ich habe noch einen Volkswagen gekauft”

  1. Tam Avatar

    Long live the manual!

    As an added bonus, it dramatically reduces the number of people under the age of thirty who would be able to steal your car.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I love shifting my own gears! My dad taught me to drive in a 5-speed 1983 Renault Alliance. It was the Motor Trend Car of the Year Edition with every option. But OMG was that car ever slow.

  2. Andy Umbo Avatar
    Andy Umbo

    Congrats on your selection, and ditto to you and TAM, in that I’ve always driven manual transmission, and when I bought my 2020 Kia Soul, before they became a target for underage criminals, my dealership was happy to get me a six speed. Recently they said they’ve never seen a manual transmission car stolen, but they’ve been busted into before the imbecile criminals have realized they can’t drive it. I’m hoping the obvious club I use on my steering wheel wards them off, but I am careful where I park. BTW, the car manufacturers make millions of manual transmission cars, they just don’t import them to America. Last time I was in Europe, you couldn’t rent a car without being able to use manual!

    We have similar car philosophies in that I hold onto a car for dear life, until the minor repairs turn major, like down payment major, then it’s time to move on. I’ve kept many cars until 200,000 miles, and more than a few Toyotas were literally zero repairs, just maintenance, until that mileage. We are not alike in another way, and that’s that I hardly ever buy used. Over my lifetime, the difference between a few year old used Toyota, and a new one, has been pocket change, and not worth it. I’ve found the only cars that lose a ton of value in a few years are American crapmobiles. Toyota and Honda, not so much. A long time ago I decided to buy the cheapest, high quality, Japanese car, and use my money to take care of the car “by the book”. This probably has resulted in my cars lasting forever, and BTW, most Americans are idiots and don’t take care of their cars as instructed. When you buy a used car, even Japanese, you can’t be sure they kept up with scheduled maintenance. The half my life I’ve lived in the great white north, I’ve even bought new batteries every four winters, whether they needed it or not, and never been stranded with a dead battery.

    You’re going to have to report on your manual transmission! I’ve driven a basket full of 4 speeds and 5 speeds, but this 6 speed transmission has the weirdest spacing ever. At 65 miles an hour, I’m already in 6th, and turning about 4000 rpm’s, I would have though a transmission with this many gears would function like an overdrive in the top gears, but no. I basically have to run through all the gears between zero and about 45 miles per hour…so weird? With the torque I have, this could have easily been a 4 speed?

    1. Tam Avatar

      “BTW, the car manufacturers make millions of manual transmission cars, they just don’t import them to America.”

      That used to be true, but manual sales have been declining globally for over a decade, and VW & Mercedes will likely discontinue them entirely in the next few years, alas.

      A combination of improved automatics, twin-clutch type manumatics, and the rise of EVs are going to be the end of the stick shift.

      Fortunately my Z3 2.8 and Mustang GT probably have enough miles left in them for me to finish up whatever driving I need to do. Lord willing, I’ll be that little old lady in the 5-speed 5.0L for as long as I can press the clutch. ;-)

      1. Andy Umbo Avatar
        Andy Umbo

        Haven’t driven American in years, but I’m a big fan of the 5.0L Mustang. Almost bought a convertible a while back…

        1. Tam Avatar

          Mine’s a 1994, the second to last year of the old pushrod 5.0L H.O. Windsor V-8.

          I bought the car from an internet friend in 2018, sight unseen, with over 200,000 miles on the clock. I bought a one-way ticket from IND-CLT, paid cash for the car, and my test drive was driving it back to Indianapolis.

          Since then it’s been on roadtrips to Topeka, KS and Los Alamos, NM, as well as several closer destinations. That era of the Ford 5.0 is one of the most durable automotive motors ever. I know a guy who’s put over 400k miles on two Explorers with the same basic engine.

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m still getting used to six speeds and it still feels unnecessary to me. In this car, you can cruise comfortably in 6th as low as 40 mph, so you do a lot of gear-rowing in lower speeds. Somehow it’s not annoying.

  3. Peter Miller Avatar
    Peter Miller

    That is a sharp looking car. My daughter had a VW Golf, stick, that she bought out-of-state in 2019 (VW importer for Ohio wouldn’t import manual transmissions). Then, during the “supply chain crisis” she sold it for more than she paid for it. Would dearly love to have test driven a Jetta but the lack of headroom was an issue. At my age I fully appreciate why our parents loved cars like the Crown Victoria.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I’m 6 feet tall and have sufficient headroom in the Jetta. My 6’2″ son rode in it recently and was fine. But I can see that much taller than that and nope

      1. Peter Miller Avatar
        Peter Miller

        I was once 6’3″ and used to fit in small Toyotas by reclining the seat back. In the mid 1970s many American built cars did not have reclining seat backs. Apparently I have a long torso. It makes car shopping easy though — if I bump my head getting in the front seat, keep looking.

  4. Marc Beebe Avatar

    They don’t sell Toyotas in your neck of the woods? Their reliability reputation is not undeserved.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I live within line of sight of a Toyota dealer. I’ve owned three Toyotas and they have only been of average reliability. One of my Toyotas had the single most expensive repair any car ever cost me. My VW Passat, believe it or not, was the single most reliable car I’ve ever owned.

      1. Marc Beebe Avatar

        Whoa! They must reserve the bad builds for American consumption. I’ve had nothing but long-use good with six Toyotas over the years. The Highlander we have now is 15 years old with over 200k kms and zero problems. The last 4Runner made 500,000 before the axle broke on a logging road during the wildfires. Next owner fixed it and still drives it.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          I had a 1998 Sienna and two 2003 Matrixes, one the base model and one the XRS. The Sienna was fine, it needed some repairs but of all the cars I’ve owned that was the only one I’ve mostly neglected. I went through the hardest time in my life while I owned it and maintenance fell off the list. The base Matrix had a transmission failure. The XRS needed only expected maintenance and repairs until 185k miles when it basically started falling apart, one system after another failing. That’s not terrible but I really thought I should be able to drive that car to 200-250k.

          1. Marc Beebe Avatar

            I should think so too. It’s funny that for imports we only have Toyota, Honda, and Nissan around here; the others have never managed to get a foothold in the local market. There used to be a Subaru dealer in town but the vehicles were so poor quality they went out of business. Our long distance, rough road, bad weather driving is pretty mean on cars, trucks, and SUVs.

            1. Jim Grey Avatar

              When I’m in Ontario I see Hyundais everywhere. But that’s a whole different driving experience than where you are I’m sure — BC right?

              1. Marc Beebe Avatar

                Yes. The wild part of BC; not around Vancouver where they have all sorts of vehicles available. :)

            2. Tam Avatar

              They must send y’all the bad Subarus, because in the parts of rural New England where snow is common and pavement less so, they’re practically everywhere. :-o

              1. Andy Umbo Avatar
                Andy Umbo

                Someone is going to have to explain the Subaru thing to me. Much like Marc, I have a terrible opinion of Subaru. I knew so many people that owned them in the 80’s and they were absolutely HORRIBle! People that went through multiple cracked exhaust manifolds (and unlike Toyota, not covered if it happened again, back then Toyota would guarantee a repair for free if it happened again; my Subaru friends were buying two and three exhaust manifolds, and no deal). Head gaskets, starters, you name it! Now you walk through the rich neighborhood next to where I live, and it’s a Subaru in every driveway; and they advertise the greatest amount of 10 year old cars on the road (that literally used to be a Toyota thing). They must have gotten religion about quality, but most of my friends that owned them in the 80’s, wouldn’t touch them today!

                1. Tam Avatar

                  “I knew so many people that owned them in the 80’s…”

                  Every manufacturer goes through ups and downs. Sometimes one thing they make is great and another is terrible.

                  BMW’s M52 series of inline six cylinder engines from the ‘80s-‘90s are some of the great internal combustion engines of all time. If you can’t get 300k miles out of one, it’s probably on you. Meanwhile a five liter BMW V12 from the same period couldn’t make it across the parking lot without needing to be put into the shop twice and recalled by the manufacturer once.

                  The wheel of fate turns, and what was once on top will be on the bottom…and then on top again.

              2. Marc Beebe Avatar

                It’s a curious thing the way different brands have different reputations depending on geographic location. Makes us wonder if it’s the build source or the local conditions or a combination of the two. If we go historically, Japanese cars in general were considered poor quality when first introduced to North America, but were well regarded in their homeland.

                1. Andy Umbo Avatar
                  Andy Umbo

                  Marc, that’s the thing that has kept me away from a lot of the German marques. I have a few repair sources I believe in, like when I’ve check Consumer Reports against my own experience, it’s virtually dead on; and when I checked the German Marques back in the early 2000’s, when I was considering them, the repair results were literally all over the place, from bad to good, based on model, and where it was built! It seemed to be a crap shoot, rather than a philosophy across the whole company. I can fully believe that Jim has gotten great results from some of the German cars he’s had (see TAM’s BMW story above), but when you’re buying new, you’re looking for an across the board quality philosophy.

                  1. Tam Avatar

                    To quote myself from a long-ago blog post, “ I’ve never really understood how non auto enthusiasts figure out their strange perceptions of which automakers are “reliable” and which aren’t.” ;-)


  5. DougD Avatar

    Very nice car. I hope the manual is OK on your commute, it certainly is more fun everywhere else.

    Out of our family’s 7 vehicles 6 are manual. Enjoy rowing your own gears!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      My commute is now officially nothing, as I’ve moved everything out of my office Downtown and now work from home 5 days a week!

      The 6 speed does require a lot of gear rowing in town, as it’s comfortable to cruise in 6th as low as 40 mph.

  6. tbm3fan Avatar

    As you know I take very good care of my cars as per curbside classic. I need no new car for the next 20 years. I only drive a manual anyway. My wife’s car just got paid off and that money goes into Fidelity for the next 5 years. She is not me.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I thought you had a Buick LeSabre in your stable? Is that not an automatic? But I do admire that you drive cars like this and keep them in good nick.

      1. tbm3fan Avatar

        Yes, the Buick is an automatic, but remember that was a car purchased by my late father.

      2. tbm3fan Avatar

        Should note there is a finished COAL on that Buick. There is also finished COALs on a 76 Celica GT Liftback (driver) and an 82 Mazda GLC (driver) along with a 3800 Series II engine fix and transmission upgrade. In the works the 65 F-100. All on hold as my ability to schedule has been take away because what car the 3800 was in was more important than the engine story. The new guy has not responded to four emails of mine as suggested by Paul.

        1. Jim Grey Avatar

          Now that’s weird, esp. since he just made another call for COALers. Maybe your messages are going to his spam folder?

  7. seatacphoto1951 Avatar

    Until 2017 I drove cars with manual transmissions. The car I bought then did not have the option. Driving with a manual transmission is the Pacific Northwest can be challenging with the steep hills and ice and traffic we have. Does the Volkswagen have the Start-Stop System?

    1. tbm3fan Avatar

      …and I spent 24 years driving around San Francisco up hill and dale rarely ever using my hand brake. Always a light at the very top of the grade.

    2. Jim Grey Avatar

      One of the worst days I had with a manual transmission was in a snowstorm in traffic — 4 hours to commute home when it normally took 45 minutes. My left leg ached at the end. So much clutching.

    3. Jim Grey Avatar

      Oh and: no, my GLI does not have stop-start.

  8. Ohgust Avatar

    Many happy miles to you and your new GLI! I have only ridden in one of these as an Uber in DC last year, it was a very pleasant experience along with a very professional driver.

    Although VW does not sell this generation of Jetta in Europe, from time to time I see some of them in Brno and Prague with special EV license plates. It would be a nice addition to our market and especially the GLI, I don’t like the new Golf’s interior with all the controls in the touch screen.

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      I didn’t know that this generation of the Jetta was not available in Europe! And how awesome that you got a GLI as an Uber in DC.

      I have a nephew who lives with his wife in Prague. He loves it there.

  9. Steve Mitchell Avatar

    I had an Audi once – cousin of the VW – and it was never ever fixed. Worst car I ever had. Then my wife wanted a Beetle, her parents had the original Beetle for many years and it reminds her of them. The one we bought had been imported used from Japan, and had only 35,000km on the clock at ten years old. She has driven it for five years now without an issue, so my initial reluctance was not necessary! Enjoy!!!

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      VW/Audi cars are a mixed bag. Some models/years are great and some are awful, and there seems to be little in between. My 2013 Passat was great. I hope this GLI turns out to be, too.

  10. J P Avatar

    Congratulations on the new wheels! My own VW experience is approaching 40 years ago, but I still remember what a wonderfully driving car my 85 GTI was. It just felt fabulous in almost all driving conditions. I hope this one treats you as well as the last one did.

    I am getting to the place where I will need to buy a new one – I want to have one paid off by the time I stop working, so I had better get a move on. A manual will be a no-go because Marianne will be driving it sometimes. I have discovered that the way to make a manual less appealing in my car is to put 3-500 miles a night on one in a truck for work. :)

    1. Jim Grey Avatar

      Finally going to part with the Fit? Good luck with the next car purchase!

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