It’s been a few weeks and I’ve put about 1,500 miles on commuting, so how do I like it?
First, and most importantly: PLAID!
Head room and leg room are ridiculously ample, and ergonomics are nearly perfect. The steering wheel is delightful, my hand falls right down on the shifter, and the dead pedal is large and perfectly placed. The back seat is massive compared to a MK4, and fits kiddo seats quite well. The heated seats really relieve the tension after a long day at work, too.
Gripes: the seats aren’t great. The lumbar is borked. I briefly tried to diagnose the issue, but got nowhere. It needs to get fixed ASAP. Also, the thigh bolsters are too deep, too high, and too stiff. The seat bottom tilts back at a large angle, causing the thigh bolsters to put a lot of pressure on my legs. It’s pretty uncomfortable, but not unbearable. I may attempt to remedy this at some point in the future if it bugs me enough. Next, the telescoping steering column doesn’t televiewing telescope enough to match the travel of the seat. I have to move the seat closer than my legs wasn’t to be to allow my arms to reach the wheel.
The stereo sound decent, if a bit muddy. The multifunction steering wheel navigates the info display fine. I haven’t tried the CD changer since it’s not 2005. There’s an AUX jack... That’s about it.
Gripes: there’s a button on the wheel for the Bluetooth phone control that does nothing because this car doesn’t have Bluetooth, but there’s no control for changing the source or radio station. Only volume, mute, and the vestigial phone button.
It’s a color! I really, really hated the MK5 when it came out. I thought these wheels were absolutely hideous, too. It’s all grown on me tremendously. I look back at it when I’m walking away. It’s not boring at all, but not obnoxious like an STI. Also, PLAID SEATS!!!
I’m being as objective as possible, as this is taking over DD duties for my 3/4 ton Suburban- a vehicle that can do LITERALLY EVERYTHING. The back seat is bigly for a smallish car, the trunk is capacious, and it has cup holders. What more do you need?
Gripes: it’s low and I’m tall with the body of a 60 year old. Climbing in and out takes more effort than the Burb. That’s no fault of the car.
The 2.0 TSI is a peach. Higher compression is possible thanks to direct injection, so it has good low end, and there’s nearly no turbo lag. It’s smooth, responsive, and it likes to rev. I don’t even hate that it’s DBW. I hate DBW. The gear ratios are nice and close, and rowing gears is a joy. Zipping through gaps to overtake left lane squatters is effortless, and acceleration in 6th gear at highway speeds is quite good and it’s not a Ford, so it doesn’t throw rods in high load, low RPM situations.
Gripes: it’s a VW, so I’m always a little scared something is going to splode. I need to investigate the timing chain tensioner, and it occasionally has a long crank, indicative of early stage failure of the high pressure fuel pump.
Driving dynamics: 7/10
It does well in the Twisties, and the stability control is quite good. There’s a bit of front end push at the limit, but overall grip is excellent and there’s very little body lean. The steering is tight, but feels a bit over powered and numb. The shift throws are long and easy, but a bit rubbery (I’ve owned a couple of NA Miatas... They ruined me). The clutch is nice and light and is easy on my knee in traffic.
Gripes: the front and rear ends slope a lot, so you can’t see the edges of the car and this decreases my confidence a bit. It just feels weird. The steering feel leaves a lot to be desired, and it can seem squirrelly at speed. The clutch throw is looong with a lot of dead travel before engagement, making it tough to get the engagement point down just right.
Sounds: 0/10. It makes none. The turbo is completely muted, and the exhaust is lifted from the Lincoln Town Car. So far, I did a resonator delete to give it a touch of sound without being loud. It gave it a good tone for not much money. In the future, I’d like to add a cold air intake for choo choo noises because I’m 12.
I’m summation, it’s a good buy. Fuel economy is in the mid 20s with my very heavy right foot, and it’s fun to drive and I look forward to driving it. Also: PLAID SEATS. Am I glad a chose this over a V70R? Hell no, but that car would have murdered my wallet and my wife would never allow me to buy anything that’s not a Camry ever again.
Disclaimer: I’m on day three with a newborn, terribly sleep deprived, and I typed all of this up on an iPhone while baby sleeps on my chest. Hopefully this is at least semi-intelligible.