Saturday, August 07, 2010

Drivers Wanted

If you’ve not been paying any attention to my twitter account, and chances are that you have not…. I recently got a new car, a 2010 Limited Edition Volkswagen Jetta.  It’s in many ways a return to what I liked about my first Saturn sedan, but also features the new things I like about driving Volkswagens.  Some people like trucks, others like SUVs, some like hatchbacks, maybe some people even like vans.  I am a sedan or coupe kind of person.  I don’t know why, and I can’t explain it.  Although I really like driving Alison’s Golf/Rabbit hatchback, when I thought about what I would buy it was always “Golf with a trunk”, which is the Jetta.  I like the style of it, you can get it with a stick shift, and the inline 2.5L engine is good.  The 2.0T turbo is a great engine, but maybe it’s a sign of growing older… I just don’t care enough to pay for the bigger engine.  It comes down to style and comfort, which is what my modifications were mostly based on.

Why get rid of the Eos?

By trading in the Saturn, I got a relatively low monthly payment on my leased 2008 VW Eos.  It was a great car, which lots of power and the cool folding hardtop…  But as much fun as it was, it was a lease and at the end they were going to take it away from me and leave me with nothing.  As the lease progressed, I felt worse and worse about paying so much money to basically rent the car.  So, in June I got a call out of the blue from Volkswagen asking if they could take a look at the Eos, and basically buy out the lease from me.  I didn’t drive it much, and it still had very low miles (14,000 in 2 years).  I was pretty interested in stopping the lease and starting to pay to own again, so Alison and I went down and test drove some Jettas.  I stayed away from the 2.0T models and liked the 2010 more than the 2009.  It’s quieter and has the new white/red dash from the old red/blue one.  I was looking for the cheapest S model, but it turned out the new “Limited Edition” Jetta was almost-an-SE model at the S model price.  Ended up getting it for a little less than MSRP, and decided to also get the nice warranty with the free maintenance for 7 years since I plan on keeping it for a long time.

Jetta LE Features

The limited edition is the last jetta VW will produce with the 5th generation body design.  The 2011 models have the redesigned exterior to make them identical to Hondas, so I’m glad I got one now.  Like I said before, the LE has many features normally found on the higher end models for the cheaper model’s price.  Also, it doesn’t have the horrible chrome around the windows.  Mine has 5 speed manual transmission, an 170HP inline 2.5L gasoline engine, silver exterior and black interior.  For the rest of the features, I’ll let the VW sales guy take you through a walk-through of the car.


I got the car about a month ago, and I’ve spent some time personalizing it a little bit.  Nothing too major, as keeping my warranty valid is important to me.

1. Color Matched Side Markers

I find the orange side markers on cars horrendously ugly, and they don’t serve much of a purpose.  Like Daytime Running Lights, they are added to the car just because they might work, so why the hell not.  It detracts from the nice smooth look of the car, and if you can’t tell where the front of my car is, well then you shouldn’t have a license.  These silver side markers are a close match during the day, and at night, still light up amber(although not quite as bright as before), so really I didn’t even take away any functionality.  Side markers are not required on sedans in Texas.


2. Disabled Daytime Running Lights

This is an easy mod in the 2010.  With the ignition off, put the turn signal in a left turn and then pull it back like you are flashing your brights for ten seconds.  With the stick still held back, start the car.  Your DRLs are disabled.  Doing the same with a right turn will re activate them.  Sometimes I have noticed the DRLs still on.  I don’t really have a real reason to disable them, except for the fact that I am OCD about my dashboard, and I hate the “DRL” light in the dash that tells me they are on.  I don’t care.

3. The RCD-510 touchscreen 6 Disc CD Changer.

The ugly single disc changer had to go.  Originally, I had planned to wait a year while saving up for the RNS-510 which features Navigation, internal HDD, and a DVD player.  I found out later that it won’t play DVDs while driving, so when it costs $1000 even more than this RCD model, it was a pretty easy choice to skip that.  I found this used touchscreen being sold locally on a VW forum, and got a decent deal on it.  It’s great overall, easy to use, and having 6 MP3 CDs + Aux input pretty much eliminates my need for an internal hard drive.  It also plays MP3s from an SD card slot, but I don’t have SD cards.  It doesn’t have video-in capability, but I don’t need it as I can use an ipad or a laptop.  The RCD-510 has a few little quirks in the menus, but overall very very good.


4. Black “Wolfsburg” Grille

As much as I’ve talked about hating chrome along the windows, you must think I’m a bit of a hypocrite when the Jetta and other VWs have a gigantic chrome bumper in the front.  I did get the silver color on my car because 1. I always alternate between black and silver cars, and 2. it minimized the chrome disturbance more than other colors.  But when I found out I could buy a glossy black grille to put on the front of the car for only $100, I knew I would go from being okay with the front of the car to loving it.  It took forever to ship, but now I have it on the car and it looks amazing.  Pictures do not do it justice.  With the new grill, and the absence of any chrome on the outside of the car, it looks just like an actual Jetta Wolfsburg Edition except that I have the long radio antenna, different wheels, no Wolfburg emblem, and it’s the normally aspirated 2.5 engine rather than the 2.0 turbo.  Pretty minor things.  The look of the Wolfburg edition car, for $100 instead of the normal 4,000. 

5. Magnetic License Plate

Probably the only actual real “modification” I’ve done, a few sets of rare-earth magnets are glued between the black grille and my license plate holder.  These magnets are crazy strong, and hold the plate snugly against the grille without the need for me to drill holes.  I normally cruise around without the front plate (two years so far with no problems), but you never know if it may be handy sometime to have one.  It’s been fun playing around with the magnets, but they do a surprising job at holding the plate on.  From the outside, there’s no way to tell the plate isn’t screwed on.  I’m not sure if people walk by cars trying to pull the front plates off, but I guess I’m willing to take that risk.  I don’t plan on having the plate on all that much anyways. 

Final Review
After a month, I really like the Jetta, I even like it more than the Eos.  I learned that I really didn’t put the top down enough to really want to pay for it, and the lightness of the Jetta makes it fun to drive.  It has great features like the touchscreen, handsfree bluetooth calling, the leather steering wheel, the transmission feels great…although I do miss my 6th gear. I don’t plan on doing any other mods to it, other than maybe tinting the windows.  I’d like to protect the interior as it sits in the airport parking lot, and tint looks good on silver cars.  I’ll leave you with some random pictures I guess.


Posted by eclipse on 08/07 at 07:02 PM
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Just Visiting



I’m glad that you are happy with your car! I had fun doing projects with you. smile

Posted on Sunday, August 08, 2010  at  02:05 AM
{screen_name}'s avatar



Thank you for helping!  :D

Posted on Sunday, August 08, 2010  at  03:45 PM
Just Visiting

Andy Borghesani


How did you change the radio? I know I cannot do it myself so where should I go?!?! Thanks!!! smile smile

Posted on Monday, June 13, 2011  at  12:27 PM
{screen_name}'s avatar



Hi Andy, you absolutely can do it yourself!  We had it done in about a hour total.  Check out a nice set of directions here: 

The 2010 LE doesn’t have a satellite receiver, so Sat Radio won’t work, and you can ignore the instructions about setting it up.  The 2010 have the updated CAN version, so don’t worry about it draining the battery.  You will need the FM antenna adapter (P/N 7L6 051 551), which can be purchased from a VW dealer for about $45.  I had to call 3 dealers before I found one in stock.  Otherwise, you pretty much just take the trim off, unscrew the old radio, and plug the new one in. 

There is a helpful youtube video as well here: 

I have had it almost a year now, and no problems with the radio or car.  I love them both!

Posted on Tuesday, June 14, 2011  at  01:35 AM
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