THERE’S nothing better on a cold morning than a toasty bottom. From the smug confines of my Jetta, heated seat set on maximum (though that might be too much for the sensitive of rump), I’m ready to face anything the elements throw at me.
Despite our much-publicised global warming, the Jetta’s £395 optional Winter Pack has been most welcome.
I wouldn’t normally be that bothered about unheated cloth seats – leather, of course, is a different matter and the thought of plonking said rear on that inhospitable surface decidedly unwelcome – but am now thoroughly spoilt.
The Winter Pack also includes heated windscreen washer jets, low washer fluid warning light, headlight washer system, reverse activated kerb view adjustment on the passenger door mirror and, bizarrely, electrically foldable door mirrors – as if you wouldn’t use those in summer too.
Recent circumstances have necessitated a number of short-term vehicle swaps for me and have highlighted a Jetta downside – the saloon does not lend itself well to the transportation of anything bulky.
Its roomy boot copes with most of the cargo that an average driver might need but for trips to Ikea, to the local rubbish tip and to and from university digs collecting and delivering the student offspring, I have had to work my way around the Jetta’s lack of flexibility by swapping it for something with more practicality, which is a bit of a pain.
I wonder why anyone would actually choose a saloon car over what seems the ideal compromise of a hatchback with its ability to fold down seats to accommodate anything extra-long or extra-high.
As a result, in the UK, hatchbacks massively outsell saloons at this level, although the Jetta, and its Bora forebear, has easily been the most successful in the sector.
The fact that the Jetta looks very similar to the larger Passat from the rear must help it.
The car swaps meant the Jetta had to be entrusted to – horrors – a family with children.
I was worried about the biscuit-coloured interior but it actually stood up to its weekend ordeal quite well.
Events editor John Maslen said he had had to enforce a strict no-shoes policy to ensure it remained in a presentable condition despite the determined attentions of his two small children.
I have been quite reluctant myself to carry passengers on rainy days because of the light hue of the carpet but may now try the no-shoes policy myself, though I don’t know how that would go down with fleet colleagues or visiting contacts.
Price: £16,650 (£20,095 as tested)
CO2 emissions (g/km): 197
Company car tax bill (2007) 22% tax-payer: £76 per month
Insurance group: 11E
Combined mpg: 34.4
Test mpg: 30.4
CAP Monitor RV: £6,450/39%
Contract hire rate: £338
Expenditure to date: Nil
Figures based on three years/60,000 miles