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Jeremy Clarkson falls into the Marmite camp – you either love him or you loathe him, an aspersion I’m sure he wouldn’t object to as he’d rather be anything than insipid.
I’m actually a great fan and wholeheartedly support some of his most politically-incorrect views but I have to take issue with a comment of his in the Sunday Times Motoring Section. The front-page teaser drew my eye: “Is the Jetta really as bad as JC says?”
He describes it as “unquestionably the most boring car in the whole of human history”.
So what? It depends on your definition of boring. If that definition includes dependable, reliable and without surprises, then that’s great. Why would anyone other than a boy racer – or Jeremy Clarkson – necessarily need a car to be exciting?
What we need – and this particularly applies to fleets – is a mode of transport that gets us from A to B in comfort with as little cost as possible. And that’s just what the Jetta does, with no pretensions to be anything else.
He says: “The interior is dull and featureless.” I say: “Yes, the dashboard, dials and buttons are predominantly black but they are also straightforward and clear.”
He says: “The Jetta seems to suck the life out of its engine.”
I say: “JC agrees that it’s the same 2.0-litre direction injection petrol unit that performs perfectly adequately in various other VWs and Audis.”
He says: “The ride and handling is “really not bad at all” but then carps about the fact that it’s still a Jetta.”
I say: “No case to answer, then.”
He says: “The boot doesn’t “boing” open as eagerly as it should.” I say: “That’s clutching at straws – what’s wrong with assisting the boing with a spare finger if it’s a problem?”
He says: “The sat-nav system lacks enthusiasm (!?).”
I say: “Hmm.” Perhaps the Jetta is also a Marmite issue – if so, plug in the toaster and I’ll grab a jar. JC can go hungry.
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: 34.3
CAP Monitor RV: £6,450/39%
Contract hire rate: £338
Expenditure to date: Nil