Here's What It Is Like To Daily a 2001 Jetta Wagon.
Hello people of the internet. I'm Nico and today I will be talking about my experiences daily driving a mk4 Jetta Wagon.
Yes that's right. I'm back with my fourth VW article, and my third one in a row on this car in particular. I promise I will write about a different car next time but for now buckle up because we're going on a joyride. A little while back I talked about daily driving a 2017 Jetta but I need to rewind my life a few years and talk about my first car, which I called the "Kraken Wagon", and my experiences with it. First I will talk a little about learning to drive stick in it, then I will talk about my (perfectly legal) joyrides and to finish it off I will talk a bit about the regular point A to point B driving.
Back when I was a wee little lad, at the age of 15, I started learning to drive on this particular Jetta. Actually my first time was on my mom's Oldsmobile Silhouette minivan but after that five minute stint behind the wheel, all of my sessions where in the Kraken Wagon. In the beginning stages I had some difficulty, since it is a manual and getting used to a clutch is always a bit tricky the first time, but as I am a driving god (Sorry Richard Hammond, it's never been you) I quickly mastered absolutely every aspect of driving. As the weeks and months went by I continued to hone in my skills and ran straight into a wall. Not literally thankfully, but my parents kind of made it. Because my birthday is in April, towards the end of the school year, my parents decided that I should wait until after summer vacation to take my driving test because there was no point of having to pay for insurance for the month and a half that I would drive frequently and then for the summer months that I would rarely drive because we often travel. This decision stabbed me straight through my small German gut as I wanted nothing more in life than to be able to drive, but since mom is always *cough* right *cough* I had to wait until August to take the test. Finally, after what seemed like decades, August finally came, I absolutely smashed the driving test with a 98/100 (points were taken off for a not super smooth emergency stop) and finally I was unleashed on the streets of my local town. The first few days were odd not having my dad sitting next to me as I drove but soon enough I felt comfortable at the throne, lording over all the other drivers around me (not beneath me because everyone in the south drives a Pick-up truck so they were all kind of above me...annoyingly). Of course, in terms of driving ability they were all far beneath me.
A view of the interior of the mighty Kraken Wagon.
Now, for those of you who don't know, in Alabama you can get your license at 16 but you can't have more than one non-family member in the car with you until you are 17. So sadly I couldn't carpool with friends and show off my majestic driving skills. Eventually I did hit 17 though and I could finally take friends with me on some joyrides. I had already found some fun roads in my area, nothing as good as the "Tail of The Dragon" in North Carolina but fun nonetheless. It was actually fine because I had made a discovery, the Kraken Wagon was pretty fun to drift (legally of course) on a dirt/gravel road. Of course being a FWD car I couldn't actually drift but with the magic of lift-off oversteer I was finally able to feel like Ken Block, except that my car had 115 horse power instead of 600 horsepower, and his rally car is lighter, and faster, and plainly better, but it was enough to have fun. The other good thing is that dirt roads are out in the countryside which means there aren't any cops sitting in a bush. But back to being able to finally have friends in my car, I've taken not even a handful of friends on my joyrides but even so I had a ton of fun. There were plenty of perfect drifts, many hours of classic rock, one unintentional 180 degree spin, and some reverse donuts (because it's FWD). I know that all of you reading this are now dying to ride with me but for now you will just have to imagine the (legal) tomfoolery that ensued (sorry mom and dad, at least I'm not getting wasted at parties).
That's all the room my friends in the back could have. Obviously without the garbage.
Moving on, but still having fun, I would tell you about the potential possibility that I had some speed runs on some empty roads but as that is unprofessional, and illegal, I will refrain from telling if I did have any speed runs that went well or even partially above the speed limit (for any cops reading this, I always drive responsibly and under the limit). Anyway, most of the time I was simply driving too and from school or work where my little 2.0 liter engine couldn't force my car above the speed limit so despite my enthusiasm towards driving I have never been pulled over by the police. And for getting from one place to another it really was not bad at all. I had speakers to play all the best hits from Bob Seger and other awesome bands. I had heated seats for the few cold days that we get in Alabama during this season called "Winter". I had a manual transmission and a low gas bill because the Jetta only has a 14.5 gallon fuel tank and it doesn't use much gas anyway. What more could you want? (I know, power is one thing). But honestly, I didn't really need more power, I was able to get up to speed (eventually) and it gave me an excuse to take it higher into the rev range. Even stranger, I wasn't bothered by the fact that my brother had a faster car, a 2014 Jetta Wagon with the 2.5 liter 5 cylinder engine, strange for me to admit that but it's true. I had developed a bond with my Kraken Wagon and I didn't really care for others having faster cars, mostly because the majority had automatics. The fact that my brother's car had an auto was actually the main reason I rejected the offer to have that as my new car.
Now as you may know, I currently drive a 2017 Jetta but my dad currently drives the Kraken Wagon so it's still close by, in fact it is in the driveway as I write this. So I do still take it on drives every now and again and occasionally I film videos with it for my YouTube channel "Nicomotor" which is always nice, even if it is unbelievably slow. Normally I take it to the same roads I always go on but since it was a rainy Super Bowl weekend not to long ago, and I knew that no one would be out, I took it to a place where I knew it wouldn't be an issue and discovered that wet grass on decently hard packed ground is the best surface to drift on in an old FWD car. If you haven't tried it I highly recommend.
Thank you for reading, my next article will not be on a VW like the past three have been. I look forward to reading your comments. Good luck, Godspeed, and may the Force be with you in all your endeavors.