- Do you like German automobiles?
Do you want to put your greasy little fingers on one
but don't have the moolah to throw down
for a BMW or a Mercedes-Benz?
Well, boy oh boy, do I has a car for you!
It handles like a Scirocco, has the roominess of a Dasher,
the fuel-efficiency of a Rabbit,
and my high school girlfriend Abby drove us to prom in one.
This is everything you need to know to get up to speed
on the Volkswagen Jetta!
Hi, Abby, congratulations on getting married.
(retro 8-bit music)
Big thanks to Turo
for sponsoring this episode of Up to Speed.
Turo is the easiest way to drive sick cars
without the hassle of going to a car rental place.
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I'm constantly surprised that Turo's available
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UpToSpeed UpToSpeed, UpToSpeed.
The roots of the Jetta being with the Golf,
or the Rabbit, as they called it here in the States.
VW's insanely popular front-wheel drive hatchback
built to replace the Beetle.
While the Golf was a great seller,
and to this day, is the top car sold by the company,
VW knew that the more common
three-box design car body configuration
would attract more customers to the German brand.
- [Announcer] We're also impressed at way
Volkswagen make Jetta.
- Like the Golf before it,
the Mark 1 Jetta got it's styling
from the Italian automobile designer Giogetto Giugiaro.
The same dude who designed the Delorean, the DB4,
the Scirocco, and a ga-ja-dillion other cars.
He took the Golf Mark 1 design and added a rear trunk
that matched the boxy, angular shape
of the popular hatchback.
They used the same suspension setup at the Golf.
Macpherson struts in the front,
and a twist-beam rear suspension in the back.
The wheelbase was kept the same at 94.5 inches.
But with the added trunk, the overall length
was increased by 15 inches.
But VW couldn't charge 25% more
for just adding a trunk to a Golf.
Well, I mean, they could but they didn't.
They classed the interior up,
offering multiple trim levels to choose from
that included velour or vinyl.
And did I say a trunk?
The budget sedan was practical enough for a family of four
and sporty enough to make you forget
about your family of four.
And the motor?
She was zippy.
It was the same one that they put in the Scirocco,
the Audi 4000, and yes, the Rabbit.
It was a 1.6 liter Bosch KE-Jetronic
producing 76 hrsprs and 83 pound feet of torque.
Capable of getting you and the fam to 110 miles per.
"Honey, slow down."
"We got to get to church on time!"
"It's Saturday, Frank!"
"I know that, Debra, but we're Jewish!"
"Oh, that's, right."
VW was an early proponent of passive restraint systems,
like automatic seat belts.
Remember, this was the 80s.
Cars had to have them,
but it didn't mean you had to wear them.
The Jetta got a five out of five on a crash test rating
by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
for both the driver and front passenger sides.
In 1984, the last year of the Mark 1,
VW would release their GLI,
the sporty spice version of the Jetta.
Similar to the Golf GTI, the GLI copied over
many of the parts from it's hatchback bro.
Like the 90 hrspr 1.8 liter engine.
The motor got lighter pistons, a higher compression ratio,
and the cylinder heads were altered for performance.
It was a GTI
with a trunk. (farts)
- [Announcer] Jetta.
It's not a car, it's a Volkswagen.
- But while the Golf Mark 1 sold like Ghostbusters,
the Jetta didn't.
Even though it was more practical for a family of four,
the hatchback brother outshone it.
So what did VW do?
They continued to make the Jetta.
Enter the Mark 2! (mimics air horns)
Americans love their sedans,
but the inaugural Jetta was just a little too small.
So VW gave it a shot of HGH, and the Jetta got bigger.
Going from subcompact to compact.
This preteen growth spurt
make the Mark 2 nearly four inches longer
and two inches wider.
And the wheelbase grew over 2.5 inches.
And just like me,
it could now hold five people instead of four.
And the real car fact you all came here for,
the trunk, it gained 30 liters,
or 10 bottles of Faygo.
The baseline Mark 2 Jettas came standard
with a 1.8 liter inline-4,
made into either a four-speed manual
or a three-speed automatic.
There were also diesel options.
(engine revving) (laughter)
The pumped up GLI returned
for the second generation in 1987,
and started with a 1.8 liter 16 valve
and then was upgraded to a two liter 16 valve
with 134 hrsprs!
(high-pitch engine revving)
That's the one you want.
Both were made into a five-speed manual
and came with sportier, wide alloy wheels made by BBS,
and really, really sick Ricardo seats.
And while the Mark 2 Jetta
was the best-selling European car in North America,
outselling its little bro two to one,
VW sales in the states were dropping.
This was partly due to them selling the second gen Jetta
unchanged in the States for 8 years.
The longest running Jetta to date.
That might sound good,
but its competitors at the time,
like the Toyota Camry and the Honda Accord,
were getting better,
while the Jetta pretty much stayed the same.
VW started to feel the pinch
as early as the 80s here in the States.
North American sales would teeter-totter
throughout the decade, but in 1993,
it hit an all time low.
50,000 vehicles sold.
That's the total number across all models.
In '93, Toyota sold 300,000 Camrys.
So it wasn't a time when
people weren't buy cars across the board, because they were.
Americans just weren't buying VWs.
VW debated pulling out
of the North American market altogether,
but luckily for me, in 1993, the Mark 3 changed all that.
(tires screeching) (cheering)
You see, VW knew that Abby would need
a third gen Jetta to drive us to prom.
So they obliged.
The third gen Jetta will go down
as the car that saved the American arm of VW.
If you're European, you never got the third gen Jetta.
Now you know what it feels like, Europe!
Actually, Europe did get the Mark 3 Jetta.
It was just called the Vento.
They got smaller bumpers and cooler trimlines too.
Yeah, I know.
Giogetto Giugiaro didn't put his design hands on the Mark 3,
but Herbert Schaefer did.
Schaefer rounded the edges of the car,
helping create a more modern look for the time.
But still keeping true to the Jetta imagine.
The Mark 3 got two new motors.
The TDI, a 1.9 liter turbocharged
direct-injection diesel engine,
and (mimics horn) the VR6 2.8 liter
Dual Overhead Cam, narrow-angled V6!
The second best-sounding motor ever!
The compact design helped VW run the VR6
in cars that only had space for four cylinders,
like the Jetta.
The 172 hrspr VR6 got the wind mobile moving
from zero to 60 in a very sexy 6.9 seconds.
Macpherson struts in the front,
and torsion-beam axle out back,
along with front and rear sway bars.
The most important upgrade though, cup holders.
Seven of them to be exact.
You want to learn more about cup holders?
Check out this episode of Wheel House.
The interior was further refined.
Leather seats were an option now.
VW used recycled plastics inside that cabin
in order to sell the Jetta as more environmentally friendly.
They also ditched the two-door version.
With so many improvements over the previous Jetta Mark 2,
VW sold close to 400,000 Mark 3s during its five year run,
effectively pulling VW out of their slump.
"We're staying in America, boys!"
"Oh, that's so great!"
And if the Mark 3 Jetta isn't sorority girl enough for yous,
VW was working on
the most sorority girl car ever.
The fourth gen was the beginning of
the Golf-Jetta separation, but the two cars did share
a few things during those years that are important.
The main one being the 1.8 liter turbo, AKA, never lose!
If you were in the VW car game at the time,
the battle raved between the VR6 and the 1.8 T.
Which one is better?
If you want my humble boy opinion, it'd have to be the VR6.
But what do I know?
I've only owned 26 of them.
The VR6 returned with the Mark 4,
and this time, you could get it with 24 valves.
And the GLI was back.
It got some cool suspension bits, really cool body kit,
and big old 18 inch BBS honkers.
And the best part about the Mark 4 and the 1.8 T,
was the (mimics engine sound).
The Mark 4 wasn't all roses though.
It got new electrical gremlins,
and cheap interior parts peeled and popped off.
Also, it smelt like crayons.
I don't know why they smell like crayons.
If you do, let me know in the comments.
It's called a call to action.
It builds a community.
You see, YouTube is different from TV
because you can talk to me.
Can't wait to hear from you.
The Mark 4 ended in 2005,
paving the way for an entirely new generation of Jetta.
The Mark 5 had maybe the scariest ad campaign of all time,
the "safe happens" commercial.
- Stuff doesn't sort of "like" happen.
Those guys are dead now!
Mark 5 was all right.
You could get it in the sport wagon, which was cool,
but the standard model was basic
and lacked some of the character and charm
that the previous year had.
The Mark 6 was the high-volume VW made
to fight their Japanese competitors Toyota and Honda,
which actually was working out with VW
until this little thing popped up in the press.
You ever heard of it?
I'm sure you have.
Ironically, the 2009 Jetta diesel sedan
was awarded Green Car of the Year.
An award that was rescinded in 2015
once the truth got out about how the diesel produced
40 times more noxious gases than they said!
Just don't lie.
Just tell the truth.
Almost tanked the company.
The Mark 7,
well, not the company, just the company in America.
too big to fail.
The Mark 7.
It's the new, hot new Jetta that VW built
to get them out of their lies.
- And in my German words, we have totally screwed up.
- Because since 2011, sales of the Jetta
have continued to slowly decline,
dipping into five figure sales numbers.
Again, don't lie kids!
Once you break the bond of trust,
you may never, ever, ever, never, ever, ever, ever,
never ever, be able to trust that person again.
Thanks for watching UP to Speed and Donut Media in general.
Me and all my friends work here,
and honestly, my dream job.
Oh, you want to see another sick Volkswagen?
Check out this episode of my other show Bumper 2 Bumper.
Follow me on Instagram and Twitter @jamespumphrey.
Follow Donut on Instagram and Twitter @donutmedia.
I love you.