2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI: Nickel and Dime
March 30, 2012
The test price for our long-term Jetta TDI is about $26,000. With that not-insignificant sum for a Jetta comes the proprietary MDI cable that connects your iThing to the multimedia system. We had a Passat S in here a couple of weeks ago with no MDI connection nor even a USB port. Just an AUX In jack. The Passat is also about $6,000 cheaper.
To get iConnectivity in the Passat, you need to commit $26,800 for the SE model, and that also gets you a sunroof and navigation system. That's a lotta cheddar just to get some iPhone music in a VW sedan. And that's for a proprietary system with its own protocols that may or may not always work for you (one colleague here reports problems using MDI after a recent iPhone update).
Yes, the Passat has Bluetooth. But that limits you to volume and track forward/back. That'll do in a pinch, but streaming quality is inferior and inevitably we end up fumbling with our phones trying to find a playlist, until we rear-end a Subaru Forester full of rescue puppies so traumatized by the incident that they grow into adults that cannot be housebroken.
A simple USB port, that's all I ask. In every car. And especially this, the People's Car.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor