Tuesday, November 18, 2008

My (Sporty) Concession

A week and a half ago, I took the 2004 Jetta in for its 40K service. Our local VW dealer had just gotten in a new shipment of cars, including a few Jetta SportWagens. I've been tempted by these since they were announced late last year. Well, it just so happened that one of the models had a manual transmission—still one of my requirements for a car.

I drove the car and found it stiff but sporty. The engine had a good bit of zing, and the car felt as stable as any I've driven—more like a couple of Audis I've driven than the last generation Jetta. It was also remarkably roomy inside. In the end, I played with the financing and thought through one basic issue: the '04 Jetta was coming out of its warranty, and I probably couldn't handle any major service bills that might come up, at least not in the foreseeable future.

In the end, it just came down to a decision to take one more step to putting the past behind me, and I came home in this:

I will admit I've had some moments of buyer's remorse—moments where I wonder if I should have stubbornly stuck out paying off the 2004 and moments where I wonder if I've made the ultimate concession to parenthood and approaching middle age by getting a wagon. In reality, though, neither is really a good reason for remorse. Paying off the 2004 would have been an honorable activity, but might have not have benefitted me in the long-run. And the wagon question? Well, the reality is I need to haul a kid, a dog, and all the stuff that goes along with those responsibilities. I also hope to get back to more active, outdoor pursuits, and a wagon just works better for that.

In the end, though, I'm a dad. I'm almost forty. I'm an adult in need of adult trappings. Would I love to have the cherry red GLI with its 6-speed gear box and 220+ hp engine I looked at before buying the last Jetta? Sure, I would. But that one will have to wait for the day Banana inherits our well-used, paid-for 2009 SportWagen... in 2019.

God help us all...


One other thing I should add: I love the car. It truly is fun to drive. And when we came home from IKEA and Trader Joe's this weekend, there was room to spare. Time to add the Apple sticker...