Anyone driven one at night yet? - 2018 7th Gen MK7 VW Jetta Forum
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-22-2018, 09:12 AM Thread Starter
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Anyone driven one at night yet?

We're heading for our test drive this Thursday. If all goes well, I'll be doing the paperwork to get mine in. This is a replacement for the wife's Mazda 3 GT, and I think a very worth successor.

The biggest worry (for her) is the headlights. We hated the Mazda 3's HID design. Your typical bi-zenon setup, but with the low beams patterned to sweep ahead and to the right. The theory is you minimize blinding of oncoming traffic. But the actual end result is near-zero coverage to the left. Plus the coverage straight ahead just wasn't enough, but if aimed even the teensiest bit higher, people would be flashing at her constantly.

Problem is, it's a lousy time of year to check this, because by the time it's dark enough to do a good road test, the dealer's closed (and I don't expect they'll let us keep their only demo model overnight).

If anybody has had a chance to do a night-time test drive, I'd love to hear thoughts on how the LED headlights work. I've found talk about the Passat, and a YouTube video, that make them sound decent enough, but nothing on the new Jetta (that isn't just vague "look! LED headlights").

Brad.
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 11:03 AM
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Doesn't hurt to ask if you can keep the demo overnight or if another dealership nearby is willing to lend it to you. Some of them may be willing. I haven't gotten around to test driving one at night yet, though you do bring up an important point that I tend to overlook in new cars.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-23-2018, 05:10 PM Thread Starter
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So far it's looking like each dealership (there are three in my city) only got in the one demo. The sales guy I've been interfacing with it aware this is going to be a sticking point, and I'm trying to schedule our drive to go past dusk. If overnight is an option, I'll take it for sure, but if not we have the backup plan. The dealership closes at 9PM, so it's do-able with some effort. :-)

I'm hoping they'll pass wife-approval, because if not that'll complicate my search. :-(
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-24-2018, 10:29 AM
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I cant see how the headlights in the Jetta wouldn't be an improvement over the Mazda 3 as LED is now standard in the headlights, tail lights and day time running lights. Unfortunately there isn't much footage of nighttime driving atm, aside from some promo/ads. Let us know what you think after the test drive!
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2018, 01:26 PM
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From what I hear is that LED lighting consumes less energy but doesn't produce extra light compared to Xenon lights. However this could depend on the specific LED setup. Even BMW has moved onto laser headlights so they can get better light throw compared to LED's.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-25-2018, 04:49 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah, to me LED is still a bit unproven. One (theoretical) advantage of LED is that, because it's a bank of LEDs rather than a single source, a properly designed setup can more accurately beam-shape for coverage. Versus HID which is a single source and complicated shaping via the reflector (and that silly flappy thing for high-beams) or halogen, which is two elements in a bulb).

I certainly don't expect LED to have *more* light than HID, but it would be nice if it's close, or beam-shaped well enough that it's not as much of a concern. I've only seen them in oncoming vehicles so far, and they seem okay to me. :-)
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 09:30 AM Thread Starter
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Got our test drive in yesterday evening. Drove the dealer's demo, a black Execuline (Canada's version of the SEL Premium) with all options. We basically got a 45 minute drive in (half me, half the wife) that took us well into dusk, but not total dark.

It was enough to decide that the headlights are going to be adequate to the job. She's still not thrilled with the whole concept of lights with distinct cut-offs, but since anything that doesn't use an <ugh> light bulb is going to have that is going to have that, she'll just have to get used to it. Overall coverage was slightly skewed to the right shoulder (as expected), but still quite adequate to the left (unlike the old Mazda3).
The high beams, on the other hand, are very adequate. Pretty impressive.
I don't understand why car makers have models with every single light on it an LED ... except the fog lights, which are crappy halogen. That just seems weird to me, and the one thing we'll swap out.

We both really liked the "feel" of driving it. Steering is very tight and sporty, very quiet inside and overall a really nice road feel that an average driver would like. I don't claim to be an expert on "driving feel", and we're not taking it on a track or anything. But I know what I like, and this ... I like. :-)
With three adults in the car, it had no problem getting up to highway speed in a prompt manner. Very capable.

Couple of random quick observations from the 45 minutes we got in it...

- With me in the passenger seat (6'2") and the sales dude in the back (5'10" or so), we both had plenty of leg room. When I drove, I didn't have to push the drivers seat all the way back to get comfortable.
- Headroom was slightly lacking, but I didn't bash my head on the ceiling or anything. That's the price you pay for the sunroof. I found it tolerable, but anybody taller than me might not.
- Trunk space seemed larger than the Mazda 3, but they always seem bigger when empty. :-)
- The side mirrors are quite small. That's the first thing we both noticed. The blind-spot detection mitigates that somewhat, but it's going to take a bit of fiddling to find the sweet spot. People accustomed to mirrors that have good side & rear coverage will have to get used to this.
- The control system looks a bit complicated. There's something like twelve buttons on the steering wheel with all manner of hieroglyphic on them. A nerd like myself won't have any trouble, but my wife will probably find the one or two she needs and ignore the rest. The radio also has a fair number of buttons on the sides, but they're labeled. We didn't play much with the system, but there seems to be a lot of "stuff" to be played with. :-)
- One weirdness: the Mazda 3 had a Mute button, which the wife used a lot. This doesn't (and they're pretty rare in other cars too), or it's well-hidden. But while playing she hit the power button on the radio. This turns off the entire infotainment system, including the electronic dash. No speedometer, no map, I think even the gas gauge disappeared. Total blank. I also couldn't readily determine if there's a dimmer for the display. It's a wee bit on the bright side, but not horrible. But some people may prefer it dimmer after dark (but not off).

Anyway, we signed the paperwork. Orange Execuline (SEL Premium) with auto trans, black leather and the driver assist package. There are two "at the dock yard" in Montreal, and we expect to snag one of them. With luck, we'll be driving it within 3 weeks. I should get that confirmed today. :-)
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 09:50 AM
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Glad to hear that you we're both satisfied with the test drive, and thanks for sharing all your observations! That's quite odd that turning off the radio disables all of the digital gauges. Did you confirm if that's how it was designed to work? I cant image trying to drive without a speedometer or fuel indicator.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-27-2018, 11:17 AM Thread Starter
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It seemed odd to me too. But it's possible there's some setting somewhere that specifies what that button is for.
Unfortunately, unlike all other cars I've bought in the past, I can't get my hands on an owners manual. The app doesn't have the 2019 listed yet & VW doesn't put PDFs online (something pretty much everybody else does these days).

It's not a deal-breaker, just something to be aware of. And since it's all just software, I'd assume if enough people complained VW will issue a patch. Heck, we may find it's not legal to have a car without a working, visible speedometer, which would hasten such a patch. :-)
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 04-30-2018, 11:05 AM
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I think we're seeing so many LEDs these days because people were all about changing out the old factory light bulb with an LED one and think of it as a bonus when a car came with such a lighting system. The Jetta's lights should be fine for whatever you need and maybe the missus will come around soon.
Congrats on the new Orange Execuline Jetta!
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