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"On the road of life, there are passengers, and there are drivers. Drivers wanted." Oh, Volkswagen... It would be so nice to believe that no money down and $395 a month on a brand new, four door, five-speed, 1998 Jetta GLS Sedan will put me in control of my destiny. But, alas, I am burdened with the knowledge that you are full of crap.

Despite what your TV commericals would have us believe, Volkswagens are not cajones-to-the-wall, take-charge automobiles. In fact, compared to other cars in their primary price range ($15,000-$25,000), they're not even particularly cost-effective or reliable. I am therefore forced to dispute any implied connection between buying a Volkswagen and being a "Driver."

If I blow the doors off a Volkswagen GTI (ret. $17,795) in the quarter-mile driving a Chevy Camaro RS (ret. $17,970), am I not a Driver? Two generations of Americans would say I am, and we invented the friggin' automobile.

If I pay half as much (over five years) to maintain and repair a Nissan Sentra GLE (avg. $2658), than a Volkswagen Cabriolet (avg. $5586), thereby saving enough to buy new skis, am I merely a along for the ride? Hear my mocking laughter as I charge down the slopes.

If I garner more admiring looks in a Mazda Miata MX-5 (ret. $21,095) than in a clunky Volkswagen Passat GLK Wagon (ret. $21,689), am I not hugging the curves on the road of life?

If I'm smart enough to see your admittedly clever pitch for the plastic body-filler it is... well, you get the picture.

Ah, Volkswagen... I was often a passenger in your bugs and vans as a child. Back then, you really had a lot to offer in a "folks wagon:" affordability, reliability and ease of repair. Now that I'm a Driver, what have you got for me? A catchy sales-pitch? For what that's worth, you can stick it up your Fahrvergnugen.


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