The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta comes equipped with the optional Premium VIII sound system with the added convenience and sunroof package of the SE model. After purchasing one of the first new Jettas this year in early October, I opted for the $2,600 upgrade for the sound system, sunroof and variety of other convenience features, such as heated heats.
The sound system is an upgrade from the basic four-speaker system, which is standard on the SE and S Jetta models. The upgraded system features a vibrant touch screen, 6-disc CD changer, iPod connector, satellite radio and SD memory card reader. The six-speaker system features four speakers in the rear cabin and two speakers in the front, creating a surround sound effect.
The speaker quality is excellent for the price. The surround sound delivers rich and crisp playback at any volume, deep bass for hip-hop/rap music and clear audio quality for acoustics. Everyone that I have had in the car so far has commented on the excellent quality of the sound system, and were shocked to find out that the sound system was a stock feature from VW.
Touch screens have recently become a hit with the new iPad, iPod Touch and touch screen media kits in newer vehicles. Unfortunately, the touch screen on the Premium VIII does not meet expectations. Navigating through songs by scrolling is difficult because of the lag between touching the screen and it scrolling, choppy and many bugs. For example, while the media player was playing a song I went to “selection” and then to “songs” to pick another song in a different playlist, however, the player freezes and goes right back to the home screen. This has happened numerous times and is very frustrating when trying to pick a song quick when time allows, such as when the car is stopped.
Lack of Voice Controls
The touch screen, although easy to get used to, has numerous bugs and is not all that user friendly. The lack of voice control for the media player is a huge disappointment from VW. This is because operating the controls on the media player is difficult, if not dangerous when driving. I find that I have to set the player on a playlist or have a passenger change the song while driving because of the amount of effort required for simple tasks.
The sound quality is much better than I expected from a Volkswagen, and sounds better than many stock car systems I have listened to. However, the clunky touch screen leaves a lot to be desired and is not very user friendly.