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Posts Tagged ‘VW’

2017 NAIAS: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

January 25th, 2017 No comments

 

Volkswagen is focusing its efforts to restore brand credibility in what executives refer to as the “diesel crisis” and launched a three way assault at NAIAS to due so. This included the rollout of the Atlas and Tiguan production crossovers along with the retro electric van Buzz concept. The Atlas would make one shrug since it isn’t anything new to the marketplace, except that it is a new product that VW has never offered stateside before; a midsize 3-row crossover. VW executives admitted that one thing that has held back its popularity in the U.S. is the brand’s premium pricing on mainstream products. To remedy this, VW promised that the Atlas would start at $30,000 and top out around $48,000. One novel feature is the ability to tilt and slide the 2nd row of seats while a car seat is installed in order to gain access to the 3rd row. No diesels in this crossover, but a 3.6L V6 with 276 horsepower gets the propulsion done. The Atlas spans 198.3 inches, swallows 96.8 cubic feet of cargo, and seats seven. That’s a formula that normally plays well in Peoria. Now to see if Americans take notice.

2017 NAIAS: 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

January 25th, 2017 No comments

 

For 2018 Volkswagen attempts to draw the compact Tiguan crossover more in line with American tastes. Volkswagen claims that roughly 25% of its sales volume was represented by diesel powered vehicles and it hopes to retain buyers who recognized the strong design and precision engineering offered in its other products.  As part of its efforts to mend relationships with disgruntled consumers after last year’s diesel-gate scandal, the redesigned compact Tiguan gains a third row seats. This long wheelbase Tiguan is 10.6 inches longer between the wheels. Referred to as 5+2 seating, it is obvious that the third row is intended for occasional use or for children. The exterior is freshened with LED headlights and tail lights and features VW’s modern chiseled sheet metal. Without any diesels available, the Tiguan forges ahead with a turbocharged direct injection TSI 2.0L 4-cylinder engine mated to an 8 speed automatic. Active all wheel drive available under the guise of 4motion with four selectable drive modes. A digital cockpit allows the instrument panel to be reconfigured. The new Tiguan may not be a revolutionary crossover, but it does seem to be a sign that VW is committed to paying attention to Americans want in a small crossover.

2017 NAIAS: Volkswagen I.D. Buzz Concept

January 25th, 2017 No comments

 

Volkswagen has teased the world with two concepts that drew inspiration from the original Type 2, best known to Americans as the “Microbus.” The first concept in 2001 was dubbed with the obvious moniker “Microbus Concept.” A good ten years passed and no return of the beloved Microbus appeared. Instead VW gave us the “Bulli” concept which was a small MPV with styling again reminiscent of the original air-cooled hippie van. Alas, this concept would not come to fruition either and American customers were offered a rebranded Dodge Caravan dubbed Routan instead. Now in 2017 VW debuted the oddly named I.D. BUZZ concept that closely mimics the original Samba bus. I.D. stands for “identity,” “idea,” “individual,” “intelligent” and “iconic design.” BUZZ, VW claims, is a phonetic word play on “bus” and the “buzzing” of the van’s electric drive system. Sorry, Volkswagen, but Bulli was a much more endearing name. Officials insist that the I.D. BUZZ isn’t a retro design, but that the original van’s shape was so iconic and efficient that it is the intuitive package that houses an all-new all-electric vehicle architecture. That may be the case but there is no mistaking the pronounced beltline that dips down toward the front fascia with a massive VW logo proudly displayed front and center. Four little hockey-pucks on the corners of the roof provide sensors for autonomous driving and a 111 kW battery provides energy for propulsion while stowed below the cargo floor. A perfectly flat load floor provides for seemingly limitless interior configurations. While VW hopes this electric, autonomous concept would satisfy forward thinking Americans, many of would just be happy if the storied German brand would just offer this heritage inspired van to fill the van void in its portfolio.

2016 NAIAS: 2016 Beetle Dune

January 16th, 2016 No comments

 

It’s hard to stay mad at Volkswagen over the diesel emissions scandal when they follow through and put whimsically nostalgic concepts into production with special editions like the Beetle Dune and Beetle Denim. Offered as a coupe or a convertible the Dune is a largely an appearance package, running a standard powertrain devoid of all wheel drive, though available engines and transmissions have yet to be disclosed by VW. We suppose that is appropriate since Beetle-based dune buggies typically took advantage of the VWs light weight and made do with two-wheel drive. Physical upgrades include a wider track and raised suspension. Interior details unique to the Dune are special sport seats and dune badges. Offering a unique Sandstorm Yellow paint scheme, LED taillights, black honeycomb front grille, massive rear spoiler, and a new wheel design, the Dune promises to keep the familiar Beetle shape fresh.

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2016 NAIAS: 2016 Volkswagen Passat

January 16th, 2016 No comments

 

Though no diesel models were on the show floor this year, it was hard to ignore VW’s diesel scandal. The VW executives spent a good portion of their 20 minute press conference talking about what they are doing to correct the distrust created by the diesel calibration that cheated emissions regulations. Still, Volkswagen has significant product that utilizes conventional gasoline and the Passat is the most significant vehicle in its US lineup. The Passat remains a unique model built at the Chattanooga, TN assembly plant. Conservative, but handsome, styling has been updated for 2016 and tragically not only loses its diesel engine options but no manual transmission is any longer present on the option sheet. The Passat starts at $22,440 and offers the 1.8L turbo 4-cylinder that provides 170 horsepower and an impressive 38 mpg highway. Buyers can upgrade to the 3.6L V6 model and be propelled forward by 280 horses achieving a much more modest 28 mpg highway. The V6 can only be acquired when the top line SEL Premium trim is selected at a much less value-focused $36,835. Will the Passat still attract buyers while losing its most distinguishing powertrain options? Only time will tell.

Video Review: 2015 Volkswagen GTI S Performance Pack

April 12th, 2015 No comments

The GTI has been rewarding drivers with a hard-to-beat combination of performance and practicality since day one and we are thrilled to report that the new seventh-generation polishes the package to near perfection. The turbo four now makes 258 lb-ft of torque starting at just 1,500 rpm so the car provides a smooth and refined punch away from every stop. Add in the Performance Pack hardware like a trick electronically controlled differential and larger brakes and the GTI is a very willing dance partner when the back road traffic disappears. The interior has been bumped up a level to shame anything else in the sub-$30k class and you can still order your hot hatch with a true clutch pedal six-speed manual. Volkswagen truly has the GTI formula figured out. We’re hoping they never change it.

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2013 NAIAS: Volkswagen CrossBlue Concept

January 15th, 2013 No comments

      Volkswagen is not new to the SUV and crossover market. Having offered a relatively large Toureg since 2002 and the small Tiguan since 2007 it is somewhat surprising that VW has never offered a three row crossover under its people’s car brand. In an attempt to remedy this shortcoming VW unveiled the six-passenger CrossBlue concept. Looking alarmingly similar to Jeep’s Grand Cherokee, executives assured that the CrossBlue concept could easily be predictive of a future production model. They also assured that the future model would offer seven passenger seating replacing the concept’s middle row captain’s chairs with a bench seat. The CrossBlue is equipped with a diesel engine mated to two electric motors, a dual-clutch automatic transmission, and an electric all-wheel-drive system. VW estimates 89 mpge in combined electric mode and 35 mpg as a hybrid. This powertrain produces up to 305 horsepower and an stump-pulling 516 pound-feet of torque. At 196.3 inches long and 79.3 inches wide, VW calls this concept a midsize crossover and expects that a production version would slot between the Tiguan and Toureg in its lineup. This is a curious assessment since the Toureg only seats five and stretches about 189 inches long. Whatever the logic, we say Volkswagen has everything to gain by finally entering the seven passenger crossover segment. Read more…

NAIAS 2011: 2012 Volkswagen Passat

January 10th, 2011 No comments

      For more than a year Volkswagen has promised a larger midsize sedan to replace the long lived Passat name. The car was to be designed to fit US consumer’s tastes and buying habits and be built in a brand new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Code named the NMS (for New Midsize Sedan) Volkswagen had the industry waiting with baited breath for the official name of the Passat replacement. Our collective breath was held in vain only for VW to reveal that the NMS would be designated – wait for it – the Passat. Read more…

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2010 Volkswagen Golf TDI

August 17th, 2010 2 comments

Debunking the Diesel Stereotype

      Diesels have intrigued me from the time I was old enough to make basic automotive observations. Much to my delight, on family road trips my parent’s diesel 1978 Olds Custom Cruiser would fill up alongside the big-rig trucks. This fascination was bolstered by an uncle who owned a yellow diesel Rabbit in the ’80s followed by a diesel Ford Tempo, complete with the secondary battery mounted in the trunk. When it came time to find a light duty long distance tow vehicle I purchased a ’92 Chevrolet C2500 Silverado with a 6.5L turbo diesel. For all of their actual and perceived faults, each of these vehicles were compelling in some significant way. And yet diesels remain merely a niche in America’s automotive market. What is the reason for this? Is this simply due to undeserved stereotypes that won’t die, or a deficiency in the vehicles themselves? Read more…

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Bidding Farewell to the New Beetle (Design Critique)

May 10th, 2010 1 comment

      In 1994 VW showed a concept car that was immediately recognizable as drawing its inspiration from the vintage Beetle.  Originally ‘dubbed the Concept One (pun intended), the car would be modified into the production New Beetle.  While a successful design in many regards, this reborn Beetle failed to fully capture the spirit of the original.  Now facing its final model year after 13 long years of production, the New Beetle looks as aged as any of its contemporaries from 1998. Read more…