Ah, the GTI. Sure, it's basically a Golf, but an outing in this Golf is sure to achieve a hole in one in the hearts of driving enthusiasts. Not that I'm advocating having a hole in your heart!
Available in three or five door versions (which means two or four doors plus the hot hatch's hatch), the 2015 Golf GTI wears a two liter, direct injection, turbocharged four cylinder engine putting out 210 horses and 258 lb.-ft. of torque. That might not sound like a lot in an area where turbocharged four bangers are putting out nearly 300 gee-gees, but as always horsepower is only part of the story.
There's also torque, and while this GTI is only up about 20 horses from the last iteration, it's also up about 50 tourque-like thingies - and it's the torque that pushes you back into your seat when you tromp the gas pedal. Well, the turbo doesn't hurt and when it comes on with its characteristic whoosh (after only a little lag) you probably won't want to take a selfie because the silly grin on your face will end up ridiculed forever on social media. more...
Sometimes a TV commercial is just too precious to be true.
Remember the humorous commercial for Volkswagen's new Jetta hybrid, where a guy brings his newly-purchased Jetta back to the dealership, accusing the salesman of having sold him the wrong one?
The guy proceeds to take the salesdude on a test drive, zipping around as if the Jetta's a sports car to prove that it isn't really a hybrid and therefore he couldn't possibly have been sold the correct unit.
It's a funny and pretty compelling ad, especially if you're interested in buying a hybrid that doesn't suck to drive. Most "mainstream" hybrids slant toward saving gasoline and biosphere-blessing rather than upping the entertainment ante (though there are exceptions), so if it's true that the Jetta hybrid is still a blast to drive even though it's Gaia-friendly, it could be pretty compelling choice for green-minded folk who still enjoy a bit of "joie de conduire." more...
On the road with Volkswagen's new Passat diesel
Want to go on a road trip and not spend a lot on fuel? The Volkswagen Passat TDI may be just the ticket.
VW was kind enough to lend me such a car, in the fairly low end Trendline+ trim level, for a recent trip from Vancouver, B.C. to the Seattle, WA, area, and it turned out to be very nearly the perfect vehicle for such a jaunt. Any quibbles I had could be corrected easily by optioning it up. more...
VW crafts a hot hatch with no hatch
You could call it the hot Jetta. And you'd be right.
The VW Jetta GLI is basically a GTI with buttocks, in that it isn't a hatchback like the Golf-based GTI, but rather is a sedan – like, er, the Jetta. It's the most entertaining Jetta you can buy off the shelf. And needless to say, it's a blast.
And, all things considered, it's also priced well. more...
Volkswagen's new Passat a big, smooth ride
You can get it as a diesel or in gas-powered five and six cylinder models, but however you configure your power train you may just discover that the 2012 Volkswagen Passat is a top car in the mainstream midsize class.
All new for 2012, the Passat is VW's largest family car available in North America. It's a fine one, too. more...
New, New Beetle a step forward for the car, a step backward for the cuteness
It's a Beetle you probably won't want to stomp on, unless you're only referring to what your foot does to the accelerator pedal.
After the reasonable success of the first generation of the "New Beetle," you might think Volkswagen would leave well enough alone and not risk alienating its built in audience. You'd be wrong, though: as with other cars in its lineup, the "new New Beetle" has been extensively retooled and reimagined for a new generation, Volkswagen in the process eschewing some of the "Old New Beetle's" cuteness in an apparent attempt to make it seem like a more serious car that its predecessor, while still holding true to its "buggy" heritage. more...
VW Tiguan a Fine Choice in a Crowded Market
VW's entry into the "Cute Ute" segment is a little more cute for 2012, while still being a good ute.
It isn't an all-new version, but you can definitely notice the evolution. It starts with handsome new front and rear ends that have more than a little Touareg in them – not a bad thing, since VW's bigger SUV is a handsome beast – and continues inside to an even nicer interior than before. Not that the previous interior was a bust; I think Volkswagen makes some of the best interiors on the market and, fortunately, they haven't messed with success here. more...
VW Jetta Diesel – Cheap on Fuel, Big on Torque
Pump pain. It's the ache you feel at the sight of your bank account being depleted of vital resources by the vital resources your vehicle burns if it's to be of any use to you.
Which brings me to the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI, the turbo diesel version of the popular Jetta sedan. The Jetta has offered a diesel for years, but there's a new generation of Jetta now that looks just as clean as its diesel power plant promises to be. And it's a heckuva car. more...
VW Touareg Diesel Rocks
High gas prices may make you want to think about a hybrid as a way to save some fuel, but there's another way to do it: Go diesel.
Diesels have had a reputation for being stinky and slow, but that was then and this is now. According to Sergio Stiberman, CEO and founder of LeaseTrader.com, "The diesel cars of today are clearly not your father's diesel." Stiberman, whose company matches shoppers with "shoppees" who want to get out of their auto leases, says "More people today are searching for diesels because of the improved mileage they can get." more...
VW Touarag Ups Its Own Ante for '11
It's bigger, more graceful and more efficient than the previous generation and you can get it in a hybrid if that's important to you. It's also comfortable and luxurious, kind of a "less well-heeled man's" Porsche Cayenne.
The difficult to spell Touareg is Volkswagen's full-sized SUV and it's a fine one. And for 2011 the Touareg, promoted as the second generation of the vehicle, there are substantial changes from the original model. more...
Golf GTI a little Rocket
If you're looking for a small, economical car that's also a real blast to drive, you can't go far wrong with the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
When the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada named the GTI as its 2010 Canadian Car of the year, I didn't agree. But I can see why the GTI copped the Canuck challenge: it's a delightful car, fast and wonderful to drive and with all the great things – such as a first class interior – that I've come to expect from Volkswagen. more...
Car Wars, Episode Diesel: Return of the Jetta
My love affair with Volkswagen's current product line continues with the 2010 Jetta sedan and wagon. Heck, if I were French, I'd simply look at the car's flanks, say "Jetta door!" and be done with it. Of course that doesn't make for much of a column, let alone a decent pun.
Anyway, hot on the heels of some seat time in the sixth generation Golf came a week with what in the U.S. is called the Jetta SportWagen but which everywhere else is called the Golf Wagon, in diesel form this time, followed by another week with the diesel Jetta sedan.
VW has really knocked it out of the park when it comes to these cars. They're attractive, appear to be built very well, are comfortable, fun to drive and feature classy interiors that are laid out and work extremely well. For what more could anyone ask? more...
VW's Golf a Fair Way to Get Around
If you're looking for a nice vehicle to "putter" around in, you can't go too far wrong with the latest Golf.
In fact, a little birdie told me this sixth generation of VW's entry level car was a real hole in one for the German car maker. And having driven the gas-powered four door hatchback recently, I can tell you they've definitely aced it.
Golfs have been around for years, and under various noms de plume, and I can see why it remains popular: it's a fantastic little car, well built, fun to drive and with one of the best interiors you can find. more...
VW New Beetle and Golf City – Reasonably Sublime to Downright Ridiculous
Volkswagen's entry level Golf City is a nice little car, affordable and comfortable and undoubtedly easy to live with.
Then there's the New Beetle convertible.
I got to drive both vehicles back to back, spending about three weeks with them in total – mostly (fortunately) puttering around in the Golf, no pun intended. Well, okay; I did make the pun deliberately. The Golf City restored the good taste for Volkswagens that I'd had before I was infected by the nasty bug. more...
VW Jumps into "Cute Ute" segment with Tiguan
It's cute and it's a ute – and Volkswagen is hoping to score a share of the popular small SUV market with its new Tiguan.
Volkswagen says the Tiguan crossover SUV is an ideal companion for "city adventurers", a "rare species created to help you navigate your way through the urban jungle". I don't know about the "ideal" part, but Volkswagen's kick at this segment of the marketplace – a niche populated by the likes of the Honda CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Nissan Rogue et al – is a good one, and one that brings some European flair to the segment. more...
A "Non-Coupe" is Volkswagen's Latest Scoop
Who'd have thought a Volkswagen sedan could be sexy, an object of automotive lust?
Yet automotive lust is the feeling I got during my week with the new Passat CC, a wonderful 2+2 sedan that got me thinking about keeping a VW in my garage for the first time in my life. more...
VW "Dodges" Minivan Market
From the company whose microbus became legendary among travelers and hippies comes the 2009 Routan, Volkswagen's first honest-to-goodness "garden variety" minivan.
At heart, the Routan is a re-badged Chrysler (hence the Dodge pun in my headline) built, apparently, on a Chrysler platform and assembled in a Chrysler plant. But just as The Who's version of "Summertime Blues" takes a rock and roll standard and turns it into a "Who-ized" classic, there's more to the Routan than just a Chrysler with different logos. more....
VW Jetta Diesel – TDI, not TD-ous
In a time of unstable gasoline prices, one might think a hybrid is the best way to go. But there's a proven alternative that offers the gas mileage you want without requiring a hybrid's premium price.
It's the diesel, an engine that has been around forever but which has also been dumped upon nearly forever for such things as emissions and noise. But today's diesel can be different from days gone by, if Volkswagen's "clean diesel" technology is any indication. more....
Volkswagen GTI – Upgrades Your "Zip" Code
Volkswagen's zippy little GTI is back, a sporty hatchback that's fun to drive yet practical as well.
The GTI, which could perhaps be called the fairest haired boy in the Golf/Rabbit family, traces its roots back to 1976, when Volkswagen introduced its "compact, wild, young racer" to the Autobahn. According to the company, the GTI was planned as a limited series of 5,000 units, but the market spoke and VW listened – and the rest, apparently, is history. more....