Those of you familiar with this site probably know that my family recently purchased Volkswagen’s new Jetta Hybrid. So far we have loved everything about the car, and it has proven capable of delivering on VW’s MPG claims. I have even seen as high as 53mpg average on some trips, and that means VW has managed to out-do the Toyota Prius. I say that because the Jetta is also an extremely competent performing car in all other respects aside from gas mileage. They’ve used a turbocharged engine in it, so it has enough squirt to get out of its own way. The Jetta Hybrid also happens to handle extremely well because it has the same suspension architecture as the Jetta GLI. Where most hybrids tend to be extremely compromised in all aspects besides fuel economy, the Jetta Hybrid manages to be extremely well rounded while also seeing the same sort of MPG as the hybrid pimp-daddy, the Prius. So now I have to wonder, what could VW do if they really decided to focus a car on fuel economy to the same degree Toyota has done?
It just so happens that VW already has all of the tools it would need to create the ultimate economy car. The answer is a painfully obvious one, yet it the bean counters have been avoiding it because it may upset their current marketing scheme. I am talking about VW making a diesel hybrid.
The Golf R carries on the torch, held by the R32 before it, as the ultimate Volkswagen Golf. The R32 first came on the scene in 2002, sharing most of its mechanical features with the top spec Audi TT. It was placed above the famous GTI in the Golf lineup, and offered a bigger VR6 engine that sent power to all four wheels, opposed to just the front in the GTI. The Golf R has changed from the original R32 in many of its details, but still offers the same package in the modern lineup. America was not originally supposed to receive the Golf R when it debuted in 2010, but there was so much outspoken demand for the car that they were landing on our shores by the spring of 2012. This is a car I have been wanting to test for a while now, and as it turned out my family decided to buy another Volkswagen. So after we committed to the buy, I asked if I could have a drive in the Golf R to sweeten the deal a little, and they were more than happy to oblige. Read the rest of this entry »
The Stance Movement has become quite a big thing in recent years. For those unfamiliar with the trend it is sort of like a neo-lowrider thing. People have been taking cars of all sorts and dropping them down as low as they can go, all in the name of “Stance”. Nowhere is this fad bigger than in the Volkswagen crowd, as can be seen at a host of water themed events that take place all over the country. My friend Justin spent months scouring the forums to find a slammed VW of his own, and he finally found the clean ’98 GTI you see here. He was nice enough to let me take it out recently so I could see what a slammed car is all about from the driver seat. What followed was a very interesting experience. Read the rest of this entry »
Volkswagen’s Jetta is one of the old reliable pals of the automotive world, a solid everyday package for everyday people. In America Jettas have always been seen as a slightly nicer, better built alternative to Japanese and American compact cars. Volkswagen means “people’s car” in German, and the Jetta continues to be an exemplary specimen of those ideals. The Jetta you see here is not just any Jetta though, this is the GLI, the hot version. In the VW lineup GLI is to Jetta as GTI is to Golf, and they are basically the same car other than the body style. I liked the GTI when I drove it against the Beetle Turbo last year, but I wanted to see how the package transferred to the larger Jetta platform. Read the rest of this entry »
This incredible rat rodded Beetle was out for the Woodward Dream Cruise in Michigan. It is an entirely custom built car with the engine actually hanging off the back. I have seen many customized air-cooled Beetles over the years, but nothing quite like this car. One really cool feature is the car’s shift lever, which is actually a titanium hip replacement that has been repurposed for changing gears. I was assured the artificial hip was not a used part, but one of those usually costs around $14,000 when being used for medical purposes. Among the thousands of cool cars in the area during the Cruise, this Beetle was one of the ones that stood out the most to me. This is a very different kind of slammed car for the Volkswagen community. Enjoy the gallery.
This is the Audi R8 in its original form, the V8 model that was designed to slip under the Lamborghini Gallardo (with which it shares its chassis) and compete head to head with the Porsche 911. Anyone who knows cars knows the fierce competition in this area of the market and how deeply rooted the Porsche 911’s success is. The R8 entered the segment boldly though, and was quickly heralded by many as being superior to the almighty Porsche. Since its debut in 2006 Audi has sold over 15,000 R8s, quite a large number for a car costing six figures, so it would seem they have succeeded in making a really great car. I recently had the opportunity to take one for a few laps around the track at Exotic Rides in Cancun, Mexico, so I was excited to see what all the fuss was about. Read the rest of this entry »
2011 will be remembered as many things by many people, but one thing it will not be seen as is a boring year. So much happened this year around the world, from terrible cataclysms to amazing and inspiring revolutions. Obviously being a car site, we want to focus more on the auto industry, but it would be a great injustice not to first acknowledge the events of this year that have changed the lives of millions of people around the globe. Now as for the auto industry, many great things have happened as well as a few that are not so great. Read the rest of this entry »
I first saw the new VW Beetle up close at the New York International Autoshow this past year. I was very excited to see that the new version had become more of a sporting machine and less of a decorated flowerpot. On the surface the Beetle is on the same chassis as the Golf, and the one I was interested in, the Beetle Turbo, basically has the same mechanics as the famed GTI. This made me wonder how similar they really were to each other because I know VW would not want to steal sales from themselves. I decided to go try them both out back to back and compare. Read the rest of this entry »
I will always remember the first time I saw the Volkswagen CC at the 2008 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The Bugatti Veyron Gran Sport had just been unveiled and was on display near the Concept Lawn, naturally drawing vast amounts of attention from everyone. While I was in the crowd I looked to my right and noticed a very sleek sedan with a lonely VW representative, it piqued my interest so I went to have a chat. I was then informed that this was the CC, a new sedan coming out that was based on the Passat, but targeted toward a more special market, following in the footsteps of the Mercedes CLS. Ever since then I have had a great love for the CC because it defies the boring trends of the auto industry. The other day I finally went in to try one out for myself to see if it drives as well as it looks. Read the rest of this entry »
The R32 was the hottest Golf you could buy back in 08. It offered a more comfortable, grown up alternative to the Japanese rally cars, but wasn’t quite on their level of performance on paper. Today good R32s can be found for on either side of the $20k mark and they still offer the same mix of practicality, comfort, and performance as they did three years ago when compared with current brand new models. Read the rest of this entry »
Anyone who grew up in the 1960s or 1970s knows what the VW MicroBus is. It won’t win any drag races or autocross events, but its timeless styling and endlessly cool image have kept it relevant since its inception. The Type 2 is considered by some to be one of the first mass-production minivans, predating the venerable Dodge Caravan and its family by over 2 decades. This particular example was present at the 2011 Radnor Hunt Concours in eastern Pennsylvania, and stood out in the best of ways. The blue Mark 1 21-window version was optioned to the roof and one of the best (if not THE best) example I’ve ever seen in my life. More pictures after the jump. Read the rest of this entry »