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Posts Tagged ‘Volkswagen reviews’

Volkswagen Unveils Next-Gen Golf

Seventh-gen model lighter and more fuel-efficient.

by on Sep.05, 2012

The 7th-gen VW Golf shown in Euro trim.

Volkswagen has a lot riding on the seventh-generation Golf.  The all-new version will have some big tire tracks to fill considering the Golf is the German maker’s global best-seller – but one facing increasingly tough competition at home and abroad.

The public – and most media – will get a first close-up look at the 2013 VW Golf at the upcoming Paris Motor Show, but the maker gave a few select journalists a sneak peek this week during a preview in Berlin.

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No surprise, the maker declared, “This seventh-generation version of one of the world’s most popular cars is striking in that it offers more features, even better safety, and more performance than the outgoing vehicle, while breaking the cycle of being heavier than its predecessor.”

The new Golf is 2.2-inches longer than the Gen-6 model, 0.5-inches wider and 0.8-inches lower.

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VW Delivers Surprise with Up! 4-Door, Sport and Dune Buggy

Anyone up for some beach blanket bingo?

by on Sep.13, 2011

Volkswagen's take on a classic, a dune buggy based on its new Up! microcar.

Volkswagen is seeing an Up!-side to its newest, smallest model.  The downsized offering will soon be getting a bit bigger – or at least the new VW Up! family will, if the maker’s Frankfurt Auto Show preview is any indication.

The pint-sized Up!, which will arrive in European dealer showrooms later this year, wasn’t expected to make much news at this year’s show, where Volkswagen was signaling its intent to focus on its unusual, 1-seat Nils concept and other product offerings.  But the German maker had a surprise in store as it began rolling out all sorts of variants of the new Up!

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The mix included a 4-door version of the microcar, which Volkswagen’s global styling chief, Walter da Silva announced “will launch next year.”

But that was only the beginning of the surprises.

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VW Product Blitz Could Include New 7-Seat SUV and Bulli Microvan

But diesels are driving big gains for the German maker.

by on Aug.24, 2011

The sporty new Golf R joins VW's U.S. line-up for 2012.

With a goal of more than doubling sales – to 800,000 a year – by 2018, Volkswagen officials are rapidly ramping up the maker’s U.S. line-up and expect to have several new offerings roll into dealer showrooms over the next few years, including a 7-passenger SUV and possibly a production version of the popular Bulli microvan concept.

But the maker’s secret weapon may be its increasing reliance on diesel powertrains, which are gaining converts at a rapid rate.  Facing the prospect of tough new fuel economy regulations, Volkswagen is betting on the latest generation of oil-burners — though it will also be rolling out an array of electrified offerings, including hybrids, plug-ins and pure battery-electric vehicles, the maker’s top U.S. executive told TheDetroitBureau.com.

“Our challenge is to dig deeper” and come up with new products “appropriate for the U.S. market,” explained Jonathan Browning, the British automotive veteran who signed on as CEO of the Volkswagen Group of America last year.

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The good news, he suggested, is that there is a deep well of product available within the global VW portfolio.  Even better, the long-ignored U.S. subsidiary is now high on the radar screen in Wolfsburg, which sees a strong presence in the States as essential to Volkswagen’s global ambitions.  By 2018 the maker intends to be selling 10 million vehicles annually worldwide, a target that could position it as a serious challenger to both Toyota – the global leader for the last several years – and General Motors, which is expected to regain the sales crown this year.

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First Drive: 2012 VW Passat

Striking a balance between German engineering and American tastes.

by on Jun.14, 2011

The new, 2012 U.S. version of the Volkswagen Passat shown at the maker's new plant in Chattanooga.

Volkswagen is betting big on the United States, as evidenced by the construction of a brand-new plant just outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

That plant, which will build the North American version of the new 2012 Passat (Europeans will get a slightly different version), is set up to produce up to 150,000 units annually on two shifts.

That would mark a significant expansion for the German maker, which has long struggled to regain the foothold it had in the U.S. market in the ‘60s and ‘70s.  It would also help move VW ahead as it takes aim at rivals Toyota and General Motors in a big to become the world’s number one automaker by 2018.

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The redesigned Passat, following close upon last year’s updates of the Jetta and Touareg, is the next step in that plan. So is the production shift to the States.

The company is hoping to keep production and distribution costs low, so that the sticker price of the Passat can be brought down to a level that won’t send price-sensitive American motorists screaming in horror and heading to the nearest Hyundai showroom.

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First Look: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle

The Bug is back.

by on Apr.18, 2011

VW returns to a more classic design with the 2012 Beetle.

It’s been nearly three-quarters of a century since the first Volkswagen Beetle made its debut – and more than a decade since the German maker unveiled the current Bug.  So there’s been plenty of anticipation building for the all-new model getting its global launch this week.

In an unusual, multi-city event linking New York, Shanghai and Berlin, Volkswagen today revealed an all-new “people’s car” that picks up on many of the cues of the original Beetle first launched in 1938.

Only the third complete remake in the model’s history, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle will be displayed at both the New York and Shanghai auto shows, this week, as well as in Germany, where the original model was conceived as a low-cost way to put people on wheels.

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The look of the new car returns to the sort of 2-box design that gave the first-generation car such longevity.  The 1998 remake, while clearly influenced by the pre-War design, opted for a semi-circular shape that proved extremely polarizing.

“The new model should be able to help them attract the male buyers that didn’t warm up” to the model soon to go out of production, suggested Dave Sullivan, an automotive analyst with AutoPacific, Inc.

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Volkswagen Confirms Plans For Golf R

Compact performance model slated for early 2012 launch.

by on Dec.10, 2010

Volkswagen launches its new compact hot hatch, the Golf R32 in early 2012.

Volkswagen is adding a much-anticipated new performance car to its line-up, a version of its new compact model to be known as the Golf R.

The addition is designed to underscore VW’s traditional appeal to those who want affordable, sporty European alternatives to popular Japanese “rice burners,” such as the Subaru WRX STi.  The Golf R will be significantly more powerful than the German maker’s current performance model, the GTI, Volkswagen revealed.

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“The European Golf R is simply the most powerful Volkswagen sports performance vehicle ever built,” the maker said in confirming the plans, which call for a launch in the U.S. market early in 2012.

The Volkswagen Golf R will turn out 256 horsepower in U.S. trim, down from 270 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque with the European model.  That’s still a significant upgrade from the last compact performance model the maker offered, the R32.  The new R32, meanwhile, will be powered by a version of the current turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, rather than the older compact hatch’s V32 powertrain.

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First Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta

German engineering challenges Japanese pricing.

by on Aug.09, 2010

An all-new look for the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta.

There was a time when Volkswagen was the most successful import brand in the country. These days, it lags well behind the top Japanese marques, as well as Korea’s Hyundai.

So, it can’t be understated just how important the launch of the new 2011 Jetta is to the German maker – which hopes to more than double its U.S. sales volumes, in the coming years, to 800,000 annually.

Along with the New Midsize Sedan, or NMS, the codename for the all-new model that will be built at the new VW plant in Tennessee, the sixth-generation Jetta will play a critical role in rebuilding the Volkswagen brand here in the U.S.  And to get things rolling, the German maker is lifting a move right out of the competition’s playbook.

The 2011 Volkswagen Jetta line will feature a new base model, the Jetta S, which carries a base price of $15,995, nearly $2,000 less than the starting price for the 2010 sedan.

That also puts it within easy reach of the best-selling entries in the U.S. compact sedan market, the $15,655 Honda Civic and $15,450 Toyota Corolla – both of which offer a fair bit less for the money, it should be pointed out.

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But the question we asked as we got off the plane in San Francisco, recently, for the first drive of the new VW offering was just how well it would stand up to the crowd-pleasing Asian competitors.

Very well, we quickly discovered, whether you’re looking at the relatively stripped-down 2011 Volkswagen Jetta S, or the more lavishly-equipped SE, SEL and TDI models.

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First Drive: 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid

Braking up is hard to do.

by on Mar.24, 2010

With its gas-electric drivetrain, the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid delivers V8 performance and promises V6 mileage.

The streets of the old city are crowded, tourists gaping at the sights as they wander down the middle of the narrow streets of Florence at first not even noticing our big SUV rolling by.  That’s easy to do when it’s running in near-silent battery mode, the only sounds the crunching of tires on the pavement and the subtle hum of the 2011 Volkswagen Touareg’s electric motor.

It’s been a decade since the first hybrid-electric vehicles began rolling into showrooms.  Until recently, the field was dominated by Asian makers, Toyota in particular, with the popular Prius.  After a slow start, U.S. makers have steadily ramped up their own menu of gas-electric offerings, but until recently, Europen marques seemed determined to prove to the world they had a better solution in the form of the diesel drivetrain.

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Suddenly, that’s shifting. The new decade is bringing with it a wave of hybrid entries from German marques like Mercedes-Benz, BMW and, for the upcoming model-year, VW, which enters the alternative power fray with the completely-redesigned Touareg, which will be offered, starting in 2011, with a broad mix of powertrain options, including conventional gasoline, diesel and hybrid.

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