Tag Archive | "VW"

The Practical Volkswagen Touran

The Touran is a MPV (multi-purpose vehicle) and its purpose is not to excite but instead to do automotive lifestyle things in a practical manner. Our featured car was in seven-seat form but a five-seat version is available.

Driving, the 1.6L four cylinder turbo-diesel engine seemed very willing – quietly going about its business and demonstrating a willingness to crack on. In fact, the Touran surprised me by being an excellent driver. It’s never going to be a fast car but it maintained a lively pace and was light and easy to drive. There is even a ‘Sport’ version.

w1 The Practical Volkswagen TouranThe ride was a bit of a revelation. VW have done a great job with the suspension and seating and the Touran floated over our ruined roads with aplomb; the lumps and bumps scarcely registering on the Motor Blogger posterior. Lean into corners was similarly well controlled: it is there but not at all intrusive.

Inside, the car is well designed, very well made and roomy – with many practical attributes I’ll get on to but it is dull; surely there’s scope for a little colour? Perhaps some contrasting stitching or classy bright work? There are some ‘brushed aluminium’ effects but they just blend in. MB didn’t particularly care for the black plastic surround of the central fascia but most buyers probably wouldn’t be so picky. All the connectivity is there – Bluetooth and so on – it just isn’t a very interesting place to be.

w3 The Practical Volkswagen TouranThe list of features on this car is endless. Standout items on this SE model though include ‘Park Assist’ and ‘Park Pilot’ (the Touran can more or less park itself); storage drawers under the front seats, capacious ‘hidden’ under-floor storage on the second row and even cubbies and cupholders on the back row. There’s even storage in the roof! I also appreciated the privacy glass for all – sensibly – but the front seats. I do take issue with the satellite navigation. It works fine but I quickly became irritated by the rather strict ‘voice’.

Open the rear hatchback and you’ll find that the boot lip is commendably low. With the seven seat configuration the boot space in the back is limited – fine for shopping – but the third row of seats fold away flat quickly and easily to hugely increase luggage space. If you need all seven seats for the larger family then the fitted roof rails will support roof boxes and the like.

I am so impressed with how well thought out this car is. The second row of seats lift out and there is all manner of ways to configure the interior. The Volkswagen Touran is never going to inflame your automotive desires but it is going to satisfy your long term, all-purpose motoring needs.

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Golf Class

At Motor Blogger we like a car test. This time it’s the turn of the legend itself, Volkswagen’s highly regarded Golf Hatchback. In this case the model tested is the base, but not basic, S model fitted with the 1.2L TSI BlueMotion 105PS petrol engine driving through a six-speed manual gearbox. This model is a five-door.

The TSI engine combines direct injection with turbo charging that promises to maximize power from a smaller displacement while limiting fuel consumption. Meanwhile torque is available from much lower revs and maintained at most engine revolutions. This makes cars equipped with these engines more lively at lower revs, which in turn makes them more economical and cleaner.

Owners who regularly drive longer distances would probably be better served by the diesel options available for this car, but for lower mileages this modest version is hard to beat. VW reckon that in the combined cycle the Golf S can achieve as much as 57 miles to the gallon. We didn’t see that (40mpg to be precise) but then we didn’t perform any longer trips and the car was put through its paces on our evaluation cycle. We think that an overall average circa 50mpg is possible in the real world of motoring.1MB Golf Class

The traffic light charge to 62mph is achieved in a fairly brisk 10.2 seconds and, if you were allowed to do so, the 1.2L Golf can keep going to 119mph. The basic price is around £18500 although this particular car had some optional extras like alloy wheels – mobile casino the car comes with steel hoops as standard but you don’t want those – meaning the bottom line is about £20k. For what you get this is good value.

On this version all the expected safety features known only by their initials – ABS and the like – are all there in force and the price includes an excellent infotainment centre with Bluetooth, DAB, MP3, an SD card reader and much more. No satnav or reversing sensors at this price though. This doesn’t matter because the shape of the car makes it easy to park and you can always buy a navigation device or use a smartphone app.

Out on the road this classy car shows its value. Performance is perfectly adequate – this car is designed for economy after all – and good progress can be made. There’s a long third gear for ease of overtaking. The ride is, frankly, superb. Too soft for performance driving obviously, but very comfortable, as are the supportive seats. Steering is light at low speeds but weights up as speed increases; plus there is genuine feel to the steering sensation – the car feels safe and planted. It’s a Golf so build quality is as good as you would expect.  If family motoring matters more to you than performance or striking looks then there are few cars to rival it. When you shut the doors it sounds just like a Golf; it looks like a Golf so it must be a Golf.

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Massive Volkswagen Campaign At The Frankfurt Show

When you’re on a roll, you’re on a roll. That presumably is the philosophy of the good people at Volkswagen because, at this year’s Frankfurt Motor Show to be held next month, they are showcasing no less than fifty three vehicles on a 8,893m² stand in Hall No.3.

Although times are tough in the new car industry these days, VW seem to have the capacity and resilience to just keep the good stuff coming. The brand highlights are the world premiere of the e-Golf and the new Golf R, plus one further model we‘ve yet to see.

Thanks to their success in the World Rally Championship with Sebastien Ogier leading the charge, this year they are using that sport as one of their main themes along with their four-wheel drive 4MOTION technology and ‘Think Blue’, targeted at the ecological stance of their ‘Bluemotion’ vehicles.

The overarching theme however is ‘Electrifying’. This motto not only refers to e-mobility as represented in Frankfurt by products such as the e-Golf, e-up! and XL1 along with other numerous exhibits backed up by shows on large screens. Everything about the stand takes up the “electrifying” theme and is designed to create an emotional impact on visitors. Apart from e-mobility, this includes the link between car, man and technology; connectivity or Volkswagen’s approach to other forward-looking drive-train technologies over and above e-mobility.

They even developed a feature allowing visitors to take a ‘Think Blue’ stroll past Volkswagen models which particularly feature economic and green technologies. An “Innovation Wall” provides visitors with interesting information on sustainability, technologies and innovations.VW2 Massive Volkswagen Campaign At The Frankfurt Show

There is much to applaud about Volkswagen these days. They really do seem to have their finger on the worldwide pulse when it comes to the cars we want to drive. OK, some of the vehicles on offer are not the most exciting, but when it comes to offering a variety across economy and through into performance they are going to be hard to beat. No wonder they need a big stand!

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Bentley To Build A SUV

So it has come to this. Is nothing sacred? We expect, from this venerable company, magnificent cars like the Mulsanne, the Flying Spur and the glorious Continental GT – cars that ooze class and traditional values. Of course, we have been forewarned by images from around 2012 which purported to show a hideous blocky thing as the future. Thankfully the designers went back to the drawing board and the latest manufactured images show some imagination. Apparently, potential buyers don’t need to live in Cheshire or play football – anyone can have one, provided, obviously, they have got some money.

Parent company Volkswagen are behind this. Recently, our Prime Minister met the VW Boss at the Bentley works in Crewe where it was announced that an investment of some £800million is to be spent at Bentley securing future models and also creating some one thousand jobs, which is great news for the region. On that basis we are prepared to accept that a Bentley SUV will arrive on the scene circa 2016.

This new leviathan will share much of its underpinnings with similar ‘next generation’ models like the huge Audi Q7, the desirable Porsche Cayenne, and the excellent VW Toureg. With these great cars available it kind of begs the question, ‘Why build the Bentley’? Well, the company are saying that not only do they intend this to be the most powerful SUV on the road but also the most luxurious. Possibly it will be a brother to the Lamborghini Urus SUV.

If that’s the case we should probably expect a version of the stupendous six litre twin-turbocharged W12 engine and it has also been suggested that a V8 may be on the cards as well as a more ecologically sound hybrid. No doubt many more details will be revealed over the next couple of years and maybe we’ll get a proper look at it around the motor shows. Expect to pay somewhere around the £150,000 mark at a guess.

Bentley has come a long way. In olden times they were the car to buy instead of a Rolls Royce. Now they very much have their own identity and are unquestionably brilliant vehicles. SUV’s have become very popular and it is something of a surprise. There was a time when drivers wanted low and sleek not something about the size of a Churchill tank. Changing times and Bentley are changing with them.

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A Family Car With Style

The Volkswagen Passat has been with us, amazingly, since 1973 and has been popular throughout that time as a well built, reliable, family sized saloon car and that’s about it. Motor Blogger’s sleep has never been disturbed by dreams of driving or owning this car. Once, when supplied the model preceding the current version as a rental, the journey was completed in a comfortable, efficient and totally unmemorable manner.

In 2011 VW produced the current version which on the Geiger counter of automotive desirability barely registered. The styling is a bit bland but it does as required and is in many ways a classy vehicle. Certainly, for a large car, the BlueMotion version seems to be extraordinarily efficient.

The CC (it stands for comfort coupé ) version is a bit more like it. The styling is sleeker but the sloping roof does compromise the rear seats. So that’s it – the Passat, an excellent if unexciting car that appeals to fleet owners and company car users; until now.

Introducing the Volkswagen Passat R-Line, as pictured. The R-Line trim level is new with a bespoke body kit to give a more sporty image and we’re pleased to say that it works. The front spoiler has swivelling fog lights, the suspension has been lowered by 15mm, whilst the body kit gives the car a ground-hugging profile. Special wheels, chrome trim, tinted windows and a neat boot-lid spoiler complete the make-over.

The usual suspects are available under the bonnet but now augmented by a new more efficient 1.4L TSI petrol engine. There are paddle shifters on the DSG version and up to 65mpg can be expected depending on engine choice. The equipment level is based on the Passat S and includes the now ubiquitous Bluetooth coupled with DAB, USB and iPod connectivity as is expected on a car in this class.

So and finally, it is time for a revised opinion. The Passat has always been a trusted Volkswagen product that performed very well indeed but was never a car to set the pulses racing. Now at least new car buyers can get their hands on a version that delivers all that is expected of the Passat but now with added pizazz. Expect to pay from a maximum of £26k downwards depending on the model and orders are being taken now for June delivery.

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WRC Argentina – It’s That Man Again!

World Rally Championship drivers are at the top of their sporting craft. These guys can do more things with a car than we mere mortals can do with a knife and fork. When the legendary Sebastien Loeb announced his semi-retirement the other drivers must have thought it was Christmas – now at last they had a chance of winning a rally!

This came to pass when Seb Ogier won in Portugal a few weeks ago in the exciting new VW Polo. Last weekend it was the turn of Rally Argentina – considered by many to be the toughest of the ‘gravel’ events. Guess who shows up with a Citroen DS3? That’s right; the wheelmeister returns, yawns, jumps into his car and proceeds to win Rally Argentina for the eighth time. Ogier came second and Jari-Matti Latvala came a creditable third in the other works Polo. Citroen’s official number one driver Miko Hirvonen was unplaced; he seems strangely out-of-sorts these days.

Rally Argentina has everything. The special stages feature water-splashes, tight hairpins and high-speed straights throughout the rocky back roads. It is well organised and the stages are absolutely packed with hardcore fans. Many drivers were caught out and clearly demonstrated the strength of their roll-cages. The amount of punishment these cars can take is incredible. Next stop Greece at the end of May.

This is an exciting sport. The mixture of aerial and roadside shots coupled with live in-car coverage makes for great viewing, but there’s a problem. We learn that the FIA’s chosen promoter, the Sportsman Media Group (jointly with Red Bull), believes that the WRC is ‘boring’. Apart from what follows you’ve got to wonder why they took it on. They must have known what it entailed surely? Basically, it’s a time trial. One competitor at a time, but it is most certainly not boring.

SMG seem reluctant to sell this ‘boring’ product to TV companies. In a bizarre turn they seem to think that the answer is to sell ‘live’ coverage – but only of the final power stages. Often, by this time, the overall result is decided. The situation is confused and the comments above only really hint at the colossal muck-up they are potentially making of this Championship.

What do you suppose the car manufacturers will think of all this? Citroen, Ford, new boys Volkswagen and next year’s entry from a works Hyundai team are all in it to boost car sales, simple as that. The FIA are not noted for making sensible decisions and SMG seem to be on a suicide mission. It‘s not looking good.

We’ll see if there’s any resolution when we get to the Greek event. Mr S Loeb won’t be there to show the others how it’s done so let us hope for an open and exciting rally that will demonstrate that the sport can transcend the stupidity of the organisers.

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Golf BlueMotion – Gain More From Less

If you thought that achieving better economy was just a matter of fitting a smaller engine then, sadly, you would be wrong. It certainly helps but, as Volkswagen are showing with their new super-frugal Golf, there is plenty more that can be done to improve mpg and reduce emissions.

The Golf BlueMotion is available to buy now and offers fuel economy of 88.3 miles per gallon on the combined cycle. CO² emissions are reduced to a tax-busting 85g/km. These figures improve on the previous version of this car by a healthy fifteen percent. It is interesting to note that the previous car’s emission figure of 99g/km – excellent in its own right – is now what you could expect if you purchased a standard 1.6L Golf TDI. This is how quickly the technology is moving forward.

These improvements are not achieved by improved engine technology alone. This car is lighter by an overall 63 kilos shaved from the body and running gear. The gear ratios are longer on the six-speed manual ‘box and the Golf benefits online pokies from low rolling resistance tyres using a higher than normal pressure. Like all new Golf’s, the car offers the now expected stop/start technology coupled with a battery regeneration system.

With a subtle touch of body modification the frontal area has been reduced by 0.03m² and aerodynamic drag by ten percent. More refinements include a lowered ride height by 15 mm coupled with a whole host of minor but significant changes. They all add up to a leaner, sleeker car.

Power comes from a 1.6L 110PS common-rail diesel. Once again, a huge number of subtle changes and an amount of new technology make this engine one of the most efficient in its class. With a fifty litre tank the average ten thousand miler should only have to refuel ten times a year.

Cars like the Golf BlueMotion are never going to set the pulses racing like, say, an Italian sports car and they don’t make for a very especially exciting read either but that’s not what all drivers want. This car will sell in huge numbers to buyers who need economic, reliable family transport and there is nothing wrong with that. It helps that it is a good looking car too. At around £21,000 it isn’t the cheapest but the price includes the legendary VW build quality so overall, a bargain.

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VW Show The Shape Of Things To Come

Volkswagen have a plan and it involves the future design direction of their range of SUVs; and very nice it is too. The photo shows the five-seat CrossBlue Coupé which will make its debut at the Shanghai Motor Show later in the month.

Here at Motor Blogger we think this one is a bit special. Size-wise, it’s about the same size as the mighty Touareg although it sits lower and has a wider, more aggressive stance. Yet this is not just a design exercise. In line with current technology this car is also a plug-in hybrid.

The engine is a turbo V6 with direct petrol injection mated to not one but two electric motors driving front and rear, generating 40kW at the front and a gutsy 85kW at the back. Combined, 516lb ft of torque is on offer. Power is via a six speed DSG gearbox and the combined whole will take the CrossBlue to 62mph in a scant 5.9 seconds.

In other words this is a family sized vehicle with the performance of a sports car. Incredibly, Volkswagen reckon that despite the bulk the coupé will sip fuel to the tune of 94.1mpg. In reality this is not likely to be achievable, as ever, but even 70+ miles per gallon is a bit of an achievement in a large car.

The CrossBlue is built on VW’s new Modular Transverse Matrix component set. Although this does not really tell us much it can be assumed that this is about shared modular construction across company products with front driving transverse engines. It will presumably allow the company to rationalise components across their vehicle range. This is much the same thinking as used by other manufacturers and clearly makes sense. Apart from anything else it helps to keep pricing competitive and that’s good for everybody.

Driven on battery power alone the car is said to cover 20 miles as a standalone EV. In E-Mode only the rear electric motor provides drive and the petrol engine is shut off. The engine will not engage until speeds of seventy five mph as long as there is battery power to spare. Once electric power is depleted the engine cuts in instantly.

Aside from plug-in recharging the car has a variety of ways to generate electric power on the move and, if necessary, the TSI engine can stand alone and drive the front wheels.

It is probably said every time a new Volkswagen comes out but it’s true – it looks like they’ve done it again: but there’s a problem. The company say that there are no plans to put the CrossBlue into production. This is a tragic mistake. Clearly this is an idea of the shape of things to come but we want it now!

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UP! Goes Electric

The Volkswagen Up! is one of the best city cars money can buy. In typical VW fashion it offers a good level of refinement and an interior of very high quality for this price sector. Surprisingly roomy, the acceleration from the 1.0L engine is not going to pin you back in your seat but the car still delivers a lively drive around town and holds its own on the motorway.

Now, not being a company to rest on its laurels, VW have announced the arrival of an electric version that will be formally introduced to us at this Autumn’s Frankfurt Motor Show. It is called the e-Up! Leaving aside for a moment that this expression is a form of cheery greeting in the North of England, it should be more of the same but with the economy and climate friendliness associated with electric cars.

The range seems impressive when stated in kilometres – 150 – but when translated into proper English is 93 miles 361.99 yards. This is about normal for an EV so no major advances there. Never mind – this car will have the dependability we have come to expect from Volkswagen and will suit users who need a decent urban run-around that can carry four people. Usefully, it can be charged to eighty percent capacity in just a half hour.

Pretty much noiseless as you’d expect, power comes from a 60kW motor. Maximum torque is a sturdy 210Nm available from the first touch of the accelerator. The lithium-ion battery is under the floor and this must help handling and composure on the road. Charging is taken care of by a connection craftily hidden behind the ‘fuel-filler’ flap, and in a standard common to other manufacturers buyers can specify the Combined Charging System option which supports both AC and DC charging which enables a ‘fill-up’ at most stations regardless of the power source or charging rates. That’s worth having.

The body has been ‘aerodynamically optimised’ and features the now obligatory LED daylight running lights in the front bumper. The style is further embellished with a nice set of 15” alloys. The e-Up! will have its own special logos and grey/blue interior trim with leather and chrome accents.

The Up! Is a great car designed perfectly for the job. Comfort, economy and style in a package that can be parked on a postage stamp. The electric version is sure to catch on with town and city folk for whom range isn’t an issue. It has to be said – things are looking Up!

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Golf R Goes Topless

There are good cars and there are bad cars. There are slow cars and there are fast cars. Something for everyone in fact; but there is one car that, at one time or another, will be on every wish list and that is the Volkswagen Golf. Arguably, no other car has retained year on year popularity like this award winning German best seller. Something in the order of 29 million units have been built to date worldwide.

Through its various generations the Golf has been with us since 1974 and historically has been Volkswagen’s best seller and one of the most popular vehicles ever. Discerning buyers who want both good and fast can buy the legendary GTI but those seeking greater thrills may well choose the ultimate Golf, the R.

Descended from the V6 R32 that ceased production in 2008, the 2.0L turbocharged Golf R has a blistering 271bhp that offers great, useable power and driveability coupled with the safety of Volkswagen 4Motion four wheel drive system. It looks aggressive yet discreet eschewing the more flamboyant body kits featured on other brands. Now, available to order in the Spring, the company are offering the Golf R Cabriolet.

Like the hatchback this car has the bespoke ‘R’ suspension which lowers the ride height by a sporting 25mm. The same 2.0L engine is coupled to a standard six-speed DSG gearbox and is limited to 155mph which is probably fast enough. The Cabriolet is surprisingly a front-driver because the 4Motion system simply wouldn’t fit; not that open-top buyers will worry too much about that.

To differentiate this model from the others the R has a bespoke front bumper with a gloss black grill, a subtle R logo, special alloys and a body kit. Inside the well appointed interior four individual leather sports seats will cosset the occupants as the driver caresses the leather multi-function steering wheel.

An RCD 310 DAB radio is standard with a multi-device interface and the now regulation Bluetooth. The insulated hood is raised and lowered electrically via a centre console. In fact, the only snag with this car is the price. The Golf has always rightly been firmly ensconced at the premium end of the small hatchback sector but, with extras, the Golf R Cabriolet could be pushing a figure somewhere in the mid thirty thousands. That’s a lot of money and could dampen the ardour of some buyers.

Then again of course – it is a Golf.

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