2017 Volkswagen Golf GTI “S” Hatchback

The GTI was driven to Pirate Radio for an analysis by Matt “Big Kahuna” Arguello and George “Elvis” Gray.  Listen in:

Front Wheel Drive – Tornado Red paint/Titan black and Clark plaid interior – 5 passenger – 168” long like a Beetle or Chevy Sonic – Heated front bucket seats – 5  Star NHTSA Safety rating – weighs 3,031 lbs. – XM radio and  premium 8 speaker stereo  – 6.5” Touchscreen with backup camera – 2.0 liter turbo four with 210 horsepower, torque is 258 lbs. ft. – 6  Speed Tiptronic Automatic transmission –  3 driving modes – Paddle shifters – 18”  aluminum alloy wheels and 225/40R18 summer radials – $27,515.00  list price – 27 MPG combined mileage, 24 in city and 32 on highway – 13.2 gallon tank – Built in Puebla, Mexico

2016 Volkswagen “Dune” 1.8T Turbo Beetle

20160825_163702Volkswagen Beetles were built from 1938 to 2003, and  over 20 million have been manufactured and sold worldwide since the inception of the car in Germany.  A man named Porsche designed the car, and along with the rear engine placement, the car was air cooled, without liquid coolant or a radiator.

What is commonly called a “New Beetle” with coolant, a front engine, and front-wheel drive, has been marketed on and off since 1997.  Such a car is what I picked up at General Mitchell Airfield in Milwaukee to drive on a midwest vacation.  It was a 2016 Turbocharged Sandstorm Yellow metallic unit with “Dune” equipment specified, including a rear spoiler, raised suspension, ten-spoke polished alloy wheels, exclusive bumpers and air intakes, black exterior cladding, aluminum pedal covers, and special badging and decals.20160825_153231

Power for my front wheel drive test car was supplied by a 1.8 liter, 170 horsepower (184 lb. ft. of torque) four cylinder gas engine with an EPA mileage rating of 25/city, 34/highway, 28 combined MPG.  The fuel tank capacity was 14.5 gallons.  The transmission on hand was a six-speed automatic, and it seemed sturdy and somewhat enjoyable.  For having a turbocharger, the engine had a definite grumble to it, belying the high RPM turbo operating in the power department.  Turbochargers whir at about 150,000 revolutions per minute – roughly 30 times as fast as the engine.  They are nice in Colorado, spinning faster at that altitude and mitigating power loss that can be associated with naturally-aspirated (i.e. fuel injected) engines.  I can’t say I hated having turbocharged power in Illinois and Wisconsin – the technology is just great.

Inside the four passenger Volkswagen, a Fender premium stereo was on hand as well as heated cloth and leatherette buckets with yellow piping and stitching, Bluetooth connections, pushbutton starter, flat-bottomed steering wheel, rear view camera, and satellite radio.  The theme inside was tasteful and coordinated well with the outside styling.  Beetle “Dune” looks was great, featured a wider track, honeycomb grill, LED tail lights, and while on our trip several tourists stopped by to comment on our ride.

Acceleration of the 3,093 lb. VW was great fun, road manners were on target, and handling/guidance were fine, as well.  It’s a pretty quiet sedan and visibility is fine.  List price was $25,065.00 for the 2016 that I drove and that included freight.  The only optional uncharge was for the Sandstorm paint, at $250.00.  The Volkswagen Beetle has a niche market and doesn’t sell over 400,000 per year (in the U.S.!) like the old days, but still has a nice following and a fan in this reviewer.

2016 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL 4Motion

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On a Friday in July, the Volkswagen Tiguan was taken to Pirate Radio (104.7 FM) for  “Stu’s Reviews” during the morning show, and both George Gray and Matt Arguello looked over the VW and made remarks on-air:

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M.S.R.P. of this test Tiguan was $38,105.00, including freight, and the SEL 4Motion (all-wheel drive) model came handsomely equipped (including trailering equipment).  The drive train consisted of a 200 hp, turbocharged, 4 cylinder, 2 liter engine with 207 lb. ft. of torque.  And behind it was a 6 speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic shifting and sport mode.

Highway driving and manners of the Tiguan are nice, to be sure.  The interior had that Teutonic luxury look that you might expect, and on hand were the navigation system, satellite radio, tilt/telescope, heated buckets, fold down rear seat, Bluetooth and media device interface, and a huge panoramic power sunroof that extended over the back seats.  It was a lot of fun around town, especially so if you employed the Tiptronic transmission.  And doing so involved a city fuel economy rating of 20 mpg (26 highway, 23 combined).  I observed 22.5 during my week with the car, and it required premium unleaded gasoline.  Weight of the Tiguan was 3,434 lbs. and its wheelbase was 102.5”.  Styling was sleek and European, and the car rode on attractive, 19” alloy wheels with Pirelli Scorpion radials.

I enjoyed spending a week with the Tiguan, plus taking it to Pirate Radio; if I was in the market for a small SUV such as this VW, Toyota’s RAV4, or Honda’s CRV, I would be taking a long look at the Volkswagen.

 

2016 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line SEL

20160517_150234I remember the first time I laid eyes on a Volkswagen Beetle, in Grant, Nebraska in about 1963.  A young man in town named Charlie Brixius had purchased a used one (perhaps a 1959), and made quite a splash driving it up and down Main Street over and over.  We all did that back then – gas was cheap, the pace was leisurely, and that was the place to be seen.  The U-turns were made at the same intersections on the north and south end of this town of 1,000 population, and some of the guys out cruising were lucky enough to have a girl sitting in the middle of the front seat for the ride.  20160517_150306

Charlie never had a girl sitting in the middle of his front seat, because the “bug” had two bucket seats in the front of the four-passenger, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive VW.  Neither did I, as I rode a Honda 50 scooter/cycle.

Volkswagen Beetles were built from 1938 to 2003, and  over 20 million have been manufactured and sold worldwide since the inception of the car in Germany.  A man named Porsche designed the car, and along with the rear engine placement, the car was air cooled, without coolant or a radiator.

What is commonly called a “New Beetle” with coolant, a front engine, and front-wheel drive, has been marketed on and off since 1997.  Such a car is what was brought to me a week ago for testing, a 2016 Turbocharged Tornado red unit with “R-Line” equipment specified, including a spoiler, “twister” alloy wheels, extra gauges, aluminum pedal covers, and special badging.

Power for my test car was supplied by a 2.0 liter, 210 horsepower (207 lb. ft. of torque) four cylinder gas engine with an EPA mileage rating of 23/city, 31/highway, 26 combined MPG.  The transmission on hand was a six-speed manual, and it seemed sturdy and somewhat enjoyable.  For having a turbocharger, the engine had a definite grumble to it, belying the high RPM turbo operating in the power department.  Turbochargers whir at about 150,000 revolutions per minute – roughly 30 times as fast as the engine.  They are nice in Colorado, spinning faster at our altitude and mitigating power loss that can be associated with naturally-aspirated (i.e. fuel injected) engines.

Inside the Volkswagen, a Fender premium stereo was on hand as well as sunroof, heated leather buckets, Bluetooth connections, navigation, pushbutton starter and satellite radio.  The theme inside was two-toned black and gray and somewhat kicky.  Styling was great with ten spoke polished alloys and attractive black trim work low on the outside.

Acceleration of the VW was great fun, road manners were on target, and handling/guidance were similar.  It’s a pretty quiet sedan and visibility is fine.  List price was $32,270.00 for the 2016 that I drove and that included freight.  It has a niche market and doesn’t sell over 400,000 per year (in the U.S.!) like the old days, but still has a nice following and a fan in this reviewer.

 

2015 Volkswagen Jetta SE FWD Sedan

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The number one selling Volkswagen is the Jetta, produced since 1979.  It is currently in it’s sixth generation form, this new design having been introduced in June of 2010 as a 2011 model.  For 2015 the Jetta received a mid-cycle update in the front/rear styling and in standard equipment offerings.  A Platinum Gray metallic Jetta SE four-door sedan was brought to my home on a recent Monday morning, and I immediately got inside to check out the optional equipment.  Heated leatherette seats, heated mirrors, and Sirius satellite radio: check.  Power lumbar “V-tech” Titan black leatherette bolstered buckets  and leather wheel: check.  Touchscreen radio/CD changer and Bluetooth and IPod connection: check.  Pushbutton start (on the console along with the emergency brake) and five-speed manual transmission: check.  Although most of the buzz with Volkswagen has recently been about the new masculine (supposedly) Beetle introduction, this Jetta is almost the newest VW in the lineup and, as mentioned earlier, the most popular.  It’s easy to see and feel why, because this is a real nice car.

I jumped in and took off for Interstate 25 for a test drive and a chance to do some mall shopping somewhere along the way.  A real firm ride is in store for the operator; a feeling of quality (and quietness).  The steering wheel is rather thick with many controls, and the five-speed transmission quite manageable.  The turbocharged four cylinder (EA888), 1.8 liter, 170 hp (6,200 rpm) engine provides an ample amount of power.  More, in fact, than would seem available with that horsepower rating.  Torque is 184 lb. ft. (1,500 – 4,750 rpm), and the highway fuel economy rating is 37 mpg on the highway, 25 mpg in the city, and a combined mpg figure is 29.  The fuel tank holds 14.5 gallons.

Guiding the Jetta up the Interstate is pleasurable.  Once again, the ride is firm, but handles the aging Interstate quite well. I had plenty of punch for changing lanes and running by service trucks and seniors.  At the mall parking lot I stepped outside to view the styling of the VW.  It’s good, if not spectacular, and looks particularly nice from the front with the new 2015 grill treatment.  The mirrors have lighting stripes on them and up front are good-looking fog lights.  The Jetta has a wheelbase of 104.4″, overall length of 183.3″, and the car weighs 3,047 lbs.  Backseat legroom is suitable for a big human being, and the trunk is the biggest in its class, at 15.5 cubic feet.  In the center of the back seat is a flop-down armrest/cup holder, and this VW had no power moonroof

This is the best-looking Jetta to date, and has 16”, Sedona ten-spoke alloy wheels to dress it up.  Tires mounted on them are 205/55R 16” mud and snow radials.  Base price for the SE was $18,995.00 and a lighting package ($995.00) and freight ($820.00) were added, bringing the M.S.R.P. to $20,810.00.  Bottom line; I could see myself owning a car like this.  The styling, roominess, drivability, and value puts the car high on the list of its segment competition.

2014 Volkswagen Turbo Beetle R-Line Sedan

DSCN3704    I remember the first time I laid eyes on a Volkswagen Beetle, in Grant, Nebraska in about 1963.  A young man in town named Charlie Brixius had purchased a used one (perhaps a 1959), and made quite a splash driving it up and down Main Street over and over.  We all did that back then – gas was cheap, the pace was leisurely, and that was the place to be seen.  The U-turns were made at the same intersections on the north and south end of this town of 1,000 population, and some of the guys out cruising were lucky enough to have a girl sitting in the middle of the front seat for the ride.  SAM_3526

Charlie never had a girl sitting in the middle of his front seat, because the “bug” had two bucket seats in the front of the four-passenger, rear-engined, rear-wheel drive VW.  Neither did I, as I rode a Honda 50 scooter/cycle.

DSCN3707 Volkswagen Beetles were built from 1938 to 2003, and  over 20 million have been manufactured and sold worldwide since the inception of the car in Germany.  A man named Porsche designed the car, and along with the rear engine placement, the car was air cooled, without coolant or a radiator.  SAM_3525

What is commonly called a “New Beetle” with coolant, a front engine, and front-wheel drive, has been marketed on and off since 1997.  Such a car is what was brought to me a week ago for testing, a 2014 Turbocharged Reef blue metallic unit with “R-Line” equipment specified, including a spoiler, “twister” alloy wheels, extra gauges, aluminum pedal covers, and special badging.

Power for my test car was supplied by a 2.0 liter, 210 horsepower (207 lb. ft. of torque) four cylinder gas engine with an EPA mileage rating of 24/city, 30/highway, 26 combined MPG.  The transmission on hand was a six-speed automatic with a manual option that shifted into higher gears in a hurry, but seemed sturdy and somewhat enjoyable.  For having a turbocharger, the engine had a definite grumble to it, belying the high RPM turbo operating in the power department.  Turbochargers whir at about 150,000 revolutions per minute – roughly 30 times as fast as the engine.  They are nice in Colorado, spinning faster at our DSCN3708altitude and mitigating power loss that can be associated with naturally-aspirated (i.e. fuel injected) engines.

Inside the Volkswagen, a Fender premium stereo was on hand as well as sunroof, heated leather buckets, Bluetooth connections, navigation, pushbutton starter and satellite radio.  The theme inside was two-toned black and blue and somewhat kicky.  Styling was great with ten spoke polished alloys and attractive black trim work low on the outside.  SAM_3523

Acceleration of the VW was fine, road manners were on target, and handling/guidance were acceptable.  It’s a pretty quiet sedan and visibility is fine.  List price was $32,215.00 for the 2014 that I drove and that included freight.  It has a niche market and doesn’t sell over 400,000 per year (in the U.S.!) like the old days, but still has a nice following and a fan in this reviewer.

 

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2014 Volkswagen Touareg Hybrid Crossover

_DSC3364Volkswagen’s Touareg, named after a nomadic people that inhabit the Saharan interior of North Africa, has been manufactured by the company since 2002.  It is a mid-size luxury crossover made in a plant in Bratislava, Slovakia that is owned by the Volkswagen Group.  That Group owns Audi and Porsche, and the Q7 and Cayenne models marketing by those firms are SUV’s based on the Touareg platform.

The Touareg, now in its second generation offering, comes handsomely equipped with power lift gate, big panoramic moon roof, navigation with 8” display, Vienna leather seating for five, heated front and rear seats, and keyless access/pushbutton start.  Thus, the base price is $64,745.00 and coupled with freight, the total M.S.R.P. is $65,655.00.

The above listing of equipment is just part of the package, and the Touareg comes off as a very swanky mode of transportation.  Passengers in the Touareg with Ruth and I gasped at the big, glass moon roof that of course powers open from the windshield to the middle of passenger compartment.  Leather is present on the seats as well as the gear shift and heated steering wheel.  My test car had black Anthracite trim inside.SAM_3350

Outside, the Touareg was painted Tungsten silver metallic with chrome trim on the lower four doors featuring a “Hybrid” designation.  In a departure from many hybrids, the Volkswagen was equipped with large, dual, chrome exhaust finishers in the rear.  A possible reason for that is the power plant, above and beyond for a hybrid.  System power is 380 horsepower and the torque is a muscular 428 lb. ft.  It is all lined up with an eight-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic capability, and acceleration is reportedly is zero to sixty in 5.9 seconds.  The gas engine in the Volkswagen is a supercharged 3.0 liter V-6 and the drive system is 4Motion all-wheel drive.

Fuel economy ratings for the Touareg are modest, with the highway rating at 24 mpg and the city rating at 20 mpg.  I observed 20.9 mpg for the week that I drove the Touareg.  What Volkswagen is selling here is a performance hybrid;  it would take a high mileage application to pay for the upcharge in this vehicle.  Touareg Wheel

Touareg EngineStyling is a hallmark of this SUV, and the silver paint was striking.  The 19”, five-spoke alloy wheels were surrounded with Michelin Latitude Tour HP’s in size 265/50R19.  On the rear was a trailer hitch and towing capacity was nearly four tons.

SAM_3357    Back inside, the Touareg features an all-around camera system to allow the driver to effectively see the vehicle from above, parking lot stripes and all.  The rear camera is present, as well, and it stays on until the car is moving forward at about three miles per hour.  The navigation seemed above average and driving the Volkswagen was fine.  Ride, interior noise, handling, and guidance on pavement were good.

The Hybrid Touareg is an elegant vehicle and I enjoyed my week driving it. SAM_3359