Category: Volkswagen

Tired of coronavirus updates? Volkswagen has something to cheer you up. The German carmaker came up with a handy guide about the ideal VW based on your zodiac sign. You see, cars are not just our preferred mode of transport – it also reflects our personality and lifestyle traits. But with so many brands, models, and segments to choose from, buying a new car is not as easy as it seems.

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There’s no easier way to make car lovers swoon than a vintage Volkswagen Type 1 microbus or Kombi. In this case, you’re looking at the VW e-Bulli concept by eClassics. It’s a 1966 T1 Samba Bus produced in Hannover, Germany. As it turns out, this Type 1 microbus spent the better part of the last half-century roaming the streets of California. And now, VW and eClassics has given this vintage Kombi…

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Volkswagen has revealed the new 2021 VW Golf GTI, the latest generation of the iconic hot hatch, and it’s bringing an electrified friend along for the ride. Set to make its full debut at the Geneva Motor Show 2020, the new Golf GTI and the 2021 Golf GTE hybrid promise lashings of tech to go along with their enthusiast-focused tuning.

They’re based on the eighth generation Golf, which Volkswagen revealed back in October 2019. Back then, the automaker showed off the new infotainment system it had cooked up for the car, including a 10-inch central touchscreen and a digital instrumentation cockpit. At the time, though, what we really wanted to see was the sportiest versions.

2021 VW Golf GTI

The most important factor is the drivetrain, of course. For the 2021 Golf GTI, VW opted for its 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-four, with 241 horsepower and 273 lb-ft of torque. It’ll be paired as standard – in Europe, at least – with a 6-speed manual transmission. A 7-speed dual-clutch DSG gearbox will be offered as an option.

VW has used a McPherson front axle and multi-link rear suspension system, combined with its new Vehicle Dynamics Manager. That brings together the XDS and the regulated dampers of the optional DCC system. The automaker claims it adds up to a broader spread between the most sporting settings and the most comfort-focused.

The DCC adaptive chassis control is adjusted by the drive mode system, with each wheel’s shock absorber individually adjusted according to the road conditions. In Comfort mode, for example, VW says the Golf GTI will be as “decoupled” from the road surface as much as possible; in Sport, it’ll minimize body movements and the most direct handling. An Individual mode will allow precise adjustment, beyond even the limits of the preconfigured modes.

Outside, LED headlamps are standard, with the GTI having a red accent line across the fascia. An LED strip in the headlamps matches that as a daytime running light, and the radiator grille is illuminated too. Underneath is a larger honeycomb air intake, with integrated fog lamps.

17-inch Richmond alloys are standard, with 18- and 19-inch wheels optional. Red-painted brake calipers are optional, and wider side skirt sills in black are standard. They link up with the new rear diffuser, and there’s a unique roof spoiler too. LED rear lamps are standard, with the GTI getting two tailpipes, one on the left and one on the right.

Inside, meanwhile, there’s a sports steering wheel with three silver double-spokes, a black golf ball shifter knob, and sports seats in classic tartan with black side bolsters. The wheel gets new touch controls and – optionally – a Travel Assist button that allows the Golf GTI to hit 130 mph.

As for the infotainment, there’s a 10.25-inch Digital Cockpit and a 10-inch infotainment screen. Background lighting is standard with 30 different colors, and there’s a stop-start button that pulses red when the doors are opened.

Lane assistance, front automatic emergency braking, pedestrian monitoring, and an XDS electronic differential lock are standard. So, too, is Car2X, the vehicle-to-vehicle communication system. Single-zone automatic climate control, Bluetooth, and two USB-C ports are standard. Optional will be navigation and keyless entry.

2021 VW Golf GTE

The 2021 Golf GTI won’t be alone in Volkswagen’s performance range. It’ll be joined by the 2021 Golf GTE, a plug-in hybrid version of the car. It has the same 241 horsepower as its gas-only sibling, but achieved via the pairing of a 1.4-liter turbocharged gas engine and an electric motor.

VW throws in a new li-ion battery and a 6-speed DSG transmission as standard. Maximum torque is actually better than the GTI, at 295 lb-ft. The GTE will also do around 37 miles of all-electric driving, and can be driven at up to 80 mph in electric mode. Indeed, the car actually starts in all-electric E-MODE by default, assuming the battery is charged up.

In Hybrid mode, meanwhile, there’s the option to either use the power of the battery, hold it at the current level, or increase it using the gas engine. VW’s navigation system takes into account road and topographical data to figure out the best route, and even proactively adjusts the charge settings to get the best possible electric range.

2021 Golf GTI and GTI pricing and availability

What VW hasn’t said yet is just when the new cars will reach the US. Indeed, it hasn’t even confirmed that the Golf GTE hybrid will make it to American shores; there’s also a Golf GTD turbodiesel, which almost certainly won’t be getting a US debut. Volkswagen of America may very well tweak the power figures, too, so don’t expect the exact cars you see here.

As for pricing, that too has been kept under wraps. In Europe, the Golf GTI has always been focused on relatively affordable performance. In the US, though, VW’s decision not to offer most of the Golf range has made the GTI variant something of an outlier. Still, we’re not expecting a vast change from the current GTI’s roughly $29k starting price.

2021 VW Golf GTI official: New hot hatch icon brings a GTE hybrid too

Volkswagen has revealed the new 2021 VW Golf GTI, the latest generation of the iconic hot hatch, and it’s bringing an electrified friend along for the ride.

VW ID. RUGGDZZ could add electric off-roader to “Icon” EVs

Volkswagen’s ID range could get a new, rugged crossover to help demonstrate that electrification isn’t just for the city, with a VW ID. RUGGDZZ tipped to join a flagship subset of the automaker’s EVs. Though production of the first ID only began recently, Volkswagen has a long list of potential models to add to it, based on its recent concept cars.

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Volkswagen just cut two years off its electric car target

Volkswagen is hitting the accelerator on its electric car plans, now aiming to slice two years off its previous goal of hitting one million produced EVs. The German automaker had previously planned to make it to the milestone by the end of 2025.

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Volkswagen mobile charging robot drives to where electric cars are parked

One of the biggest logistic problems with electric vehicles or EVs is charging locations. Often you have to drive to these stations that are laid out in sprawling areas to accommodate multiple cars at once. Sometimes, however, the best time to charge such a car is when it’s parked but parking spaces are cramped and putting a charging station there could cause a line that will block the flow of…

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Ford baby Mustang Mach-E plans see a smaller SUV with VW’s help

Ford is already planning a smaller version of its Mustang Mach-E all-electric crossover, but while the first EV uses a homegrown platform, the American automaker will be looking to German assistance for its baby sibling. Unveiled in November, the 2020 Mustang Mach-E saw the iconic pony car name expand to include an SUV for the first time, but that’s only the start of it.

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The 2020 Volkswagen Passat is a value play for a shrinking segment, and when you’re designing a new car that’s probably not the criteria you want to hear. While VW’s SUV range is growing – along with sales – it’s all at the expense of sedan buyers. That sets the new Passat a precarious balancing act.

Why isn’t VW giving up on sedans altogether? Because they still make up 30-percent of the US market, and even a shrinking audience is still going to count for upwards of 2 million sales in 2022/23, the automaker expects. “Die-hard sedan customers” are still out there, Hein Schafer, SVP of product marking strategy at Volkswagen of North America insists. You just have to make the right car for them.

In this case, the “right car” is an increasing oddity among the rest of VW’s vision of future transportation. Growing SUVs on the one side; the first of VW’s MEB-based all-electric vehicles on the other. Down the center of that valley the 2020 Passat is found, feeling positively… normal.

It’s massaged over the outgoing car, focusing on style and tech rather than mechanical changes. “Almost no sheet metal is untouched, except the roof,” Kai Oltmanns, Passat product manager, insists, though beneath it is the same old PQ platform the European version of the car has moved on from.

That act of recycling allows for reinvention without price inflation. The low-hanging fruit is easy: 17-inch wheels as standard now, with 18/19- inchers optional. The grille is more upright, splashed with chrome and flanked with slimmer, projection headlamps with LED daytime running lamps and matching taillamps.

It’s 1.7-inches longer and generally more handsome, in a sober, Clark Kent sort of way. An R-Line model adds special bodywork, with tweaks to the bumper, grille, and rear fascia. You don’t get more power, though.

There’s a single engine, in fact, a 2.0-liter turbo four with 174 hp and 206 lb-ft of torque, and mated to a six-speed automatic. Torque is up 12-percent and there’s half a second trimmed from the 0-60 mph time, while economy is expected at 23 mpg in the city, 34 mpg on the highway, and 27 mpg combined. Ousted is the old V6, which is no great hardship.

On the road, the new Passat is solid, predictable, and hardly memorable. VW’s route of choice included a decent mix of urban, highway, and even some back-road asphalt, and the Passat proved eminently satisfactory in two of the three. R-Line cars get paddle shifters for the generally inoffensive transmission, though there’s little encouragement to actually pull at them. It probably won’t come as a surprise that canyon twists are not its natural habitat, and nor will it likely bother the target audience.

They’ll be more interested, I suspect, in the extra standard equipment. VW’s new Composition Media infotainment system is standard, with Sirius XM, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, albeit on a 6.3-inch touchscreen that seems on the small side. Blind-spot alerts are standard, too, which VW deserves kudos for, as are six airbags, front brake assist with pedestrian monitoring, rear traffic alerts and a reversing camera, and automatic post-collision braking.

Adaptive cruise control, lane assist, park assist, parking distance control, and high beam control are all optional. So too are heated front/rear seats, leatherette and leather trim, driver seat memory, keyless access, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof, a power trunk, and a 400W Fender audio system. There’s also a new, brown interior color, and a new two-tone finish. One thing you can’t have is the digital gauge cluster available on cars like the latest Golf; blame the old platform for that.

Everything feels sturdy if not especially pleasurable to the fingers. I’ve little doubt VW’s plastics will survive the test of time, I just don’t much want to touch them. The steering wheel is slightly offset from the pedals, as well, something that once you notice it, you can’t ever ignore it again.

I’m of the opinion that building a car like the 2020 Passat is actually much tougher than building a more expensive car. Bigger budgets introduce flexibility; well-heeled luxury sedan buyers are willing to dig deeper into their pockets for the niceties. VW’s audience, in contrast, can be far more demanding, even if – or perhaps because – they have less to spend.

On that metric, you can’t really fault the new Passat. The entry-level 2020 Passat S starts at $22,995, the same as the 2018 car, but with over $1.7k more in content. The next trim up, the 2020 Passat SE, is at $25,845 actually even cheaper than its 2018 predecessor, again despite including more toys and tech.

I suspect there will be aggressive lease and finance deals to go with that, as Volkswagen does its best to charm what’s left of the sedan-buying audience behind its wheel. Hopefully that will take away some of the sting of VW paring back its “People First Warranty” for the car. Now, you get more typical four year/50,000 mile coverage, rather than the generous six year/72,000 mile warranty of before.

The 2020 Passat will not raise your heart rate, nor wow your neighbors. That’s okay: not every car needs to. If there’s a problem it’s VW’s own Jetta, which has a more high-tech dashboard and more rewarding dynamics. In contrast the Passat is more spacious inside and has a little more road presence outside. It may not reignite the sedan segment, but from $23k that might be too much to ask.

2020 VW Passat First Drive: Affordable compromise

The 2020 Volkswagen Passat is a value play for a shrinking segment, and when you’re designing a new car that’s probably not the criteria you want to hear.

The VW ID. SPACE VIZZION is a weird EV sports wagon with a secret message

Volkswagen’s first ID.3 all-electric car based on the new MEB platform isn’t expected until next year, but the automaker isn ‘t slowing down on stacking up new potential models. The VW ID. SPACE VIZZION is the seventh EV to use the modular electric drive matrix, and its electric Gran Turismo is arguably the most striking yet.

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2020 Volkswagen Passat raises the tech for a lower price

Volkswagen has priced up the 2020 Passat, and while the shapely new sedan may be familiar under the sheet metal, the price has take a welcome dip. Headed out to dealerships by the end of the year, the new Passat trims $2,400 from the starting price of its MY19 predecessor.

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