Category Archives: Volkswagen

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SE

2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SE

An Automotive Love Affair

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan 2.0 T SE. What is hard to believe is that 2018 came quickly in the blink of an eye. I was just getting used to 2017 and haven’t had time to get through reviews of that year and here we go again. The good news is for the consumer who can find deals on new 2017’s to make room for the 2018 models.

Christmas is just around the corner and a perfect time to kick off the new year by adding a VW to your driveway. The Tiguan is simply a cool car – perfect size for today’s usual needs, for most folks. It has good utility / Cargo area and alternatively a 4-door 5-seater for moving people. To my son – Sorry, it isn’t big enough for your 5 kids. Who does that any more anyway?

Enter Lincoln Navigator, Mercedes Benz GLS-Class, Toyota Land Cruiser, Infiniti QX80, Land Rover Range Rover, Lexus LX, Cadillac Escalade and Dodge Durango. These range in cost around $70 to 130,000. . . so much for “Cheaper by the Dozen”.

General Information:

It is assembled in – Puebla, Mexico; Parts – US/Canadian 11%, Mexico 43%; Germany 16%, Engine – Mexico, Transmission – Japan; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Volkswagen: Atlas, Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf Sportswagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Handling & Performance:

An absolute delight to drive.

Styling:

Classic VW styling of course.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

Some would say these competitors are colluding on the pricing. Of course, that would be illegal, under Antitrust Laws of the land. More likely, in my experience, CAD (Computer Aided Design) systems are either exactly or so close to the same, you can expect car makers will come up with the same costs.

Conveniences and comfort:

This has to-be one of the more impressive small SUV’s you will drive. It is noticeably very comfy and overall a very nice car to drive.

Consumer Recommendations:

I absolutely can see myself owning this car. I enjoyed the week’s travels which means being in the seat for over 100 miles a day. If you are an out-of-doors kind of guy or gal, this is a great option for the active life. Be sure to take it for a spin and you’ll see what I mean.

Brand $$$ Cost MPG Avg Seating Country/Origin Assembled
VW Tiguan 31 23 5 Germany Mexico
Infiniti QX30 31 27 5 Japan UK
Chev Equinx 31 32 5 USA Canada
GMC Terrain 31 26 5 USA Canada
Subaru Forstr 30 25 5 Japan Japan

Recognized Competition:

Volkswagen Tiguan $31,000, Infiniti $31,000, Chevrolet Equinox $31,000, GMC Terrain $31,000, Subaru Forester $30,000.

Good News:

Great application, good fuel economy, powerful Turbo acceleration, competitively well priced.

Bad News:

N/A

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter turbo 4-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, all-wheel-drive with 4-wheel independent suspension, front, side and side curtain airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, engine brake assist, anti-slip regulation, electronic brake force distribution, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH system, tire pressure monitoring, 17” alloy wheels, auto halogen headlights, LED daytime running lights, heated power mirrors, intermittent wipers with heated washer nozzles, dual zone climate control, leather wrapped multi-function steering wheel, tilt / telescopic steering column, 10-way power heated driver seat, 6-way manual passenger seat, 2nd row 40/20/40 split folding seats, leatherette seating, rear view camera, forward collision warning & autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring front assist, blind spot monitor and rear traffic alert, keyless access with push button start, composition media 8” touch screen, multi band radio & CD player, dual USB inputs, Aux-in, voice control & 8-speaker sound system, Bluetooth connectivity for compatible devices, Sirius XM Satellite radio, cruise control, Electric parking brake.

Gas Stats:

$3.15/ Gal avg. November 25, 2017
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information.

21 City and 27 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $30,230

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2017 – An Automotive Love Affair

2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T Dune

By Joe Mavilia

Overview:

This is the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T Dune. Well, where do you start. So many applications….. all except space for many people or luggage. BUT, this would be my top pick for my college son or daughter. It is fun to drive and a very capable car. It is stable, solid and feels totally safe on the curvy roads or highway speeds.

It is a fun car because it speaks Beach, travel, out of doors top down adventure. The top is a one button down and up with no hastles to be ‘topless’ in seconds. I recently completed a test of the Fiat 500 Cabrio (convertible of sorts) and the contrast is notable. The Cabrio is a slide back soft top that is more like a large sunroof. And as is often the case, there is that buffeting feel and noise that is not the case with the Beetle that is a conventional convertible.

General Information:

It is assembled in – Puebla, Mexico; Parts – US/Canadian 12%, Mexico 33%; Engine – Mexico, Transmission – Japan; Classification is Sub-Compact. Cars from Volkswagen: Atlas, Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Eos, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf Sportswagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Handling & Performance:

Excellent feel, easy rider. And for the racing buffs the Beetle posted over 205 mph at the Bonneville Salt Flats. Ok, so it had a 2.0-liter engine (vs the 1.8) and they tweaked the engine a little more… but I have to say this stock one would do over ½ that land speed record for a VW Beetle. I truly enjoyed the ride. Try it, you’ll like it.

Styling:

Classic VW of course.

Fit and Finish:

Excellent.

Cost:

The Fiat 500 I spoke of above is under $20,000 so you’ll be the final word on whether $10,000 is worth the difference in a similar car.

Conveniences and comfort:

For the money, I think this should be equipped with Adaptive (smart) Cruise, Lane Assist, Blind Spot and cross traffic detection at the very least.

Consumer Recommendations:

Include Fiat 500 in your test drives, because it is a lot less money and worthy of consideration. But if a convertible is your thing this one is pretty cool. In my travels, I have driven a lot of V-Dubs but I’ve put my money where I speak and before we got married my wife to be and I chose a Carmen Ghia as our first car together. Then we followed that during college wrap up years with a less expensive Bug and later when our first born came along we bought a brand new 1970 Beetle. All great cars in their league. Meanwhile brother John was buying Ferrari’s – ok he’s also the better looking one.

Recognized Competition:

Volkswagen Beetle $30,000, MINI Conv. $30,000, Mazda Miata MX-5 $27,000, Buick Cascada$33,000.

Good News:

Fun, fast, solid ride, great easy to use convertible.

Bad News:

I don’t know, there probably is something we can all bitch about, but size is the only thing I can think of – IF you need more room.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter TSI (meaning it is a Gasoline Direct Injection as for a distinction between the TDI that designates Diesel Direct Injection) 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, 6-speed auto transmission, four wheel independent suspension, front and side airbags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH child safety system, tire pressure monitor, 16” alloy wheels, auto headlights, fog lights and cornering lights, power heated foldable mirrors, intermittent wipers, power convertible roof, climate control, multifunction steering wheel, leather trimmed steering wheel, brake lever and shift knob, Dune cloth and leatherette seating with yellow piping and stitching, heated manual front seats, split folding rear seat, rearview camera, park distance control front and rear, keyless entry with push button start/stop, 6.5” touchscreen, AM/FM/HD radio with CD player, USB and Aux-in, 6-speaker sound system, Bluetooth mobile telephone connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio, cruise control, multifunction display with trip computer, power windows and door locks.

Gas Stats:

$3.05/ Gal avg. July 8, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information,

24 City and 31 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $29,395.

2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI Wolfsburg Edition(1194)

2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI Wolfsburg Edition

Overview:

This is the 2017 Volkswagen Golf TSI Wolfsburg Edition. VW brings us closer to owning a practical-minded car while still having a luxury car-like experience. This car will impress you with an upscale and well-equipped interior, and turbocharged engine that’s both peppy and fuel-efficient.

Sedans for VW like the Jetta and Passat are more popular in the US, but Golf is tops throughout the rest of the world. For forty years Golf has become one of the best-selling cars of all time. Why is that important? Because you know it will be around when others go the way of the Dodo bird – consider Suzuki, Mercury, Saab, Hummer, Pontiac, Saturn, Isuzu, Oldsmobile, and Plymouth. Try to find parts for those makes or someone who is willing to work on them. Beware.

General Information:

It is assembled in – Puebla, Mexico; Parts – US/Canadian 7%, Mexico 44%; Engine – Mexico, Transmission – Argentina; Classification is Compact. Cars from Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Eos, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf Sportswagen, Jetta, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Opinion / Observation:

Some noted an error in my discussion of Toll Roads recently. The point I tried to make was that, in the Eastern part of the US, you “pay to use” highways (Toll Roads). Meanwhile California’s pioneer spirited people developed ‘free’way systems.

Now we see Toll Roads popping up in California. What could be the purpose if not for raising tax revenues. I refuse to use them and suspect many others avoid them as well. Why, because our gas tax is huge and so the crooked government has found a way to double dip into our wallets. We already pay for our roads at the pumps. If that doesn’t just chap you hide I’d be surprised.

Someone must be making a lot of money out of the ‘Toll Road’ scam against California travelers.

Handling & Performance:

Golf is a solid performer especially with the Turbo engine. Handling of course is easy largely because of size.

Styling:

Design is typical VW today and is much like the VW Beetle of the 1960s – basic transportation look and feel.

Fit and Finish:

Very well assembled that is expected and delivered.

Cost:

There is so much value for the money in cars like this Golf. I wonder if my kids are listening.

Conveniences and comfort:

For the money, you get most of the modern-day technology that is needed in my view.

Consumer Recommendations:

Flip a coin on which one you buy. The important thing is – does this segment of the car market fill your need? Surely it is a car that covers most people’s needs in the US.

Recognized Competition:

Volkswagen Golf $24,000, Mazda 3 $23,000, Toyota Corolla $23,000, Chevy Cruze $23,000, Hyundai Elantra $21,000.

Good News:

Turbo Fast, fun to drive and fuel efficient to boot.

Bad News:

None worth mentioning.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter TSI (meaning it is a Gasoline Direct Injection as for a distinction between the TDI that designates Diesel Direct Injection) 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, 6-speed auto transmission, four wheel independent suspension, front and side airbags with side curtain bags, 4-wheel ABS disc brakes, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH child safety system, tire pressure monitor, 16” alloy wheels, auto headlights, power heated foldable mirrors, rain sensing front wipers with heated washer nozzles, power tilting and sliding sunroof, air conditioning, multifunction steering wheel, leather trimmed steering wheel, brake lever and shift knob, heated manual front seats, split folding rear seat with armrest and pass-through, leatherette seating surfaces, front and rear reading lights, rearview camera, front assist includes emergency braking, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, keyless entry with push button start/stop, 6.5” touchscreen, AM/FM/HD radio with CD player, USB and Aux-in, 8-speaker sound system, Bluetooth mobile telephone connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio, cruise control, multifunction display with trip computer, App-Connect for smartphone, integration and interface, remote emergency assistance (subscription required).

Gas Stats:

$2.95/ Gal avg. June 9, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information,

25 City and 36 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $21,495.

2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen(1179)

2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen Review

Overview:

This is the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen TSI S with 4Motion or as the name implies… all wheel drive. What a great fun transportation car in part because of the Turbocharged engine. Small displacement as they are the turbo removes all sluggishness when speed / acceleration is needed.

Love it also because from all my experience with the industry VW as a company has always been forward thinking and the Germans have a great work ethic.

General Information:

It is assembled in – Mexico; Parts – US/Canadian 11%, Mexico 34%; Germany 15%, Engine and Transmission – Germany; Classification is Small Station Wagons. Cars from Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Eos, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Opinion / Observation:

Lately there has been an absence of CHP on the highways of Southern California. Do you have knowledge of the phenomena or an opinion? Let me know your thoughts. joe@atthewheel.com.

My intuition and observation is that: 1) the economy is bad and tempers are deadly 2) cops have not been supported for many years under the Obama Administration demonizing police. 3) Revenues are up tremendously from all the rampant rush for revenue because of California Governors reckless spending. Where am I going wrong here?

Driving Tips:

Stay alert at all times. Driving a car is a great responsibility, which I’m sure you know, but we all need to be reminded from time to time.

Handling & Performance:

Well if you don’t have a large number of people you need to carry, this is a perfect size for a few people. It is easy to maneuver and tight spots are not a problem. I contrast that handling with my Ford F350 crew cab long bed hunk of metal and plastic that is near impossible to park anywhere.

On the power side the Turbo makes all the difference in the world. I can’t imagine having a car without a Turbo. The technology takes a smaller displacement engine and makes it as good or better than a bigger engine.

Styling:

VW has surely been a distinctively designed car over the years. . . the Beetle (Bug), of course, being the leader in ‘different’.

Fit and Finish:

Assembly in today’s world tends to be good, and VW is typically as good as it gets in class.

Cost:

All are very close in purchase pricing and good values generally. Chevy Cruze stands out as having the best Warranty of the bunch and the best fuel economy.

Conveniences and comfort:

For the money I particularly appreciated this model being equipped with Adaptive or Smart Cruise Control. This almost always is an option but well worth the added cost, as it is perhaps the most convenient and contributes most to a stress free comfortable driving experience.

Consumer Recommendations:

Fortunately there isn’t that many in class, so you can test drive all pretty easily to get a feel for the best one for your application. For me, since the prices are very close I’d opt for the VW for performance, the Cruze to support American made products at this particular time and best warranty and fuel economy, Hyundai because it is the new kid on the block and I like the company and finally Mazda and Toyota bring up the rear.

Recognized Competition:

Volkswagen Golf Sportswagen $22,000, Chevrolet Cruze $23,000, Mazda 3 $21,000, Hyundai Elantra GT $21,000, Toyota Corolla $20,000.

Good News:

Great value,fast and fun to drive.

Bad News:

n/a.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter TSI (meaning it is a Gasoline Direct Injection as for a distinction between the TDI that designates Diesel Direct Injection) 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 4Motion (meaning AWD – all wheel drive), four wheel independent suspension, power steering, front and side airbags with side curtain bags, 4-wheel ABS discbrakes, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH child safety system, tire pressur monitor, 16” alloy wheels, halogen headlights, power heated foldable mirrors, front wipers with heated washer nozzles, rear window washer wiper, black roof rails, manual air conditioning, multifunction steering wheel with paddle shifters, leather trimmed steering wheel, brake lever and shift knob, heated manual front seats, split folding rear seat with armrest and pass through to trunk, cloth seating surfaces, front and rear reading lights, rearview camera, 6.5” touchscreen, AM/FM/HD radio with CDE player, USB and Aux-in, 8-speaker sound system, Bluetooth mobile telephone connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio, cruise control, multifunction display with trip computer, power door locks and windows. adjustable multifunction sport steering wheel, leather trimmed steering wheel brake lever and shift knob, heated power drivers seat, split folding rear seat with armrest and passthrough, leatherette seating, rearview camera.

Gas Stats:

$2.75/ Gal avg. February 12, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

22 City and 30 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $24,930.

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack(9000)

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack First Drive Review

Overview:

This is the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack First Drive – a Guest Column By Phil Shuyler

So you want the space and seating of a crossover, and the height and driving feel of a sedan? Looks like you’re shopping for a wagon! And the new Volkswagen Alltrack could be right down your alley.

For trims, you have a choice between the S, SE and SEL. Our favorite is the SE, which includes keyless access, push button start, Fender Premium audio, and a panoramic sunroof. Of course if you want all of the bells and whistles, step up to the SEL.

Handling & Performance:

The peppy 1.8L TSI direct injected turbo 4-cylinder engine chimes in and says “I’m ready to take you there.” Once you’re done having a conversation with your car, it’s time to hit the road.

The Alltrack gets 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway with 170 horsepower and 199 ft. lbs. of torque. The engine is mated to a 6-speed dual clutch automatic transmission, and a 6-speed manual will be available in early 2017.

Taking a wagon off-road has never been easier, with the 5th generation 4Motion all-wheel-drive, which comes standard on all trim levels. The ground clearance is 6.9”, which we found to be sufficient, even when traversing over some relatively uneven terrain. It may not be an off-road vehicle, but you can certainly take it off-road. Standard fog lights will also help keep the trail illuminated as you explore the backcountry.

Styling:

Let’s talk about styling. It’s not boring, that’s for sure. The fender moldings and roof rack give it a look that says “let’s go outdoors”

Cost:

Pricing starts at $26,950 for the S with an automatic, and the manual will start at $25,850.

Conveniences and comfort:

Available driver assistance features include a standard rearview camera, lane departure warning, forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, high beam control, park distance control, parking steering assistant, and adaptive cruise control. We’re a big fan of adaptive cruise, and if you haven’t tried it before, I encourage you to give is a go during your next test drive. Once you try it, you’ll wonder how you ever got along without it. The parking steering assistant worked surprisingly well in our testing. In an uneven parking lot with faint lines and moss growing on the pavement, once we drove past an open stall, we would be notified that a space was open. Just put it in reverse, and voilà, it will park and do all of the hard work for you. All you have to do is keep a foot on the brake, and a smile on your face.

On the inside, the seats are firm, but comfortable. All trims do include heated front seats. There’s also an optional panoramic sunroof, which can give you a truly stunning view of the forest canopy overhead, or beauty interweaving power lines in the city. Cargo space is 30.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up, and 66.5 cubic feet with the seats folded down, which is right on par with the compact crossover segment. One of the nice things about a wagon compared to an SUV or crossover, is their lower load height, allowing you to put things in and take things out with ease.

For infotainment, there’s a 6.5” touchscreen, which is compatible with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. The system is smooth and easy to use.

Consumer Recommendations:

The Alltrack went on sale in October, so all of you wagon adventurers can now get out there and take one for a drive.

Recognized Competition:

Volkswagen Golf Alltrack $28,000, Volkswagen Golf SportWagen $28000, Toyota Prius V $28,000, Subaru Impreza $24,000.

Gas Stats:

$2.65 Gal avg. January 30, 2017

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

23 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $28,000.

2017 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T GLI (1175)

Overview:
This is the 2017 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0 T (turbo) GLI 4-door Sedan. The turbocharged four-cylinder engine has no trouble merging onto highways or getting past slower cars. Even with that power, this Jetta manages 33 highway MPG. Chevrolet Cruze and Mazda3 are very good and Hyundai Elantra is best of the three at 35 avg mpg. The only hybrid is the Chevy Volt that delivers an average of 42 mpg.

General Information: It is assembled in – Mexico; Parts – US/Canadian 11%, Mexico 34%; Germany 15%, Engine and Transmission – Germany; Classification is Compact Cars. Cars from Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, e-Golf, Eos, Golf, Golf Alltrack, Golf Gti, Golf R, Golf SportWagen, Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, Passat, Tiguan & Touareg.

Opinion:
Ever notice the HOV lane on the 14 freeway south to the I-5 is often empty when the other three lanes are congested during peak travel times. The problem with that is it creates a dangerous situation. YET in their infinite wisdom, Cal Trans, is asleep or doesn’t give a damn about the danger to drivers. Some other freeways like the 134 from Pasadena to Glendale doesn’t even allow use of the HOV lane during weekends and off peak hours of travel. Even dumber. When will those negligent public servants get off their asses and do something about the obvious problem? Or, perhaps it is not so obvious. Can anyone shed light on my perception of the problem? Should the empty diamond lane be open to travel when traffic conditions are light, for example?

If you drive the 5 or 99 north to Sacramento, you’ll notice they do the HOV lane differently than southern Cal. For example; you are allowed to go in and out of the Diamond lane as there are no double yellow lines as a barrier to crossing into and out of lanes. Seems to work better but it makes my point that you have to wonder if they know what works and what doesn’t. Are they using fatalities as a guide as to what works best? Just say’n.

Driving Tips:
Changing Lanes introduces confusion onto the highways, even though they are necessary. But, some add to the danger by forcing themselves into a space in front of you that is just barely enough for one car length. Well of course the car being cut off hits their brakes and the ripple effect begins and goes all the way back in the line of traffic…. Until – “Crash”. All because that one inconsiderate driver just had to go around you and fill the 20 feet of space in front of you. Please DON’T do that. Be a considerate driver.

Handling & Performance:
Nice ride. The turbo gives more than ample power yet it is only a 4-banger and thus it also does very well on fuel economy.

Styling:
The Jetta has matured nicely over the years. It has been a journey that has beautified the brand in all respects. Very nice.

Fit and Finish:
Very well put together. No complaints here.

Cost:
Good value in class.

Conveniences and comfort:
Here are some features I miss when absent:

  1. Heads up display
  2. Heated seats in winter
  3. Rain sensing wipers
  4. Radio knobs and buttons
  5. Satellite radio

This list will no longer be an issue when Voice Commands are perfected. Currently they are more of a distraction than a help but manufacturers get an A for effort.

Consumer Recommendations:
All brands listed here are pretty comparable in seating at 5, warranty nearly exact, and fuel economy is relatively the same with a simple average of 28 mpg across the list and the Volt (only electric option) at 42 mpg average is the best.

Recognized Competition:
Volkswagen Jetta GLI $29,000, Acura ILX $29,000, Subaru WRX $30.000, Buick Verano $27,000, Mazda 3 $24,000, Chevrolet Cruze $21,000, Chevrolet Volt $34,000, Hyundai Elantra $21,000, Mitsubishi Lancer $19,000, Kia Forte $17,000.

Good News:
Competitive in all respects, comfortable ride, powerful and for those who can drive a manual transmission it is a fun ride.

Bad News:
n/a

Standard Equipment:
2.0 liter 4-cylinder turbocharged engine, 6-speed manual transmission, front and side airbags with side curtain bags, 4-wheel ABS discbrakes, stability control, intelligent crash response system, LATCH child safety system, tire pressur monitor, 18” alloy wheels, auto headlights, front fog lights and LED tail lights, power heated morrors, rain sensing wipers with heated washer nozzles, power tilting and sliding sunroof, climate control, adjustable multifunction sport steering wheel, leather trimmed steering wheel brake lever and shift knob, heated power drivers seat, split folding rear seat with armrest and passthrough, leatherette seating, rearview camera, park distrance control with “Park Pilot”, blind spot monitor with rear traffic alert, keyless entry with pushbutton start/stop, touch screen navigation, AM/FM / HD radio and CD player, Bluetooth connectivity, Sirius XM satellite radio, Cruise control.

Gas Stats:
$2.69/ Gal avg. January 9, 2017
www.fueleconomy.gov
for more information,

23 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:
MSRP $27,895.

2016 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T GLi SE (1125)

Overview:

This is the 2016 Volkswagen Jetta 2.0T GLi SE. Some things that you my overlook in your search is the trunk size. Then when you need to use it, it is too small. Jetta has a good size trunk and rear seat as well.

I’m happy with the power and handling. Admittedly you can get better handling from the WRX from Subaru or the Sister car the Audi A3, but for the money I’ll stick with VW Jetta.

General Information: Parts – US/Canadian 7%, Mexico 43%, Germany 16%, Engine – Mexico; Transmission – Germany. It is assembled in Mexico. Classification is Compact.

Cars from Volkswagen: Jetta, Passat, CC, Beetle, Golf, Golf GTI, Tiguan, Touarag, Jetta SportWagen, Eos.

Handling & Performance:

I have to tell you I really like driving this car. To me, for the money, the VW is better than the much more expensive Audi A3 for example. (FYI, Volkswagen owns: Audi, Bentley, Bugatti, Lamborghini, Porsche, and overseas-brands SEAT and Skoda).

Styling:

Distinctive. I like the styling because you can’t miss what it is. That is not true of most “generic” designs these days. They mostly look like one another.

Fit and Finish:

Very good.

Cost:

Competitive.

Conveniences and comfort:

I’m okay with it just the way it is equipped. The most important items that I consider essentials include the Crash avoidance system which it has. The only two other features it does not have but I’m convinced you should have is the “Blind Spot Detection” and if you can afford it, the Smart Cruise feature.

Consumer Recommendation:

For the money this Jetta is the best of the bunch.

Recognized Competition:

Volkswagen Jetta $28,000, Acura ILX $29,000, Audi A3 $41,000, Chevrolet Cruze $24,000, Mazda 3 $27,000,  Mitsubishi Lancer $18,000, Dodge Dart $18,000, Subaru WRX $27,000.

Good News:

Great car, very good fuel economy, handles wonderfully, turbo power is a favorite of mine.

Bad News:

n/a

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter 4-cylinder 210 hp turbo engine, 6-speed manual transmission, 17” alloy wheels, 4-wheel ABS disc braking system, stability control, crash response system, LATCH system, tire pressure monitor, AM/FM radio with CD, Sirius XM satellite , Bluetooth, keyless access with push button start, heated power drivers seat, split folding rear seats, leatherette seating, cooled glove box, leather wrapped steering wheel and knob, climate control, cruise control, power windows, power sunroof, park distance control and rear backup camera, tilt and telescoping multi function steering wheel, auto headlights and daytime running lights, front fog lights, heated power foldable mirrors, rain sensing variable intermittent front wipers with heated washer nozzles, front side and side curtain airbags.

Gas Stats:

$2.85/ Gal avg. January 28, 2016

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

23 City and 33 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,900.

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T (1071)

Overview:

This week we’re looking at the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T that is a delightful car. It isn’t the1969 VW I used to get through college. Remember those years when the heat vents, that didn’t work, that ran along the floor that you opened manually by sliding an opening along the tube. It was absolutely basic but they did have a radio – two knobs and a few AM stations. What a trip, and speaking of trips it would drift into other lanes or off the road in a stiff wind. Not kidding.

Well that is the distant past and this new Beetle is nothing like Hitler’s legacy to the conquering ally’s and it is unimaginable that post war citizens of the world would even consider buying a German product. But then cute and inexpensive to buy and operate is a strong economic reason and was enough to stimulate demand of a near cult following.

Today this V-dub is amazingly solid and delivers a fantastically smooth ride as well as being fast. Not blistering acceleration but more than enough get up and go for the speedy freeway movement we have come to embrace in our busy day needs.

General Information: Parts – US/Canadian 15%, Mexico 40%, Engine – Mexico; Transmission – Japan. It is assembled in Mexico. Classification is Compact. Cars from Volkswagen: Jetta, Passat, CC, Beetle, Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, e-Golf, Tiguan, Touarag, Jetta SportWagen, Eos and Beetle Convertible.

Handling & Performance:

A wide stance give this VW great stability and also powerful from a Turbocharged 4 cylinder engine. It did well on a quick trip over the Angeles Crest Highway giving way to none. Nice.

Styling:

VW’s unmistakable design not so different from my 1969 other than they put the engine up front and the trunk where we expect it to be and it is no longer a small car. Compact, yes but I see it as the biggest of little cars. I like it a lot. Many however will think of it as a ‘chick’ car confirmed by comments of approval from Carol and Frida and other ladies, I guess it is more attractive to our female friends.

Fit and Finish:

Assembly is light years better than the early years.

Cost:

Ok. It is worth the money for what it is but if small car economy is what you’re looking for there are much better choices.

Conveniences and comfort:

You don’t get a lot of trunk space and the legroom in the rear is nearly non-existent unless the front seats are all the way forward. And then you will only get a couple of kids in the back. Not a bad thing because you can have that discomfort in a Porsche for three times the money or even the Camaro or Mustang will be as bad. Or you can go with the MX-5 Miata without a back seat at all.

Consumer Recommendation:

Great for your kids’ first car or those remembering Woodstock in the 60s.

Recognized Competition:

Beetle Convertible $28,000, Chevrolet Camaro $32,000, Mazda Miata $25,000, MINI Cooper S $29,000.

Good News:

Nice ride, fast, fun to drive, low operating costs.

Bad News:

I had a problem with the radio that would for no apparent reason go dark and then for no more reason come back on. Obviously an anomaly that likely is not to be expected and easily fixed.

Standard Equipment:

1.8 liter 170 HP4-cylinder turbo engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, 17” alloy wheels, ABS braking system, stability control, crash response system, LATCH system, tire pressure monitor, power convertible top, AM/FM/HD radio with CD / MP3 and 8-speakers, Sirius XM satellite , Bluetooth, media device interface, keyless access with push button start, seathette seating, heated front seats, manually adjustable front seats, folding rear seats, leather wrapped steering wheel and brake handle, climate control, cruise control, mustifunction display with trip computer, power windows, power heated mirrors, variable intermittent front wipers with heated washer nozzles, and daytime running lights.

Gas Stats:

$2.29/ Gal avg. January 22, 2015

www.fueleconomy.gov

for more information.

24 City and 32 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $28,475.

 

2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SE (994)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid SE that continues to please those who appreciate German engineering. Friend and colleague Merkel you may recall is an automotive engineer and designer who is a devoted German and Italian car enthusiast.

You may recall that I owned a foreign car repair shop in Southern California for many years called G & I Automotive (for German and Italian) although we worked on most imports. I’ve owned several German cars including VW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz and I prefer them to most other imports for a long history of craftsmanship of European workers.

High end Italian and British cars in the past tended to be poorly engineered but you gotta love the flair and excitement of great European Art that is exemplified in cars like Ferrari, Maserati and Lamborghini. And what can I say about Jaguar other than it too is beautifully elegant in design and they have all endured for so many years.

General Information: 

Parts – US/Canadian 11 %; Mexico 31%; Germany 16%; Engine and Transmission – Germany. It is assembled in Germany; Classification is Compact. Cars from Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Passat, Routan, Tiguan and Touareg.

Opinion:

Last time I recounted an email from David M about the Diamond lane access. This is just a follow on since someone asked for the references of the CA Vehicle Code sections that deal with the law.

21460 CVC; 21651 CVC; 21655.8 CVC.

If you read this last opinion you will recall the final conclusion was that although half of the officers out there would not ticket for folks crossing over the divider lines ‘off-hours’ but that means it is a toss-up of whether you will suffer a fine of about $500 half of the time – simple law of averages.

Thanks to David M., for his research and opinion and advice.

Handling & Performance:

Solid and confident feel in handling and really fast 170 horsepower turbo hybrid.

Styling:

Nice lines that are relatively conservative, which is good in my opinion. To each his own, but I’m not in love with ‘homely’ and some would say ‘ugly’ of the radical designs becoming more common these days. But some think they have to ‘shock’ us with their designs. Sorry I don’t buy that. I suppose that is the concept of choice and that is why there are so many choices.

Fit and Finish:

VW quality that is typical of German cars.

Cost:

This hybrid is greeeeen and gets great fuel economy at 42-48 mpg, so I temper the few thousand more in purchase price with lower operating costs.

I might note here that the original concerns of the hybrid mechanical complexity is long past as they have been out for a long time and there are not glowing maintenance issues that I have heard about.

I’d be interested in your personal experience if you have a hybrid.

Conveniences and comfort:

It is a very nice car and a comfortable ride. I did however get annoyed with the jerky accelerator and grabby brakes. It was connected with the Hybrid feature that I believe needs work to smooth out both acceleration and braking where the braking action charges the batteries.

One of my favorite features is the keyless entry and push button start. I rarely take the key fob out of my pocket all week long. Great convenience.

Consumer Recommendation:

I am convinced that we should all begin to replace our current gas guzzlers when replacement is called for because the writing is on the wall for escalation in gas prices in the future. Keep in mind that world prices of $8 a gallon is inevitable.

Recognized Competition:

VW Jetta Hybrid SE $27,000, Acura ILX $26,000, BMW 1 Series $31,000, Chevrolet Cruze $18,000, Dodge Avenger $20,000, Ford Focus $24,000, Honda Civic $19,000, Hyundai Elantra $20,000, Mazda 3 $25,000, Mitsubishi Lancer SE $20,000, Nissan Sentra $18,000, Subaru Impreza $20,000, Toyota Corolla $19,000.

Good News:

Outstanding fuel economy, comfortable, perfect size for most of our needs and if you don’t care about fuel use it can be ultra-fast and a pleasure on the road.

Bad News:

Jerky accelerator and grabby braking system (this needs attention by the engineers).

Standard Equipment:

1.4 liter Hybrid 170 horsepower TSI (Turbocharged Stratified Injection) engine, front wheel drive, 4-wheel ABS power assist disc brakes, Anti-slip regulation (traction control), electronic stability control, electronic differential lock, 15” alloy wheels, front side and side curtain airbags, LATCH system and rear child door locks, tire pressure monitor, V-tex leatherette seating, touchscreen radio and CD changer, Sirius satellite, climate control, 60/40 split folding rear seat with pass through, cruise control, height adjustable & telescoping steering column, keyless entry and push button start, power windows and locks, heated power mirrors with turn signal indicators, engine immobilizer, trip computer, leather wrapped steering wheel, shift knob and hand brake, MDI / iPod cable.

Gas Stats:

$3.75/ Gal avg. August 30, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

42 City and 48 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $26,990.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com

2013 Volkswagen Golf R (961)

Overview: 

This week we’re looking at the 2013 Volkswagen Golf R that will challenge a host of performance vehicles. It simply gives the driver confidence in all handling characteristics and its performance impresses even those devoted to other brands.

To me, it is fun to drive, and even funner to drive fast. It is a comfortable ride all things considered and is great on the highway, I think, mainly because of the responsive turbo at cruising speeds.

I suspect most of the pushback comes from other performance car owners in class who say the Golf R is much more money by as much as $10,000. Others say the GTI delivers much better fuel economy, and that is true but the GTI is only 200 horsepower. But for the most part the consensus of Golf R owners and competitors seems to be the limited edition R is worth the money. Go figure.

There surely is a great deal of passion on both sides with lots of love / hate discussions on the blog’s I researched.

General Information: 

Parts from the US / Canada 1%, Germany 61%. It is assembled in Wolfsburg, Germany, Classification is Compact. Cars from Volkswagen: Beetle, CC, Eos, Golf, GTI, Jetta, Jetta SportWagon, Passat, Routan, Tiguan, Touareg and Touareg Hybrid.

Handling & Performance:

There is no question this turbocharged power packed 256 horsepower engine is really exceptional. And it handles extremely well and simply is fun to drive in part due to its compact size for around town driving and parking. I appreciate the solid shifting manual transmission. The closest performers to this Golf R is the Mitsubishi Lancer Evo and the Subaru Impreza WRX STI.

The R is 3450 pounds and the solid ride will take you from zero to 60 mph in just 5.6 seconds and up to 100 mph in just 14.5 seconds. Top speed is 130 mph and although I didn’t take it there I have no doubt it will do that.

Styling:

Styling is similar to its closest competitors, but I rather lean to the R and particularly like the front grill design.

Fit and Finish:

Assembly is very good inside and out.

Cost:

Undeniably, at $36,000 it is expensive relative to others in class. I’m told there will only be 5,000 made for the US market so I guess there will be enough young buyers who’s parents will spend this much to provide great performance.

Conveniences and comfort:

Good.

Consumer Recommendation:

Consumers of this type of performance car are very well versed in the pros and cons of this and other similar competitors. It will, after all, not be sought by those looking for an inexpensive compact commuter or young family car. Performance buyers won’t care how much the cost and fuel economy won’t matter either.

Recognized Competition:

VW Golf R $27,000, Acura A3 $27,000, BMW 1-Series $31,000, Chevrolet Cruze $17,000, Ford Focus $16,000, Honda Civic $24,000, Honda Fit $20,000, Hyundai Elantra $17,000, Kia Forte $20,000, Mazda 3 $17,000, MINI Cooper $20,000, Nissan Sentra $16,000, Scion tC $19,000, Subaru Impreza $18,000, Suzuki SX4 $17,000, Toyota Corolla $16,000, Toyota Matrix $19,000.

Good News:

Super performer that is a kick to drive.

Bad News:

Expensive compact.

Standard Equipment:

2.0 liter turbocharged 256 horsepower inline 4 cylinder engine with direct fuel injection, 6-speed manual transmission, all wheel drive, power steering, stability control, anti-slip regulation, electronic differential lock, 4-wheel anti-lock power disc brakes, 15” allow wheels, front side and side curtain airbags front and back, LATCH safety system, tire pressure monitor, climate control, power mirrors, cruise control, trip computer, adjustable seat and lumbar front seats, remote keyless entry and pushbutton start, Sirius satellite radio, power windows, anti theft alarm and immobilizer theft deterrent system, 50/40 split folding rear seat, heated front seats, leather trimmed, multi-function steering wheel, power sliding tilting sunroof with shade.

Gas Stats:

$3.67 / Gal avg.  Jan. 29, 2013

www.fueleconomy.gov

For more information.

19 City and 27 Highway MPG

Pricing:

MSRP $36,090.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@atthewheel.com