Once in a while we happen on a cool collection of cars and their owners all going for an impromptu drive. We didn’t have time to really interview anyone but our staff snapped some quick pics. This is the kind of summer fun we like to celebrate here at the Kicker. As cool as the internet is, lets get out and meet some folks who share our passion for vehicles and driving. This was a really great day as I’m sure you’ll see from the pics below.
The last Polo was on sale in the 2016. To the outsider it might not seem like the end of an era. This was after all the fifth generation Polo and it was declared World Car of the Year at the New York International Auto Show in April 2010. But no more Polos made their way across the Atlantic.
It does seem a bit of a pattern. The vehicles available in Europe differ both in style and quality to those in the US. VW gets tax credits for manufacturing cars in the US yet there’s still that differentiation between the two markets.
There are models like the Golf Estate and the VW van California which although it might evoke the Californian spirit is not available in the state, indeed not elsewhere either.
There are some interesting features to the California camper such as the self-leveling system and a number of swivelling captain’s chairs. But VW doesn’t think there’s a profit in them stateside.
The European Passat is midsize, just below luxury quality. The US version however is more like an Audi (at half the cost of the Audi A6).
But is it all that different? There is an increase in torque and an improved interior but that’s ultimately it.
The Passat GT with the diesel or hybrid engine is not available in the US, so you will have to make do with other GT models.
Other European VWs include:
The VW Mk7 GTi had a Porsche style about it. The 2019 GTi is slightly similar, but not quite.
Mk2 Golf Rallye was used in the World Rally championship in 1986. It had a 1.8 liter engine and noticeable box-fenders.
VWs haven’t sold Coupes in the US since 1994; so more than 25 years. The Scirocco was based on Italian design. It was revived in 2006 and you might have thought it was for sale in the US, only it wasn’t.
What about the Rabbit Pickup? You may think anything pickup is a sure thing in the US market, but it’s hard to keep up with models like the Silverado. The Rabbit Pickup is a small front wheel drive; it’s not exactly an off-road vehicle. So, it’s not in available over here.
The ID3 is another example of a VW not being launched in the US, which is especially a shame as a new generation electric power. Because it is a hatchback it’s not considered that marketable, though there are some US customers who have been crying out for an electric VW.
If it was an SUV not a hatchback it would be a different matter. But all cars need to find their feet and Europe is the best place to experiment as far as Volkswagen is concerned.
It’s a global brand but make no mistake, the European style of VWs are nothing like the American VWs. But then again, all brands vary from country to country. It keeps the money flowing even if the product is not exactly the best.
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The Touareg SUV
The height of luxury, the Touareg SUV has an MSRP starting at just below $49,000 and includes every last smidge of luxury you expect from German design. This mid-sized crossover has been on the market since 2002, and named after a North African Berber-speaking community, the Tuaregs. The lovechild of VW, Audi, and Porsche, it’s obvious from its roots how the Touareg became so laden with luxury. The mission? To design an off-road machine that handled like a sports car. More than 300 people were involved in the development, which took place at Porsche’s headquarters in Germany. The VW Group PL71 platform was used as a base, which is shared with the Audi Q7 and Porsche Cayenne. Of course, the styling, technical and equipment difference are massive.
The Touareg easily seats five and comes in either a V6 or V8 engine model. Offering the most upscale trims imaginable, the Touareg’s “competition” is considered offerings from Mercedes and BMW. For those who are really power hungry, a limited amount of V10 TDI diesel Touaregs were offered in 2004 and again in 2006 as the “Tier 1 emissions concept vehicle.” However, most drivers prefer a more eco-friendly machine.
Boasting feats never before seen with Volkswagens, like easily going through a snow bank, the Touareg has showcased its strength by towing a Boeing 747—it broke the record for the heaviest load hauled by any passenger car. However, it’s not all brute force. The latest Touareg features the globe’s first automotive headlight technology, dubbed the “glare-free high beam.” The beam changes patterns continuously to avoid glare. You’ll also get adaptive cruise control with stop and go functions, the Lane Assist warning system, Side assist for blind spots and Front Assist which is an automatic pre-crash system. Mix in area view with a total of four cameras, eight-speed auto transmission and Adaptive Air Suspension with continuous damping control, and it’s clear why the Touareg is a winner.
Awarded Car and Driver’s Best Luxury SUV, Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year, and Four Wheeler’s Four Wheeler of the Year award, you’ll find the Touareg of your dreams. Whether it’s the Sport with nav, Lux, R-Line or Exec Model you’re after, a local dealer is your ticket to the best in service and inventory.
Meet the Beetle
Nothing is more iconic than the Volkswagen Beetle, whether you prefer a vintage charmer or a brand new updated “Bug.” Today’s Beetles start at just over $20,000, making them a great choice for young drivers, second cars, or simply those who appreciate a great price along with cute overload. Of course, “cute” might not be the best description of the new and improved Beetle. Those smooth lines, powerful engines and extra interior room have turned the Beetle into a superbug. Drivers can select a 2.5L, 1.8T, 2.5L with sunroof or 1.8T with sunroof. The original Beetle was produced in 1938 until Volkswagen decided it was time for a makeover. People still loved those original looks, but going into the next century it was time to spice things up.
The New Beetle is a compact car which was originally introduced in 1997. However, there were some big chances for the new incarnation, such as putting the engine in the front with storage in the rear. There have been a number of special editions released, like the Malibu Barbie. The new Beetle was welcomed with open arms, but VW had some more tricks up those German sleeves. Again in 2011, another “new” new Beetle debuted.
Boasting a max speed of up to 131 mph, acceleration of 0-60 mpg in as little as 6.5 seconds, and plenty of luggage space, this new Beetle has a lot of get up and go. But it’s not all flash and speed. The Beetle was awarded five stars from the Euro NCAP, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the machine a “good” overall score when it comes to frontal crash tests. That makes sense with those side airbags for optimal safety.
With engine sizes, Americans can select from 115 hp, 100 hp, and 150 hp as well as a turbo diesel engine option. When it comes to buying a Beetle, you’ve probably been a fan from way back. The New Beetle snagged Motor Trend’s Import Car of the Year Award, but you don’t need accolades to know if a Beetle is for you.
Touted as a “large family car,” the Passat is what you need when a Golf or Jetta just won’t cut it. It’s gone through six generations since 1973, which means it’s been perfected over the decades. Somewhere between the Jetta and Phaeton lies the Passat, with the Passat CC making a debut in 2008 as the “four-door coupe” that every family must have. There are technically two kinds of Passats available, the TDI and SE, but the TDI offers a few more options in that lineup. Drivers can choose from a TDI SE, TDI SE with sunroof, or TDI SE with sunroof and nav for those who truly want it all.
Technically a German company, Volkswagens are manufactured all around the world. However, when the massive new American plant opened in Tennessee, it was announced that this would be the new manufacturing home of the Passat. Drivers who want American made and German engineering get the best of both worlds with this machine. Plus, this ride was awarded the Motor Trend Car of the Year in 2012, which seals the deal for those who are on the fence about a Passat vs. another model.
MSRP for Passats starts just a hair under $27,000, making them an affordable option for many Utah drivers. Buyers can also get unbeatable warranties along with zero-pressure, genuine teams at their disposal from sales to parts and repair. If something goes wrong with your Passat, you can count on a locally owned business to get you back on the road. That’s crucial when you have a vehicle with heatable front bucket seats, a compass and valet function. With that kind of luxury at your fingertips, you deserve to enjoy every second behind the wheel (or in the passenger seat).
Remote keyless entry is standard on all models, with icy cold air conditioning idyllic for those hot summer days and leather or leatherette trim for that posh addition that ties it all together. Spacious, bold and with a just the right hint of elegance, there’s a reason Passats have built a reputation of excellence for over 40 years.
Meet the Competition
Only Volkswagen can deliver such a powerful and gorgeous crossover for under $24,000. The Tiguan is VW’s answer to those who need a part sedan, part SUV, and 100 percent fuel-efficient, powerful vehicle to get from Point A to Point B (no matter how many miles in between). It’s based on the PQ35 platform, the same as the Golf, and no matter the model you’ll get two-row seating and a powerful four-cylinder engine under the hood. Originally making its debut as a concept vehicle at the 2006 Los Angeles International Auto Show, and then again as a production model at the 2007 Frankfurt Motor Show, there was plenty of excitement built up well before the first Tiguan hit the US highways. The first Tiguan was manufactured as Auto 500, an experimental VW “company within company” right in Wolfsburg.
True German engineering at its finest, there are well over 750,000 Tiguans sold around the globe, but the US, Europe and Russia are the biggest fans. Euro NCAP awarded the machine a five-star safety rating, which is a must for any safety-minded driver. Named for a blend of tiger and leguan (German for iguana), the Tiguan was dubbed after a content hosted by Autobild, a German car magazine.
No matter which model you choose, enjoy six airbags, the Trailer Stability Program with ESP, Isofix for child seat anchors and an e-parking brake complete with an auto-hold function. The RCD 210 radio complete with CD player, four electric lift windows, and heated outside mirrors make every trip better, and that semi-auto climate control system has everyone comfortable and cozy. However, for those who opt fo the Sport & Style options, you’ll get a slew of additional features like chrome roof railing and a height-adjustable armrest. The Track & Field package? Hill descent assistance, ABS and EDS adaptation, and hill ascent assistance are at your fingertips.
Volkswagen has more long-term goals in mind. Years ago, VW announced that it planned to become the largest automaker in the world, but since the company is already doing so well, that goal isn’t lofty enough. Detroit News has reported that Volkswagen is also angling to become the world’s largest maker of electric cars as well.
Now that’s a challenge worthy of German engineering. First of all, VW is lagging behind a host of other top automakers when it comes to the electric niche—it’s such a competitive field with the Nissan Leaf, steadfast Prius and even the drama-covered Tesla topping the popularity contest.
VW might not be topping the e-charts now, but the manufacturing giant does learn from past mistakes. Initially, all hopes were on fuel-efficient diesel machines and that makes sense. After all, Volkswagen is a European company and diesels get a lot of love there—but not so much in the US. However, while the company focused on diesel, the rest of the world got smart and realized: Fossil fuel has a shelf life, electric cars are easier and more comfortable, and electric technology like battery tech is evolving at an incredible speed.
Some estimate that electric vehicles will completely take over in the next 50 years, but it could happen even faster. In other words, VW has some catching up to do but brings a smattering of experience to the table. Fans are already itching for the new electronic VW Golf and the new e-up! got plenty of love at early shows.
The Big Questions
There’s no doubt that VW can deliver, but the question is: When? And are they actually going to sell? Will even devout VW fans sway to the competition? Only time will tell, but it’s not too late for Volkswagen to catch up with (and overtake) the competition. Right now, e-vehicles are anyone’s game and Tesla may be proving that too much too fast causes burnout (sometimes literally).
It’s likely that e-cars will be hitting the dealerships in abundance over the next year, and enthusiasts are keeping their eyes peeled for reviews and performance results. Would you be interested in taking an electric Volkswagen for a spin, or do you prefer the classics? They say there’s a top for every pot, and there might just be an electric car for every driver. Whether or not it happens to be a VW remains up in the air until test drives become available.
Which to Pick?
If you’re interested in a VW, take a peek at the e-Golf. The Golf is a Volkswagen legend, arguably one of the most popular, beloved and easily spotted VW on the roads. The compact car re-defined hatchback and has been a staple in the VW lineup since 1974. It’s undergone numerous transformations during the past few decades (it used to be the Rabbit and Caribe) and proudly touts a number of awards. Winner of World Car of the Year, runner up for European Car of the Year, and named numerous times on Car and Driver’s annual 10 Best list, drivers are truly getting a steal when they choose the Golf which has an MSRP price starting under $20,000. Where else can you get German engineering for such an affordable price tag than with the Golf?
Now in the seventh generation, Golf models include the A7 and Typ5G, both of which have been available since 2012. Situated on a MQB platform, the newest Golfs have close ties to the Audi A3. The seventh generation debuted at the Paris Motor Show to great aplomb. The Golf VII is a little larger than the Mk6, but seemingly magically lighter (depending on which engine you choose). With the GTI, drivers get 217 bhp in a turbocharged 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine. However, drivers can also choose the Golf TSI (inclusive of the GTI), Golf TDI (inclusive of the GTD), and Golf TGI. Select from a diesel engine, natural gas engine, or even the e-Golf which is powered via electricity.
Want something in the middle? The Golf GTE is a hybrid plug-in, perfect for both daily commutes and long, summer road trips through Utah’s stunning parks and forests. Different models come with different features. Choose from 15- or 17-inch alloy rims, steel or black grills, and different shades of tinted glass. A full-floor console with storage, fade-to-off interior lighting, and air filtration make any trip more enjoyable.
The Golf, no matter the model, has proven to be a great match for all types of drivers. A little sporty, a lot convenient, and with style to spare, going with a Golf is a sure thing (and thousands of “Golfers” can’t be wrong).
Whether the traditional Jetta Sedan is more your speed, or you prefer the Jetta Sportswagen, you’re sure to find the right machine to “jet” off into the sunset. The sedan starts with an MSRP of under $16,000 and the Sportswagen at just under $21,000, so either model is a wise move. The popular family car has been on the market since 1979 and was originally intended to fill a “sedan need” that the Golf just wasn’t cutting for certain drivers. In total, there are six generations of Jetta and they keep getting better with each reincarnation. The original move was to simply add a trunk to the Golf’s hatchback, plus some unique styling—particularly with the front bumper. It’s available with two or four doors, and the Sportswagen boasts a five-door approach. Seating up to five people, over 14 million Jettas have been sold around the globe. And millions of drivers can’t be wrong.
Every generation features a bigger and stronger car. The Jetta is VW’s top-selling model and it’s no surprise why. Reviewers have always raved about the incredible handling, roomy interior (which gets bigger with each generation), and the sleek lines of the car. For those who want a dependable car with plenty of luxury to boot, the Jetta is a great choice. It can easily fit a family (even for those longer trips), has exceptional handling that can manage those four distinct Utah seasons, and VW is of course known for staying power. It’ll last thousands of miles as long as you give it the TLC it deserves.
Every new sedan has clearcoat paint, body-color rear bumpers, trunk rear cargo access, and stunning black grills. A six-way driver seat ups the comfort, and a 14.5 gallon fuel tank means you can go for miles without refilling. Select from a Base model, S, SE, or SE with connectivity if you really want to go high tech. For the Sportswagen, choose from S, SE, TDI, or SE with a sunroof. Heatable front comfort seats are standard in every Sportswagen, so drivers are sitting pretty on those winter trips to Alta or Park City.
Your Other Option
Part of the Golf family, the GTI was originally a concept car that was inspired by the Golf Mk5. It features an incredible 6.0 liter W12 engine compliments of Volkswagen Phaeton. It’s basically a “souped up” Golf for those who love their machines but want even better performance. There’s a twin-turbocharged engine under the hood that bolsters an extra 200 bhp, bringing the grand total to 641 bhp. Claims that the GTI could go from 1-62 in just 3.7 seconds, when it first became available in 2007, everyone was clamoring for a GTI—and nothing has changed. Featuring rear wheel drive with a six-speed automatic gearbox to boot, it’s a fantastic driving machine but still has all the interior comforts drivers have come to expect from Volkswagen.
A modified body was in order to make room for that massive engine, so a GTI looks like a wider Golf—but it’s easy to spot with that rear spoiler which optimizes handling. In order to maximize grip, you’ll find that W12 engine nestled right in the middle of the vehicle. You’ll find the MSRP starting at just a smidge over $25,000, making a GTI a cost-effective sports machine. However, with four doors and plenty of interior cabin room, it can also pull double duty as a commuter car, road trip haven or the go-to car to haul the kids around. It’s a multi-tasking machine for your multi-tasking life.
Whether the original Wolfsburg attention catches your eye or you’re after the special Driver’s Edition, a GTI is a great accessory for any driver. Those 18-inch alloy wheels come in both models along with light tinted glass and a black grill. The Driver’s Edition also features a projector beam high intensity low/high beam, express open/close sliding and tilting glass, and an instrument panel-covered bin.
Who said beauty and brawn couldn’t mix? With the GTI, drivers get absolutely everything they want, and power to spare.
In the market for a new CC Volkswagen? The ultimate in comfort and luxury, the CC provides a spacious cabin, that staple German engineering under the hood and the sleek lines that make every trip from the morning commute to the grocery store run memorable. Choose from the Sport, R-Line, Executive or VR6 Executive 4Motion and even customize your CC so that it perfectly suits you and your needs. With an MSRP starting at around $31,000, this is one model that fits neatly into any budget. Plus, drivers get up to 31 city miles and 32 highway miles, making the CC an optimal choice for commuters.
Trim options include 17- or 18-inch alloy wheels, clearcoat paint and body-colored bumpers on all models. Get the exact features you want at Strong VW, Salt Lake City’s leader for all things Volkswagen. Front fog lamps, cornering light and LED brake lights ensure that you and your ride are a real show stopper. However, you know what they say: It’s what’s on the inside that counts.
Heatable front seats and leather or “leatherette” fabric extends the luxury to the cabin. Enjoy a 6-way power drive seat with manual tilt/telescope steering for the utmost in comfort. Power rear windows, a compass, and valet function sweeten things up even more. Add in a driver footrest for those epic road trips, leather or leatherette steering wheel and shift knob, and plenty of cargo space and you’ve got the makings for sheer luxury in your garage.
EOS About Time
Designed for the sports lover, the Eos is a sport compact that’s been a favorite since it rolled off the assembly line in 2006. Complete with a retractable hardtop roof, this convertible came on the heels of the Golf Cabriolet and quickly won the hearts of VW lovers. Dubbed Eos, the Greek goddess of dawn, nothing beats a sunrise or sunset drive through a gorgeous Utah national park with the top down. The MSRP starts at just above $35,000, making this a cost-effective sport option for just about anyone in Salt Lake City.
The seamless roof design is the first thing that catches many eyes, with an independent sliding sunroof. The Eos is the only vehicle of its kind, from any manufacturer, that offers such a retractable feature. It slides effortlessly into the trunk space in just 25 seconds, but there’s still plenty of cargo space to spare. With the top down, the trunk goes from 10.6 to a still spacious 6.6 cubic feet. With a roof design compliments of OASys, another German company, drivers rest easy knowing German engineering is still intact.
Featured as a concept car in 2004 at the Geneva Motor Show, it got the buzz going early. Opt for the White Knight special edition to enjoy custom wheels, a black and white color scheme with a Candy White body, and customized black interiors. A Climatronic control system, sports chassis that lowers the body and cozy heated front seats make for a perfect blend of luxury and sportiness. The latest models boast options for V6 engines.
In 2018 we ran a series on mustangs. People loved the focus on a classic, even iconic, American sports car. Well, welcome to our new series. This time we’re going foreign, but sticking with the iconic angle. In this first installment, we’re starting with VW’s follow up to the popular bug and van.
The Golf has been available since 1974, when it released on the tail end of the classic Beetle’s and van’s popularity. It was a welcome change that grown-up flower children took to right away, and the appeal has stuck for 40 years.
Australians Love the Golf
Australia’s CarsGuide has a history of naming Volkswagens “Car of the Year” and that include the Golf. It’s been called “the hatchback Rolls Royce would make” by judges.
Volkswagen has had plenty of time to perfect the sleek, powerful, yet accessible and affordable Golf. There have been 30 million Golfs sold since 1974, which include 150,000 in Australia.
Aussies aren’t the only ones who play favorites with the Golf. It’s been Volkswagen’s best-selling machine for years with about 16,000 sold annually. Squarely in the Top 10 for most popular cars overall, it just keeps racking up the awards—and sales. Specifically, it was the Golf TSI Comfortline complete with DSG transmission that caught the eyes of the judges. With a $27,450 sticker price, it left nine other budget-friendly “competitors” in the dust.
According to the judges, “never has a ‘small’ car so seamlessly combined the verities of a suburban family vehicle and a long-distance tourer.” They point to the 1.4-liter turbo engine as marrying economical and amiable standards. Originally designed to take the place of the beloved Beetle, Volkswagen learned that there was plenty of room for two in their lineup. The Beetle is, of course, back in full force and has been new and improved for years, but Golf lovers have clearly staked their claim and proudly drive what’s considered the best car—period.
There were murmurings that the Mazda6 diesel Touring Wagon would end up taking home the gold, but Mazda was left firmly in second place. The runner up is described as a “luxurious” family wagon and the three misguided judges who didn’t vote for the Golf adorned praises on Mazda’s creation. However, with a price tag of nearly $42,000, it was almost $14,000 more than the Golf and when it came down to it, the judges found it wasn’t worth the price tag.
Now, a $40,000+ Golf would be worth a second (or even tenth) look. Imagine what the auto giant could do it they opted to offer a Golf with that kind of price tag; doubtless, luxury would abound. However, ever mindful of their customers’ desires for both economy and luxury, it’s a good thing the Golf has always remained affordable for all. Everyone deserves the best in German engineering and a lounge on wheels, whether for their weekend warrior escapades or simply for their drive through the espresso stand en route to the office.