Volkswagen Golf TDI Sets new Guinness World Record

The seventh-generation Golf has earned many accolades this year and now it can add Guinness World Record to the mantle.

Volkswagen announced Wednesday it has set a new record for “lowest fuel consumption–48 contiguous states for a non-hybrid car.”

The 2015 Volkswagen Golf TDI Clean Diesel embarked on a 48-state Victory Tour. It covered more than 8200 miles and achieved an astonishing 81.17 MPG. By the end of the 16-day trek, the total fuel bill came out to less than $300.

“Covering 8,233.5 miles on just 101.43 gallons of Clean Diesel fuel is a remarkable accomplishment, and solid proof of the efficiency and fuel economy of Volkswagen’s TDI® Clean Diesel vehicles,” said Michael Horn, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “Whether on a long road trip, or even in daily commuting, the great mileage and long range of our TDI models is a pure convenience factor that few other vehicles on sale can match. It’s a simple formula: Less Stop, More Go!”

Wayne Gerdes, automotive journalist and founder of cleanmpg.com, was the primary driver. His co-driver was Bob Winger, an electronics engineer long involved in energy and conservation projects. Gerdes and Winger departed Volkswagen of America’s headquarters in Herndon, VA. on Monday, June 22 and returned Tuesday, July 7, visiting all 48 contiguous states along the way.

Image Provided by Volkswagen of America
Image Provided by Volkswagen of America

In a test of my own–on a much smaller scale–I had the opportunity to drive a Passat TDI from Madison, Wis. to Chicago. Even in stop-and-go traffic, I averaged 52 MPG. Watching the average consumption improve became a game. I was determined to get it to 40, then 50. I was temped to keep driving until I got it up to 60. I was blown away by how little I effected the fuel gauge on the 240 mile round-trip.

“Volkswagen’s TDI Clean Diesel engines are just amazing,” said Gerdes, “I don’t think people realize the potential mileage you can get from them. In our experience, it is possible to get truly impressive mileage results by using just a few simple fuel-saving techniques.”

The last vehicle to hold the record for “lowest fuel consumption–48 contiguous states for a non-hybrid car” was a 2013 Passat TDI driven by Gerdes. He was able to reach 77.99 MPG on that stint, answering my question as to whether 60+ MPG was attainable.

VOLKSWAGEN GOLF TDI ROUNDS LOWER 48 STATES ON LESS THAN $300 IN DIESEL, ACHIEVES 81.17 MPG 

Jetta GLI Gets More Updates For 2016

The sixth generation of Volkswagen’s best-selling sedan went under the knife for the 2015 model year. While the changes were subtle, it revived the quality look and feel that VWs are typically known for. The performance version–Jetta GLI–received most of the same updates, but styling left something to be desired.

Here we are less than a year later and Volkswagen has unveiled it’s refresh of the refreshed GLI. And it is awesome.

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Image provided by Volkswagen of America
2016_jetta_gli_347
Image provided by Volkswagen of America

For 2016, the front bumper sports a redesigned fascia which incorporates the signature honeycomb grille and foglights, taking styling cues from last year’s NMC concept. The rear bumper is similar to the 2015 with the addition of a diffuser. All 2016 Jetta GLI models come with the 18-inch Mallory wheels wrapped in all-season tires. Summer performance tires are optional.

Another big change is inside with the addition of the new MIB 2 infotainment system, incorporating the full suite of USB and VW Car-Net connectivity. The SE trim features LED tail-lights, Keyless access with push-button start, Climatronic automatic dual-zone climate control, sunroof, 6-way power driver seat, rearview camera, front and rear Park Distance Control, Fender Premium Audio System, rain sensing wipers, auto on/off headlights, and heated front seats.

The SEL trim adds driver assistance features such as Blind Spot Detection with rear traffic alert, navigation, Bi-Xenon headlights with the Adaptive Front-lighting System and Homelink. If you noticed Automatic Post-Collision Braking system was missing from the list, don’t fret, it is now a standard feature on all GLIs.

There are no details on when we can expect this sporty saloon in showrooms, but if I was a betting man I’d put money on mid-to-late August.

Volkswagen Announces Car-Connected Application for Apple Watch

Thanks to the wonderful invention of Bluetooth, all of our gadgets can sync together, making the user experience that much more seamless. With the latest in wearable technology, the Apple Watch, now available in stores, Volkswagen has announced an app which will enable connectivity for many Volkswagen owners.

“These high-tech features, available through the Car-Net app for Apple Watch, are paving the way to Volkswagen’s future of connected vehicles,” said Abdallah Shanti, Executive Vice President and Group Chief Information Officer for Region Americas. “As a part of Volkswagen’s Digital Vehicle Management Platform, this was a truly collaborative effort between our Technical Development and Group IT teams.”

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Image Provided by Volkswagen

The Car-Net app for Apple Watch will allow VW customers to control a number of features and functions available on the Car-Net Mobile app and Customer Web Portal. One I find particularly helpful is the vehicle location function. If you’ve ever parked your car in a parking garage or a large parking lot and forgot where it was, you know what I’m talking about. Also, if you notice the clouds are rolling in and you can’t remember if you left your windows or sunroof open, you can check it with the flick of your wrist.

Parents with young drivers will be interested in the speed alerts. With this function, you can set the max speed to 65 and receive notifications if that speed is exceeded. There is also a similar alert that will notify you if the vehicle breaches a set boundary.

Volkswagen is working on the second generation of it’s modular infotainment platform which will feature MirrorLink to integrate a more fluid experience between the vehicle and device.

VW Car-Net is available on select trims of 2014 and later Beetle, CC, Eos, Jetta, Passat and Tiguan models and on all trimsof 2015 and later Golf, Golf GTI, Golf R, Golf SportWagen and e-Golf models. For additional details, go to www.vw.com/features/vw-car-net/.

Car-Net for Apple Watch will be available in the App Store for Apple Watch, found in the Apple Watch app on iPhone.

European Passat wins 2015 Car of The Year

With the Geneva International Auto Show gearing up, an announcement came out today that the European Passat won the coveted “Car of the Year” award for 2015.

The international “Car of the Year“ award is considered the world’s most renowned and sought after automotive award. The judging panel consists of 58 journalists from 22 European countries.The Passat held its own against six of its stongest competitors in innovation, safety, design and value for the money. The votes resulted as follows:

Volkswagen Passat, 340 points

Citroën C4 Cactus, 248 points

Mercedes-Benz C Class, 221 points

Ford Mondeo, 203 points

Nissan Qashqai, 160 points

BMW 2 series Active Tourer, 154 points

Renault Twingo, 124 points

Hakan Matson, chair of the judging panel and car expert at the Swedish business newspaper Dagens Industri explained, “It is truly impressive that Volkswagen managed to win the title for the third time in six years. The Passat has many strong points, including its design, overall quality, safety, spacious interior and several useful innovations such as the Trailer Assist. With all these features the model clearly deserves to be Car of the Year 2015.”

It is unclear if the next generation of the North American Passat will be based on its European namesake, but Volkswagen is preparing the Chattanooga plant for the mid size crossover that will also be based on the MQB platform. MQB is the future of VW AG, so it is safe to assume it will at least have that in common. We can only hope it will get the same styling.

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Speaking of style, Volkswagen has released teaser photos hinting at a next-gen CC. The Sport Coupe Concept GTE will debut this week at the Geneva International Auto Show.

It has not been confirmed that this is the new CC, but it seems to be an evolutionary redesign of the stylish four-door coupe. The aggressive front grille and headlights are consistent with Volkswagen’s new design language, and share styling cues with the Euro Passat.

vw_sport_coupe_concept_gte_rearThe signature rakish roofline is more dramatic than the current CC, indicating a sportback deck similar to the Audi A7.

As I learn more about the Sport Coupe Concept I will continue to update this post.

Cross Coupe GTE reveals design cues for Second-Gen Tiguan

A year ago, almost to the day, it was reported that Volkswagen was introducing a mid-size crossover to be built in Chattanooga, TN. This new CUV, based on the CrossBlue concept from 2013, was delayed due to concerns about how it would fit in the crowded market.

As of July 2014, the CrossBlue got the greenlight for production, which left me–and maybe other VW enthusiasts–wondering what that means for the Touareg and Tiguan.

The Touareg received a face lift for 2015; a sportier front end, a more elegant back end, an upgraded interior, and chassis improvements with driver assistance technology. For any of you who have ever driven the premium SUV, it has maintained it’s on-road poise and it’s off-road prowess, keeping it right in line with the Jeep Grand Cherokee. Now it comes in an even more attractive package.

As for the Tiguan, we haven’t really heard much about the second generation of the aging compact crossover. Until now.

In light of the Cross Coupe GTE unveil at the Detroit Auto Show, WorldCarFans.com has reported that a 2016 Tiguan has been rendered based on the aforementioned concept. According to the rendering from R.M Design, there is a strong family resemblance with the new Volkswagen design language. There are ties to the new Golf in the rear, the European Passat in the headlights and grille, and even the A-frame fascia is derivative of the new Touareg.

2016 Tiguan RM.Design Rendering
2016 Tiguan rendering/ RM.Design
2016 Tiguan Rear
2016 Tiguan rendering/ RM.Design

Now, going back to what the CrossBlue means for Volkswagen’s SUV lineup. Having filled the gap between the sporty SUV and the premium SUV, the CrossBlue gives the Tiguan and the Touareg more of an identity in the American market. If you visit VW.com you’ll notice every model serves a purpose (i.e. Jetta; the compact sedan, Golf; the modern hatch), and that is exactly what the new CUV does, fills that void.

In the utilitarian nature of the brand, VW has designed a true contender to the Honda CR-V and repositions the Tiguan into a growing compact crossover market. With the Honda HR-V arriving in dealerships soon, the new Tiguan can’t come soon enough.

Update: On March 9, 2015 Volkswagen announced it will invest $1 Billion in the Puebla plant to build a three-row Tiguan for the North American market due to be launched in 2017.

Volkswagen de Mexico to Produce New Three-Row Tiguan at Puebla Assembly Plant

Click the links below to visit sources

Photo Credit: R.M Design

Sources: FastLaneDaily, WorldCarFans.com, VW.com

A New Member of the Golf Family

If you are keeping up with automotive news you are well aware that Volkwagen’s Golf family has won Motor Trend Car of the Year. What stands out most in the review is that the journalists are praising the versatility of the line up. There is a Golf for just about everyone, and there is a variant on the way that will fill any gaps.

The Golf SportWagen is due the first quarter of 2015, replacing the beloved Jetta SportWagen (which has been based on the fifth-generation Jetta/Rabbit since it’s introduction in 2009). It is also adding some options that enthusiasts have been begging for all along.

imagesWhen it comes to propulsion, you will have two options to get the power to the road; the turbocharged 1.8-Liter straight-injected four-cylinder engine, and the 2.0-Liter direct-injected turbodiesel engine. Both are great engines that definitely get the job done, but could you imagine it with the souped-up 2.0 TSI?

Volkswagen has teased us with a Euro-spec Golf R SportWagen, which is almost identical in performance and aesthetics as the soon to be released Golf R, just add about a foot to the overall length. While we will likely never see this rocket cruising on the beltline, fellow Wisconsinites will be happy to know we are finally getting 4Motion.

Volkswagen’s Haldex all-wheel-drive system, 4Motion, will be available on the rugged Alltrack version, which was confirmed will make it to the U.S. by 2016. And what can we expect from the Alltrack? Well, the European version sits about three quarters of an inch higher than the regular SportWagen. The additional ride height, electronic differential lock, and modified ABS settings combined with 4Motion and XDS make for a pretty capable off-road vehicle. Hence the name, Alltrack.

The standard power plant is a tweaked 1.8-liter TSI with 180 hp and and 206 lb-ft of torque. There are three TDI engines available; a 1.6 liter, and two 2.0 liters–one of which is tuned to the note of 184 hp and 280 lb-ft of trail-swallowing power. To convert this torque, all engines will be mated to the six-speed direct shift gearbox.

Again, all of these specification have been pulled from the European version. At this point it has just been confirmed that we will get the Alltrack. Details about the U.S. version have not yet been released.images (1)

Despite the lack of the R in the line up, and having to wait until 2016 for the Alltrack, there is a lot to be excited about with the Golf SportWagen. The previous generation was met with praise and the new Golf is a hit with the critics. I, for one, can’t wait to get behind the wheel of one.

Update: Volkswagen has announced the Golf SportWagen TSI S–similarly equipped as the Golf TSI S–will start at $22,215, including an $820 destination charge when it arrives in VW showrooms this April.

2015 Jetta: New face, New Trims, Familiar feeling

One of the things I fell in love with the first time I drove a Jetta was the way it felt. It was a good combination of nimble and sporty with a poised german demeanor.

It was 2006 and I was still living in Colorado Springs at the time. I was interested in a pre-owned 2003 GLS. When we got to the test dive, I remember the sales consultant, Jennifer, asking, “are you ready for a real driving experience?”

I couldn’t wait.

What attracted me most to it was the sound of the turbo spooling as the engine took in a deep breath of mountain air. The effortless pull of the low-end torque as we ascended steep hills. The readily available power as we merged onto busy I-25. And the body stayed flat and stable as we powered through the curves. It was light and agile. All of which left a huge grin on my face.

The quality of the materials were not far from what I would see in BMW or Audi. It was a well-equipped European sedan for my tight budget.

In recent years, with volume leaders such as Honda and Toyota in the crosshairs, there was some cost cutting to make the starting price more competive. However, Volkswagen was very careful selecting quality materials for the points on the vehicle you touch everyday. Points like the shift knob, hand brake and steering wheel. However, journalists are quick to point out the use of hard plastics instead of the soft-touch vinyls. They claim the interior is “too bland.”

Well, VW executives were listening, and have addressed those issues for the mid-model refresh. And after spending a short time in one, I got a nostalgic feeling of the first time I drove a Jetta. I couldn’t help but think, “iiiiit’s baaaack.”

The interior maintains it’s minimalist layout, but the piano black trim with touches of chrome gives it a more upscale feel. The new multifunction display and steering wheel design ties it to the new Golf. The revised front bumper cover and radiator grille give the Jetta the appearance of a wider, more agressive stance. And the slight ducktail in the trunk lid and Audi-esque tail lights give it a sleeker look.

Volkswagen wasn’t just concerned with giving it a new look, there are also new safety and technology  packages including a Lighting Package with interior ambient lighting, bi-xenon headlights with adaptive front lighting system and LED daytime running lights, upgraded multifunction display, and front fog lamps with static cornering lights available across all trim levels.

The S is still the base trim, but you no longer have to go up to the SE trim to get the comfort features you’re looking for. The S gives you the fuel efficient 2.0L four cylinder with 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic with tiptronic.  There is a S with Technology now available, with a suite of features previously only found on SE and higher. These features include power adjustable, heated exterior side mirrors, multifunction steering wheel with audio and telephone controls, adjustable front center armrest with storage, rearview camera, bluetooth connectivity, SiriusXM satellite radio with preview, Premium 8 touchscreen interface, KESSY “Go” – keyless access only (no push-button start/stop), cruise control and trip computer.

The SE is relatively unchanged. The awesome 1.8L TSI carries over, packing an additional 16 lb/ft of torque. Also the 16-inch “Sedona” alloy wheels are now standard. Otherwise, you can expect the MDI as standard, along with the RCD 310 with SiriusXM satellite radio with preview.

New for 2015 is the Sport Edition (the one I’m going to get). This will appeal to customers interested in the sportier look and feel of the GLI. It features a sport suspension (body lowered by approx. 15mm), 17-inch “Joda” alloy wheels (black with diamond-turned surface), a rear spoiler, and the Lighting Package with fog lights and taillight assembly with dark colored lens. The interior features leather-wrapped shift knob, hand-brake lever, and steering wheel, driver lumbar support, sports seats, heated front seats, rear view camera, RNS 315 navigation system with touchscreen radio and 6 speakers, Bluetooth and SiriusXM satellite radio with preview.

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Images Provided by Volkswagen

The SE with Connectivity gets the new 16-inch “Arlington” alloy wheels as standard. There is now a navigation package which adds the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation and KESSY – keyless access with push-button start/stop. There is also a new safety package with forward collision warning system, blind spot monitor, rear cross traffic alert, and an upgraded multifunction display.

The top of the line SEL features all of the above with 17-inch “Lancaster” alloy wheels, Climatronic dual-zone Automatic climate control with activated charcoal air filter and soft-touch dashboard.

Volkswagen has not announced the pricing of the 2015 Jetta, but Motor Trend reports it will range from $20,790 to $25,995. It should start arriving at dealerships late September. Hybrid and GLI models are expected later this year.