Category: Volkswagen

No it’s not a Golf R, it’s an R-Line Package

Modded Monday: Volkswagen’s R- Line Package

As any car lover would do, I was driving the other day and I spotted a Golf with big bumpers and shiny wheels. Automatically I thought to myself “nice work buddy, a Golf R is always a good choice”, until I drove closer to this car and realised it was not in fact a Golf R. This Volkswagen Golf was a normal TSI dressed in a kit that made it look sportier, very similar to the Golf R. Volkswagen have officially introduced the R-Line Package into their Golf models and even the Beetle too. Yes, the beetle. I’m sure the decision makers at Volkswagen have heard the public’s pleas to make the Beetle look more masculine and they’ve listened.

For the Golf, the R-Line Package is basically different front and rear bumpers, a rear spoiler, a badge, a diffuser and 17 inch mags if you have a Comfortline or 18 inch mags if you have a Highline. This treatment turns your Golf from looking nice, to a Golf R look alike which is a bit more than nice, it’s hot. As for the Beetle, the R-Line package give the car the same treatment but instead of 17 or 18 inch wheels, you get 19 inch wheels for your bug including a sport suspension. All these extra bits and bobs for a mere R12 500 on both cars? Now that’s a very sweet deal. If I was buying one of these cars, I would much rather opt for the R-Line Package and leave something else out at that price, I’m sure most people will do the same.

It’s nice to see that manufacturers are buying into the modifying aspect of new cars, whether it’s aesthetics or performance. Packages like the R-Line Package will surely encourage younger audiences to specify their cars with these kits during the buying process instead of getting tasteless body kits installed through after-market tuners. All in the name of keeping it in the family whilst keeping the client happy. Good job Volkswagen, Good job.

New VW Scirocco receives a heart transplant

Modded Monday: New VW Scirocco gets modified

Customers looking to buy a sporty new car, specifically a sporty new VW often had a conundrum on their hands.  Do they go for the more practical Golf GTI which gives you the power, the boot space and the legroom, or do they go for the Scirocco that was less practical than the Golf in all aspects but looks fantastically delicious. Some may disagree with the latter statement, saying the car doesn’t look good but most will agree that the Scirocco is a good looking car.

When the seventh generation Golf GTI got introduced, this created a slight problem for Scirocco buyers. The power difference between the new VW GTI and the Scirocco 2.0 TSI although small, was enough to make a Scirocco client think twice before buying one. Although the kilowatt difference was only 7kW, the torque difference was an immense 70Nm and with turbocharged cars, 70Nm is a great deal. Volkswagen was not oblivious to this, as a result, they called their top surgeons and hatched a plan.

We bring good news to those thinking of buying a new VW Scirocco. Volkswagen have announced that the model range will be fitted with new engines. The 1.4 TSI is now a thing of the past, it will be replaced by a 2.0 TSI producing 132KW and 280Nm of torque. This is a very interesting configuration as the “baby” Scirocco will produce the same torque as its older bigger brother, the previous 2.0 TSI. The previous Scirocco 2.0 TSI, will now be exclusively badged the “GTS” and will make the same power as the new VW Golf 7 GTI, 162kW and 350Nm of torque. A lovely combination that has been very well received in the GTI. New hearts for the win.

On top of the internal modifications, they have given the new VW Scirocco GTS some exterior changes too. The R-Line package is standard on the car which adds black gloss bits and sportier bumpers and diffusers. The car also comes standard with 18 inch wheels, but the most striking thing about the styling of the Scirocco GTS has got to be the red striping that the car has. These decals were introduced in the GTS package already available in the previous Scirocco 2.0 TSI, but will now be an option for the new VW Scirocco. Thank Goodness. Interior trim has been updated too, the most notable feature being the infotainment system which will definitely give the car a modern look and feel. “Red and Black” is the theme for the GTS interior, with the steering wheel, seats and gear knob being changed – all with GTS emblems on them.

As usual, you can add all the bells and whistles as extras on the car. Adaptive Chassis  Control is an option, which may well be a good one to take because you can soften the suspension when you’re travelling on pot-holed South African roads. Service plans on the car remain the same, a 5 year/90 000 km service plan and a 3 year/ 120 000 km warranty is standard. If you were wondering, the answer to your question is no, the Scirocco R hasn’t been given the 206kW power plant found in the new VW Golf 7 R, a sad revelation to find out. Who knows what the future will bring though, we never know what the brains at Volkswagen have got in store for us, so don’t stop praying. For now, I’m sure the new engine line up will make for happier Scirocco customers, we are pleased with these modifications and welcome them with open arms. So what are customers looking for a new VW Scirocco going to pay for each model? Read below and find out. Happy Modded Monday Motorists.Scirocco GTS_005

  • 2.0 TSI Scirocco Highline 132 kW Manual:          R369 900
  • 2.0 TSI Scirocco GTS 162 kW DSG:                        R439 000
  • 2.0 TSI Scirocco R 188 kW DSG:                             R494 200

Feature Friday: Suzuki Celerio vs Volkswagen UP!

Battle of the babies

When I was a very young boy I remember my mother purchasing her first car, a white Fiat Uno. She went for the slightly fancier version called the “Tempo” and she had it specified with colour coded bumpers and mag wheels. We loved that car because it was so simple and small. I spent many years sleeping in the back seat of that car on our way back from school. Whenever I see one of those cars on the road now, I laugh because in my mind it felt like such a spacious car at the time and it was for a six year old. Cars like those were literally four wheels, some seats and a steering wheel. The biggest safety feature you had in a car like that, were your prayers to God. What could you expect for around R35 000 for a new car? That was more or less what my mother paid for hers.

Gone are the days of spending very little on a brand new car. With inflation being what it is, eighteen years make for a very big price hike for entry level cars. For R100 000, your options are limited, if you have a bit more saved up we might be able to assist you. I’ve spent the past week reviewing two small cars, the Volkswagen UP! and the Suzuki Celerio manual. Both cars are competitively priced, both cars offer similar features yet both cars are very different. Let’s start by discussing the target market these cars are aimed at.

Cars like these are aimed at the young and up coming. Perhaps they’ve just graduated from university or they’ve just started a new job, whatever the case, these are start-up cars for many. Let’s narrow that market more by talking about the words many people use to describe both these cars. “Cute”, “Sweet”, “noo-noo” and “Aww” are a few words I was told these cars represent when asking my peers. That being said, its safe to say that many men, especially young men won’t want to drive something labelled as “cute”. If you give a pimple faced man-child  R140 000 to spend, he will most likely find some used turbocharged car that’s seen better days, it’s silly but true.   DSC_0031

Therefore at the risk of sounding sexist, I will say the Volkswagen UP! and the Suzuki Celerio are cars that young females would be drawn to. As a result, there are aspects about both cars that may or may not affect your decision making.

Firstly: Is it practical? The Volkswagen UP! loses this round as it only has two doors. You may think two doors are fine but wait until its Friday night and you have to go out with your friends, then it’s not fine. The Celerio wins this round since it has four doors and can snugly seat three people in the back. The Celerio is also a higher car so you have more headroom to bob your head to your tunes.

Secondly: Is it safe? Both cars have air-bags and ABS braking systems but the Volkswagen UP! has curtain air-bags additional so based on that, we will give the point to the Volkswagen UP!

Thirdly: Is it economical? Both cars use 1.0l three cylinder engines and the power difference between the two is 5kW so its not a lot. Both cars have the same size fuel tank and having driven both I can say both cars are excellent on fuel so for economy, it’s a draw.

Fourth: Is it affordable? The Suzkuki Celerio I drove was the higher specification GL model which comes in at R126 900. It comes with many features as standard such as full electric windows, radio with bluetooth, central locking and power steering. The Volkswagen UP! I drove was the Move UP! which is also the one with higher specifications and has all the same features as standard. The difference is that for the UP! you will spend R144 700. So this round goes to the Suzuki again.

At this point, the Suzuki Celerio has got the upper hand, with practicality and price. The Volkswagen UP! has got the added air-bags as its only advantage now. It’s not over yet though, there is still a very important factor to consider, the looks or “Aww” factor as some may call it.

Fifth: Is it “Aww?” The Suzuki Celerio is not a bad looking car, it looks average in my opinion. There is nothing about it that stands out from an aesthetic point of view. The Volkswagen is the winner of the “Aww” factor, it is the better looking car. It has a unique modern shape that sets it apart from its competitors.

So it looks like we have a tie on our hands. The Volkswagen UP! takes safety and looks whilst the Suzuki Celerio takes the price and the practicality. The truth is, whatever car you buy you won’t be making a mistake because both are fantastic little cars that were both fun and entertaining to drive. Kids growing up in this generation and falling asleep in the back of either one of these cars are spoilt, they don’t know how good they’ve got it.

DSC_0035

 

Modded Monday: Volkswagen Golf R400

Volkswagen’s Golf R400 is a serious machine.

From time to time, manufacturers create something to show us that they know a thing or two about modifying their cars. After all, they did make the car so if anybody will know how best to modify it, it will be them. Volkswagen has done this with their Golf. Last year, Volkswagen made peoples mouths water with the Golf R400 concept, the car again made an appearance at the GoodWood Festival of Speed last month. If you don’t know about the R400, let us give you some details. Firstly the number 400 wasn’t chosen because it sounds cool, it’s meant to indicate that this is a 400 horsepower car, so around 295Kw. Yes you read right, from a 2.0l turbocharged engine. Crazy right? That is immense power to extract from a small engine, but the brains at Volkswagen have managed to do it.

R400

How will all this power be put down onto the tarmac? A Haldex 4 wheel drive system, the same as in the Golf R. The Golf R already is a very impressive piece of  kit, but this car will make a Golf R seem redundant as it will accelerate from 0-100 in a claimed 3.9 seconds. Styling wise the car still keeps it cool but definitely shows you that it means business by means of  larger front and rear bumpers, as well as chunkier wheels. Hints of yellow striping are also utilised to distinguish the car from its younger siblings. Apparently this car is not a mere concept, but will be a reality in the future. If that’s the case, hopefully sunny South Africa will see a couple coming this way but know that if that will happen, chances are they will be already sold. Happy Modded Monday

volkswagen-golf-r-400-concept-2014-beijing-auto-show_100464798_l

Tech Tuesday: Volkswagen’s Trailer Assist

Once upon a time, my mother decided to move her business premises. Instead of hiring a moving company, she did what any mother with two sons working in the motor industry would do, she exploited us. My brother and I both had access to Bakkies that we could use for personal use, provided we bought the relevant manager some lunch.  I used a Volkswagen Amarok, a bakkie that can tow at ease and my brother used an Isuzu KB, another great workhorse. I needed to tow a large trailer, which I thought would be a cinch and it was in fact. I felt like such a hardcore guy in my big Volkswagen Amarok, which was then fitted with higher suspension and a Taxi proof nudge bar. My hardcore feelings of manliness were ruined when the time came for me to park this man truck that was lugging fridges and washing machines.

I had never parked a car towing a trailer before, let alone a two ton Bakkie. I then did what any other man would do, I tried anyway.  In hindsight, I should have admitted to my shortcomings before attempting the manoeuvre and allowed my brother who had parked a car pulling a trailer before to take over. The sound of a trailer knocking into something isn’t good, nor is the sound of the people watching all this happen. So you can be sure that I was quite pleased when I heard that new Volkswagen Passat will have an option called “Trailer-Assist”. As the name states, this option will be brilliant for people like myself to avoid embarrassment and even emasculation. The system uses the Park Assist option as its base but makes it better. The great thing is that Trailer Assist even helps you when it comes to matching up the hitch and the car, ensuring that you look like a professional all the time. My gripe with Park Assist is that it seldom works the way you want it to, so I hope the folks at Volkswagen will get this feature right. The video below has given me the confidence to say that this will be a very useful option to those who pull trailers frequently. Happy Tech Tuesday Motorists.

Volkswagen’s new Polo GTI

New Polo GTI

If I had never tasted Coca-Cola at all, I would have no problem with Coke Zero or Coke light at that. The same goes for low fat milk, light mayonnaise and Smarties. Smarties? How does that fit in the healthy food category you may wonder, it doesn’t. If you have been a sugar lover for a while like myself, you would have noticed that a few years ago, the taste of Smarties changed. The food colouring was apparently very bad for us so they changed the coating to a healthier one and inevitably they changed the taste of sweets. For someone like myself who knows the original sweets, as much as the current ones are good, I long for the old versions even though they were going to kill me. That is the gist of this article, healthier versions of things that don’t quite taste the same as the original.

The human mind is peculiar though, we thrive on familiarity. If you sit and think about it, light mayonnaise is not disgusting, nor is low fat milk, but because we’re used to the full fat options, our minds tell us that what we are currently consuming is rubbish and we should get rid of it. If we had never consumed an original Coke or full fat milk, we would drink these products and think, “My gosh where has this been all my life! Give me more!”. The poor diet versions of these products are mere victims of the complex human mind. In the hot hatch world the Golf GTI is the original Coca-Cola and despite other brands creating similar products, the Golf still remains many people’s drink of choice.

DSC_0283

After I thought about this, I re-looked at my recent test drive of Volkswagen’s new Polo GTI. I came in with the mindset that Coca Cola has come out with a new version of their soft drink, but was presented by a Coke light with new bumpers. As usual, I to wanted to get rid of it. The car to me felt like I was driving a Golf GTI “light”, it was quick but it wasn’t all that different to the older model. All this talk of a new 1.8l turbocharged engine and more power, for a slight difference here and there. “Why did they even bother?” I asked myself.

Then it hit me, I was approaching this whole thing from the wrong angle. I drive cars, a lot of them, some slow,some fast and some very fast. Some are small and some are huge, some are terrible yet some terribly good. My pallet for cars is one that has had its fair share of Coke, Pepsi and even Mountain dew. What about that person who has never had a Coke? Give that person a Coke light and he will be over the moon. The same goes for the new Polo GTI, this is a car for the young and upcoming youth who is newer to the game of fast performance hatches. For that target market, that 141Kw of power is enough to keep them awake at night, which is good. Hot hatchery is meant to excite and entertain, for who their offering it to, the new Polo GTI will do just that. To it’s credit, it looks very good and the steering feel is much nicer than the older one, a bit lifeless but better for everyday use. As a real life car, the new Polo GTI does the job and more, since it offers comfort, speed and Volkswagen reliability in a more “affordable” package to the Golf GTI. As much as I would take a Mini Cooper S to blast around the track or a tight road, the Polo is the better everyday car. Softer ride, good features and it is a Polo after all. For the enthusiast, you can now have a manual gearbox too, so start exercising your left foot to get ready to dump the clutch.

For this test, I wish I had never driven the Golf GTI before, I would have enjoyed myself so much more since the Polo is really a brilliant little car. A word of advice, if you haven’t driven a Golf GTI before and you’re looking in Polo GTI’s segment, don’t do it, even if it’s a used Golf 6 GTI. I know it’s not fair to compare the Golf GTI with the Polo, but as mentioned, the human mind is a complex beast. If you do, trust me, you’ll wish you never drank a Coke before before.It won’t be the same, something will feel like it’s missing, even though there’s nothing wrong with a Coke Zero…

 DSC_0281DSC_0289

Volkswagen goes UP! with it’s new hatch

They often say less is more. In the case of Volkswagen South Africa’s new offering they can say down is up, or should I say UP! That’s the name of the new little vehicle that has hit the South African market and it’s the most entry level passenger car they have in their stable. Is it new? Yes and no. Yes it’s new to the local market but no it’s not new to the rest of the world, although it’s design looks stylishly new. The UP! around the world has been a success, it’s won awards and been given good reviews by important people. The important question is though, how will it do in our market which can be quite fickle at times?