Category: Volkswagen

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.

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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…

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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?