Tag: VW

VW Arteon 2.0 TSI 4Motion Driven Review

VW Arteon 2.0 TSI

VW Arteon 2.0 TSI

Sitting low, with a multitude of thin, sharp horizontal chrome lines across the front and focused headlights, the Arteon is one of the most striking front ends I’ve ever seen on VW. It’s an attention grabber, a stop and look twice kind of car that wouldn’t look out of place in a Transformers movie. Regular sporty sedan by day, universe-saving electromechanical robot by night – I suppose we can only dream.

Stealthy Persona

However, as striking as the Arteon is, its persona is stealthy. On the streets, one would call it a “sleeper”. Sleepers are dangerous and can be the source of much embarrassment in front of your mates or worse, bae.  You’d want to be careful if you find yourself underestimating one of these at a set of lights as the Arteon’s 0-100km/h time might be somewhat surprising. Yes, with a Golf R engine, 4motion and 206kW on tap, the Arteon will hit those magical three figures faster than a Golf GTI – 5.6 seconds to be exact.VW Arteon 2.0 TSI Rear

Sluggish?

While it does share the same architecture, you’d be wrong to think the VW Arteon 2.0 TSI is simply a “bigger” Golf R. The first couple of times I put my foot down I felt I wanted more, was the Arteon sluggish? If I had actually looked down to see how fast I was travelling I would have realised that the Arteon isn’t sluggish at all,  rather a quiet and comfortable cruiser with heaps of power and all the bells and whistles you’d expect to find in a luxury vehicle.

VW Arteon 2.0 TSI Interior

Something Different

Funny story, I’d had the Arteon on test for around 3 days when I was asked, “ What car is this?” Before I could even spit a word out, my dear wife chirped up “ It’s a Mercedes”. She’d only ever rode in the vehicle at night and never really paid much attention to the badge, so after lovingly correcting her, I asked her why she thought this. Her reasoning’s were due to the Arteon’s looks, technology and build quality. My wife is accustomed to cars of all shapes, sizes and price ranges so for me, this sums the Arteon up.

If you’ve been enticed by the likes of a 4 Series gran coupe or A5 Sportback then you should probably open your eyes and check out the VW Arteon 2.0 TSI too, because it offers something a little different while rivalling in performance and quality.

Whether the Arteon sells well in South Africa or not depends largely on how it is perceived. The owner of a Golf R or GTI doesn’t need to jump ship when they are ready to take a step out of hatchbacks and into something bigger, whether that’s a SUV or in this case, sedan. I don’t want to delve too deep into this, as my college Richard Nwamba talks more about this subject here: Take Off Your Blinkers: Volkswagen Arteon Driven. At the end of the day, a badge isn’t the be all and end all.

VW Arteon 2.0 TSI Wheel

For me, this specific Arteon offers a great all-round package. There’s no arguing that it looks fantastic, but not only that, it appeals to the guy inside of me that likes a little speed and performance as well. It can be fun when it needs too, but also a fantastic cruiser when you want it to be with plenty of kWs and comfort for the open road.

Volkswagen Arteon 2.0 TSI Pricing in South Africa

VW Arteon 2.0 TSI – R699 900

The new Arteon comes standard with a 5 year/90 000km Maintenance Plan, 3 year/120 000km warranty, 12-year anti-corrosion warranty and space saver spare wheel. Service Interval is 15 000km.

Does the New Polo GTI mean the Golf is now obsolete?

New Polo GTI

Does the new Volkswagen Polo GTI replace the Golf?

So the new Volkswagen Polo GTI has a 2.0 –liter engine bru? It’s bigger man? So why then do I need to buy a Golf GTI?

Polo GTI

These are the types of questions that have been drummed in my ears every time the new Polo GTI comes up in conversation, and while many may think the new Polo GTI makes the Golf obsolete, it doesn’t. Don’t get me wrong, the Polo GTI has come along way, it’s more refined, faster, produces more power, even better in the corners and cheaper than the model it replaces. Yet it’s still not a Golf, and that isn’t a chirp either…

You see, after Francisco and I spent the weekend in Cape Town with the GTI siblings, while chopping and changing vehicles and destinations, we really experienced what each model had to offer.

For example, jump from the Golf into the Polo and you will instantly notice a difference in build quality. A Golf feels sturdier, stronger and safer, while the interior trim has a certain solidness to it. However, when reversing the order, the younger brother highlights a sense of fun and nimbleness which isn’t as present in Golf GTI.  Added to this, the XDS differential which is fitted as standard and was originally found on the Clubsport, really does make it a treat in the bends.

So why would you spend the extra R172K on a Golf GTI. Well if you have a family the extra space is a gold mine, you will probably favour the added luxury and features too while knowing you have chosen a vehicle with more presence and solidness. It also produces more power and feels slightly more exhilarating in a straight line while quite frankly being more “grown-up”.

But, if you don’t have a family, are a young professional and looking to fly high on your way to work and fly off Chapman’s peak on the weekends (the XDS might save you), the Polo GTI takes the cake. It’s less of a car because you don’t need more, it’s extremely fun to drive and has a bunch of laka tech.

It’s quite simple really, ask yourself how many kids you have and use this simple formula.

  1. 0 kids = Polo GTI.
  2. 1-3 kids = Golf GTI.
  3. 3+ kids = You are reading the wrong article. Try here: Tiguan Allspace

Yes, if you’re a family man looking for a visceral GTI experience then you most likely already have the answer. For me, I’m rocking the Polo GTI, and my wife and I can roll around looking too cool for the school run.

New VW Polo GTI Pricing in South Africa

Polo GTI: R375,900

As standard, a decent spec is on offer which includes items such as Leather Multifunction Steering Wheel, Front fog lamps, Rest Assist, Composition Media with iPod/iPhone Interface, App-Connect, 2 USB Interfaces, Cruise Control.

For just over R400,000 you can have a very nicely specced Polo GTI.

Get speccing: https://www.vw.co.za/app/configurator/vw-za/en

 

 

 

Viva La Vivo – We Drive Volkswagen’s latest Polo Vivo

New Polo Vivo Driven

Go to any city or town in South Africa and get a sense of the people, places and cultures, it will soon become very obvious that the place in which we live is unique. While doing this,  you will most definitely spot a VW Polo Vivo in the background – another one of South Africa’s unique flavours.

Nando’s chicken is a perfect example. Those new to the spicy chicken brand can opt for the lemon and herb flavour, allowing them to get a feel for the food and sit in the restaurant and take in the vibe.  Similarly, Volkswagen have targeted the Vivo for those new on the roads, it may not offer all the spice a Polo or Golf may offer, but it’s a great starting point that gets you from A to B, while being trendy in the process. In a country like ours to the Vivo makes sense, especially for city dwellers who need something small, but comfortable enough for a weekend away. Speaking of weekends away, I headed down the coast to sample the latest flavour – the new Polo Vivo.

 

A swift flight down the coast landed us in the home of VW Port Elizabeth, where we would take a beautiful coastal drive to “Plett” in the Polo Vivo. While this car is based on the previous generation Polo, changes to the front lights and grille, as well as a sprucing to the rear lights are just one of the reasons why the new Polo Vivo is an attractive option.

Volkswagen also offer a new version of the flagship Polo Vivo as well, which goes by the name Polo Vivo GT. If looking cool is your aim and standing out is your game, the Polo Vivo GT will have you covered. Better styling and the latest 1.0 3-cylinder engine, makes it the pick of the bunch. Inside you will find an 8-inch infotainment system which will keep your varsity friends impressed, especially as it features App Connect, or in other words Apple CarPlay. If there is one feature vehicles aimed at the youth must have, it’s this. Thankfully, the GT doesn’t just look the part, it drives it too. The 81kW on offer provides “pokey” performance that will impress bae, while covering your pocket with reasonable fuel bills.

Our road trip only got better as we enjoyed the beautiful scenery provided the Tsitsikamma region – a personal favorite location of mine. It was at this point that we chose to jump into the 1.4 Comfortline, instead of attempting the highest bungee jump in Africa – something the Tsitsikamma region offers. This model is the younger brother to the high-flying GT model, so it offers you less but you also pay less, which is music to any young persons ears. If you are a first-time buyer on a budget, this variant will be well suited for you. The equipment list may be sparse when compared with the GT, but it still very much looks the part – I mean the Vivo is based on the previous generation Polo, how can it not look good?

The 1.4 model features no fancy turbo but rather a bigger displacement which provides adequate performance, especially in the coast. Yes, the Vivo is a little bare compared to a Polo and road noise is more prevalent, but when your hustling city traffic on your way to varsity, while playing your tunes and debating with your S/O about whether to play Big Shaq or Distruction Boyz – you’re not going to notice it.

After our driving was done for the day, we enjoyed an actual game of Polo (The one with Horses) and many of us did stints on Volkswagen Blue Bike to really get the heart going.  There is nothing like a hearty meal after a workout, and our evening dinner was very welcomed with a South African style braai to really fit in with the theme of our trip.

Waking up for a beautiful Plettenberg Bay sunrise the next day, this was followed by breakfast and heading back to PE – another chance to sample a different Vivo. This time we would be eating up the road ahead in the Polo Vivo 1.6 Comfortline. Offering more power than its 1400cc sibling, slightly more features and a cheaper price-tag than the top of the line GT, it is definitely a good middle ground. A bigger engine means more power, 77Kw to be exact compared to the 1.4’s 63kW.

The original Vivo was previously a great option new to the market motorists. Thankfully the new model maintains the same appeal. Yes, it may not be dirt cheap, but you do get what you pay for. The new model looks better and offers better performance in the GT variant. With much more tech offered compared to the previous car, it is still very much suited for the entry-level motorist and offers a cool but reliable option.

 

New Polo Vivo Pricing In South Africa

1.4 55kW Trendline                     R179 900

1.4 63kW Comfortline                  R192 000

1.6 77kW Comfortline Tiptronic     R221 900

1.6 77kW Highline                       R214 900

1.0 TSI 81kW GT                          R245 000

We roadtrip with VW South Africa and visit the Gerhard Volksie Museum!

VW Golf GTD

We visit the Gerhard Volksie Museum while road tripping with VW South Africa.

A few weeks back we embarked on a roadtrip with VW South Africa, encompassing historical landmarks and an interesting quiz. Our journey took place from JHB to Bloemfontein. This activation wasn’t really a launch, but more of a way to kick-back, relax and enjoy some great cars and have fun at the end of a long year.

The “Amazing Race” involved completing various tasks, finding the answers to certain questions and also capturing specific types of images, all while being as creative as possible. These activities needed to be completed on our way to bloemfontein as we were acquainted with VW’s new Golf range, the R, GTI and GTD.

With the first day spent behind the wheel of the GTD, it was good to reflect on what this car is all about. The statement of “ Diesel GTI” is a very bold one to make, and in my opinion, the GTD doesn’t live up to that title from a performance perspective. The performance figures are not bad at all however with 130kW and 350Nm, on top of that, the GTD pulls off nicely with a heap of low-end torque. It simply doesn’t have the exciting demeanor that a GTI possesses. It’s a much calmer experience, whilst the GTI is more of a boy racer.  

This doesn’t make the Golf GTD a bad car at all, in fact from a handling perspective, it’s right up there with a GTI. I feel many expected more from this car in terms of performance and when it didn’t give them what they wanted, they simple wrote it off. This isn’t a fair assumption in my book, if we take the GTD for what it is, it’s a fantastic vehicle. For starters, the aesthetics are on par with that of its more powerful siblings, it features the latest tech of the 7.5 which is a big improvement over the Golf 7. Overall, it’s a wonderful car to drive, especially on a long road. Smooth and comfortable are words that come to mind when it comes to the GTD. If you’ve experienced previous iterations of VW’s fast diesels you realise that the GTD is progression of that, with a GTI chassis fitted to it.  

So far so good, the Amazing race proving to be enjoyable. Things got livelier that evening as we headed to a local shabeen for a reflection on the day, with the rest of the group and much needed Chesa Nyama. As you can see, my pale British self has truly embraced South African culture.  

On our second day, we swapped the GTD for the R and headed towards the direction of Johannesburg. First things first though, we headed to a local Volkswagen museum. It seemed strange for all of us find a VW museum in the middle of nowhere, until we arrived and saw the vehicles on display. My word.

The Gerhard Volksie Museum situated in the Free State was one of amazement. Gerhard’s operation focuses on air-cooled VW’s such as original Beetles, Karmann Ghias and Kombi’s. The vehicles on display were fantastic, from fully restored Kombi’s to amazing Beetles in many colours. There was also some special treasures to be found such as an old-school ambulance with just 40,000kms on the clock and one of the last CITI Golf’s ever produced with a mere 1500 kms under its belt.

I personally took a liking to the many Kombi’s on offer, which were beautifully restored and ready to hit the road. Gerhard even mentioned that many of them would make it to Cape Town without skipping a beat – I’ve been negotiating with my wife ever since. To put the cherry on the cake, we all jumped at the option to sample a vehicle, I opted for the Kombi. I must say, I don’t think any other classic vehicle has put such a smile on my face. It featured on oversized steering wheel, a confusing 4 speed gearbox and no seatbelts, but yet it was such a pleasure to drive.

Our road trip came to an end with the last stretch of around 300kms in the Golf R – the most powerful of all the Golf variants on offer. I must be honest, the R maybe the fastest, but it certainly isn’t my favorite model in the range. Its quick and sounds great, but the four-wheel drive system has an ever so slight numbing effect, I would personally opt for a GTI if I had to pick from the three. it just offers more driving enjoyment and excitement for my hooligan tendencies.

Overall it has been a good year for the VW Brand, with the release of many models which have been a huge success for them. There have been hints of an even better 2018 with more new and exciting cars on the way, so we look forward to seeing what is literally just around the corner.

VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI vs Mazda Akera 2.2

VW Tiguan v Mazda CX-5: Which do you pick?

There are more and more options becoming available for buyers when it comes to the compact SUV. For many, they make perfect sense. Great looks, practicality and are what make these vehicles popular. The demand is growing and so is the market as more manufacturers release their version of a compact SUV.

2017 Mazda CX-5

This year South Africa has seen two vehicles in particular that offer very good packages. The first being Volkswagen’s new Tiguan which took the country by storm with its design and style and is now available in the 2.0-litre diesel variant. Offering a similar package is Mazda’s updated CX-5 Akera 2.2, which since its facelift also offers a very nice overall package indeed.

Both vehicles are similar in price, offer All-Wheel-Drive and also feature diesel power plants, but which is the best option for you?

Performance

The power output in both vehicles is nearly identical with the VW Tiguan producing 130 kW and the CX-5 coming in just 1 kW short at 129 kW. The main difference between these two engines in Torque, If this was a game of Top Trumps, the Mazda would take the card here with a 420 Nm output compared to the Tiguan’s 380 Nm.

What does this mean? In terms of outright pace, there isn’t much between them, the Torque difference, however, is noticeable.  If you’re one for towing or off-road adventures, the extra 40 Nm will probably come in handy.

4Motion v AWD

Things can get confusing when it comes to four-wheel drive technology, as many brands use different names and terms for their systems, in reality though, they all do the same job and this is the case here. 4Motion is simply VW’s name for their all-wheel-drive system and both vehicles use technology which deciphers which wheels have the most traction and thus supplying power to these wheels. In normal driving conditions, the vehicle remains in a 2WD setup which ultimately means less fuel consumption.

While AWD systems are not as capable as full-blown four-wheel drive systems, It definitely provides an advantage in the safety department, andy and if you find yourself on a rather loose surface from time to time.

Design and Styling

I once said that the Tiguan is possibly one of the most beautiful vehicles on the road, and I still stand by this. With all the nice bits and trimmings, I feel it oozes style and class with the right amount of aggression. On the other hand, the CX-5 is a really good looking car, it has a large front grill and narrow sharp headlights which really do my fancy. If I am picking a winner here, it’s Tiguan all the way, I think its a much sexier vehicle and definitely is more of a head turner. 

Interior

This is a close call, the interior found in the Tiguan is great and the optional technology does add that extra spice. Quite frankly though, the Mazda CX-5 takes the cake here. It may not have an Active Info Display to replace the classic dials, but I feel the Mazda uses better materials and more metals. The Tiguan may have slightly more practicality but in terms of luxury and style, it’s the CX-5 all the way.

2017 Mazda CX-5

So what do you pick?

This depends on two factors, Firstly,  what kind of person you are and the second and possibly more important factor, Price. If you like the limelight and love to stand out then the Tiguan is probably the one you would prefer, it has more road presence and will definitely turn more heads but it will also cost you more money. The Tiguan TDI 2.0 Highline 4motion starts at R566,900 and doesn’t include the Active Info Display, 8” Discover Pro infotainment system, DYNAudio system or leather Upholstery.

2017 Mazda CX-5

On the other hand, the CX-5 is definitely the more understated vehicle and while it comes in just shy of the Tiguan at R561,700, it includes a BOSE 10-speaker system, a head-up display, navigation, leather seats and an electronically sliding sunroof (R11,500 option on the Tiguan).   

In overview, the CX-5 is definitely providing the most value for money, whereas the Tiguan offers a different appeal of style and image, whilst also being backed by the VW brand, which as we know is extremely popular in South Africa. Either way, both cars offer great packages and whichever you pick you will be happy ( Unless you’re sitting in a Tiguan at the starting line of a trailer drag race.)

Our first drive of the Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

VW Golf 7.5 GTI

South African Launch: Facelifted VW Golf 7.5 GTI

 

Whenever a new Golf is launched, there is excitement beyond belief. First and foremost, it’s been widely regarded as the benchmark in its class and for good reason. Its brilliant! Whether you are starting a new job, transporting kids to and from school, or want a car so that you can have space for your grandkids, it’s the best all-rounder and has remained that way for the last couple of decades. The latest version, or “facelift” in normal terms may be a slight improvement on the current Golf 7, but those small changes make for strides in comfort, luxury and of cause, sportiness.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We flew out to Port Elizabeth to sample the latest version and more specifically, the GTI and my oh my. It’s like your hot friend that was already a looker but decided to go and get a trainer  for a full year, and has come back looking like a model for GQ magazine.

The changes to the new  VW Golf 7.5 GTI are small, but they certainly make you notice it. The “GTI Line” in red now gets broken up and hugs the new LED headlights. Traces of the honeycomb grille finish off the bottom of the LEDs and give the eyes a more aggressive look. The front and rear bumper have also been tweaked for a sportier appeal with the cherry on top being  the new lights with progressive indicators. Small changes as mentioned, but overall, a more svelte athlete.

Updated VW Golf GTI

In the interior, you are immediately greeted by the new LCD electronic display in the instrument binacle which can be adjusted to suit. The examples that we sampled featured  the Discover Pro Navigation, in which the maps and directions sit right in between the rev counter and tachometer for easy viewing. The Discover Pro Navigation also comes with a 9.2-inch screen for vehicle operation with full touch and gesture control. With my basketball player hands, I couldn’t master the system but my driving partner, being a lady with lady like hands, operated the system with ease and I’m sure that with enough practice, I’d soon get the hang of it. The system is iPhone ready with Apple CarPlay and is as easy as 1,2,3 to use. Android Auto has been enabled but South Africans will have to wait until their phones are ready, as the software on android devices has not been enabled yet.

Updated VW Golf GTI

We drove the cars from the airport and stopped over in Jansenville for some lunch. This was a  relatively short drive, thanks to the uprated 169 kW instead of the current 162 kW from the familiar 2.0-litre TFSI motor. Torque has stayed the same at 350 N.m but the vehicle feels more peppy and angrier than what the figures suggest. The GTI 7.5, as it’s locally known, has no problem with bumpier roads, even at more  illegal speeds and turns in like a GTI should. Seats are just the right mix of sporty and let’s-drive-to-Cape-Town-this-weekend comfortable. Even though I have a back that could have come from a 95-year-old war veteran, not once did I reach for the Myprodol.

Updated VW Golf GTI

After reaching the venue and reflecting on the very short drive of 247 kilometers, we settled in and I tried to find fault with the VW Golf 7.5 GTI as there must be at least one black mark and yes, I did find it. It no longer comes with a manual gearbox! The urban warriors having to deal with Sandton traffic have got to VW and convinced them that the manual was redundant and only DSG boxes are on the cards for sunny South Africa. Train smash for a stubborn mule like myself but in the long run, it’s the better decision.

Updated VW Golf GTI

With the whole range being refreshed, it called for some engine changes as well. The 1.2 TSI has been dropped in favour of the new 1.0 TSI in both Trendline and Comfortline packages. This motor should be very nimble at 81 kW and 200 N.m of torque. Next is the 1.4 TSI with the same torque figure but with a bit more juice at 92 kW. This has the option of the DSG gearbox and I’m sure from a comfort, power and pricing perspective, this will be the pick of the bunch. Next would be the GTI and added from July will be the GTD – the 130 kW & 350 N.m diesel 2.0 TDI, as well as the R version. We weren’t given the exact figures for the R but expect more from the flagship Vrrpha!

Once again, the standard has been set and to be honest, many cars will run the Golf close and one or two will be faster, but none can come close to what the Golf and specifically the  VW Golf 7.5 GTI can offer as an everyday package. Expect it to stand head and shoulders above the competition.

Volkswagen Polo 1.0 TSI R Line – First Drive

Rewind 20 years and anyone claiming to have had a vehicle with a 1.0 – litre 3-cylinder motor producing 81 kW and 200 N.m would have been labelled a madman. If they were to continue, stating that this revolutionary vehicle would sip just 4.4 l/100km and exhibit refinement to match the then contemporary E39 5 Series, the automotive community would have locked them away in a Corolla in solitary confinement until they came around.

Having now grown accustomed to the trend of downsizing, most of the above doesn’t really come as a surprise to both the public and motoring scribes alike. What does come as somewhat of a surprise is that the vehicle boasting all of the above figures isn’t even a brand new vehicle, but rather an updated version of a car that’s been on sale in South Africa for the past 8 years. There’s no denying that the Volkswagen Polo is the most impressive vehicle within its segment and now it has been given quite a nice little final hoorah if you will.

Its full name is the Polo 1.0 TSI R-Line and it features VW’s hugely impressive 3-cylinder 1.0-litre unit, mated to the 7-Speed DSG gearbox we’ve come to know and love. Along with its the drivetrain, the Polo has also been visually tweaked with a smattering of R-Line goodness in the shape of R-Line design front and rear bumpers, R-Line sill extensions, a rear diffuser, chrome exhaust tip and 17” alloys. 8 years on, the Polo is still a handsome thing and while the interior on this model is much the same as the rest of the range, it remains a superlative example of build quality and tactile pleasure.

Set to make its way into a number of VW Group Products, the 1.0-litre unit features active balancing shafts which cancel out the inherent vibrations within a 3-cylinder motor. It’s a very smooth unit which delivers maximum torque from just 2 000 rpm.  Due it being lighter than the locally produced 1.2-litre unit alongside which it is offered, it’s a free-revving and spritely motor and is surprisingly characterful thanks to the triple thrum emanating from behind the bulkhead. A claimed consumption of just 4.4 l/100km is 0.5 l/100km less than that of the 1.2-litre motor, yet 25 N.m more torque is on offer.

While pottering around town, the low-down torque and the slickness of the DSG transmission really do make it all a bit effortless and brisk bursts between traffic lights actually bring a smile to one’s face. Dynamically, the chassis handles the twisties with aplomb and the sometimes rough and constantly undulating roads along our test route in the countryside of Port Elizabeth were where the Polo did better than expected. Its high-speed stability is far superior to that of its competitors and again, this is all thanks to a well-sorted chassis and incredible refinement, as well as the use of Volkswagen’s XDS Electronic locking diff which you can certainly feel doing its bit in the corners and comes as standard on this model. If I were to briefly sum up how the Polo drives, I would have to say that it is confidence inspiring and effortless, and can be different things to different people. The R-Line package adds an impressive duality to the Polo in that it can be sporty and playful if that’s what you ask of it, as well is comfortable and docile if its economy and a leisurely drive you’re after.

Other standard features include the usual raft of safety features, rest assist, 4 airbags (6 optional), air-conditioning, multi-function steering wheel, Bluetooth connectivity, sports seats with drawers beneath them and a front-centre armrest with storage compartment.

Priced at R290 200, it comes in at the same price as the already available 1.2 TSI Highline Auto but offers a different box of frogs to that vehicle. Yes, it is rather pricey, but you certainly get your money’s worth – just remember that if you were to tell someone in 1998 that your Polo would be able to match their 523i in all but size and thirstiness, it’d be back to the Corolla for you!

South Africa, give the VW Passat a chance.

I first drove the new Volkswagen Passat in 2016, the model I drove was the 1.4 TSI and I thoroughly enjoyed my time with that vehicle. Although I do remember saying that when the 2.0 TDI comes, it will probably take the Passat up another notch. I was correct.

For me, the Passat has two purposes, it’s a family car but also a highway machine. It’s built for laying down kilometres and not missing a beat. A person will look at purchasing a Passat for one of these reasons, or both.

For the family orientated buyer, the Passat is not a bad choice at all. It offers lot’s of space, modern technology, good safety and even a built in child seats in the rear. The downside is that the Passat starts at R468,200 for the petrol variant and R493,000 for the diesel model. These prices maybe out of reach for the normal South African family.

For the sales rep or businessman who uses the roads often and driving as a pivotal part of his work, the Passat is a great fit. In my home country, the Passats are extremely popular cars, mainly driven by people working for large corporations, driving my kilometres up and down the country on a daily basis.

The diesel model I drove recently, fits well into this category. With the R-line package, the Passat is striking, it has a sharp design and just oozes a professional feel.  The interior of the Passat follows suit with a clean design and good technology, such as the App Connect system and Park Assist.

How does it Drive?                

I always forget how a Passat feels until I get back the wheel of one. It feels different from other vehicles in it’s segment. It’s softer and lighter on its feet. For example, even applying the brakes is a smooth process, the same goes for its acceleration, it’s very linear. It feels refined and cautious on the road, it wasn’t designed to be driven very fast, it was designed to be driven for long periods of time. That being said, the car is very driver comfort focused and the overall feeling is one that relaxes you.

The best place then to test the VW Passat is on the open road, and that’s what I did. We had meetings for a few days in Johannesburg, so instead of flying I drove the Passat. Having experienced all the technology offered in these cars, I noticed that there were two optional extras the Passat I drove lacked. This was the Active Driver Display which gives you a digital dashboard and secondly, Adaptive Cruise Control.

The digital dashboard provides a more visual element and makes it easier to see and control certain vehicle data or elements. This means less time fiddling with the steering wheel controls, something that is important during a long drive.

The second option, Adaptive cruise control is a feature that I used on the new Tiguan and loved it. Driving to Jozi from Durban isn’t a bad drive, but over the many times I’ve done it, I find it hard to use the standard cruise control, something this Passat had.  There are lots of trucks, hills, fast cars, slow cars, speed cameras, etc. All these factors mean that cars are forever overtaking,  slowing down, speeding up and pulling out. This makes the drive frustrating because you can be on the brakes quite a bit, which deactivates the cruise control. When all is clear, you need to reactivate it again and if you hit the wrong button, it will set it to the speed that you are currently travelling, not the speed you want to be travelling. So most of the time it’s just easier to not use it at all. This is not just the standard Passat system that has this problem, these things would happen with any standard cruise control system. This is why I much prefer to have the Adaptive Cruise Control as it assists when all these factors come into play. It too is not a perfect system just yet, but it works damn well.

In terms of fuel economy, this car sips, something most people will buy the diesel version for. VW claim a combined cycle of 5 litres/100km. After arriving in JHB and driving around the city for a few days, when I returned to Durban, I got had average of 5.4 litres/100km. Pretty good if you ask me.  The 2.0 TDI performed well and it boasts 130kW/350Nm, which is more than enough for what this car was purposed is.

 

 

Just give the Passat a chance.

For such a great car, it doesn’t sell as well as it could, and you don’t see too many on the roads locally. In South Africa, we love our brands, especially when it comes to cars. When the Passat’s rivals are vehicles like the BMW 3 series, Mercedes C-Class and Even the Audi A4, you know it’s in for a hard time. The thing is, the VW Passat does quite a lot of things better than the cars mentioned above, for a cheaper price at that.

More motorists should give the Passat a chance, forget about how your friends will look at you, or what your side-chick will think. It’s a great option and will benefit your wallet too. Honestly I think it even looks better than some of it’s rivals. It’s not up to me though, it’s your money. The old car was certainly more grandfather-like in appeal, but with this new one, grandad is dead and his much cooler son has taken over.

Volkswagan Tiguan Extended Review.

Much hype has been made about the new Volkswagen Tiguan. This excitement is warranted though, because the car looks and drives amazingly. So far the car has won the Family Car award from Cars.co.za’ Consumer Awards.  It is also a finalist for the Wesbank SAGMJ South African Car of The Year 2017, so things seem to be going pretty well for the new model.  We’ve spent some time driving the models offered in South Africa during the launch, so we could confirm that the new Tiguan is indeed a revolution compared to the old car. There was nothing wrong with the model preceding it, but there was neither anything outstanding about it as well. A two day launch allowed us the opportunity to get a feel of the car, in order to report if it was good or bad.  A month long test however  helped us to better understand the true consumer experience of the new Tiguan. This is what Volkswagen gave us the opportunity to do during the month of December. As a result, we can highlight the following about the car:

Family friendly:

It may not be enormous, but it sure is comfortable. The new Tiguan has been designed for those looking for space and comfort. Most compact SUV’s are comfortable when occupied by four people, but the new Tiguan seats five in such a way that there will be few complaints in the rear. For those extra long journeys, the foldable trays behind the front seats will come in handy, provided eating is allowed in the car. The leather seats are optional and come highly recommended as they are easier to clean and give the car a much more premium interior look.

Stares come standard:

Because Volkswagen is a favoured brand in South Africa, the new Tiguan is a car that attracts a great deal of attention. Much to our surprise, people from varying backgrounds and ages had questions to ask and looks to give. This is due to the completely redesigned exterior of the car. The added R-Line Package makes matters worse as the car will not go unnoticed. Often compact SUV’s look like knock-offs of their larger siblings, but in the case of the new Tiguan, the radical design changes that recipe.

Automatic is the way to go:

Most people looking to buy a new Tiguan have added space as a priority on their shopping list. This means that you may have a little one or three. This may also mean that traffic is a reality for you. If this is the case, we recommend you spend the extra bucks on the DSG derivative of the car. The problem with the manual is that it firstly requires more effort to operate and secondly, it tends to bog off the line which may cause unnecessary stalling. In all honesty, this somewhat annoying “niggly” is the only fault we can find on the car. Besides that, nothing negative jumped out during our four week test. As small as the engine is, the 1.4 litre TSI has enough power for both city and long distance driving, which is surprising considering the size of the car.

An excuse to road-trip:

An extended test of the Tiguan would not be complete if we didn’t take the car on a road-trip. Like most “vaalies” we did the 1500km+ trip to Cape Town from Johannesburg. This trip allowed us to use features like Adaptive Cruise Control as well as the Head-Up display, both optional in the Tiguan. The biggest highlight of this car on a long trip is the comfort levels. Despite the larger rims from the R-Line package, the long trip was not back breaking at all. The inclusion of the DYNAUDIO  Excite sound system was also able to drown out snores from the passengers to and from Cape Town. It took a total of two tanks of fuel to cover the journey one way, which was very reasonable considering the size of the engine. The boot space was also more than accommodating. Having friends that don’t know what the meaning of “packing light” is, I was worried that my rear view mirror would be blocked by silly items during the drive. This wasn’t the case though as the 615-litre trunk swallowed up all the bags with ease.

Overall:

Again, we cannot find anything to deter someone looking for a compact SUV from buying a new Tiguan. Instead, there is much to encourage a buyer to consider this car. What was once a more feminine car has been redeveloped into something even the most manliest men could drive with pride. The car maintains its premium feel inside and out, making it comparable to brands much more expensive to it. At a starting price of around R380 000 it’s also not financially out of reach for many. Therefore it comes as no surprise then that this car has won the hearts of many of those who have driven it. It’s a very good package, probably one of the best cars Volkswagen has produced in this segment. It drives like a slightly larger Golf but will fit more and do more. What more do you want out of a compact SUV? If it’s more power, but the 2.0-litre TSI. If it’s more efficiency you’re after, the 2.0TDI may do the trick, but overall the entire range has something that will keep you happy.

 

 

 

VW GTi Clubsport Extended Review

VW Golf GTi Clubsport Driven Review

Motorist Digital Magazine – Edition 08

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The VW Golf Clubsport is a car that excites the senses and I’ve mentioned before how much I enjoyed driving this car. For those who don’t know much or anything about the Clubsport, (which I find hard to believe) it’s the 40-year edition of the Golf GTi and as a result it has more power and added aggressive styling.

After a full day on track with this vehicle a few months back, I was looking forward to driving this car for a month, something I had the opportunity to do during December. With 195kWand 213kW on over-boost, it certainly has enough power, but how does this translate to the road when used as an everyday car? This was the purpose of our extended test, to find the answer to the question.

Interior & Tech

The Clubsport we drove was specified with most of the optional extras. It had the following: High Beam Control Light Assist, Adaptive Chassis Control DCC, Carplay & Andriod Auto, Satellite Navigation and the DynaAudio Excite Sound System. The only optional extra this car didn’t have was racing bucket seats and 19 inch wheels. The optional bucket seats look amazing, as they have a combination of Alcantara and piano black finish on the back of the seats, which matches the steering wheel. These seats really complete the look of the GTI Clubsport. Having spent time in the normal seats and the bucket options, I can confirm that the bucket seats hold the driver better in place, but these benefits do incur a loss of comfort.  As a result the standard options are much more suited for someone who will drive their Clubsport everyday. The standard options still support the driver well in the corners, but they don’t look nearly as good.  Personally I feel the bucket seats are worth the lack of comfort.

Like most modern Volkswagen’s, the infotainment is a joy to work with. In the Clubsport and standard GTI, it provides all the vehicle data you need. The driver can even have three digital dials up on the screen, providing live readings on G-Forces, power, engine temperature, boost pressure and more. It may seem like a gimmick, but I loved seeing all the figures. Although I was a little dismayed that on over-boost, the kW dial didn’t read 213kW as it should, instead it peaked at the standard 195kW. This wasn’t the end of the world, but a little annoying to be honest.

I don’t own an Android phone, so I didn’t test out the Android Auto connect system. I do have an iPhone though, and Apple CarPlay is a great feature. It’s a well-streamlined system which makes accessing music and maps easy. Interestingly, Siri also works with the steering wheel controls and all this connects as you plug in your phone. The optional DynAudio system also packs a punch and provides top-level audio quality. This is especially great for those days when you just don’t feel like the Clubsport Vrrrrpah! As the internet is now calling it.

For night time driving, the High Beam Light Assist picks up other cars ahead travelling in both directions extremely quickly. When it senses the other cars, it dims the high beam, even when the headlights are not in the Auto setting. This worked very well on the dimly lit road between Camps bay and Hout bay. The system actually reacts much quicker than other systems on more expensive vehicles we’ve driven. It gives the driver one less thing to think about when enjoying a bendy road such as the aforementioned one. Speaking of bendy roads, the Adaptive Chassis System (DCC), although expensive is another good investment. I have read reports online that some owners do not feel the difference between driving modes, but there is a difference. The edgy nature of the car can be reduced slightly when changing from Sport to Comfort with the DCC button. Engine noise is reduced in Comfort and the car gives you a little more over the bumps, not much but it is noticeable. It’s nice to be able to turn the car a notch down when needed. Is the system worth R12000 though? It’s a tough one, but we think its worth it.

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Performance:

The Clubsport is an experience, every time I sat low in this car and gripped the steering wheel, it felt special. This feeling increased when driven, the firm suspension and the beautiful way it turns into corners gives the car a very “racey” edge. It’s different to a standard GTI, the Clubsport is unique. Volkswagen has been able to fine tune each of their sporty hatches to feel different, as the Gold R also provides a different experience. 213kW and even 195KW is a lot of power to put through the front wheels, a little too much acceleration from a standstill will incur wheel spin, but through every gear after 1st, the power is delivered very smoothly.

It feels so much more alive and lighter on its feet than other 4wd hot hatches like the Volkswagen Golf R, Mercedes-AMG A45 or Audi RS3. Even though it produces less power, it’s more technical to drive, it makes you work more behind the wheel. At times it can be a little tricky to produce a driving experience you’re happy with on a tight road, because there is a fine line between under-steer and lift off over-steer. With Sport mode activated, the Clubsport’s differential works harder, so accelerating mid-corner is a pleasant experience as the front end pulls you out of the corner. The best way to drive the car fast is with all systems off. That way you have no interference and it’s all up to you. With the car unassisted, I felt so much more part of the car and it becomes a different machine without the traction control interfering when you don’t want it to. A Golf R won’t wheel spin through a bend in 3rd gear and that’s what makes the Clubsport a much more visceral vehicle.

The whole Clubsport experience is not just kept under the bonnet. It stands out from the crowd in the looks department as well. The front and rear splitters, larger chrome exhaust tips, small rear spoiler, darkened rear lights and lower stance set this apart from a standard GTI. Completed in Tornado Red, it draws a lot of attention and looks, well…awesome.

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We can go on all day about how nice the car is to drive fast, but what about traffic? bad roads and everything else you encounter everyday? Where the standard GTI can arguably be called the “perfect hatchback”, the Clubsport is more about performance, so there are things that it lacks in terms of everyday appeal. For instance, the stiffness of the suspension can be a drawback for everyday use. I drove the car for 1100km’s from Bloemfontein to Cape Town without stopping and even though it was great to do once, the comfort levels can get to you. This feeling is accentuated when sitting in the rear of the vehicle, as the passengers sit right above the wheel well and the dampers.

Another drawback from using the Clubsport as an everyday vehicle is that it will make you a hooligan on the roads. That’s a fact. The Vrrr-PAH becomes a daily craving, it goads you to behave badly whereas in the normal GTI you don’t feel impelled to drive like that all the time. Overtaking is an absolute breeze, especially in that rapid third gear. You end viewing the city as your personal racetrack, things like traffic circles become chicanes. It’s a guilty pleasure because it’s just so enjoyable. Your friends and family may end up getting a bit tired of your antics, as did mine.

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Overall:

It’s funny really, everything that makes the GTI Clubsport such a fantastic driving vehicle in the right conditions, also makes it a car that isn’t what you want to drive everyday. It’s a special car and should be treated as such. Weekends and the odd morning to work is the perfect lifestyle for the Clubsport, you will love it, and you will crave it. The standard GTI is still the perfect daily drive, especially considering the cost savings you will have since the Clubsport is not cheap. Sadly, not many of us can afford to purchase the Clubsport as just a weekend car. For those that have the R600K odd, you won’t be sorry to use it everyday though, we just hope it doesn’t lose the “fizz” as naturally, we get used to things. If that’s the case for you, always try find little safe spots to get the most out of the car. When you get this car on an empty “Chapmans-Peak” like road, it’s worth every potential speeding fine.

Of course the ultimate GTI to be launched is the Clubsport S. If you have the opportunity to get one of the 47 that will come to South Africa, you’ll have a future classic. With 228kW on tap and no rear seats, we cannot wait to see how that car drives. That being said, the “normal” GTI Clubsport was a delight and it will definitely be one of those cars that will instil nostalgia in the hearts of car lovers like us.

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