Archive for February, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI: Keyless Access and Ignition

Friday, February 28th, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI

 

Our 2014 Volkswagen Passat TSI comes standard with keyless ignition/entry, which means you can keep the key fob tucked away (in your pocket or handbag, presumably). As you approach, the car recognizes that the fob is close and then allows you to open the door and start the car with the push-button ignition. Personally, I find this feature to be very convenient. If I were thinking about buying a Passat, I’d consider it one more draw for the SEL trim level.

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Volkswagen: New diesel engine

Thursday, February 27th, 2014

The turbocharged direct injection (TDI) engine from the German automaker — designated EA288 — will be offered on the 2015 Golf, Beetle, Passat and Jetta starting in the second half of 2014.

Oliver Schmidt, Volkswagen Group of America general manager of energy and environmental office, is expected to confirm the engine, which is expected to eventually replace all the 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel engines in Audi and Volkswagen diesel models, during a speech this morning at the conference.

The new engine is a turbocharged, common-rail, direct-injection four-cylinder engine that makes 150 horsepower — an increase of 10-horsepower over the current engine — and 236 pound-feet of torque. VW said a number of changes have been made to help reduce emissions, such as: use of a complex exhaust gas recirculation system), integration of the water-cooled intercooler and other technologies.

“The Volkswagen Group is a leader in clean diesel technology,” Schmidt said in a release. “With the introduction of the new 

TDI rear.jpg2015 Volkswagen GolfVW

EA288 engine, we are excited that our family of TDI Clean Diesel vehicles is continuing to improve and will be even more clean, fuel efficient and powerful.”

VW is the leader of diesel sales in the U.S. – representing about 78 percent of the diesel sales for passenger cars, according to officials.

VW has sold more than 47,000 clean diesel vehicles, including more than 10,000 in the month of July. TDI diesel models accounted for about 21 percent, or 92,000, of VW’s 438,133 vehicles sold in 2012.

The VW announcement comes as officials expect an influx of diesel vehicles entering the U.S. market place in the coming years.

Robert Bosch, a global multibillion-dollar engineering and electronics automotive leader, anticipates more than 50 light-vehicle diesel models to be announced or released by 2017.

Some other automakers, including the Detroit Three, have already released or announced new diesel models for the U.S.

 Automakers in the U.S. – particularly the Detroit Three – have held off on diesel models because of the engine’s polluting reputation in the ’70s and the $2,000-$3,000 average increase in retail pricing.

But now, “clean diesels” (as they’re referred to) are 30 percent more fuel-efficient, produce lower CO2 emissions and maintain a higher residual value compared to traditional gasoline engines, officials say.

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2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid

Monday, February 24th, 2014

If you’re skeptical about hybrid vehicles, or simply not a fan of them so far, the 2014 Volkswagen Jetta Hybrid may change your mind. This unassuming sedan targets two negative stereotypes about hybrids and bids them a decisive auf Wiedersehen.

The first stereotype is that driving a hybrid is a strange experience. We’ve certainly tested our share of hybrids that drive like transportation pods and look like spaceships, but the Jetta Hybrid is notable for how downright normal it is. Aside from having two different motors — gasoline and electric — that work together to maximize fuel economy, the Jetta Hybrid drives like any other Jetta. And it looks like a Jetta, too, from its sensible sedan exterior to its simple, cleanly styled interior.

The second stereotype is that hybrids are slow. You’ll realize the Jetta Hybrid is different as soon as you hit the accelerator. The electric motor provides immediate punch off the line, and the turbocharged 1.4-liter gas motor kicks in seamlessly, teaming up with the quick-shifting DSG automanual transmission to pull you forward with real urgency. In fact, the Jetta Hybrid feels similar to the fastest Jetta on the market, the turbocharged nonhybrid VW GLI — except it gets an incredible 45 miles per gallon in combined city and highway driving.

What’s New for 2014?

Changes for the Jetta Hybrid are limited to the availability of VW Car-Net telematics and a new high-resolution color display in the instrument cluster.

What We Like

Exceptional fuel economy; sprightly acceleration; “normal car” character; roomy back seat; attractive price

What We Don’t

Touchy brakes; low-speed quirks from the DSG transmission

How Much?

$26,015-$32,265

Fuel Economy

The Jetta Hybrid is powered by both a 1.4-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder gasoline motor and an electric motor that gets its energy from a rear-mounted battery pack. Being a dual-mode hybrid, the Jetta Hybrid can shut the gas motor off when it’s not needed.

When you step on it, both motors work in tandem to produce 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. An unusual touch is the 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automanual transmission, which the Hybrid shares with sporty models such as the GTI hatchback.

 

Given the Jetta Hybrid’s respectable power, fuel economy is astounding: 42 mpg city/48 mpg hwy, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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2014 Volkswagen Passat Sport does its best GTI impression

Friday, February 21st, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Passat SportIn the past, buyers that desired a sporty Volkswagen were rather limited in terms of choice. You could have a GTI, a Jetta GLI or a Golf R. If you wanted to move beyond the compact segment, you were stuck looking elsewhere. For 2014, though, VW decided to try and sportify it’s big Passat sedan.



With a 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder, we’re gambling that the Passat Sport will be anything but sporty on the road. As we mentioned in our original post, we’re a bit disappointed by the lower horsepower of the production Sport (the concept boasted a brawny 250 ponies). It should at least look the part, though, sporting 19-inch Luxor wheels, black mirror caps and a black roof.

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2014 Volkswagen Jetta

Thursday, February 20th, 2014
2013 Volkswagen Jetta SEL PZEV Sedan Exterior

Volkswagen Jetta Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine2.0 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • DrivetrainFront wheel drive
  • Transmission5-speed manual
  • Horse Power115 hp @ 5200 rpm
  • Fuel Economy24/34 mpg
  • BluetoothNo
  • NavigationNo
  • Heated SeatsNo
  • Cardinale Volkswagen

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    Phone: 866-412-8568

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2014 Volkswagen CC

Wednesday, February 19th, 2014
2014 Volkswagen CC Executive 2.0T(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

When it first debuted, the Volkswagen CC was known as the “Passat CC,” a sporty variant of the large sedan that featured a more coupe-like design. Over the years, the CC and Passat have further diverged, the former dropping the “Passat” moniker back in 2011. For the 2014 model year, the two vehicles’ driving characteristics and engine choices are now very different.

I think that it’s fitting that so soon after our First Take in the 2014 Passat, that we take a look at the new 2014 Volkswagen CC Executive to see how it compares to the sedan upon which it was based and shares a platform.

RNS 510 cabin tech
Cabin tech is modular within the VW brand, so it’s no surprise to see the the same RNS 510 receiver in the 2014 CC that can be found across the automaker’s line of vehicles.

VW RNS 510 navigaion in the 2014 CC

The RNS 510 navigation system isn’t visually impressive, but it gets the job done.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

The RNS 510 navigation system features rudimentary graphics that aren’t visually impressive, but they get the job done. The list of audio sources includes CD playback, MP3 and iPod connectivity, a 3.5mm analog auxiliary input, and satellite and terrestrial radio, but digital media is connected to the receiver via VW’s proprietary Media Device Interface, rather than a simple USB port. I’d like to see HD Radio join this list and the death of the MDI in the next generation.

Bluetooth hands-free calling is standard, as is voice command. Unfortunately, the voice command only works to control the hands-free calling system. So, while you can press a button and say “call home,” you can’t press the same button and say “navigate home.” For navigation and audio source selection, you’ll have to make use of the color touchscreen, which doesn’t lock the driver out of address input while the vehicle is in motion, but does show you a disclaimer if you try to make complex inputs while driving.

VW MDI in the VW CC

I groaned aloud when I saw that VW is still using the Media Device Interface.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

There are a few differences that I noted between this and the 2014 Passat. Firstly, VW’s amazing Fender audio system doesn’t seem to be available on the CC, though the standard audio rig that was equipped sounded good enough. I also noted an odd bug with the volume control that wouldn’t let me adjust the audio level when the source was set to the auxiliary input. I’d have to change sources, adjust the volume, and then pop back over to the aux input. The other VW vehicles that I tested didn’t exhibit this behavior, so it may have been a fluke or odd setting.

Car-Net telematics
Generally speaking, the tech in the CC is fairly dated — then again all VWs are — but this 2014 model is available with the automaker’s new Car-Net telematics system that brings a number of connected car features into the dashboard. This is the same system that I was able to test on the 2014 Passat the same day, so you’ll forgive me if this next part sounds familiar.

Functioning like a sort of OnStar for Volkswagens, Car-Net brings a number of connected features to the 2014 CC, split into four major categories: Safe & Secure, Family Guardian, Remote Access, and Diagnostics & Maintenance. However, unlike other automakers, VW is only offering a single service tier that includes all of these categories.

Safety features include automatic crash response, roadside assistance (provided by VW partner Allstate), and stolen vehicle location. Family featurea include notifications (via e-mail or SMS) for exceeding preset speeds or entering or exiting preset, geofenced zones. Remote services include remote vehicle locking, horn honk, destination download, and a concierge service that lets the driver speak to an operator to search for a destination and have the location downloaded to the navigation system. Finally, Diagnostics tools allow the driver to schedule visits for service and receive vehicle health reports.

Car-Net destination

Via Car-Net, users can have destinations sent to the CC’s navigation system.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

Drivers can either interact with the Car-Net features by pressing one of the three buttons located on the ceiling console in the vehicle — information, roadside assistance, or SOS — to speak to a call center operator, use an iPhone application (an Android version is coming “soon” according to a VW representative), or access the service through a browser on a Web-connected personal computer.

I was able to try out the system to download an address while driving. Personally, I’m not a fan of using concierge services for destination search — I find them too time intensive and, frankly, talking to an operator seems like a very old-fashioned way of finding a destination when Siri or Google Now will let you search the web in seconds with simple voice commands — but there’s no denying the safety of letting someone else do the searching while I was able to keep my eyes on the road. The call quality of the concierge call left much to be desired, but that could just as easily be attributed to the limited signal strength in the remote area where testing occurred.

I was also given demonstrations of the roadside assistance and the VW Car-Net app and found them to also be easy and accessible. I particularly liked the ability to send destinations from the app or a computer before getting into the car and have them waiting when I’m ready to go.

Car-Net app (iPhone)

Users can also use the Car-Net app to perform remote functions and search for destinations.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

A six-month free trial of the Car-Net service is included in the MSRP, after which it’ll cost $199 per year to retain access. Going month to month will be more expensive, and committing to multiple years yields discounts. VW states that the system brings its vehicles into parity with telematics systems offered by GM, Hyundai, and Toyota at a competitive price.

2.0 TSI drive train

The CC is powered by the larger of Volkswagen’s new turbocharged four-cylinder engines: a 2.0-liter TSI engine that uses direct injection to generate 200 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Like the 1.8 TSI engine in the Passat, the CC’s torque curve peaks low in the the tachometer’s swing, generating maximum grunt as low as 1,700rpm.

VW 2.0 TSI engine in the 2014 CC

The 2.0 TSI is a great engine, offering excellent low-to-midrange torque.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

The extra power is immediately noticeable over the 2014 Passat’s smaller engine and the CC feels just that much more confident in its acceleration and pulls just that much quicker away from a light. With such a low torque peak, the power very accessible around town, which means that the six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DSG) won’t have to hunt around as much looking for power when you need to, for example, pass on the highway or accelerate to merge with traffic on an off-ramp.

The versatility of that six-speed DSG transmission is demonstrated well here in the CC. In a vehicle like the GTI or Beetle Turbo, the DSG feels like a performance upgrade with launch control and lightning fast, whip-cracking shifts. In the CC, you almost can’t tell that it’s not a conventional automatic under most conditions. The shifts in the gearbox’s standard mode are smooth and nearly imperceptible save the slight dips and rises in the engine rpm. Pull the shifter down into the Sport setting or to the right to select gears in the manual mode and a bit of the sporting character begins to surface, but the CC in 2.0T trim simply isn’t a performance car. The lack of paddle shifters speaks volumes to that end.

Also like the new 1.8 TSI engine, the CC’s 2.0 TSI benefits from an array of improvements that increase its thermal and friction efficiency, including an exhaust manifold that features an integrated water-cooling jacket that both helps the engine to heat up to optimal temperature faster, but also allows better control over that operating temperature. Additionally, the engine has been designed from the ground up to accommodate the turbocharger, so much of the piping that would be required has been integrated into the head, saving valuable pounds.

Thanks to the new 2.0T engine and the more-efficient-than-an-automatic DSG transmission, fuel economy is estimated at 22 city and 31 highway mpg, which is still fairly close to the fuel economy of the Passat and its smaller engine, despite the increase in power.

Drivers who want to go faster than the 2.0 TSI’s 8-ish second 0-60 time can step up to the all-wheel drive, 280 horsepower, 285 pound-feet of torque packing VR6 4MOTION model, which hits 60 mph in about 6 seconds, but they’ll have to step down to an EPA estimated 17 city and 25 highway mpg. That seems like a fair trade to me, but for most drivers the efficiency of the 2.0T is probably more desirable.

Handling and electronic power steering

Despite weighing 139 pounds more than the Passat, the CC is a slightly smaller vehicle by almost every other measurable dimension. It’s slightly shorter nose-to-tail, lower to the ground, slightly narrower, and — perhaps most important to the character of the CC’s handling — shorter in wheelbase: down from the Passat’s 110.4 inches to 106.7 inches from axle to axle.

2014 VW CC

The CC may look longer, but it actually has a shorter wheelbase and overall length than the Passat.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

One advantage of the shorter wheelbase is that the CC feels more responsive to steering inputs than its bigger brother and more willing to be coaxed ’round a bend. While both vehicles featured electronic power steering, the CC’s system is tuned to feel lighter and requires less steering effort. Normally, I’m complaining about overly-light, over-boosted power steering, but I rather liked this setup. The CC’s steering felt less faux-heavy and more direct that the Passat’s. Light steering can be a very good thing when done correctly.

Turning the steering wheel a particular amount was met with an appropriate and expected amount of steering where the rubber meets the road. While neither vehicle offers particularly good road feel, the CC at least didn’t compound the issue with that artificial feeling that kept me from enjoying the Passat over the same roads. The CC was easier to place within the narrow lanes of the twisty backroad that Volkswagen chose for my test runs and required fewer corrections midturn to stay on course.

Where I felt tired of driving the Passat midway through the hour-long course set before me, I felt that I could easily drive the more casual CC for an hour more.

In sum
The Executive 2.0T is a new trim level for the 2014 model year, bringing all of the “luxury” features that were part of the VR6 4MOTION Executive trim level down-market to drivers who want the efficiency of the front-drive, turbo, four-cylinder model. These features include the navigation system, tinted sunroof with tilt (but not sliding) function, larger 18-inch wheels, leather seats and aluminum interior trim, and keyless entry and push-button start.

Rear end of the 2014 VW CC

The 2014 CC and Toureg are the first VW models to feature hands-free easy-open trunks.

(Credit: Antuan Goodwin/CNET)

New for 2014 is a hands-free easy-open trunk that allows the driver to pop open the trunk by wiggling a foot beneath the rear bumper while the keyless entry transponder stays in their pocket. We’ve seen this feature on the latest Ford Escape and C-Max vehicles and found it to be very useful for gaining access to the vehicle with full hands. The 2014 CC and Touareg models are available with this feature; the CC being the first time that I’ve seen the feature on a sedan.

Cardinale Volkswagen

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Volkswagen announces lineup changes for 2014

Friday, February 14th, 2014

Volkswagen announces lineup changes for 2014, Jetta gets multilink suspension and no more five-cylinder

Volkswagen released a new statement outlining a slew of changes for the 2014 model  year Jetta. For starters, a new 1.8L turbocharged and direct-injected TSI four-banger will be taking the place of the base 2.5L five-cylinder engine while an R-Line variant gets added to the lineup.

That engine is good for 170hp, the same amount as the outgoing five-cylinder, while also producing seven more lb-ft of torque for a grand total of 184.

In the name of better handling and ride performance, Volkswagen also proudly said that they ditched the original model’s cost-cutting torsion beam rear axle for lesser models for the fully independent multilink setup found on the early Hybrid and GLI models. Electric power steering also has been made standard to help improve fuel economy.

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2010 Volkswagen Eos

Wednesday, February 12th, 2014

2010 VOLKSWAGEN EOS KOMFORT 2DR FWD CONVERTIBLE OVERVIEW

2010 Volkswagen Eos

The Volkswagen Eos is a unique hardtop convertible with an integrated power panoramic sunroof that sets it apart from all other retractable hardtop convertibles on the market.

The Eos is powered by a 200-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and is available with either a six-speed manual or six-speed DSG automatic transmission. A 12-way power driver seat is standard on both the Komfort and Lux trims, while Lux adds a 12-way power passenger seat. Standard features include: convertible-specific electronic climate control, 6-disc CD changer, satellite radio, heated seats and leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Safety features include active rollover bars, an electronic stability system, tire pressure monitoring and front and side airbags.

For 2010, the Lux gets a chrome trimmed grille, and both trims now have a standard touch-screen audio system, Bluetooth connectivity and a multifunction steering wheel.

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2014 Volkswagen Golf

Monday, February 10th, 2014

2014 Volkswagen Golf

By Paul A. Eisenstein

On Sale: First Half 2014 
Expected Pricing: $19,000 to $27,000

 
 
 

An all-new Volkswagen Golf goes on sale in the U.S. sometime in early to mid 2014 as either a 2014 or 2015 model. Three-door and five-door versions will be available, and a sporty GTI version will be offered.

While mainstream American buyers have tended to focus on Japanese compacts like the Toyota Corolla and Honda Civic, a small but dedicated group of loyalists have long insisted the real benchmark comes to us from across the Atlantic.

While the Volkswagen Golf is a best-seller in much of the world in the U.S. it has long taken a backseat to the four-door Passat, reflecting the American ambivalence towards hatchbacks. But if our first look at the seventh-generation Golf during its debut at the Paris Motor Show is any indication it’s destined to gain a larger following once it rolls into U.S. showrooms in early 2014.

The new Golf is 2.2-inches longer than the current Gen-6 hatchback, 0.5-inches wider and an inch lower. Those numbers, aided by some creative engineering on the new model, will yield increases in both front and rear shoulder, leg and elbow room and about an extra cubic foot of cargo space in back.

The Gen-7 Golf also follows an increasingly common pattern among manufacturers to shed weight wherever possible, mass being the enemy of both mileage and performance, as any good automotive engineer will explain. Considering the diminutive size of the Golf, losing 220 pounds compared to the outgoing model is no small feat. One reason is the increased use of high-strength steel, which has gone from 6 percent to 28 percent of the total steel used in the new Golf.

Also in keeping with industry trends, the little hatchback will deliver the sort of interior refinement you might have expected in a larger and more expensive model, such as the midsize VW Passat, just a few years ago. That means more soft-touch materials on the doors and instrument panel, for example, more richly grained plastics with sporty aluminum accents, and optional leather seating.

The European models shown in Paris were reasonably well-outfitted, as buyers there tend to see compact models as their family cars. So, to hold down costs, VW will likely have a shorter list of standard features here and plenty more options that could include adaptive cruise control, an auto park system and navigation. The base car will feature a 5.8-inch LCD display but that gets upgraded to an 8-inch touchscreen with navi.

Volkswagen officials have promised to upgrade the safety of the new Golf because the current model falls short of the coveted 5-star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Not only has the maker beefed up the chassis with high-strength steel, but it will add a number of new safety features. Europeans will got a new system designed to automatically brake the Golf if the driver fails to react to an obstacle ahead. Considering the way U.S. insurance companies are praising that technology expect it to be offered as an option here, as well.

On the powertrain side, we expect similar engines to what we have today, including the base 2.5-liter 170-horsepower package and the GTI’s 200-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder. And considering the growing demand, VW promises to maintain a diesel for the U.S. market, as well. 6-speed automatic transmissions are also likely, with 5- or 6-speed manuals depending on the model.

A high-performance 2.0-liter Golf R is also expected to follow, perhaps a year after the initial Golf VII launch.

As for fuel economy, VW has lagged the pack, except when it comes to the diesel. Don’t be surprised if the new generation delivers numbers topping 40 mpg on the highway thanks to improvements in aerodynamics and powertrain, as well as the vehicle’s lighter weight.

While pricing won’t be finalized until closer to launch, we anticipate something close to today’s numbers, starting at $18,790, though VW will likely add a bit to cover new hardware and software systems.

Will the five-door finally get its due? American buyers are slowly warming to hatchbacks considering their functionality and more modern looks and if anything could convince buyers to give one a try, the upcoming Golf VII looks likely to turn the trick.

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Tuesday, February 4th, 2014

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