VW Amarok scoops up International Pick-up Award

October 27th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The new Volkswagen Amarok still hasn’t launched here in NZ but it is already picking up awards overseas. The Amarok recently took top honours in the inaugural International Pick-up Awards 2011.

It wasn’t easy either with the Amarok facing some well proven competition for the award, against the current generations of the Ford Ranger, Mazda BT-50, Mitsubishi Triton, Nissan Navara, Isuzu D-Max and the kiwi-favourite Toyota HiLux.

In taking the title the Amarok scored marks for its “effortless off-road abilities” and best-in-class on-road performance. The Amarok’s interior was also a source of points scoring and contributed largely to its victory.

“The new Volkswagen Amarok distinguishes itself by fantastic driving qualities, both on- and off-road. It sets new standards in the pick-up category in respect to load capacity, interior room, comfort, ergonomics and fuel consumption,” a statement from the Award jury read.

Kiwi buyers keen to take a closer look at the 2011 Volkswagen Amarok will have to wait for the official launch in the first half of 2011.

Official details for the NZ-spec Amarok haven’t been released but it should be initially launched with a double cab body and a single cab may follow later. In terms of engines the Amarok will be powered by a bi-turbo 2.0 TDI diesel engine developing 120kW and 400Nm of torque, and achieve an impressive fuel economy of just 7.8l/100km.

VW Eos updated with GTI engine and design refresh

October 8th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has pulled the covers off its mid-life updates for its convertible Eos model. Along with a number of interior and equipment updates, the updated Eos now features the Golf GTI’s 2.0 litre four-cylinder TSI petrol engine, replacing the previous range-topping 147TSI.

The 155kw GTI motor will be made available with either a six-speed manual or VW’s dual-clutch transmission  and will take the 1580kg Eos to 100kph in a respectable 7.8 seconds.

Volkswagen has also included Hill Start Assist standard on the 2011 Eos, along with classy Vienna leather upholstery, heated seats, 17-inch wheels and an updated grille and taillights. The exterior tweeks will visually bring the Eos into line with the rest of the brand’s small car lineup.

VW Passat Bluemotion smashes economy world record

October 7th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

So you think your cars is pretty economical because you once got 700kms out of a single tank, or pehaps 900kms if your were running on diesel. It’s not time to be patting yourself on the back just yet because a Volkswagen has just smashed the world record for distance covered on a single tank of diesel.

A team from the UK’s Sunday Times set off from Kent, England with a VW Passat BlueMotion and a full tank of diesel — then drove to the south of France and back again.

Averaging around 73kph, the team managed to travel a staggering 2,457 kilometers before it ran dry. The 1.6-litre TDI-equipped VW Passat BlueMotion used was a completely standard production model which features a lower ride height, Stop/Start tech, longer gearing and low rolling resistance tyres. As two witnesses drove behind them to verify the attempt for the Guinness Book of World Records, the Passat achieved around 2.61 l/100km economy — much higher than the officially quoted 3.66 l/100km rating.

New specs revealed on the Volkswagen Amarok Single Cab

September 24th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has announced today the new details and images of its two Volkswagen Amarok Single Cab utility vehicles.

The new two-seater is set to have its world debut at the IAA Auto Show in Hanover. According to the specs released by Volkswagen, without the rear seats, the Amarok Single Cab offers a generous 3.57 square meters loading surface, creating plenty of additional space. The tray is 2205 mm in length

The Amarok Single Cab will be available with a choice between two 2.0 TDI engines, creating 122 hp and 163 respectively, and with two-wheel-drive or the company’s popular 4Motion all-wheel-drive system.

Pricing hasn’t been announced just yet, but VW has said it will be in showrooms globally by next year.

Be sure to check back for future updates on the Volkswagen’s Amarok ute range.

Volkswagen wants to buy Alfa Romeo, Fiat says “no way”

August 26th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

According to recent rumours being thrown around, Volkswagen is keen on continuing its big buy-up of the entire automotive world. The German manufacturing giant now has Alfa Romeo clearly in the cross hairs, even though parent-company Fiat has no intention of parting with the iconic Italian brand.

Adding Alfa to the lineup would potentially bring Volkswagen’s carmaking portfolio to nine brands, including VW, Audi, Seat, Skoda, Bentley, Lamborghini, Bugatti, and Porsche (as well as Karmann, Italdesign, VW LCV, a 20% chunk of Suzuki and the rights to NSU).

While the two companies appear to be currently at odds, Fiat has said that it wants Alfa Romeo to become a world-class luxury manufacturer. To achieve this Alfa will need to sell upwards of 500,000 units per year by 2014 — almost five times what the company managed to move in 2009. Fiat’s long term plan is to retain Alfa Romeo and turn it into an Italian Audi killer, helping reach Marchionne’s goal of 500,000 units a year.

So why exactly does VW want Alfa Romeo so bad? Because getting the brand would be an easy way to help the carmaker in its quest to become the world’s number one automaker. Also getting rights to the Alfa Romeo stable would give VW access to a wealth of new technology and front-engine, front-wheel-drive chassis options as well.

Volkswagen builds 100,000th Scirocco

August 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

The third-generation of the Volkswagen Scirocco has followed in the footsteps of it’s predecessors in being a quietly successful vehicle. The 100,000th new third-gen Scirocco has just rolled off the production line at Volkswagen’s Autoeuropa plant in Portugal, just two years after the sporty coupe was launched into the market. It’s quite an achievement considering the car isn’t offered in North America. The landmark car number ‘100,000’ is a Scirocco R 2.0 TSI, in a Rising Blue Metallic exterior finish, with a Titan Black interior.

Autoeuropa Plant Manager, Andreas Hinrichs got a bit sentimental on the occasion, saying, “The Scirocco is one of the most important cars that we produce. For myself personally, it was a moving moment.”

The first two generations of the Scirocco sold a total of 795,650 vehicles from 1974 up until 1992, when the model was shelved.

The new Scirocco is offered with a variety of diesel and petrol engines ranging in output from 122HP (1.4 TSI) to the high power 265HP (‘R’ 2.0 TSI).

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Volkswagen Scirocco R.

Click here to read a Car and SUV review of the Volkswagen Scirocco 1.4 TSI.

Volkswagen Scirocco R 2010 Review

July 9th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Since Cain and Abel made the Holy Bible exciting with its first murder, stories of oppositional twin brothers have always proved popular. While that story was one of the first, one of the latest comes from Volkswagen where the iconic Golf now shares its platform with the coupe-bodied Scirocco. When the Golf R was built the Scirocco received similar treatment albeit with marginally less power and handling ability. Now as second in line to the Volkswagen throne the new Scirocco R has been given all the benefits of R-division development with none of the responsibilities of being the number one son. Car and SUV put the pedal to the metal on the Scirocco R to find out just how far it could go to step out from behind the Golf’s shadow.

While there is much going on under the sheet metal it’s the Scirocco’s styling that truly sets it apart. Aesthetically, the Golf has moved forward conservatively into its Mk VI shape, not wanting to disrupt a winning formula. The Scirocco however, has been splashed with movie star good looks and genuine ‘right now’ appeal. It’s a two-door coupe with a ‘shooting brake’ styled roofline and plenty of width at the rear. In R form it sits lower and appears wider than the standard Scirocco, thanks to a muscular body kit that extends the side skirting. A chunky bumper at the front leads the charge and incorporates three gaping air intakes and LED daytime running lights. At the rear a pumped out rear bumper sits above a black aero diffuser and twin chrome exhaust tips that hint at leery intent. Gloss black wing mirrors, subtle ‘R’ badging and standard 18-inch ‘Talladega’ wheels finish the purposeful look nicely. The Scirocco styling may be a touch ostentatious for some tastes, but it’s daring, eye-catching and unlike the Golf R has the visual bark to match its bite.

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Volkswagen Polo TSI 2010 Review

July 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Take a quick look at a cars for sale section in any magazine or website and in the description of many small hatchbacks you’ll find the phrase ‘peppy’. But what does it really mean to be peppy? The dictionary would have you believe that peppy means “full of or characterized by energy and high spirits” and that’s probably correct but to save on words it could just have a photo of the new VW Polo TSI. What makes the second Polo variant available in NZ so lively is a new engine that’s low on displacement but very high on pep. Car and SUV took a closer look at the little Polo to solve the riddle of how less can really be more.

When the new Mk V Polo first touched down in NZ it was sold exclusively with a 1.4-litre 63kW engine, now it’s being offered with an all-new 1.2-litre unit. The new engine carries a $3k premium over the larger 1.4 motor but it’s money well spent because it must be the peppiest 4-cylinder in town. Using turbocharging to produce 77kW of power and a healthy 175Nm of torque the new engine is responsive and engaging. It suffers very little turbo lag and offers maximum torque from low in the rev range (1500 to 3500rpm) so it doesn’t need to be pushed hard. The TSI Polo will dash to 100kph in well under 10 seconds and has the mid-range punch to match much larger engines. But Grandmothers shouldn’t be scared off, the engine is well mannered at slower speeds and is never fierce on boost. With the pint-size engine and lightweight body the Polo also returns an impressive fuel economy of just 5.3l/100km combined.

With no manual option available in NZ the Polo TSI is fitted exclusively with a 7-speed DSG gearbox. It’s a modern piece of kit that changes seamlessly and gives a high-tech edge to the overall driving experience. Having seven ratios gives the smart gearbox a flexibility to either work through them rapidly keeping the Polo in its peak power band or focus on economy and get into a higher gear early. There is a sports mode available that keeps the engine in a lower gear and changes up later. There is also a sequential changing option on the gearshift for manual changes but steering wheel paddles are not available, even as optional equipment.

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