Official: Volkswagen Passat turns 40

Filed under: Sedan, Wagon, Hatchback, Volkswagen

Seven generations of Passat have graced streets around the world, and today is the long-running Volkswagen’s 40th birthday. Looking at the car today, it’s hard to imagine that it was offered as a hatchback in its first and second generations, in addition to the sedan and wagon body styles. But there’s no question Volkswagen has sold a lot of Passats over the years, with over 20 million produced.

VW started delivering the B1-generation Passat on July 25, 1973, and sold it until 1980, when the second generation came out. The B2, which went by many names in different markets, was produced from 1980-87 (longer in some markets, such as China, where it was produced until 2012) and featured technology you might recognize in many of today’s VWs, such as a turbo-diesel engine option. The B3 generation was produced from 1987-93 and, styled with aerodynamics in mind, starts looking more like a Passat in this writers opinion. The B4, produced from 1993-97, was safer and had a stiffer body but followed the same formula as the previous generation.

The B5 Passat stepped up the quality quite a bit from the previous model, and it came with a wide range of four-, five-, six- and eight-cylinder engines. It was produced from 1996-2005. The sixth-gen Passat was produced from 2006-09 and could be had with a double-clutch transmission for the first time. It even spawned the good-looking Passat CC, which became its own model in 2010, when the current B7 Passat was released.

The B7 is a curious model. While Rest of World markets all get the same car, the US produces a unique Passat for its own market, and China makes a derivative that VW sells there called the New Midsize Sedan.

Give in to nostalgia and check out the gallery we’ve included to see how the Passat has evolved over the years.

Volkswagen Passat turns 40 originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 27 Jul 2013 15:18:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Video: Volkswagen GTD ads drive home the power of diesel

Filed under: Marketing/Advertising, Videos, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Humor, Diesel

2014 Volkswagen Golf GTD - commercial screencap, front three-quarter view

The flurry of Mk VII Golf GTD television ads by Volkswagen, which range from funny to hilarious, just make us want one that much more. The focus of these 30-second commercials is on the torque-rich performance of the hatchback’s turbocharged 2.0-liter TDI diesel engine, which has a stump-thumping 280 pound-feet of torque on hand. That’s enough torque for some harmless mischief, if you’re to believe the commercials, and, paired with 184 horsepower, enough for the oil-burning Golf performance model to go from 0-62 miles per hour in about 7.5 seconds.

Volkswagen’s performance-first approach in its ads for the economical GTD is refreshing, and it reminds us of another commercial from Chevrolet. Do we see a trend starting here?

The saddest part is that we will likely have to wait a couple more years before the GTD arrives on our shores as a 2016 model, slotted between the petrol-powered GTI and the king of VW hatchbacks, the Golf R. Until then, scroll down and enjoy these amusing commercials.

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Volkswagen GTD ads drive home the power of diesel originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 25 Jul 2013 16:58:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Volkswagen Taigun going into production, but not for US

Filed under: Concept Cars, Budget, Crossover, Volkswagen, South America

We last mentioned the Volkswagen Taigun when discussing the subcompact crossover that Volkswagen will be bringing to the US in 2016. Well, turns out the Taigun won’t be that crossover, but it is going into production for other markets outside the US according to a report in Autoweek. Based on the same platform as the Up!, the Taigun is two size classes – not one – beneath the Tiguan, and is seen by VW as lacking the dimensions and power that the US crossover brigades demand. It’s the same reasoning that will probably keep the Ford EcoSport, a Taigun competitor, from coming here.

The Autoweek piece says the Taigun, with a wheelbase two inches longer than the Up! and a seating position that puts the driver 2.5 inches higher, will only use front-wheel drive. Three-cylinder gas and diesel engines, as well as a natural gas option, will provide motivation; manual and dual-clutch transmissions will do the shifting. The concept, for example, uses a 1.0-liter three-cylinder with 109 horsepower and 129 pound-feet of torque. What’s more, it seems the patent drawings spied in China weren’t lying, AW saying the production version will remain close to the concept. For a driving review of the concept, head over to AW.

A solid date for release hasn’t been given, but 2016 is the expected timeframe. That would have it on sale at the same time as the compact crossover we are meant to get, which will sit above it and below the next-generation, long-wheelbase Tiguan due also to be shown in 2016.

Volkswagen Taigun going into production, but not for US originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 16 Jul 2013 14:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Official: Volkswagen builds 30-millionth Golf

Filed under: Plants/Manufacturing, Hatchback, Volkswagen

Volkswagen Golf Generations

Volkswagen has officially built 30 million Golf units since the first hatch rolled off the assembly line in early 1974. The company says the accomplishment has cemented the compact’s place as the most successful European car ever built, though we imagine the original Beetle might have something to say about that. Even so, Volkswagen says that statistically speaking, the company has sold 2,000 Golf units for every day of production. Chew on that notion for a moment. The Golf has remained relevant over the past four decades thanks to a steady stream of generational updates, and last year, the Volkswagen Golf took the honor of being named the World Car of the Year.

A Golf TDI was the 30 millionth unit produced, and Volkswagen says the machine will be on display at the automaker’s Wolfsburg facility. You can read the full press release below for more information, including a generational breakdown of each Golf model.

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Volkswagen builds 30-millionth Golf originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 18 Jun 2013 18:00:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Long Term: 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage

Filed under: Sedan, Volkswagen, Diesel, Long-Term Garage

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI – Click above for high-res image gallery

If you had told us last year that this year’s most controversial redesign would be the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, we would’ve politely walked away and laughed at your outrageous claim behind your back. We’re like that. But here we are, and the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta is, arguably, the most controversial redesign of the year.

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI

The reason is not so much how the designer’s hand has changed the car’s look, but rather how the bean counters and product managers have completely changed what the Jetta is. It’s no longer a premium compact sedan with a price to match. Now it’s a near-mid-size four-door with an ultra-competitive base price.

Jetta fans and auto journalists have been less than enthused with the changes. Buyers, however, apparently disagree. Sales of the new Jetta through April are up 68.8 percent. So which camp is right?

After the untimely demise of our last long-term Jetta (follow the jump for the whole story), a 2010 model year TDI Cup Street Edition, we were offered a 2011 model to take its place. Driving these two diesel Jettas back-to-back will help us craft a before-and-after snapshot of what the car has gained and lost with this latest redesign.

Continue reading 2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage

2011 Volkswagen Jetta TDI joins Autoblog’s Long-Term Garage originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 31 May 2011 14:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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First Drive: 2012 Volkswagen Passat

Filed under: Sedan, Volkswagen, First Drive, Diesel

Americanized Sedan Shows Its German Roots

2012 Volkswagen Passat

2012 Volkswagen Passat – Click above for high-res image gallery

The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is facing a kind of perfect storm of skepticism from long-time fans of the brand. Volkswagen has wasted no chance to tell the world that the company’s newest sedan will be custom-tailored to the American market, with styling and packaging tweaks designed to set the vehicle apart from its European counterpart. If that weren’t enough, the new North American Passat will also carry the distinction of being the first VW product to be built at the automaker’s brand-new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

VW fans have always embraced the German flavor of their vehicles, but as the company pushes toward its (massively ambitious) goal of selling 800,000 units per year by 2018, we can expect to see more market-specific products in our neck of the woods. That trend kicked off with the 2011 Jetta – a vehicle that sacrificed interior materials and suspension refinement to meet a lower price point while growing larger to accommodate American tastes.

Does the Passat share a similar fate? When the sedan first debuted at this year’s Detroit Auto Show, it came packing a host of styling cues lifted directly from the smaller Jetta. That lead many onlookers (ourselves included) to conclude that in creating its new mid-sized sedan, Volkswagen had simply supersized the Jetta.

Fortunately, that’s not the case.

Continue reading 2012 Volkswagen Passat

2012 Volkswagen Passat originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 24 May 2011 11:57:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Report: Volkswagen WRC program to lead to street-legal Polo R?

Filed under: Performance, Hatchback, Volkswagen, Rumormill

Volkswagen Polo R WRC

Volkswagen Polo R WRC – Click above for high-res image gallery

It’s been an on-again, off-again affair with rumors of a possible R version of the Volkswagen Polo. But according to the latest from the Old World, things are looking up for the prospective pocket rocket.

The change in fortunes come down, according to Autocar, to the launch of the Volkswagen Polo R WRC, the car with which the German automaker is preparing to mount its assault on the World Rally Championship. As you can see, the rally machine carries R branding, prompting the British publication to press VW board member Ulrich Hackenberg on the renewed possibility of a production Polo R hot hatch.

Hackenberg admitted such a vehicle is more likely with the launch of the WRC Polo, but that it wouldn’t arrive before 2013. As for specs, that’s all up to speculation. Autocar figures on a version of the Polo GTI’s 1.4-liter twin-charger four with over 200 horsepower, with or without the all-wheel-drive system being developed by Audi for the A1 built on the same platform. One way or another, we’ll be watching this development as it unfolds (or doesn’t).

Volkswagen WRC program to lead to street-legal Polo R? originally appeared on Autoblog on Tue, 17 May 2011 14:01:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Volkswagen Jetta price quietly increases by $500

Filed under: Sedan, Volkswagen

2011 volkswagen jetta

2011 Volkswagen Jetta – Click above for high-res image gallery

Volkswagen has made a big deal about the 2011 Jetta’s $15,995 starting price. After all, how many times have you seen those commercials that show a guy working hard to afford the new Jetta, only to find out that it’s starting price had been lowered. And then there’s the baby-holding dad that drops his cup as the baby drops his bottle after checking out the German sedan’s bargain-basement MSRP.

At any rate, you can pick up your cup and get back to work, because the starting price of the Jetta has now been increased by $500. The VW website clearly shows that the S model, which comes equipped with an anemic 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a scant 115 horsepower, now starts at $16,495.

This isn’t exactly great news for Jetta-loving budget shoppers, but we hear rising commodity costs is making it more expensive to build vehicles these days, so it isn’t totally unexpected. On the bright side, only the entry S model has been given a price bump. The rest of the Jetta lineup is unchanged.

Volkswagen Jetta price quietly increases by $500 originally appeared on Autoblog on Thu, 12 May 2011 17:31:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Microsoft and Volkswagen team up for in-car file storage

Filed under: Etc., Technology, Volkswagen

volkswagen and microsoft logosThe House that Gates Built has teamed up with the Volkswagen Group to develop the next generation of automotive information and entertainment delivery strategies.

A firm called e.solutions supplies Volkswagen with its infotainment software. Microsoft has signed an agreement to license its Extended File Allocation Table (exFAT) technology to e.solutions, which allows the software developer to squeeze more information into smaller spaces. Also, the speed at which that data can be accessed will get a shot in the arm. Read more about this partnership in the full press release posted after the jump.

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Microsoft and Volkswagen team up for in-car file storage originally appeared on Autoblog on Sat, 07 May 2011 12:33:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Navigation concept from MIT and Volkswagen projects 3D image on windshield

Filed under: Technology, Videos, Volkswagen

AIDA 2.0

AIDA 2.0 provides a glimpse at our distracted future – Click above to watch video after the jump

If the idea of someone playing with their phone while driving sounds distracting, then wait until you see the latest navigation concept from MIT and Volkswagen. Called the AIDA Project, this technology joint venture between MIT’s SENSEable City Lab and VW stands for Affective, Intelligent Driving Agent.

Using a series of 3D projectors, a large map would take up residence in the unused space on top of the dashboard. Route guidance, destination information, infotainment options and a host of other features would all be controlled via hand gestures that are sensed by the AIDA 2.0 system.

This makes for very cool-looking tech, but we have to think Ray LaHood would plotz if this ever becomes reality. Also, we think the city of Boston may be virtual in the video demonstration due to the lack of middle fingers being tossed around as if they were Dunkin Donuts Munchkins. Check out AIDA 2.0 by clicking past the jump.

Continue reading Navigation concept from MIT and Volkswagen projects 3D image on windshield

Navigation concept from MIT and Volkswagen projects 3D image on windshield originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 06 May 2011 16:59:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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