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The AutoGuide News Blog is your source for breaking stories from the auto industry. Delivering news immediately, the AutoGuide Blog is constantly updated with the latest information, photos and video from manufacturers, auto shows, the aftermarket and professional racing.
Some entries in the Guinness Book of World Records are stupid. In fact most of them are. They encourage people to do things like grow their fingernails to almost three feet long. The record in this story is stupid too, but at least its really cool.
Price, looks and size… these are the few factors that used to decide what vehicle you’d park in your driveway. Looking for a cheap and small car? A Toyota Corolla or Honda Civic will do. Need something bigger, perhaps a mid-size Hyundai Sonata or an SUV. Things used to be pretty easy.
With increasingly high gas prices and an overall movement towards green, fuel efficient vehicles, fuel economy has become more important. In fact, for many price, looks and size are now completely trumped by fuel economy.
“Buyers just look at the MPG on the sticker,” says IHS Automotive Analyst Devin Lindsay commenting that car buyers are now completely mesmerized by the EPA sticker label.
Take a look at the Toyota Prius, for example. It’s not terribly big, is fairly expensive, and looks… well… weird. But that didn’t stop three million of them from being sold, all thanks to a hybrid gas-electric engine that provides excellent fuel economy.
The Prius isn’t the only option for someone looking for a fuel efficient car, however; especially those in search of a more engaging driving experience. If you want to cut down on trips to the pump, and still drive a fun, powerful, good looking car, your best bet might just be in a diesel powered vehicle. That does mean you’ll almost certainly have to drive German, although a flood of new diesel-powered vehicles are about to hit our shore.
This time around, the team took their Veloster Rally Car out to the golf course where it replaced the traditional golf cart. Almost everything you can imagine that shouldn’t be combined into a video, is. We’re talking golf clubs, golf balls, a 500-hp Veloster with 600 lb-ft of torque, and cows. Yes, we said cows.
Really there’s no reason behind this video, other than the fact that millions of people will watch it which means millions of eye balls on Hyundai’s little Veloster.
Check out the video after the break.
Writing about cars all the time can do some funky things to your taste in wheels, invariably automotive journalists flock to the best of the best. The funny part is that those parameters get warped pretty easily, leaving one writers idea of an ideal car miles away from another.
The same thing goes for enthusiasts, which is why there’s a little storm brewing right now on VWVortex, an enthusiast forum for all things Volkswagen. Interestingly enough, that tempest isn’t about a Volkswagen at all, it’s a 1992 Peugeot 205 GTi. It’s OK if you’re not sure what that is, they aren’t legal in the U.S. and can rarely be found as an import in the wintry Canadian north.
That being said, a member on VWVortex posted a link to someone selling one in Ontario, Canada asking if the seven grand asking price was reasonable marked down from a previous $8000.
Here’s the skinny on these cars: they look an awful lot like the VW GTI, in fact you might not know the difference if one went speeding by, but they can be crazy fun on the road. They have super-nimble handling that lets you toss them into corners like Dan Marino throwing touchdown passes, it’s tight.
They get a 5-speed manual with a 1.9-liter inline four under the hood, good for 120 horses. Sure, you’re not going to show up any Mustangs or Camaros, but damn it if they aren’t a hoot to drive.
Upkeep is their biggest enemy and it’s pretty close to impossible in North America for a couple reasons. First, they were never sold here, so you’re in for a tough time finding parts. Second, these things are sure to break. The 205 was Peugeot’s first small car. They built them for 15 years with the last unit rolling off the line in 1998.
The early models came with the same engine as the Peugeot 104, but later models got either the XU and TU-series engines— which as one forum member eloquently wrote, are “crap.”
Realistically, a 205 GTi is more of a collector’s piece than anything considering their poor reliability and scarcity. You’re not going to find too many girls swooning over them, but they have a well-deserved place in car culture for those who appreciate them.
See the ad out for yourself here.
GALLERY: 1992 Peugeot 205 GTi
[Source: VWVortex forum]
Congratulations are in order for Volkswagen. The Routan has just earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick award, making it the ninth Volkswagen vehicle to receive this rating. This also means that Volkswagen has received the highest number of IIHS awards for vehicle safety.
Helping them reach this coveted spot, Volkswagen scored high marks with 2011 models including Jetta, Jetta SportWagen, CC, Passat, Tiguan, Touareg, Golf and GTI. To drive away with a Top Safety Pick award, vehicles must earn a rating of Good in the IIHS crash-test series, which includes front, side and rear crash tests, as well as pass the roof-strength test. That means that these VW vehicles provide the best overall protection in the most common accident situations.
“We’re delighted that the Routan has been given this prestigious award. We are even more delighted that Volkswagen now leads the American automotive industry with nine Top Safety Picks,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “This is the reward for all the hard work we continually put in the development of new technologies for our cars.”
You couldn’t ask for a better time to sell Kate Middleton’s car than right now, just after her royal wedding. The current owner of the indigo blue, three-door 2001 Volkswagen Golf, Sonny Brazil, who lives close to the Middleton’s home in Berkshire, England is auctioning off the car via Ebay. Brazil, 21, bought the car for $2,300 (£1,400) in 2009 after Kate, 29, gave the Golf to her brother James.
The car currently has 62,000 miles on the odometer of which Middleton put on 60,000. Kate had the mirror replaced in 2003 and one of the front headlights fixed in 2006. According to an auction house in Dorset, England, the VW is valued at an estimated $48,000, with the starting bid set at $32,000. Along with the car, Brazil will include a pair of sterling silver cufflinks he found inside the car. ”They might have been William’s or they could have belonged to James,” he says. ”It’s amazing to think I only paid about £1,400 for the car,” Brazil said. “And now it’s worth far more than that.”
It’s always a treat to see an automaker roll out a modified version of one of their models. At Wörthersee this year, Volkswagen allowed their younger generation of employees to modify a Golf GTI for everyone to admire at the show. The Golf GTI Reifnitz, as it was named, in homage to where the event takes place, sports 370-hp, an impressive increase from the factory’s 210-hp figure.
Aiding in the performance increase is the addition of ARP’s Stage III turbo kit and intercooler. Complementing the turbo and cooling upgrade is an exhaust system from RSC. To give it some show to go along with the go, Volkswagen outfitted the GTI with a widebody kit and vented hood, which gives the Golf GTI an even more aggressive profile. The paint scheme is pretty unique too, sporting a red, white and prominent blue theme.
Inside, Volkswagen gave the GTI Reifnitz a race-inspired theme, gutting the interior and tightening up the chassis with a roll cage. For seats, Alcantara-clad racing buckets were tossed in.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf GTI Reifnitz
Two very special birthdays are about to be celebrated with the legendary Volkswagen GTI turning 35 as well as 30 years of GTI owner meetups. The double anniversary will be celebrated in some very special ways.
The 235-hp GTI Edition 35 can be ordered now, and the 440-hp all-drive VW Motorsport Golf24 will compete in this year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring (23 to 26 June).
VW enthusiasts are assembling for the biggest Golf GTI Meet ever recorded in Wörthersee held from June 1st to 4th.
Because of this very special double anniversary that a second Golf race car will be presented to fans in a debut at Wörthersee. The remarkably restored 1977 Golf GTI 16S really is a unique car. It may be a classic but this 1.6-liter non-turbo engine can produce 215-hp to the crankshaft and will be raced in the 24-hour Classic (3-hours for distance) that will be held before the main event.
The Golf 16S comes equipped with Bilstein shocks, a 5-speed manual sequential racing transmission, and an 80-liter fuel tank. KWL Motorsport has rebuilt a first generation Scirocco that won two class victories at the 24h classic at the Nürburgring. However this year, the race allows engines with up to 2.0-liters. The VW drivers Patrick Simon and Heinz Stuber are hoping for a third consecutive win for VW after winning in 2009 and 2010.
The limited production Golf GTI Edition 35 produces 235-hp, 25-hp more than the “regular” GTI, and will utilize the engine of the all-wheel drive Golf R.
Over 200,000 VW fans are expected to attend the meet in Wörthersee, making it the largest VW meet ever!
Volkswagen is cooperating closely with the city of Hanover to launch a new car sharing project with 200 VW Golf BlueMotion vehicles called “Quicar- Share a Volkswagen”. There will be 50 pick-up and drop-off locations throughout the city, however, this number may reach 100 locations. The program was set up to highlight the efficiency of these vehicles including high vehicle availability and excellent functionality.
Operating in a way similar to Zipcar, the customer registers and books the Golf via the Internet only five minutes prior to use of the vehicle. He or she then holds a chip card or a chip fixed to the drivers license over a reader fitted to the car to unlock the vehicle. The ignition key is located inside and the driver completes the rest of the process by entering a PIN using a touch screen.
Each vehicle will come equipped with navigation and entertainment systems and customers will be issued an SD memory card, allowing them to save individual settings, music, destinations, or routes. Other models such as the VW Caddy and the newly launched VW Bettle will be added to the fleet in the future.
Since the launch of the redesigned Volkswagen Jetta, registrations among new owners have soared, suggesting that the newer, more affordable Jetta is a home run with consumers.
The Jetta has climbed almost 61% during the first two months of this year compared to over a year ago. In those two months, 20,272 Jettas were registered and made up 57% of all VW’s sold within that time frame.
Volkswagen Golf registration is also improving, however, other VW vehicles are declining in registration. The CC, New Beetle and Passat are all struggling vehicles within the VW line up. The decline of all VW cars other than the Jetta and Golf is so substantial that VW car registration in January and February was up only 25% compared to 32% rise in the car registration industry. Volkswagen will need to build their sales in the Jetta as much as possible in order to attain the 800,000 VW badged unit registrations by 2018.
[Source: The Polk Blog]
Even with skyrocketing fuel prices, subcompacts are selling less than their compact counterparts. The Ford Fiesta was the overall leader in the subcompact department, 9,147 sales but still trailed the larger Focus’ 17,265 total sales. Honda Civic sales rose 7% to 26,777 which is more than triple the Fit’s total of 8,116 units in April. Furthermore, the mid-size Accord even managed to outsell the Civic.
The issue seems to be one of value for more consumers. Subcompacts are barely more efficient than compacts. The base model Civic coupe costs only $505 more than a basic Fit, but the mileage difference is minuscule.
With the ongoing price battle at the pumps, it wouldn’t be surprising to see models like the Fiesta, Accent or Fiesta to rival the Toyota Camry or Ford F150 in sales. Soon enough we may see subcompacts catching up to regularly sized cars and without a doubt, your wallet will thank you the next time you fill up.
[Source: Kicking Tires]
Volkswagen just made the famed Nurburgring 24 hour race even more exciting by announcing their Golf24 touring car will compete at the historic endurance event this year.
Along with some seriously aggressive aerodynamics and a much wider track, the Golf24 touring car is powered by a modified 2.5L five-cylinder turbocharged engine that pushes out 398 ft-lbs of torque in addition to its 434-hp. The power plant is combined with a six-speed sequential gearbox with paddle shifters.
“With the new Golf24 we are continuing our successful commitment at the Nürburgring 24-hour race. [The race] represents a very big technical challenge…[and] we want to provide an additional highlight in front of a large audience – right in time for the 35th anniversary of the GTI,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.
The Nurburgring 24 Hour race takes place June 25-26th.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Golf24 Touring Car
MR Car Design has taken Volkswagen‘s Golf R and added a touch of spice with a new tuning package. The tuning package increases horsepower from the factory 266-hp to a respectable 325-hp while torque jumps from 256 ft-lbs to 345.
The performance increase is courtesy of a retuned ECU, stainless steel exhaust system and other unlisted modifications (we’re guessing an intake or filter upgrade of some sort). Naturally the 2.0L TFSI powerplant is able to take advantage of a more aggressive ECU tune. The performance package is available for a very reasonable $970.
For the exterior, MR Car Design offers a set of H&R springs to go with the 19×8-inch Strada wheels that sports a unique 10-spoke design. The wheels are wrapped with 235/35/19 tires.
GALLERY: MR Car Design VW Golf R
So what exactly do you do when a manufacturer doesn’t sell what you want? You build it of course. Front end conversions are nothing new to report, some are done right and some… not so much. But this one we’re huge fans of, especially since it’s on a platform that wouldn’t be the first thing that pops up in our head.
Recently Volkswagen refreshed the Jetta SportWagen to the MK6 generation with a sleeker front end design. So naturally it wouldn’t be a surprise that MK5 owners would look towards this front end conversion to refresh the look of their car. But now Volkswagen also offers the MK6 Golf R, with a front end that’s leaps and bounds more aggressive than anything a Jetta has to offer. So why not blend the best of all worlds?
This enthusiast out of Japan did just that. He ordered up the front fenders, hood, headlights and bumper from a MK6 Golf R and converted his MK5 Jetta SportWagen with it. He also added his own little touches, extended the hood line to subtly cover the front grille, giving it a slightly even more aggressive style to the entire project.
The end result is something we would love to see coming straight off Volkswagen’s production line. Wagon customizing and tuning has always been interesting to many – it’s one of those things none of us would admit to wanting to do, but deep down we know we’d rock that.
Now if only it also came with a 265-hp turbocharged engine and AWD.
GALLERY: Volkswagen MK5 Jetta Sportwagen With MK6 Golf Front End
[Source: Jon Sibal]
Fuel-efficient diesels capable of as much as 71 mpg and almost 1,000 miles on a tank
Volkswagen will debut a new set of ultra-efficient BlueMotion diesels at the Frankfurt Auto Show in just two weeks. Included in the list are the new BlueMotion versions of the Polo, Golf and Passat.
First up is the ultra-efficient BlueMotion Polo sub-compact, which is powered by a 75hp 1.2-liter diesel engine. Improving even on the already impressive Polo TDI that gets 56 mpg, this new car gets 71.3 mpg! Equipped with a 12 gallon (45 liter) tank the BlueMotion Polo has a theoretical travel distance of 847 miles (1,363 kilometers).
Next is the BlueMotion Golf, which gets 61.9 mpg, while still producing 105hp and 185 ft-lbs of torque, allowing it to hit 62 mph in 11. 3seconds and top out at 120 mph (190 km/h) on the German autobahn.
Finally, there’s the BlueMotion Passat, a mid-sized car that gets 53.5 mpg. It might not get up to speed very quickly, taking 12.5 seconds to 62 mph thanks to the same 105-hp engine as found in the Golf, but with a large 18.5 gallon (70 liter) tank it can travel 989 miles (1,591 km) at a time, which Volkswagen says equates to just seven fill-ups per year.
We’ll be sure to bring you more on VW’s new BlueMotion models from the Frankfurt Auto Show, starting September 15th.
Official release after the jump:
Today Volkswagen officially launched the return of the Golf GTD – a Golf that is high in both performance and fuel economy, thanks to its diesel engine. With 170hp it outstrips the TDI model by 30 ponies. The real difference, however, is in the torque where the GTD makes 258 ft-lbs of the good stuff.
Volkswagen claims a 0-62 mph sprint for the GTD takes 8.1 seconds with a top speed of 138 mph, making it the diesel-powered sibling to the GTI (reviewed here).
At the same time, because it is a diesel, fuel-economy is impressive with an average rating of 44.4 mpg. This means a single tank of gas will go 600 miles.
With a standard six-speed manual the GTD will be available with VW’s impressive DSG gearbox.
Outside this diesel gets a GTI treatment with chrome striping (as opposed to red on the GTI) on the grille, 17-inch wheels, smoked tail lights, chrome tail pipes, a new sporty rear diffuser and a chassis that sits 15mm lower.
Inside, there cabin will be a considerable upgrade over the TDI with the same seats found in the GTI (but in black and silver). Leather is used for the three-spoke steering wheel, as well as for the gearshift-knob and parking brake handle, while the instruments and door trim will get gloss black accents.
There is no word on if the GTD will make it to the U.S. market and while it’s unlikely, if it does, it won’t be until after the new TDI hits showrooms.
GALLERY: Golf GTD
Official release after the jump:
UPDATED (October 2, 2009): Volkswagen has now officially released details on the 2010 Golf TDI. The new model is rated at 30/41 mpg (city/hwy) for the manual transmission and 32/42 mpg with VW’s advanced DSG automatic transmission. The car is priced from $21,990.
Noticeably absent from the North American market since 2006, the Volkswagen Golf TDI will return for 2010. The new model was showcased today at the New York Auto Show, along with the high performance GTI (see our review here). There weren’t any standard Golfs on the floor, but we do have info on that model too.
The new Golf TDI will use the same turbo-diesel 2.0-liter motor found in the Jetta TDI Clean Diesel, which is already on sale. Power is rated at 140hp and a significant 236 ft-lbs of torque.
This engine is capable of 42 mpg on the highway and 29 mpg in the city when paired with a six-speed manual transmission.
As for the standard Golf, it will be powered by a 2.5-liter five-cylinder that makes 170hp and 177 ft-lbs of torque. Both a 3-door and 5-door model will be offered with the 3-door coming in two trims (Trendline and Sportline) and the 5-door available in three trims (Trendline, Comfortline and Highline).
The 2010 Golf TDI will be available as both a two-door and four-door model, priced at $21,990 and $22,590 respectively.
GALLERY: 2010 Golf TDI
See our most recently story on the VW Golf TDI here