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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.
Volkswagen continues to flex just how efficient its diesel models are, with a 2012 Passat TDI SE claiming a new world record by traveling 1,626.1 miles on a single tank of ultra-low sulfur diesel.
The record was previously held by another Passat, – a 1.6 BlueMotion diesel model out in Europe – at 1,526.6 miles. John and Helen Taylor were the two drivers behind the wheel of the world record-setting journey traveling from Houston to Sterling on May 3rd to the 5th. The couple added 120 pounds of luggage to the vehicle in order to replicate normal driving situations and each took turns driving but never more than 14 hours per day.
Doing the math, the six-speed manually equipped diesel Passat averaged an astonishing 84.1 miles per gallon. The Taylors claimed they traveled exactly 60-mph on the highway in order to hit the mark. But don’t bother trying this yourself, the Taylors are self-proclaimed driving efficiency experts and have over 90 fuel economy and driving records around the world. In fact, they make a living conducting fuel-efficient driving workshops.
“We’re excited to have broken the record for the longest distance driven on one-tank of fuel. The Passat TDI was the perfect car for the trip. It offers plenty of interior and cargo space, yet is frugal enough to help us achieve this record,” said a jubilant John Taylor.
GALLERY: World Record Setting VW Passat Diesel
The Volkswagen Jetta will see a new top-of-the-line trim level called the SEL Plus later this year, though the more exciting news is that Volkswagen plans to replace its 2.5-liter inline-four with a 1.8-liter turbo-four next year.
The new high-end SEL Plus trim will see softer-touch materials in the interior, and like the GLI model, the American counterpart will more closely resemble all the upgrades and refinements seen in the European version, including electric power steering.
The U.S. could have a plug-in hybrid from Volkswagen in the relatively near future. The company already has a hybrid Jetta on the way for the 2013 model year, but this version of the car would take electrical implementation to the next level.
We’ve known about the possibility of a plug-in hybrid for quite some time, but details have been sketchy at best. Watching each automaker deal with the growing demand for fuel efficiency has been interesting to say the least, but for the most part Volkswagen remained firmly in the diesel segment. That’s all set to change with the 2013 model year marking the hybrid Jetta’s release, but that isn’t the end of the story according to Car and Driver.
An article they published suggests that the fabled plug-in hybrid we reported briefly back in May of last year is relatively close to release. They report that the car will feature the same 1.4-liter turbocharged inline four cylinder making 150 hp. Of course, the plug-in will have, well, a place to put a charging cable meant to replenish the larger battery paired to the car’s electric motor.
Though it isn’t clear which car will surface with the plug-in setup, a Volkswagen executive told Car and Driver that it will be in a mass market segment: in other words one of their top sellers. That means something along the lines of the Jetta, Passat or Beetle, though we don’t know which yet.
[Source: Car and Driver]
Volkswagen‘s popular Passat out in Europe is overdue for a refresh and it appears that one will be coming in 2014. Rumor has it that the 2014 Passat model will be built on the new MQB platform which can also be seen on Audi‘s A3 and Volkswagen’s Golf.
The change to the MQB platform will also lighten up the new Passat model, saving at least 110-lbs compared to the current generation Passat. Speculation on the new model also includes the possibility of a plug-in hybrid with around 168-hp and an electric-only range of around 31-miles. The standard gas engines will probably feature start/stop technology while the diesels out in Europe will have the option to be outfitted with NOx catalytic converters in order to meet Euro6 emission standards.
Volkswagen‘s Chattanooga manufacturing plant has become the first and only automotive manufacturing facility in the world to receive a Platinum certification from the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). From the onset, Volkswagen had designed their Chattanooga plant, where their popular Passat is produced, to be as green as possible and now they have something to show for it.
From the ground up, VW integrated various energy-saving technology into the plant, with its ultra-clean paint shop saving 50-million gallons of water in ten years. Other features of the plant include superior insulation provided by six-inches of mineral rock wool that results in saving 720,000-kilowatts per year; green power from the local hydroelectric dam; LED lighting on the exterior results in 68-percent less energy used; rainwater is collected and reused to flush toilets and cool welding machines; the plant’s white roof membrane is highly reflective and helps minimize heat island effect by up to 50-degrees Fahrenheit; natural flowing creeks capture heavy rains and restore a natural habitat; low-flow water fixtures and no-touch sensors throughout the plant reduce water usage by 30-percent; and lastly, the plant was built on brownfield property with no destruction of untouched nature.
As expected, Volkswagen debuted the Passat Alltrack at the Tokyo Motor Show and it was pretty much everything we expected it to be – a high-riding variant of the Passat wagon that’s offered in Europe. We have to admit we found it a little peculiar that VW would debut the Passat Alltrack in Japan but nonetheless, it got some attention on the show floor.
Featuring Volkswagen’s 4MOTION all-wheel-drive system, the Passat Alltrack will be introduced to the European market with two choices of 2.0L TDI powerplants. The exterior features flared fenders with a stainless-steel looking front bumper garnish and some matte-chrome accents. And for those wondering just how high-riding this Passat Alltrack is, its ground clearance has increase from 5.3-inches to 6.5-inches from the standard Passat wagon.
Take it as Volkswagen trying to mix a little of station wagon with SUV versatility, or something like that. It’s also worth mentioning that the Alltrack has the same off-road driving program seen on VW’s Touareg and Tiguan, which revises the vehicle’s ABS, electronic differential lock, throttle control and shift points to maximize traction. Hill descent is automatically turned on when grades are steeper than 10-percent.
Americans will probably never see the Alltrack stateside since VW wholeheartedly believes we’d choose an SUV over a wagon any day of the week. Guess they’re pretty spot on there.
GALLERY: Volkswagen Passat Alltrack
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.”
Last year, Volkswagen stirred up some excitement by introducing the 2010 Polo GTI at the 2010 Geneva Auto Show, and this year they’re following it up with an announcement of two R-Line packages for the Polo in addition to an Exclusive Edition for the Passat.
The pair of R-Line packages will be available as an option for the Polo Comfortline and the Polo Highline model, with one of the packages concentrating on the exterior while the other outfits the interior with upgrades.
The exterior R-Line package comes with 16- or 17-inch wheels with wider 215-tires, black gloss finish for the front grille, model-specific front and rear bumpers (based on Comfortline or Highline), a rear diffuser, chrome exhaust tips, a roof spoiler, pair of side skirts, fog lamps and LED license plate illumination. For the Comfortline the exterior R-Line package runs around $2,000 based on today’s conversion rates while the Highline will cost a little less than $1,400.
The interior R-Line package costs a tad over $1,175 for the Polo Comfortline and $620 for the Highline and with it comes a pair of sport seats up front – with Alcantara or leather option – black roof lining, sport leather steering wheel, glossy black dashboard trim and aluminum pedals and door sills.
For the Passat, Volkswagen will be offering an Exclusive Edition based on the Highline trim for the sedan at $44,700 and as a station wagon Variant for $46,300. The Exclusive Edition will outfit the Passat with a set of 18-inch wheels while it sits 0.6-inch lower thanks to sportier suspension. On the inside, where most of the changes are, VW accents the Passat with Nappa leather seats in a chocolate brown shade with contrast-colored stitching in Pepper White. The door panels and steering wheel also benefits from leather while special floor mats and a combination of wood and aluminum trim round off the accents.
At any rate, hopefully the R-Line package is just a teaser for the upcoming Polo R model that VW should be adding to its lineup next year.
GALLERY: Polo R-Line and Passat Exclusive Edition
A possible accurate rendering has been drafted of what the Volkswagen CrossPassat may look like. The wagon is expected to be unveiled at the Frankfurt Auto Show, accented by plastic body cladding, an increased ride height and standard all wheel drive. The engine will likely be carried over from the standard Passat so expect to see the 2.0-liter TDI with 170-hp and a 2.0-liter TFSI with 211-hp. This rendering reminds us of a cheaper A6 Allroad. Tell us what you think?
Volkswagen wants to produce the Tiguan SUV model in North America in an effort to slash production costs on the compact crossover. VW is already producing the Jetta and Passat in North America and is considering moving production of the Tiguan, according to a report by WirtschaftsWocke magazine.
Presently, the Tiguan model is only produced at the Wolfsburg plant in Germany.
The shift in production from Germany to North America will allow VW to guard against exchange rate fluctuations that can eat away at profits, analysts said.
Producing Volkswagens in the U.S will also allow the automaker to keep closer track of changing tastes in the world’s second largest auto market, where consumer trends often originate.
It is unclear whether the Tiguan will be produced at the Chattanooga, Tennessee plant (currently VWs only plan in North America), however, production is scheduled to rise to 150,000 vehicles annually by 2012.
The 2012 Volkswagen Passat is powered by a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine producing 170-hp and 177 lb-ft of torque. Transmission choices include a standard transmission 5-speed manual while an optional 6-speed automatic is available. There is also a pricier 2.0-liter TDI Clean Diesel 4-cylinder powerplant producing 140-hp and 236 lb-ft of torque. If mated to a 6-sped DSG transmission, the 2012 Passat TDI can achieve 43 mpg on the highway and have a fuel range of 800 miles. Buyers also have the choice of the powerful 3.6-liter VR6 engine that produces 280-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque and is capable of 28 mpg. 2012 Passat pricing will start around $20,000.
[Source: EGM Car Tech]
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]
Volkswagen revealed the new 2012 Passat the night before the 2011 Detroit Auto Show but we’ve now got the first live photos of the Tennessee-produced mid-sized sedan.
As reported yesterday, the 2012 Volkswagen Passat will be available with three drivetrains, a 170 hp 2.5l five-cylinder engine (with five-speed manual or six-speed automatic transmission, a 140 hp 2.0l TDI Clean Diesel engine (with an estimated fuel economy of 43 mpg) and a 3.6l VR6 featuring 280 hp and an estimated 28 mpg. The Passat VR6 will also come standard with a six-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.
The Passat will be available in three trims, S, SE and SEL, all with safety features such as Intelligent Crash Response Systems, a tire pressure monitoring system, ABS with braking assistant, and six airbags. Manual transmission models will also get hill climb assist.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen Passat
Please visit our Passat Forum for more news on the 2012 Volkswagen Passat, at http://www.passatworld.com.
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The long awaited 2012 Volkswagen Passat has finally been revealed a day ahead of its world premiere at the 2011 Detroit Auto Show, looking very much like the recently released 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, sporting the same corporate face and profile in a larger package.
Built at VW’s new Tennesse facility, the Passat’s 191 inche length makes the car larger than a Toyota Camry by 2 inches, a radical departure from the more compact Passats of yesteryear.
Trim levels S, SE and SEL will be offered, with power coming from the corporate 2.5L 5-cylinder engine making 170 horsepower, the 2.0L TDI diesel making 140 horsepower and Volkswagen’s beloved VR6 engine, producing 280 horsepower. The VR6 (and, we presume, the TDI) will come with a DSG dual clutch gearbox, allowing it to run to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds while returning 28 mpg on the highway.
Starting at under $20,000, the Passat is aiming to break out of its niche as a quirky European alternative and finally be taken seriously as a Tier 1 mid-size sedan. The car may have never sold in big numbers, but its superlative interior, interesting powertrains and European street cred were always respected. Hopefully VWs attempt to bring the car hasn’t come at the expense of character.
GALLERY: 2012 Volkswagen Passat
See video of the all new 2012 Passat after the jump:
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Yes, the above video features a car parking itself. “What’s the big deal,” you ask, seeing as certain Lexus models can already park themselves?
This Passat is different. The car, nick named Junior 2 (Junior being the autonomous Audi TT-S), has been modified by the Volkswagen Automotive Innovation Laboratory at Stanford University to valet park itself. The system uses a night vision camera, cruise control radar, and two tiny laser sensors to both navigate through a parking lot, find an empty space, and park. And besides, the Lexus doesn’t entirely part itself, it still requires a driver in the car to operate the pedals – and to push the auto-park button.
After the jump we’ve embedded a second video, taken from the back seat as all of this is taking place. And yes, it’s controlled via an iPhone app. Color us impressed when the system learns how to find us cheap parking…
When Volkswagen’s new mid-sized sedan arrives in 2011, there is a strong possibility that it will replace, rather than join the Passat, in the German automaker’s lineup. VW Group of America CEO Stefan Jacoby has said that the company is currently studying whether or not to keep the Passat, but all evidence points to its elimination.
Volkswagen has big plans to take on Toyota in the U.S. marketplace and to do so the company has finally admitted that its current lineup of European vehicles are just too small and too expensive for mainstream American tastes. That being said, if sales of the Passat are already not that great, offering a larger and less expensive vehicle certainly won’t help the car’s business case.
Last year VW sold just 30,034 Passat models, compared to a high of 96,142 in 2002. Sales for 2009 look even worse as the automaker has only managed to move 9,163, units so far. Volkswagen hopes to sell 100,000 units of the new mid-sized sedan initially with plans for increased market presence thereafter.
Currently the Passat sells from $27,695, while this new sedan is expected to be priced much closer to the $20,000-mark. The lower price comes as a result of the fact that VW will build the car in the U.S., at its Chattanooga, Tennessee plant.
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: