Before trucks and utility vehicles became all the rage, large sedans used to be the heart of the American car market. They dominated thoroughfares and back roads of this country for decades. Big Buicks, mighty Mopars and forceful Fords were a way of life for drivers just half a lifetime ago.
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Top 10 Large Sedans With the Greatest Range
There’s something magical about going on a road trip. Whether it’s the allure of visiting a far-flung destination or just the call of the highway, piling into a car and eating up miles satiates mankind’s wanderlust.
Of course some vehicles are better for long-distance drives than others. A quiet interior, comfortable seats and smooth ride are prerequisites, but plentiful cup holders and storage spaces for snacks can’t hurt, either.
In a lot of ways large sedans were tailor-made for cross-country trips. They’re roomy, relatively efficient and don’t beat you up like a race-prepared Miata. Last week we examined 10 such cars, ranking them based on trunk space. This week we’re comparing those same four-doors but focusing on driving range.
We took each car’s EPA highway fuel-economy rating and multiplied it by the total gallons of fuel in their respective tanks to arrive at a maximum possible range. So, which of these full-figured cars is the ultimate bladder-buster? Click ahead to find out!
Top 10 Large Sedans With The Biggest Trunks
America is the land of the free and the home of large sedans. With miles and miles of miles and miles, drivers don’t have to contend with congested urban parking or dreadful highway traffic like their European counterparts. We’re free to relax and stretch our legs clear across the continent if we so desire.
U.S. Interstates and two-lane back roads were the breeding ground for a unique automotive species: the large sedan. Spacious, comfortable and smooth, Detroit’s Big Three created the original recipe for these highway cruisers, but foreign automakers have a thing or two to say about how to prepare them.
Trunk space is one of the most important metrics to examine when comparing big four-door cars. How many golf bags can be crammed into a cargo hold? What about suitcases for a weekend road trip to Atlantic City? People need to know! Here’s a list of the Top 10 large sedans ranked in order of trunk volume.
After several announcements of various models that were awarded the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s “Top Safety Pick Plus” rating, the IIHS has released its full list of its safest cars for 2013.
10. Toyota Avalon
Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to determine what makes a vehicle reliable. But one sound way is to look back and see how much the average repair cost was for a vehicle over three to five years, and seeing which ones suffered the least breakdowns.
Data was studied using 100,000 auto warranty policies linked to family cars by Direct Buy Warranty in order to determine this top 10 list of most reliable family cars, listed in no particular order. It’s worth noting that not a single American vehicle made it onto the list.
The first on the list is the Toyota Avalon, the Japanese automaker’s flagship sedan in the United States. According to the data, the Avalon was one of the cheapest vehicles to maintain over the past five years with typical Toyota dependability and safety ratings. Larger than the Camry, the Avalon is a perfect fit for those looking for size and dependability.
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 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced that it closed the investigations surrounding possible fires on the Volkswagen Passat and cracked cooling fans on various GM trucks without issuing a recall or fines to either automaker.
Originally the 2002-03 model year Passats were under investigation for possible ignition coil fires in July 2010 but things didn’t stop there. In January 2011, the investigation was upgraded to include 2001-07 VW Passat models with the four-cylinder, turbocharged engine. There were 135 unique fire engine reports attributed to the coil-on plugs, but after a thorough investigation there was no safety-related defect identified, so the investigation closed.
Unfortunately the investigation closure alone doesn’t ensure the absence of a defect. NHTSA will continue to monitor the issue to see if further action needs to be taken. None of the fires reached beyond the engine bay and no reports of crashes or injury were related to the 135 incidents.
GM on the other hand, got a thumbs-up after NHTSA looked into the cracked cooling fans on GMT-560 series of trucks. Those trucks span models from Chevrolet, GMC and Isuzu including the 4500 and 5000 medium-duty trucks. Even though NHTSA said that it “remains concerned about the potential for injury,” at the current time it can’t find the cause for the issue and that the complaints are “small and diminishing.”
Not exactly comforting, but we also know NHTSA would issue a recall if the organization saw fit to do so.
Americans are saying “yes” to the 2012 Volkswagen Passat and the German giant is responding in kind by boosting production and adding jobs.
200 more positions are being created at the Chatanooga, Tenn. plant that already manufactures the car. According to Automotive News, the company will achieve this goal by increasing the number of cars produced per hour from 31 to 35. The plant opened in 2011 as part of VW’s plan to boost American sales to 800,000 by 2018.
We’re certainly not complaining about more Passats being available. Changes to the 2012 model make it feel a lot more like a luxury car. Some folks may struggle with the $33,000 price tag for the top-end model, but the base S starts at just $19,995. Read our review here and decide for yourself.
GALLERY: 2012 Passat SEL V6
[Source: Automotive News]
Americans aren’t the only ones who love bigger cars, it turns out people in the Middle East do too.
At least that’s the way it seems to us after learning that the American version of the Volkswagen Passat will premier at the 2012 Qatar Motor Show. As is often the case with German cars, there is a European and U.S. version sold in their respective regions. Generally the American version is a bit bulkier in keeping with our larger interests.
The base features are more-or-less the same, though it looks like the expatriated Passat which is assembled in the U.S. will come with a standard touch screen. Otherwise, the same five-cylinder 170 horsepower engine, 16-inch wheels and standard trim are intact. ABS and ESP are also both standard.
The truth is, the 2012 Passat really does approach luxury status. The longer American wheel base will do a good job of offering comfort for rear passengers and retaining the high-end feel German cars are known for. Volkswagen hopes that by offering the more spacious version they will attract a combination of business and private consumers, though there isn’t any word on the SEL V6 model we reviewed being included.
GALLERY: 2012 Passat SEL V6
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.
Volkswagen has its redesigned Passat to thank as the brand as a whole posted a 41-percent increase in November sales compared to last year’s November. But it’s not all just Passat sales, as other popular VW models enjoyed success compared to last year.
Volkswagen’s Jetta sales rose 16-percent from November 2010 to the tune of 12,891 vehicles while Beetle sales were at 1,656 units compared to 487 last year. The biggest and most impressive increase is in the Passat’s sales however, having sold just 313 last November and an astonishing 6,018 this year. The US-built Passat went on sale in mid-September of this year.
VW sales as a year are on the rise compared to last year, having hit 291,899 year-to-date sales, a 25-percent increase from last year’s figure.
[Source: Automotive News]
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
Consumer Reports has made allegations against Volkswagen that the company provided press vehicles that were built to a higher standard than versions sold to consumers.
Stories of “ringer” press vehicles are legend in the automotive world – most recently, Ferrari was accused of providing press cars that performed far better than customer cars. Now, the venerable consumer mag, which has made a name for itself by purchasing its own vehicles for road tests, has published photos and descriptions of a few key differences between the 2012 Passat they purchased, and the versions provided by Volkswagen by their press fleet.
The accusations hinge (no pun intended) on two plastic covers for the trunk hinge mechanism (pictured above). A VW press car had the covers installed to hide the bare metal hinges and wiring loom used on the Passat, but the customer cars purchased by CR didn’t have those. As CR’s Jon Linkov notes, if VW was willing to go the extra mile for a set of hinges, other crucial areas, like sound deadening, suspension tuning or engine performance could have been altered as well. Consumer Reports said that they’ve experienced these things before, and that it raises larger issues of impropriety.
While Volkswagen was displaying their “new” Beetle R “concept” and freshened 2012 VW CC at the Los Angeles Auto Show, there was also a new Passat sitting there which we have seen even more than the other two cars. Old news we were thinking… until Angus MacKenzie from Motor Trend stepped on stage.
Taking most of the assembled media members aback, Angus announced that the 2012 Passat had been chosen as this year’s Car Of The Year. From the largest field ever in the award’s 60-odd years of existence, the guys at MT picked the Passat. If we challenged you to name the 35 or so cars that were in the running this year, chances are you might have forgotten the Passat. But as Mr. MacKenzie pointed out, the new Passat was the best at meeting the magazine’s six judging criteria. We don’t have anything against the Passat, mind you, but we have to say that this selection was a big surprise.
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
Volkswagen‘s new Chattanooga, Tennessee plant built its first car destined for a customer Wednesday, a dark Blue Passat 2.5L equipped with an automatic transmission.
The plant should reach full capacity in 2012, at which point it will produce 150,000 Passats annually. Volkswagen says that the plant will generate $12 billion in economic growth for the region, and 9,500 jobs related to the plant. Speaking to an assembled crowd, Volkswagen Chattanooga CEO Frank Fischer said “It has been an exciting challenge for all of us to build a new vehicle and a new plant at the same time, all while establishing new suppliers; but our team members have overcome those hurdles with a passion for details that has produced automotive excellence.”
Volkswagen could barely sell one generation of the Passat here in the United States, but over in China, VW is selling no less than 4 different Passats, from the mid-1990′s B5 chassis car to the all-new, “Made for America” Passat that will be sold here.
The New Passat, as the current car is dubbed, will signal an upmarket shift for the Passat in China, where it has traditionally been a more mainstream product. The new car will cost between $33,000 and $47,000.
A long-wheelbase variant of the previous generation B7 Passat will also be offered for Chinese customers who seem to favor mid-size luxury sedans with some extra rear legroom. The now antiquated B6 and B5 Passats will continue to be sold, ostensibly as downmarket sedans, as the Passat Magotan and Passat Lingyu, with the B2 Passat from the mid 1980s is still sold as the wildly popular Santana.
[Source: The Truth About Cars]