Volkswagen – Tue, 13 Aug 2019 14:33:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AutoGuide.comVolkswagen – The Day the Beetle Died Thu, 11 Jul 2019 05:04:23 +0000 The Day the Beetle Died The Day the Beetle Died
Bye-bye Beetle more]]>

As of July 10, 2019, Volkswagen no longer makes anything known as the Beetle. This marks the first time in the company’s history that no vehicle known as the Beetle will be produced.

While Americans think back on the Beetle as the oddball, to most Mexicans, the Beetle was the obvious choice. According to VW, 8 in 10 Mexicans grew up with a Beetle in the family to say nothing of the taxis that filled Mexico’s largest cities.

The Puebla plant, meanwhile, VW’s second largest, started construction in 1966 and has been churning out Beetles ever since. After the rest of the world gave up on the air-cooled Beetle, Mexico kept right on producing them, only ending production in 2003, six years after the New Beetle started construction—also at Puebla.

According to Roberto Baristain, who started working at the plant in 1988 and who has worked on each generation of Beetle, building the Beetle was more than just work.

“In spite of my 31 years, the Beetle will always have a piece of my heart,” he said at an event celebrating the construction of the final Beetle.

In fact, Baristain hasn’t just worked on production Beetles. He was involved in the construction of the Concept 1, which would become the New Beetle. After that, he collected more than one million signatures petitioning to have the Beetle built in Mexico.

As fate would have it, Baristain would succeed and since 1997, all Beetles have been built in Mexico. That’s not to say it was easy going.

“The old was made by hand,” says Baristain. “With the New Beetle, there were robots. Everything changed.”

Indeed, in its first year of production, the factory was only made about 60 New Beetles per day. Thanks to strong demand, though, that number would grow tenfold before the end of year. Keeping up with demand was among the biggest challenges of Baristain’s career.

To mark the end of the model, or at least, the name that put VW on the map, Volkswagen de Mexico held a special ceremony to honor the production of the final Beetle. Complete with confetti, a crowd of the people who made it, and a mariachi band, the event was a tribute to a similar event the company held to mark the production of the last ever air-cooled Beetle where a mariachi band played the Beetle out. The tequila that was poured at the 2003 event, though, was foregone here.

The last car, a Denim Blue coupe, will be sent off immediately to Volkswagen de Mexico’s museum in Puebla and is a tribute to the blue Beetle Ultima Edicions that marked the end of the air-cooled Beetle’s production.

Volkswagen USA, meanwhile, will celebrate the long-loved model by setting the last two models destined for the USA. The cars, each finished in Kings Red and sporting custom dashes and keys, will join VW USA’s heritage collection.

Although the event was a bittersweet farewell for VW’s employees, it likely won’t affect their livelihoods as the company says that a new SUV that is smaller than the Tiguan and destined for the US market (among others) will replace it, with production starting in 2020.

This article was first published on VWVortex

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Volkswagen Reveals ID.3 Charging Details Wed, 19 Jun 2019 13:26:06 +0000 Volkswagen Reveals ID.3 Charging Details Volkswagen Reveals ID.3 Charging Details
Up to 340 miles of range. more]]>
vw id3 range-gmv

Volkswagen has just given out more details about the ID.3’s electric batteries including how quickly they can charge and how long they’re expected to last.

The production version of the ID.3 is set to launch before the end of the year. That means it’s time to start trickling out all of the juicy details about the first of the automaker’s new electric car brand.

For a start, VW says that the ID.3’s lithium-ion batteries will give the car a range of up to 340 miles. Though an option with as little as 205 miles of range (on the stricter WLTP cycle) will be available for those wanting a cheaper car. And it says that the automaker will guarantee that the batteries will retain at least 70 percent of that capacity after eight years and 100,000 miles.

ALSO SEE: Volkswagen Previews Production I.D. Hatchback

Since Volkswagen expects half of charging to occur at home, the company is bringing a range of chargers to market as well. The home charging boxes will allow up to 11 kW which is enough to fully charge the car in a workday. Charge at a fast-charge station and the car can accept up to 320 miles of range in an hour.

Deliveries of the ID.3 are set to start in April of next year, with Volkswagen having taken around 20,000 pre-order deposits for the first 30,000 launch edition cars.


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Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List Tue, 07 May 2019 13:00:39 +0000 Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List
Our picks are affordable, reliable, safe, and even a bit cool. more]]>
best cars for teens

Are you a young driver in need of a new car or the parent of one that will be making the monthly payments? 

If so, you’re probably wondering what are the best new cars for teenage motorists. Well, any recommendations need to be safe, so we picked cars with Top Safety Pick or Top Safety Pick + ratings from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Affordability is also critical, as is reliability, efficiency, and even coolness. Anything we recommend can’t be a total snooze. Keeping all those important factors in mind, here are our picks for the best cars for teens.

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Honda Fit

2019 honda fit

The Honda Fit is a snap to maneuver, exceptionally efficient, and more versatile than some vehicles twice its size, thanks to that hatchback body and second-row Magic Seat. With a base price around $17,000, up to 40 miles per gallon highway, and good crash-test scores across the board from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, this car is a no-brainer. Oh, and for extra fun, they can even be had with a six-speed manual gearbox, which is great because we think it will help curb distracted driving.

Get New & Used Honda Fit Prices

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Least Reliable Cars

Toyota Corolla Hatchback

Nine Things to Know About the 2019 Toyota Corolla Hatchback

What is it that Toyota does better than practically any other automaker? Oh, that’s right, they make vehicles that last forever. With luck, the new Toyota Corolla Hatchback will provide decades of reliable service with minimal repairs. Versatile, stylish, and economical with a starting price around $20,000, this five-door just about does it all. And with 168 horsepower on tap, its performance isn’t too bad, either. Another bonus? It’s an IIHS Top Safety Pick.

Get New & Used Toyota Corolla Prices

Nissan Kicks

2019 Nissan Kicks SV Pros and Cons

Next up, a crossover, Nissan’s subcompact Kicks. One of this vehicle’s main advantages is its bargain-basement price, starting off around $19,000. But even though it’s exceedingly affordable, nothing about it feels flagrantly chintzy. The interior is reasonably nice, there’s plenty of cargo space and of course, the fuel economy is stellar, topping out at 36 MPG highway. Throw in good crash test scores and just 122 horsepower so no one can go too fast and it’s an ideal choice for teenage drivers.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Cheap AWD Cars and Crossovers


Get New & Used Nissan Kicks Prices

Hyundai Veloster

But if young motorists want something with a little more visual pizzazz than provided by the Kicks, Hyundai’s Veloster delivers. This asymmetrical hatchback looks cool yet is still reasonably practical. Three powertrains are offered, including a base 2.0-liter engine with 147 ponies, though a 1.6L turbo with much more giddy-up is also available, as is a high-performance N model with up to 275 horsepower. We’re going to recommend the base version, which starts at right around $19,500 with a six-speed manual transmission. Yes, an automatic is offered for an extra $1,000.

Get New & Used Hyundai Veloster Prices

Kia Forte

The Kia Forte is another excellent choice for youthful drivers. Not only does this compact sedan look great, but it also comes with an upscale interior and starts at right around $18,000. At that price, you get a standard eight-inch touchscreen, support for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, automatic emergency braking, lane-keeping assist and much more. The Forte even earned a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS, meaning it should perform well in practically every type of crash.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Most Reliable Cars


Get New & Used Kia Forte Prices

Mazda CX-3

2019 mazda cx-3

Our next recommendation is the Mazda CX-3, one of the most stylish and upscale small crossovers available today. Not only does it look and feel far more expensive than anything that starts at less than $22,000 should, but it’s also great to drive and is extremely safe. A 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides the motivation, delivering 148 horsepower. It’s matched to a six-speed automatic gearbox and standard front-wheel drive. Of course, for extra grip, four-corner traction is also on the menu.

ALSO SEE: Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks

Get New & Used Mazda CX-3 Prices

Subaru Impreza

The Subaru Impreza’s biggest selling feature is standard all-wheel drive, but that’s not all this small sedan or five-door hatch has going for it. An IIHS Top Safety Pick+ thanks to its superior front-crash prevention technology, excellent headlights, and all-around structural integrity, this Subaru is a jack-of-all-trades. A 2.0-liter boxer-four provides 152 ponies, while an available continuously variable transmission helps deliver up to 38 miles per gallon on the highway.

SEE ALSO: Why the Four-Cylinder Hybrid is the Best Powertrain in the Jeep Wrangler


Get New & Used Subaru Impreza Prices

Kia Soul

Another top choice for young drivers is the Kia Soul. A style-focused hatchback-crossover-thing, this segment-blurring icon has been totally redesigned for the 2020 model year. Not only does it look cool, but it’s also versatile, well-built, and offers loads of technology, like standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Most models of the Soul feature a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter engine, but you can also get a 1.6-liter turbo with 201 ponies. No matter what’s under the hood, this Kia is an excellent choice for teens.

Get New & Used Kia Soul Prices

Volkswagen Golf

The Volkswagen Golf has always been popular with young motorists, likely because it has cachet thanks to its buttoned-down looks and no-nonsense interior. Starting at around $22,000, this versatile VW gives you a lot for your money, like a 1.4-liter turbocharged engine with 147 horsepower. There’s also standard blind-spot monitoring and even forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking. But perhaps best of all, the Golf comes with a standard six-year/72,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty. It may not be as reliable as a Toyota, but that guarantee is tough to top.

SEE ALSO: 5 Fun, Low-Horsepower Cars


Get New & Used VW Golf Prices

Honda Civic

2019 Honda Civic Sedan Touring

But perhaps the best new car for young drivers is the Honda Civic. This nameplate has a long track record of dependable and economical service, providing transportation to millions of people around the world. It’s super safe, starts at about $20,000, sips fuel, drives well, offers lots of tech, and is even available in a wide range of flavors. You can get sedan, coupe, hatchback, sporty Si and ultra-high-performance Type R versions of the Civic, meaning there’s something there for practically everyone, even teens.

Get New & Used Honda Civic Prices

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Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks: 2019 Fri, 26 Apr 2019 13:38:42 +0000 Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks: 2019 Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks: 2019
Not a very popular vehicle type in North America, unfortunately. more]]>
There aren’t many all-wheel-drive hatchback vehicles on sale in North America these days.

After all, most consumers will just buy a crossover or SUV if they are in the market for a spacious vehicle with AWD. Many are willing to pay a little more and sacrifice a small amount of fuel economy in exchange for added capability, ride comfort, and a higher driving position, and it’s easy to see why. A small market still exists for sportier, compact all-wheel-drive hatches, however. Often more affordable than their crossover counterparts, an AWD hatchback is a good option for people who still want the extra confidence that four-wheel traction offers but don’t feel that they need something as tall as a crossover and want to save some money.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Station Wagons: 2019

In this list, we’ll count down our favorite all-wheel-drive hatchback vehicles on sale in North America. Like we mentioned previously, though, the list of all-wheel drive hatches on sale in the U.S. and Canada is exceedingly small, so we didn’t have a very large pool of vehicles to choose from in the first place. Consumers are beginning to value practicality and capability more and more, though, so perhaps this will change in the coming years.

Here are AutoGuide’s Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks for 2019.

Best AWD Hatchbacks

Mercedes-Benz A-Class Hatchback (Not Available in U.S.)

The Mercedes-Benz A-Class will only be sold as a sedan in the U.S. market, but Canadian consumers will have a choice between the sedan and the hatchback bodystyles. All-wheel drive is optional on this little German runabout (front-wheel drive is standard), which is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 221 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only available transmission.

When we drove the 2019 Mercedes-Benz A-Class, we said it the automaker had “completely rewritten the luxury compact car,” rulebook with the new entry into the segment. We particularly liked its technology, which is hard (if not impossible) to find at this price point elsewhere in the industry. It’s too bad this one isn’t available in the U.S.

Get New & Used Mercedes A-Class Prices

ALSO SEE: 2019 Mercedes A-Class: 7 Things to Love and 2 to Hate

Toyota Prius AWD

2019 Toyota Prius-AWD Toyota Prius

We’re kind of cheating by allowing the Toyota Prius AWD on this list. It’s more of a liftback than a hatchback, but Toyota really upped the appeal of the Prius by adding AWD for the 2019 model year, in our opinion, so we’re making a concession. AWD vehicles are also less efficient than two-wheel drive ones, but the Prius AWD is similarly efficient to the FWD model.

With this change, the Prius is now more of a realistic option for those living in Canada and northern parts of the U.S. This AWD system is a little different than a traditional one, consisting of a single electric motor on the rear axle that powers the rear wheels from zero to 6 mph for better acceleration and then up to speeds of 43 mph when slippage is detected.

Toyota says the Prius AWD is one of the most fuel-efficient AWD vehicles on sale in America — and it has a convenient liftback to boot. This is a hard package to fault, although the looks are still a bit questionable, don’t you think?

Get New & Used Toyota Prius Prices

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Practical Performance Vehicles

Volkswagen Golf R

What’s not to like about the VW Golf R? It has a 288-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive, and a six-speed manual transmission — all stuffed into a refined and practical hatchback package. There’s also an optional DSG seven-speed automatic transmission if that’s more up your alley. As the only performance-oriented vehicle on this list, it’s definitely a winner.

Don’t forget about the optional VW Spektrum exterior colors either, which consist of more than 40 different exterior body colors for the Golf R, including bold shades of green, pink, purple, yellow, blue and more.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Cheap AWD Cars and Crossovers

The only downside to the Golf R is that it’s the only Golf model with AWD and it’s also the range-topping Golf variant. That means you have to spend quite a bit of money to get AWD in VWs popular hatchback. Maybe that will change for the upcoming MK8 Golf.

Get New & Used VW Golf R Prices


The redesigned 2019 Mazda3 is available with optional all-wheel drive. The updated hatchback is powered by Mazda’s 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine, which makes 186 horsepower and 186 lb-ft of torque. The engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Sharp looks, a refined interior, and a slick 8.8-inch touchscreen also sweeten the deal.

It’s unclear if the optional SkyActiv-X spark controlled compression ignition gasoline engine, which promises to be ultra efficient and both fun-to-drive, will be offered with AWD in the Mazda3. It’s also not clear when the Skyactiv-X engine will arrive in the North America Mazda3, with the Japanese automaker electing to put it on sale in Europe first.

The only downside here is that you cannot get the Mazda3’s six-speed manual transmission with AWD.

Get New & Used Mazda3 Prices

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best AWD Coupes

Subaru Impreza

Completing our list is the Subaru Impreza. Until Mazda introduced AWD to the Mazda3, this was really the only true inexpensive, all-wheel-drive hatchback on sale in the United States and Canada.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Cars for Teens – The Short List

Powering the 2019 Subaru Impreza 5-door is a 2.0-liter naturally aspirated boxer engine, which is rated at 152 hp and 145 lb-ft. Subaru’s symmetrical all-wheel-drive system is standard, as is a five-speed manual transmission. A CVT automatic is also available as an option.

The Impreza is inexpensive, no-nonsense, practical and safe — all areas that we feel are important to buyers who are in the market for all-wheel drive hatchbacks. All of these qualities make it one of the best AWD hatchbacks you can buy.

Get New & Used Subaru Impreza Prices

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Most Expensive SUVs

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VW Debuts Small Pickup Concept to Gauge North American Interest Mon, 15 Apr 2019 14:33:41 +0000 VW Debuts Small Pickup Concept to Gauge North American Interest VW Debuts Small Pickup Concept to Gauge North American Interest
If you want a small VW pickup in North America, speak up. more]]>
The Volkswagen Tarok is making its North American debut at the New York Auto Show this week. And that’s a little unusual because the Brazilian pickup wasn’t really designed with us in mind.

Volkswagen says it wants to “gauge market reaction” to the compact pickup. At 193.5 inches long, the Tarok concept is smaller than the Tanoak concept we saw at New York a year ago.

That said, it’s still one of the largest vehicles on the MQB platform and it shares a few tricks in common with the Tanoak. Tricks like the folding back seats that allow the box to grow when cargo is more important than passenger volume.

At 193.5 inches long and 72 inches wide, though, it is a little smaller than the 214.1×79.9-inch Tanoak concept.

Volkswagen Tarok Concept

With a 9.2-inch infotainment system and a digital cockpit, the closer-to-production Tarok concept does at least have all the VW bells and whistles.

Under the hood, meanwhile, is a 1.4-liter turbo four that makes 147 hp and makes use of a 6-speed automatic transmission. Despite the diminutive engine, VW still says it has a payload of 2,271 lbs — which is more than the Chevy Colorado’s 1,500 lbs payload capacity.

Volkswagen Tarok Concept

With 4Motion all-wheel-drive, it should manage the softer stuff pretty well, too. It has an approach angle of 23.8 degrees, a departure angle of 26.4 degrees, and a breakover angle of 22.1 degrees.

Again, as it stands, VW doesn’t seem sure about whether or not it will sell this vehicle in the U.S. More likely, it’s gauging how people react to a more realistic small pickup to see if a VW-badged pickup (probably on a Ford chassis) piques the interest of the American market.


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VW Reserves ‘Power Hybrid’ Name – Along With a Bunch of Other Hybrid Badges Thu, 04 Apr 2019 12:06:33 +0000 VW Reserves ‘Power Hybrid’ Name – Along With a Bunch of Other Hybrid Badges VW Reserves ‘Power Hybrid’ Name – Along With a Bunch of Other Hybrid Badges
What could these be used for? more]]>
Volkswagen just filed to reserve a bunch of interesting hybrid and electric vehicle-related badges with the European Intellectual Property Office.

One of the most interesting of these badges is the one that seems performance-related: Power Hybrid. It’s not clear what exactly VW is planning to do with the Power Hybrid name (if anything at all) but another name it filed to reserve, ‘Range Hybrid’, may provide some insight. If a Power Hybrid uses the electric portion of its powertrain to deliver more performance, then we assume a Range Hybrid would be focused on efficiency.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Home EV Chargers

VW also called dibs on the name ‘Pure Hybrid’. We’re not sure what this could be for, as ‘Pure’ doesn’t have the same obvious meaning as ‘Power’ or ‘Range’ – but perhaps this badge would be used on a hybrid vehicle that aims to deliver a balance between performance and fuel efficiency/driving range. VW claimed the rights to the ‘Range’ and ‘Range S’ badges in the EU at the same time as well, which are also rather ambiguous.

For what it’s worth, all of these trademarks were filed under trademark classifications reserved for “electric batteries for vehicles; electric accumulators for vehicles; chargers for electric batteries,” and “motor vehicles; automobiles; driverless vehicles; motors and drives for land vehicles; electric vehicles and electric motors for land vehicles.”

Volkswagen ID Crozz
These would all make terrible standalone vehicle names, so it seems more likely that they will instead be used to denote VW’s hybrid vehicles with certain plug-in powertrain types. For example, a future Golf plug-in may be offered as an efficiency-focused ‘Range Hybrid’ or a sportier ‘Power Hybrid’. The names could even apply to driving modes. Again, we’re just spitballing ideas here. Who really knows what VW has planned for these names?

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Winners and Losers from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show – The Short List Mon, 11 Mar 2019 14:40:36 +0000 Winners and Losers from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show – The Short List Winners and Losers from the 2019 Geneva Motor Show – The Short List
Another Geneva Motor Show is in the rear-view mirror, which means it’s time for us to start making fun of all the stuff we didn’t like. Accordingly, here’s our obligatory list of winners and losers, a specially curated selection of vehicles hand picked by the staff. For a little extra balance, we’ve also included... more]]>
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Another Geneva Motor Show is in the rear-view mirror, which means it’s time for us to start making fun of all the stuff we didn’t like.

Accordingly, here’s our obligatory list of winners and losers, a specially curated selection of vehicles hand picked by the staff. For a little extra balance, we’ve also included a few undecided options.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Geneva Motor Coverage

WINNER: Vanquish Vision Concept


Aston Martin is firing on all cylinders, debuting a trio of design studies in Switzerland. Arguably the coolest of the bunch is this, the Vanquish Vision Concept. Despite the McLaren-esque proportions, it previews the British Brand’s first mid-engine production model. In typical fashion, it features an aluminum structure, but what’s not expected for Aston Martin is the power source, a turbocharged and hybridized V6.

ALSO SEE: Aston Martin Unveils Three Stunning New Concept Cars

WINNER: Honda e Prototype

Next up, something at the opposite end of the spectrum. Honda’s e Prototype hints at the Japanese brand’s first battery-electric production vehicle. An urban runabout, it offers a driving range of 200-kilometers – about 125 miles – and can be charged to 80 percent capacity in as little as 30 minutes. Unusual for a Honda, this car is rear-wheel drive. The production model is slated to debut later this year as a 2020 model, possibly at the Frankfurt Motor Show.

WINNER: Alfa Romeo Tonale

crossovers, Crossovers, CROSSOVERS! The world just can’t get enough of these things. Helping satiate demand, Alfa Romeo unveiled a new premium compact SUV in Geneva. Smaller than their acclaimed Stelvio, Tonale is the Italian brand’s first plug-in hybrid. Basically, zero details about its drivetrain have been shared at this time, but it promises best-in-segment dynamics, which we’d expect it to deliver. With classic styling and a sweeping interior, it at least looks like a winner.

WINNER: Bugatti La Voiture Noire

Bugatti la voiture noire

Now for what was perhaps the star of this year’s Geneva show, a mega-pricey, one-off creation from Bugatti. Called La Voiture Noire, which translates rather fittingly to “the black car,” this creation was clearly inspired by Darth Vader, or the legendary Type 57 SC Atlantic. Your pick…

Power is provided by a 16-cylinder engine that delivers about 1,500 horses. This one-of-one grand-tourer sold for nearly $13 million. Whoever bought it can sleep soundly at night knowing that nobody else is going to roll in in a La Voiture Noire at their local cars and coffee.


Shifting gears, let’s focus on a few of Geneva’s UNDECIDED reveals. And the new Mazda CX-30 crossover is a bit of a head-scratcher. Size-wise, it’s intended to slot between the CX-3 and CX-5 models. But this raises a couple questions: One, why do they need a vehicle sandwiched in the middle of these two offerings? And two, shouldn’t it just be called CX-4? On the plus side, this thing is beautifully styled and will likely be brilliant to drive.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Best Engines of 2019

UNDECIDED: Subaru Viziv Concept

The Subaru Viziv Adrenaline Concept is yet another installment of the automaker’s Viziv range of design studies. It showcases the bolder, more exciting direction Subaru styling is supposedly heading. While we certainly wouldn’t call it ugly, neither is it breathtaking. Of course, since this is a concept, powertrain, pricing and other details are unknown, but we’d still bet this is an early look at the next-generation Crosstrek. Your thoughts?


The last UNDECIDED vehicle on this list is the Volkswagen ID BUGGY concept. A battery-powered dune-hopper, it demonstrates what the company can do with its advanced MEB electric-vehicle architecture. This thing’s got a 62 kWh battery and a 201-horsepower motor, both of which can deliver 62 miles an hour in as little as 7.2 seconds. The ID BUGGY is kind of cool, and there are rumblings they’ll actually build it, but we shall see if it makes it to production without being completely watered down.

LOSER: Imagine by Kia

Moving on to the LOSERS, we start with the Imagine by Kia concept, which may have the worst name of the entire Geneva show. Predictably, it’s an all-electric design study that vaguely resembles a crossover. It’s got a six-layer paint job, 22-inch wheels and even a continuous piece of glass that forms both the windshield and roof. Upping the ridiculousness, it’s gussied up with 21 individual screens inside, like someone shuffled a stack of smartphones. According to the press release it’s “designed to get your pulse racing.” Yeah, OK.

SEE ALSO: 2019 Detroit Auto Show Winners and Losers — The Short List

LOSER: Ginetta Akula

With supercars, you expect certain design flair, but the Ginetta Akula is just too friggin’ weird. This thing’s got more gills than a school of sardines! Unsurprisingly for an exotic, it’s made of carbon fiber and features a mid-mounted engine. It also brandishes 600 horsepower and can hit 200 miles an hour. Aside from the design, there’s another BIG downside. It costs more than half-a-million dollars.

LOSER: Smart Forease+

And the last LOSER we’ve got here is the Smart Forease+, which made its official debut in Geneva. If you remember back to the Paris show last fall, the automaker revealed a concept called the Forease. Well, this is essentially the same thing but with a removable roof. It’s kind of like microwaving leftovers, right?

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VW FighteR Trademark Evidence of a New High-Performance Volkswagen Tue, 05 Mar 2019 14:17:54 +0000 VW FighteR Trademark Evidence of a New High-Performance Volkswagen VW FighteR Trademark Evidence of a New High-Performance Volkswagen
Last summer, VW said it was looking at introducing a high-performance electric vehicle under its R banner. more]]>
VW has filed a trademark application with the European Intellectual Property Office to reserve the name ‘FighteR’ for use on automobiles.

The most interesting part about this trademark is the capital ‘R’ – likely a reference to VW’s line of high-performance R models. It seems as though the VW FighteR name, if it ever sees the light of day, will appear on performance car of some sort, then.

Last summer, VW said it was looking at introducing a high-performance electric vehicle under its R banner. The timeline is still murky due to the ever-evolving state of batteries and electric motors, but its arrival seems inevitable given VW’s commitment to EVs.

Crucial to the development of VW’s electric motors and batteries is the VW ID R, a purpose-built time attack race car that blitzed the outright course record at Pikes Peaks last year. Jost Capito, the boss of VW’s R division, told Autocar in an interview last year that the ID R was a “demonstration of what the ID family will be and what R will be in an electric future.”

“Our idea was to convince people that electric cars are not boring,” Capito said. “They can be very emotional – and we’ve proven that.”

In a separate interview with AutoExpress, VW’s sales and marketing boss Jürgen Stackmann dropped more hints on the R brand’s EV future, saying it is “going extreme.”

ALSO SEE: 2019 Subaru Forester vs Volkswagen Tiguan Comparison

“With a little more expressive design, R can go beyond the rational side of things,” he said. “It can find its place in a different league of pure performance and there’s a space where customers are willing to pay a significant amount of money.”

The next big challenge for the engineers within VW’s R division will come this summer, when the automaker will attempt to break the lap record for electric vehicles at the Nürburgring with ID R. The current record holder for fully-electric vehicles is the NIO EP9, which lapped the 12.9-mile track in just 6:45.90 minutes in the hands of racing driver Peter Dumbreck.

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VW Debuts Off-Roady 200-HP Electric Dune Buggy Concept Mon, 04 Mar 2019 19:30:33 +0000 VW Debuts Off-Roady 200-HP Electric Dune Buggy Concept VW Debuts Off-Roady 200-HP Electric Dune Buggy Concept
This looks like fun! more]]>
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Volkswagen has taken the wraps off its latest retro electric concept and this one takes its cues from the Meyers Manx. Named the I.D. BUGGY for obvious reasons, the concept comes sans roof with waterproof upholstery, and with 200 hp going to the back wheels.

Designed for short trips, the I.D. BUGGY sits on a 160-inch long version of the MEB platform. While, along with the short overhangs that should give it some off-road chops, it does also mean that it’ll only have about 155 miles of range (according to WLTP testing, so even less in EPA testing).

While the size of the two-seater may not allow for much more range, the I.D. BUGGY will have the option of another motor up front to give you all-wheel-drive, unlike the old-school dune buggies.

ALSO SEE: 2019 Subaru Forester vs Volkswagen Tiguan Comparison

To protect your undercarriage off-road, VW has fitted some aluminum underbody guards and side sills. Tow hooks have also been fitted in case the going gets a little too muddy.

Good for a 0-62-mph sprint of 7.2 seconds, the I.D. BUGGY is limited to a top speed of 99 mph. And if that takes you a little too far from home when the weather turns, you don’t have to worry.

All of the upholstery is waterproof. And while the concept has only two seats, VW hastens to add that another pair of seats could be added if the aftermarket so wishes.

That’s actually a surprisingly big part of VW’s pitch here. Not unlike the original Meyers Manx, the body is effectively just bolted on. The brand argues that the chassis can easily be isolated and that fiberglass (or whatever) bodies could easily be manufactured by the aftermarket to make all sorts of vehicles. Which is pretty dang cool.

Despite being deliberately minimalistic inside, the BUGGY is still a futuristic EV, so VW couldn’t help fitting a few neat features. For instance, it greets you with a written “Hey you” as you enter the car, meaning that a machine can finally treat you like an acquaintance who has forgotten your name. The future is truly here!

Just when, or indeed if, the production version of the I.D. BUGGY arrives is unknown at this point, but VW proved that it will put funky classics into production if the world thinks they’re cool enough with the BUZZ. Regardless, the concept of coachbuilding bodies for the new MEB chassis has us interested.

ALSO SEE: Volkswagen and Ford Working Together on Pickups, EVs and Vans

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Top 10 Practical Performance Vehicles Fri, 01 Mar 2019 13:00:09 +0000 Top 10 Practical Performance Vehicles Top 10 Practical Performance Vehicles
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Top 10 Practical Perforance Cars Main Art

This post was updated for 2019

Let’s say you’ve got an insatiable appetite for speed but you also have other responsibilities like three kids, a golden retriever, volunteer work on weekends and other domestic duties.

We hear you loud and clear and feel your pain. But just because you need sensible transportation doesn’t mean you have to completely sacrifice performance at the altar of practicality. Oh no…

SEE ALSO: 10 Sports Cars the Civic Type R Beat Around the Nürburgring

There are actually plenty of highly entertaining vehicles on the market right now that are guaranteed to put a smile on your face, one so lasting that you can go for a drive on Monday and still have a grin for the rest of the week. These models span the market from luxury vehicles to family sedans, SUVs to pickup trucks; some of them are even quite affordable, but others not so much.

Dodge Charger Hellcat

One of the easiest recommendations we can make is the Charger Hellcat. This full-size sedan packs the heat of two fully operational nuclear reactors, well, maybe not that much power, but its supercharged 6.2-liter Hemi is an absolute beast. This Dodge has 707 horses on tap but that’s not its only parlor trick. It also comes with four doors, a spacious back seat and 16.5 cubic feet of luggage space. With a base price around 68 grand, how do you argue?

ALSO SEE: Top 5 Best AWD Hatchbacks: 2019

Mercedes-AMG E63 S Wagon


But let’s say you need even more luxury and interior space than a Hellcat can offer. Well, Chrysler’s old partner turned ruinous overlord is happy to oblige. The Mercedes-AMG E63 S wagon is as fast as it is practical thanks to a zero-to-60 time of 3.4 seconds and more than 64 cubic feet of cargo space. Delivering that explosive performance is a 4.0-liter bi-turbo V8 that puts out 603 hp and 627 lb-ft of twist. It’s paired with a special nine-speed automatic transmission that provides maximum acceleration. All told, this car is roomy enough that you could start a jug band and go on tour across the country. Base price is around $110,000.

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Subaru WRX STI


Of course, not everyone can afford to drop 100 G’s on a new ride. Fortunately, there are some practical and attainable performance cars on the market today. One such model is the Subaru WRX STI. This small sedan starts around $38,000 and serves up an energetic 310 ponies and 290 pound-feet of torque from its 2.5-liter turbocharged boxer engine. It also features a standard with a six-speed manual transmission. Upping its versatility factor, this car comes with Subaru’s famous Symmetrical All-Wheel-Drive system, which means the WRX STI is ready for just about any kind of driving.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Station Wagons: 2019

Volkswagen Golf R


Arguably even more practical than the boxer-brandishing STI is Volkswagen’s Golf R. This hot little compact is graced with a commodious hatchback body, one that endows it with a metric ton of interior space, or more specifically around 53 cubic feet of junk-ingesting room. Beyond that, it’s powered by a 288-horsepower, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that’s matched to either a six-speed manual gearbox or a lightning-fast seven-ratio automatic. Like the Subaru, torque is routed to all four corners for maximum grip. Throw in subtle design, a premium interior and lots of features and it’s easy to fall for this VW. Base price is around 41 grand.

Jeep Grand Cherokee Trackhawk


All-wheel drive is all well and good, but some people need serious off-road capability and that’s something these systems cannot deliver. For true mud-slinging, a Jeep is just about perfect, but not just any model. How about one that’s as competent on the racetrack as it is on the Rubicon trail? The brand’s Grand Cherokee Trackhawk  features the same 707-horsepower supercharged 6.2-liter V8 as in the Charger Hellcat. Predictably, it’s bolted to an eight-speed automatic gearbox. What other vehicle offers nearly 70 cubic feet of cargo volume and can hit 60 miles an hour can in just 3.5 seconds? Base price is roughly $87,000.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Top 15 Best AWD Sports Cars

Ford F-150 Raptor


But sometimes you need an open bed, which the Grand Cherokee cannot offer unless you’re skilled with a reciprocating saw. Eliminating the need to slice and dice is the Ford Raptor. This ground-pounding pickup is certifiably badass, with copious ground clearance, dedicated hardware and the power to back it all up. Under the hood, it features a high-output 3.5-liter EcoBoost V6 that delivers 450 ponies and 510 pound-feet of torque, all of which is routed to the wheels through an efficient 10-speed automatic transmission. All told, this SVT F-150 is fast, tough and extremely desirable.

Tesla Model X

Plenty of people have a bone to pick with Tesla for one reason or another. Still, throngs of others are devoted to this automaker with religious-like fervor. Is the firm failing or does it deserve mountains of praise? Like most things in life, the answer is somewhere in between. Sure, the company has made some curious missteps over the years but it’s also working to revolutionize transportation in a way we haven’t seen in a century or more. At the tip of this thrust into the future, Tesla offers well-heeled drivers a vehicle that’s both reasonably practical and stupendously fast. They’ve built a crossover that can hit 60 miles an hour in less than three seconds yet still has enough room for the entire family. The Model X is equal parts utility vehicle and scud missile, an impressively swift product with an emissions-free driving range of around 290 miles.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best AWD Coupes

Audi RS 7 Performance

The Audi RS 7 is a German delight, especially in hopped-up Performance trim. It features a 4.0-liter, twin-turbocharged V8, a highly advanced powerplant matched to an eight-speed self-shifting gearbox and Quattro all-wheel drive. All told it’s packing more heat than Mexican drug cartels, 605 horses to be precise. This “four-door coupe” can seat four adult passengers in reasonable comfort and hold a fair amount of stuff thanks to its lift-back rear end. But perhaps best of all it drives amazingly well, looks gorgeous and can hit 60 miles an hour in as little as 3.6 seconds. Base price is around $130,000 so, unfortunately, you may have to sell drugs in order to afford one.

ALSO SEE: The Best Performance Tires and Why You Need Them

Porsche Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo


The Porsche Panamera is a big car with a long wheelbase and generous back seat. But just because it’s of the larger persuasion doesn’t mean it can’t thrill the driver. In Turbo Sport Turismo guise, it’s unusually spacious, with up to 49 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk. Underhood resides a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that delivers 550 horsepower and 567 pound-feet of torque. Allied with an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission it can hit 60 miles an hour in as little as 3.4 seconds. Top speed is 188. Base price for the Panamera Turbo Sport Turismo is about $155,000.


Providing speed, style and reasonable amounts of space, BMW’s X6 M seems to have it all. A 4.4-liter twin-turbo V8 delivers 567 hp and 553 lb-ft of torque. Harnessing that goodness is an eight-speed M Sport automatic transmission. Despite a husky curb weight, the X6 M can rocket from zero to 60 in about four seconds flat.

ALSO SEE: Top 10 Best Diesel Cars You Can Buy in the US – The Short List

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Miss Our Live Tour of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show? Watch it Here Mon, 11 Feb 2019 16:32:13 +0000 Miss Our Live Tour of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show? Watch it Here Miss Our Live Tour of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show? Watch it Here
We visit all the best new vehicle debuts from the 2019 Chicago Auto Show. more]]>
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Join Craig Cole and special guest George Notaras from MotoManTV as they tour the floor of the 2019 Chicago Auto Show to see all of the most important vehicle reveals up close.

They visit the 2020 Subaru Legacy, Mazda MX-5 Miata 30th Anniversary, Ford Super Duty, Chevrolet Silverado HD, Volkswagen Jetta GLI, Nissan Rogue Sport and many, many more.

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New Volkswagen GLI Debuts with GTI and Golf R Parts Thu, 07 Feb 2019 16:06:27 +0000 New Volkswagen GLI Debuts with GTI and Golf R Parts New Volkswagen GLI Debuts with GTI and Golf R Parts
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Volkswagen unveiled the new Jetta GLI today at the Chicago Auto Show. With new looks, new limited-slip diff, the GTI’s engine, and brakes from the Golf R, the new GLI looks like a stunner.

There’s also a 35th Anniversary edition that should be even quicker than the standard GLI.

An all-new Jetta arrived last year, with lots more interior space and new high-tech features. What was missing was the sporting version. The 1.4L turbo four wasn’t a slug, but it was certainly not a GLI. It starts with the EA888 TSI 2.0L turbo four. Variable valve timing on both sides of the cylinder and variable lift on the exhaust means 228 hp on premium gas and 258 lb-ft of torque. That’s 18 more horses than the last GLI and a whopping 41 more torques.

That power will be sent to the front wheels through a seven-speed DSG that also adds a start/stop feature to save fuel when you’re waiting impatiently for a green light. Don’t worry, that’s the optional box. A six-speed stick is standard, though it won’t get the start-stop.

Making sure both front wheels are spinning, the GLI gets the GTI’s VAQ Haldex-clutch limited-slip front differential. There’s a variable ratio steering rack fitted, too.

ALSO SEE: 2019 Volkswagen Jetta vs Nissan Kicks: Is a Sedan Better than a Crossover?

While the standard Jetta uses a torsion-beam rear suspension, the GLI adds a multi-link independent setup. The car is 0.6 inches lower than the standard Jetta, with what VW calls a sport suspension.

Look inside the 18-inch alloys and you’ll see some great big brakes. 13.4-inch rotors up front, snapped up from the Golf R parts bin (and yes, the GTI bin too, but that doesn’t sound as impressive).

There are four driving modes that adjust the steering, the throttle, and even the front differential. Custom lets you Goldilocks your Jetta to make it just right, or there’s Normal, Sport, and Eco modes.

Letting you know you’re looking at a GLI are standard LED headlights and a black honeycomb grille. And you had better believe there’s a red stripe on that nose. Out back there’s a new spoiler and a GLI-specific bumper with a finned diffuser and a pair of exhaust tips.

Inside, there’s lots of red trim to brighten up the black interior. Stitching on the wheel, shifter, armrests, and even the floor mats. There’s red stitching on the sport seats too, with the base cloth getting grey piping and the perforated leather of the Autobahn trim getting more red. There’s a 10-color wrap-around ambient lighting system too.

Other creature comforts include heated seats, auto headlights, keyless access with push-button start. And the App-Connect system supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Add-on features include the VW Digital Cockpit display with special GLI graphics, a 400-watt BeatsAudio stereo, Car-Net connected services, a second USB port, ventilated seats, and a remote start.

Standard safety bits include forward collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, blind spot monitoring, rear traffic alert, and post-collision braking.

Ok, now we’ve maybe saved the best for last. The 35th Anniversary model. And it’s definitely come a long way since the 90-hp 1.8L GLI of 1984.

The 35th special gets unique black wheels with a red stripe, a black roof and mirrors, plus special 35th badges. Inside, it has special seat tags, floor mats, and sill plates. Oh yeah, we said it’s probably quicker, too.

That’s because it gets DCC adaptive dampers. The electrically controlled dampers that can let the car adapt almost instantly to changing road conditions, but still improve the ride. It lets the driver control the dampers via the driving modes plus adds a Comfort mode to the selections.

The Jetta will arrive as a 2019 model this spring, available as base, Autobahn, and 35th Anniversary.

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