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Volkswagen XL1 – Most Fuel Efficient Car – 261mpg!

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About 20 American journalists and analysts had a chance to drive the Volkswagen XL1 at the Autostadt near Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany.  Only 20 of the planned 250 vehicles have been completed to date and five were on hand for our drives.  A Volkswagen engineer guided each drive through Wolfsburg and even included a short autobahn blast hitting the car’s top speed limited to 160kmh (about 99mph).

261 MPG! The XL1 is very special.  First, it looks totally cool and highly aerodynamic.  Volkswagen has been developing a car to achieve the European objective of 1 liter of fuel consumed per 100 kilometers driven for over a decade now.  This equates to 238mpg using United States gallons.  The XL1 actually beats this.  It gets 0.9L/100km fuel efficiency (about 261mpg!). With its 10L (2.6-gallons) fuel tank this translates to a cruising range of over 600-miles on a tank of diesel.

How does it do this?  A combination of small size, great aerodynamics (Cd=0.189), plug-in-hybrid 2-cylinder turbo-diesel powertrain and a carbon fiber body that weighs only 197lbs.  To save weight, VW forgoes an on-board charger – at least for the first 50 in their production run.  Adding an on-board charger (which would allow the car to be charged at a public charge station rather than a dedicated charger likely in someone’s garage) would add 8kg (about 18lbs) to the weight of the car.  VW is considering adding a charger to the last 200 of the vehicles.

Staggered Seating The seating package uses a trick out of the smart fortwo design.  The seat in the two passenger car are staggered with the passenger seated slightly to the rear of the driver so shoulders won’t touch.  The XL1 certainly is not spacious, but for a hyper-miler it may be just the ticket.  Seeing the XL1 out in traffic reinforces just how small the car has to get to achieve such great fuel consumption.  It is tiny.  It is about an inch lower than a Lamborghini – and those come up about to your waist.  In traffic, it is dwarfed by other cars – even the small VW Polo and Lupo models driving around Wolfsburg.  To its credit, and for better aerodynamics, the rear of the body is lengthened and yields a trunk of 4.2 cubic feet – about twice the size of the first generation Mazda Miata.

Advanced Powertrain The XL1 is a rear engine, rear wheel drive car.  The diesel is hard-mounted just behind the passenger compartment.  Given that location it is very obvious when the diesel kicks in.  At least in the early models, NVH (noise, vibration and harshness) is sacrificed to achieve a total weight of 1723 pounds.  The diesel is relatively noisy and with only two cylinders it vibrates quite a bit.  The 5.5kw battery pack is mounted in front of the driver and on electric-only power the car will go 31 miles.  XL1 uses a DSG (automatic) transmission from VW’s new MQB platform.  If you really step on it, the XL1 will achieve a 0-60mph time of 12.7 seconds.  With no power steering, the rear engined car is a bit heavy feeling but not objectionable.

Rear View Cameras – a Bit Uncomfortable Probably the most uncomfortable part of driving XL1 is rear visibility.  VW has received an exemption from the EU to use rear view cameras instead of outside rear view mirrors.  The viewing screens are mounted in the door trim panels just forward of the armrests.  You have to look down left or right to see the traffic behind you.  Takes a bit to get used to the design.  You never really know where the traffic is in your blind spot.


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VW Passat – AutoPacific’s 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award Winner

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Passat Edges Out Kia Optima for IVA Win: The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat comes closest to the ideal of any Premium Mid-Size Car.  The Passat edges out the Kia Optima by six points to win its class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Passat owners rate these characteristics ideal:  exterior size, passenger roominess and cargo space.  Each of these is a size- or space-related attribute showing that Volkswagen aimed the Passat directly at the sweet spot Americans love – lots of space.  Eighty-percent or more of Passat owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  interior lighting, wheels, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling, power and acceleration and safety features.

The Volkswagen Passat also was Best In Class in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.

A Few Shortfalls – Some Could Have Been Corrected by Selecting Available Options: About 32% want more or better infotainment and entertainment technology.  About 30% want the Passat to be easier to get into and out of.  About 30% want more interior storage compartments than now.  About 26% want more daring exterior styling than the Passat presently has.  About 26% want more power and acceleration.  While the visibility from the Passat is pretty good, 21% of its owners want better driver’s seat visibility.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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VW Golf – Wins AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award for Compact Cars

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AutoPacific’s Ideal Vehicle Award (IVA) recognizes the vehicle that best hits the target its buyers demand.  Winning an IVA shows the product planners, engineers and designers of the manufacturer understand what their target customers want and have created the vehicle to best meet their demands.

Golf Edges Kia Forte for IVA Win: The 2012 Volkswagen Golf comes closest to the ideal of any Compact Car.  The Golf edges out the second place Kia Forte by 21 rating points to win this highly competitive class.   Having eighty-percent or more of owners rating a characteristic ideal is outstanding.  Achieving a score of ninety-percent is even more impressive.  Ninety-percent or more of Golf owners rate exterior size, interior lighting, passenger roominess, exterior styling, driver’s seat comfort, ride and handling and safety features ideal.  Eighty-percent or more of Golf owners find these additional characteristics ideal:  cargo space, wheels and tires.

A Few Shortfalls – Most are Related to Size and Style, but Infotainment can be Improved. About 35% of Golf owners want the car to be easier to get into and out of.  Going hand-in-hand with ingress/egress, about 26% of the owners want better driver’s seat visibility.  This may be due to the Golf’s high mix of 3-door hatchbacks that have a longer door, tougher rear seat access and a thick C-Pillar restricting visibility.  About 32% want more interior storage compartments.  While 20% want better infotainment technology, about 12% want the technology in the car to be easier to use.

You can find an Autobytel review of this IVA award winner at  http://www.autobytel.com/auto-news/awards/consumer-s-ideal-cars-revealed-in-2012-iva-awards-112116/

For a complete summary of all AutoPacific 2012 Ideal Vehicle Award results contact karin.turner@vehiclevoice.com and title your email “IVA Results”.  A copy of the results will be emailed to you within 48-hours.


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2012 VW Passat Most Satisfying Premium Mid-Size Car

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Best In Class 2012 Premium Mid-Size Car:  Volkswagen Passat

2012 Volkswagen Passat Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

The top satisfying Premium Mid-Size Car is the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat.  That Volkswagen can pull off this feat in its first year of an all-new design of a car assembled in an all-new assembly plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee is remarkable.  It normally takes a couple of years to fine tune the process.  The owners of the new Passat gave the car class-leading satisfaction ratings in 21 of 48 attributes that contribute to AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award including:  Overall Satisfaction, Exterior Size, Ease of Getting In and Out, Seating Capacity, Rear Seat Comfort, Flexible Seating, Cargo Space, Ease of Unloading Cargo, Image, Power and Acceleration, Fuel Economy, Quality Feeling Controls, Brand of Audio System, Interior Lighting, Environmental Friendliness, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, Safety Rating, Use of Recyclable Materials, Advanced Powertrain Technology, and Range.  With a possible high score of 5.0 on each of 48 characteristics, Passat owners rated the car over 4.6 rating points on:  Overall Satisfaction, Exterior Size, Seating Capacity, Reliable/Dependable, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Ratings, and Safety Features.  The owners were least satisfied in Tire Brand, Size and Appearance and Collision Avoidance Technology.  That Volkswagen can add Passat’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award to its trophy case along side the Motor Trend 2012 Car of the Year Award is an impressive feat for an all-new car.


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2012 VW GTi Most Satisfying Premium Compact Car

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Best in Class 2012 Premium Compact Car:  Volkswagen GTi

2012 Volkswagen GTi Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the Volkswagen GTi give the car top satisfaction marks in its class.  GTi owners gave the GTi top satisfaction ratings for 29 of the 48 attributes contributing to AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research, including:  Exterior Size, Seating Capacity, Rear Seat Comfort, Flexible Seating, Cargo Space (GTi is a hatchback), Ease of Loading Cargo, Image, Vehicle’s Reputation, Interior Styling, Feel of Interior Fabrics and Materials, Power and Acceleration, Braking, Handling, Fun to Drive, Reliable/Dependable, Ride, Controls Easy to Understand, Controls Have Quality Feel, Instrument Layout, Cupholder Design and Size, Tire Brand, Size and Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Infotainment Technology, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, Safety Rating, Overall Quality, Price, and Collision Avoidance Technology.  With a possible high of 5.0 rating points on each of the 48 characteristics, GTi owners rate the car at 4.6 rating points or higher on:  Exterior Size, Seating Capacity, Image, Vehicle’s Reputation, Interior Styling, Power and Acceleration, Braking, Handling, Fun to Drive (4.95 – almost perfect), Reliable Dependable, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety features, Safety Ratings, Overall Quality.  The lowest ratings are for Environmental Friendliness, Recyclability and Interior Storage.  Clearly owners perceive the GTi to be a very safe car with great dynamics at a reasonable price.


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2012 VW Beetle Most Satisfying Compact Car

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Best In Class 2012 Compact Car:  Volkswagen Beetle

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the all-new Volkswagen Beetle give the car  top ratings in twenty of forty-eight attributes in AutoPacific’s Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  Owners of the Beetle gave top ratings for: Exterior Size, Image, Vehicle’s Reputation, Exterior Styling, Interior Styling, Feel of Interior Fabrics and Materials, Power and Acceleration, Braking, Handling, Fun to Drive, Reliable/Dependable, Controls Have a Quality Feel and Operation, Instrument Layout, Brand of Audio System, Tire Brand/Size/Appearance, Wheel Size and Style, Dealership Experience and Price.  With a possible high score of 5.0 on each attribute, Beetle owners gave the Beetle a rating of 4.6 or higher on:  Overall Satisfaction, Exterior Size, Image, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Interior Styling, Power and Acceleration, Braking, Handling, Fun to Drive, Reliable/Dependable, and Overall Quality.  The owners of the Beetle give the car high marks for characteristics that enhance their driving involvement and also make the car “new” just by glancing at it.  Volkswagen deserves an “Outstanding” rating in its remake of the iconic New Beetle from a decade ago.


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2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Most Satisfying Compact Crossover SUV

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Best In Class 2012 Compact Crossover SUV:  Volkswagen Tiguan

2012 VW Tiguan Wins AutoPacific Vehicle Satisfaction Award

Owners of the 2012 Volkswagen Tiguan Compact Crossover SUV give the vehicle top ratings in sixteen of forty-eight categories in AutoPacific’s 2012 Vehicle Satisfaction Award research.  Owners give the Tiguan top ratings for:  Seating Capacity, Flexible Seating, Vehicle’s Reputation, Interior Styling, Interior Materials, Quality Feeling of Controls, Brand of Audio System, Visibility, Cupholders, Tire Size/Brand/Appearance, Environmental Friendliness, Infotainment Technology, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, Safety Ratings, Overall Quality and Durability.  With a maximum score of 5.0 satisfaction rating points, a score of 4.5 or higher is considered very good.  Tiguan owners rated their vehicle at 4.5 or higher in:  Overall Satisfaction, Seating Capacity, Vehicle’s Reputation, Brand’s Reputation, Exterior Color, Exterior Styling, Interior Styling, Interior Materials, Handling, Fun to Drive, Reliability, Visibility, Feeling Safe While Driving, Safety Features, Safety Ratings and Overall Quality.  There are five ratings under 4.0 satisfaction rating points:  Cargo Space, Fuel Economy, Cruising Range, Recyclability and Collision Avoidance Technology.  This is a very strong performance by Tiguan showing VW’s strengths in interior and exterior styling and materials selection are clearly appreciated by its owner group.


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2012 VW Passat: How to Enjoy 140 Horsepower

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When was the last time you can honestly say that you’ve driven a full-size car with 140 horsepower and it has been more than adequate?  Maybe the 1986 Ford Taurus with the venerable Vulcan V6?  Well, I was given the opportunity for some seat time with a 2012 Passat TDI clean diesel and it is Volkswagen’s newest sedan to hit American soil, err, actually be built on American soil.  While the styling may not be anything to get excited about at first glance; like a jelly donut, it’s what is inside that counts.


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2011 VW Eos: A Drop Top GTI for Guys? Almost.

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There are a few Volkswagen models that seem to resonate highly with women.  One was the ‘New Beetle’ that was an instant hit.  Maybe it was the flower pot?  Maybe it was the cartoonish styling?  The second was the Volkswagen Cabrio.  I hate to stereotype here but I’m going to.  The Cabrio was a chick’s car.  An anemic powertrain and powder puff looks had me thinking back to the last time I rode in one in college.  Oh and that picnic basket look was just a major eyesore.  Urban Dictionary even calls the Cabrio the Bitch Basket.  It was embarrassing, noisy, and not something I wanted an encore of.  So, is the Eos an improvement over the defunct Cabrio with better styling, powertrain, and design or is the Eos still the flagship for the feminist movement?  Let’s find out…

Posted in: Volkswagen

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Over Twenty-One Million Served

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In car design, the redesign of an icon is always a challenge. The 2012 beetle, in showrooms this October, will be a test of just how far styling changes and overall sophistication can take a vehicle that’s original appeal was its retro character.


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