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Archive for August, 2015

New York City residents gazed at the shiny bronze Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept car but didn’t know it at the time – but actually the real truth is that beefy-looking Beetle was running on a hybrid system not currently offered in the Beetle.

The message was loud and clear, as articulated by a number of VW executives supervising the test drive: Volkswagen is going to introduce more hybrid offerings in the near future.

Still, the powertrain of the current VW Jetta Hybrid–sold in small volumes at present–is a sensible decision in another vehicle using a variation of the same mechanicals.

Equipping its 150-horsepower 1.4-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine, 20-kilowatt (27-hp) electric motor, and seven-speed direct-shift gearbox into the Beetle results in a vehicle car that seems just like a Jetta Hybrid.

VW asserts the hybridized Beetle weighs roughly 275 pounds more than a standard Beetle when fitted with the 1.4-liter engine and seven-speed DSG. That’s currently a combo not currently on offer in the US market, but one that is strongly likely to be available in some future model year.

It offers the same 168 hp of total power as the Jetta Hybrid, and will operate on electric power alone at mild speeds and under light acceleration.

The test drive vehicle was a bit of a mongrel, with shades of the German home-market and U.S. versions of the Beetle combined together to make a perfect blend. However, it must be said that Its ride was rather harsh over the worst of New York’s occasionally cratered asphalt, attributed to the larger–and undeniably good-looking–wheels of the Dune concept in combination with the heavier weight of the hybridized power train.

Volkswagen’s press materials allude to the fact that the Beetle Hybrid concept car is “designed to demonstrate the flexibility of the brand’s current MQB-Full Hybrid module.”

In other words, layman terms for “Look, we can put our hybrid powertrain in a bunch of different vehicles–including this one,” despite its shorter wheelbase and larger wheels in comparison to the Jetta Hybrid.

Despite the large number of TDI diesel models sold to the public, Volkswagen has undeniably made up its mind that there’s a serious need to electrify a greater portion of its fleet in order to be in line with regulations on carbon emissions and fuel efficiency around the world. Therefore, Its focus of late has been on plug-in vehicles–the Volkswagen e-Golf now available on the market, and the 2016 Audi A3 Sportback e-Tron due within the year–but conventional hybrids will probably play a greater role in the near and medium term.

Volkswagen released results when it introduced the Jetta Hybrid for the 2013 model year that conveyed its diesel buyers were quite different from buyers looking for hybrids, and the chance to influence one to switch to the other was far more limited than it had previously suspected.

The 2015 VW Jetta Hybrid is calculated at 45 mpg combined (42 mpg city, 48 mpg highway) while the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI diesel comes in at 34 mpg combined (31 mpg city, 41 mpg highway) when powered by a six-speed automatic transmission.

It must be said that diesel vehicles often overachieve on their EPA ratings, nevertheless, while hybrids sometimes underachieve–though they are very sensitive to driving style.

Future hybrid models launched by VW should be built on its latest modular architecture (as seen in the 2015 Golf hatchback) and will probably utilize a more powerful second-generation hybrid system. But “full hybrids are part of Volkswagen brand’s and group’s strategy to offer electric mobility for all needs, [including] plug-in hybrids such as Volkswagen Golf GTE and battery-electric vehicles like Volkswagen e-Golf,” its release concludes.

Browse a large lineup of available Beetle models at Chapman VW Tucson. You may just find the perfect Volkswagen Beetle to take home!


MIB II Infotainment System Offers Three Phone Connections

As the first automaker in the industry to provide a platform for three phone systems, Volkswagen is again leading the way in car technology. Almost all the 2016 VW models will offer connectivity for Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink, allowing drivers to utilize phone apps directly on their touch screen. As part of the VW Car-Net subscription connection system, drivers will have access to enhanced security, remote access and an upgraded navigation system. All the new Volkswagens will be arriving this month at your Tucson VW dealer, Chapman Volkswagen.

Driver Assistance Expanding Through VW Line

Many features already introduced on the 2015 Touareg will be available on more models this year. The CC, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Golf GTI, Jetta and Golf R will all offer Adaptive Cruise Control, Forward Collision Warning and Automatic Emergency Braking. These systems utilize a combination of sensors and cameras to help avoid collisions in front of you. They sound an audible alarm in case of impending danger. If you don’t react, the system takes over to help avoid a crash. Lane Assist, which lets you know if you are drifting out of your lane of traffic, is now an option on the CC, Golf, Golf SportWagen, Golf R and Golf GTI.

New Technology Helps With Parallel Parking

A new feature to part of the VW lineup this year is the ability to help you put your VW in those tight urban spots. Park Assist and Park Pilot help identify parking spaces and get your car into them without scraping bumpers or parking meters. This technology is only available on e-Golf, SportWagen, Golf GTI and Golf. Take one for a drive at your Tucson VW dealer and see how easy it is to get in and out of a tight spot.

Model Updates Provide Refreshing Changes

The Passat gets the biggest overhaul for 2016, with a total new look both inside and out along with some of the previously mentioned technology enhancements. The Golf GTI’s slightly bigger brother, the Jetta GTI, has also gone under the design team’s knife and emerged with new, sportier styling, an enhanced sport suspension system and larger, more powerful engine. The Jetta GTI has a new 210-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that provides spine-tingling excitement when you tromp on the gas. Now’s the time to see all the new models in their sparkling showroom splendor by visiting Chapman Volkswagen in Tucson.


IIHS Awards Top Safety Pick Plus Status

By adding new technology, the already safe Volkswagen Golf, including the Sportwagen and GTI models, has been named by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety as worthy of “Top Safety Pick Plus” status for 2016. Top Safety Pick Plus is only given to vehicles that qualify as a Top Safety Pick for good ratings in crash tests for the front and sides, along with the roof strength and head restraint tests. In addition to that, vehicles must also earn top marks for performance in preventing head-on collisions. By adding Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emerging Braking technology, Golf models qualify for the top safety honors. Test drive the 2016 Volkswagen Golf at Chapman VW Tucson.

Radar Sensors Help Avoid Collision

Volkswagen utilizes a sensor, or in some cases multiple sensors, along with a camera to help judge the distance between you and the vehicle immediately ahead. The vehicle releases an audible warning if it judges you are getting too close to the car in front of you. If you don’t respond, the car will automatically apply the brakes. It will even increase the brake pressure if you do respond, but not aggressively enough. “This year’s Top Safety Pick Plus awards demonstrates Volkswagen’s longstanding commitment to vehicle safety and the development of innovative technologies,” said Mark Barnes, sales vice president for Volkswagen America. “Our available driver assistance systems and safety features show Volkswagen’s commitment to introduce systems that were once only seen on high-end luxury and premium vehicles, such as Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Departure Warning.”

New Volkswagens Arriving This Month

Check in with the friendly pros at Chapman VW Tucson to see exactly when the new line of 2016 Volkswagens will be arriving. The Driver’s Assistance Package is an affordable option on the Golf lineup, costing only $1,495. You may be eligible for an insurance discount, but would need to check with your agent. Jetta models also have a safety package that includes Adaptive Cruise Control along with Forward Collision Warning and Autonomous Emergency Braking for only $950.

Golf Not Only Safe, Extremely Fuel-efficient

When you check out the 2016 Volkswagen Golf at Chapman VW Tucson, it can be easy to be impressed by its stylish lines and impressive interior. The number you may want to really look at is on the window sticker. No, not the price, although that’s impressive as well. Check out the EPA mileage estimate. When the 1.8-liter turbo is teamed with the 5-speed manual transmission you can expect about 37 miles per gallon out on the highway. That engine also produces 170 horsepower, which is enough to give you a thrill or two while climbing a mountain road or simply merging onto the freeway.

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Charm of Original VW Bus Not Realized

For all the charm and popularity of the original VW Bus, it seemed like a no brainer for production when Volkswagen introduced the Microbus at the 2001 International Auto show. Looking like a futuristic version of the old hippy van, the Microbus had a rounded snout, sloping windshield and stylish wheels. Despite the enthusiasm of tie die t-shirt salespeople and surfers everywhere, the plans for production never materialized, leaving everyone with a sense of disappointment and a choice of vans more suitable for soccer moms than campfires on the beach. The Microbus would have been a great addition to the inventory at Chapman VW Tucson, but they still have plenty of great cars to choose from.

Fisker Atlantic is the Plug-in Sports Car That Never Was

Looking like a cross between a Jaguar and an alien transport ship, the Fisker Atlantic is the plug-in hybrid that burst on the scene to rave reviews and certain production by 2012. When that didn’t happen, it seemed certain for 2013. 2014 came and went and the company went into bankruptcy protection. A Chinese group bought Fisker and allegedly still has the Atlantic in the production cycle for some unknown date.

Pontiac G8 ST is El Camino Rebranded

The El Camino (translation: The Road) was a popular car/truck sold by Chevrolet in the 1960s and 1970s. Pontiac was looking to recapture some of that magic when it introduced the G8 ST, a smaller, sportier version of the El Camino that had a monstrous 361 horsepower V-8 under the hood. It was all geared up for a 2010 release, but then there was that recession and auto industry meltdown, and, well, you know the rest.

Dodge Circuit EV is the Electric Viper

Looking much like the Dodge Viper, the Circuit EV was outfitted with a 268 horsepower electric motor that delivered plenty of pop but very little range per charge. Based on a Lotus Europa, it was the most attractive design that came from Chrysler’s ENVI program, which also featured an electric Town and Country minivan and Jeep Wrangler. None of those have come to fruition as a production vehicle.

Jaguar Hybrid Couldn’t Justify the Expense

It’s no small proposition to tool up a manufacturing plant for an entirely new vehicle as Jaguar realized when they created the C-X75 plug-in hybrid sports car in 2010. Reviewers claimed it in the class of the Porsche 918, Ferrari LaFerrari and McLaren P1, but alas the business model showed it couldn’t make money so the plan now lay on the cutting room floor.