Volkswagen Polo TSI 2010 Review

July 2nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Take a quick look at a cars for sale section in any magazine or website and in the description of many small hatchbacks you’ll find the phrase ‘peppy’. But what does it really mean to be peppy? The dictionary would have you believe that peppy means “full of or characterized by energy and high spirits” and that’s probably correct but to save on words it could just have a photo of the new VW Polo TSI. What makes the second Polo variant available in NZ so lively is a new engine that’s low on displacement but very high on pep. Car and SUV took a closer look at the little Polo to solve the riddle of how less can really be more.

When the new Mk V Polo first touched down in NZ it was sold exclusively with a 1.4-litre 63kW engine, now it’s being offered with an all-new 1.2-litre unit. The new engine carries a $3k premium over the larger 1.4 motor but it’s money well spent because it must be the peppiest 4-cylinder in town. Using turbocharging to produce 77kW of power and a healthy 175Nm of torque the new engine is responsive and engaging. It suffers very little turbo lag and offers maximum torque from low in the rev range (1500 to 3500rpm) so it doesn’t need to be pushed hard. The TSI Polo will dash to 100kph in well under 10 seconds and has the mid-range punch to match much larger engines. But Grandmothers shouldn’t be scared off, the engine is well mannered at slower speeds and is never fierce on boost. With the pint-size engine and lightweight body the Polo also returns an impressive fuel economy of just 5.3l/100km combined.

With no manual option available in NZ the Polo TSI is fitted exclusively with a 7-speed DSG gearbox. It’s a modern piece of kit that changes seamlessly and gives a high-tech edge to the overall driving experience. Having seven ratios gives the smart gearbox a flexibility to either work through them rapidly keeping the Polo in its peak power band or focus on economy and get into a higher gear early. There is a sports mode available that keeps the engine in a lower gear and changes up later. There is also a sequential changing option on the gearshift for manual changes but steering wheel paddles are not available, even as optional equipment.

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VW Golf R boosted to 246kW by Sport-Wheels

June 30th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

You couldn’t exactly describe the performance of the Volkswagen Golf R as sluggish, but that hasn’t stopped brazen German tuning firm “Sport-Wheels” from further enhancing the performance credentials of VW’s hottest hatch.

The tuning shop has taken output from the standard 270-horsepower and 350Nm of peak torque to 330HP and 450Nm. Getting that much more power from the R wasn’t hard and all it took was a recalibrated ECU as well as a custom sport exhaust system for the car’s 2.0-litre TSI engine.

A sport suspension and lightweight 20-inch alloy wheels from O.Z. cloaked in 235/30 R20 tyres are also included in the package. For those who want to go against the subtlety of the Golf R and shout out how badass it really is, then ‘Sport-Wheels’ also offers an optional loud decal set.

To read a Car and SUV review of the VW Golf R, click here.

Volkswagen taking orders for new CrossPolo

June 17th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Smaller cars are a popular choice in the current buying environment but that doesn’t mean the tough and rough image of the SUV has dropped off the radar. Which explains why softroader vehicles have been achieving solid sales here in NZ and abroad. Now, Volkswagen has just released images and details of its new CrossPolo with a fresh blend of off-road styling in a compact form.

VW gave the automotive world a brief look at the new CrossPolo at the Geneva Motor Show, but is only officially revealing the full range now. Based on the new Polo hatchback, the CrossPolo gets an increased ride height and some token body cladding to give it rugged appeal. A new front bumper finished with dark gray plastics and blending into the wheel arches, new quarter panels and rear bumper — plus 17-inch alloys and integrated roof rails round out the package. Six engine options are being made available to European customers — three gasoline and three diesels. In terms of colour schemes, there are six exterior shades, including two colors unique to the CrossPolo.

Volkswagen NZ announces Football NZ partnership

May 13th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

As the All Whites World Cup Squad heads to South Africa to represent New Zealand at the World Cup, Volkswagen has just announced a new partnership program with Football New Zealand.

The new partnership between Volkswagen and New Zealand Football is aimed at developing the game here in NZ. With interest in football at all an all time high on the back of World Cup qualification it’s an ideal time to invest in grassroots development activities and to grow the game from the ground up.

It’s not just here that VW has an interest in football, “Volkswagen has a strong commitment to football globally, based out of our headquarters in Wolfsburg, Germany” commented Dean Sheed, Volkswagen General Manager for New Zealand. “We already have developed Junior Football Masters programmes in 20 countries, across 5 continents and have our own team, “VfL Wolfsburg” in the German Bundesliga” he added.

This new partnership will see Volkswagen providing support for children at local Saturday morning club games all over the country through to the further development of the Small Whites development program and all the way up to the elite level representative teams.

“The announcement of Volkswagen supporting New Zealand Football nationally and particularly at grass roots levels further drives our ability to develop the sport and individual talent”, announced Michael Glading, CEO of New Zealand Football. “Also, given Volkswagen’s global association with the sport, there’s already a shared passion for the game and a mutual desire to reinforce the existing plans that we have in place. It’s an exciting time for football and we are looking forward to further exploring the opportunities that a brand such as Volkswagen can bring to the table and to capitalising on the profile that the football is currently enjoying” he added.

The All Whites first outing on the road to the World Cup will be against Australia on May 24th.

Volkswagen Golf Variant 2010 Review

April 23rd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

What happens when you grab the back of a VW Golf and take two steps backwards? It’s a riddle that Volkswagen has recently solved with its new MkVI Golf Variant. But the stretched Golf is no joke and is set to cater to fleet buyers and anyone who requires a larger cargo capacity and hybrid-rivalling fuel economy. The current Golf has been heaped with praise in its hatchback form but is the wagon set to follow suit. Car and SUV spent some time inside the Golf Variant’s expanded interior to find out more.

The dimensions of the Golf Variant don’t differ from the standard hatch as much as you’d initially assume. Obviously there is an increase in length of 44cm but all other measurements remain exactly the same, including the wheelbase. At the front very little distinguishes the Variant from the hatchback with both sharing a black plastic grille and gaping low air-intake in the bumper. In profile, there’s no hiding the Variant’s extra length that is concentrated in the rear overhang and highlighted by integrated roof rails. Rear styling is unique to the Variant and consists of slightly awkward taillights and a wide opening tailgate that when lifted creates a generous loading aperture.

The Golf Variant is available in NZ with only one trim level: the lower-spec ‘Trendline’. While the only exterior evidence of this basic fit-out is the hub-capped 16-inch wheels, the cabin is fairly Spartan. However, the Golf is known for its high quality interior and even in its most simple form remains impressive. Soft touch plastics integrate with subtle aluminium and chrome highlights to create an excellent overall surface quality. A thick leather-wrapped steering wheel and large easily read instruments help make driving a pleasurable experience. The central control stack is basic and logically laid out with separate stereo and climate controls. The seats are finished in a dark durable-looking cloth and although supportive may not prove too comfortable on longer journeys. Head and legroom is ample all around with rear passengers receiving slightly raised seating and their own air vents.

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Volkswagen officially announces ‘R’ brand

March 18th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen has now officially launched its R performance subsidiary. Ever since VW first showed off its new Golf R and Scirocco R, it was rumored that the automaker would be creating a separate R division, solely focused around creating new performance models, as well as special design packages.

Now that’s become a reality the new division is set to meet the “increased global demand for individualized vehicles with contemporary sportiness and exclusivity” and the subsidiary will handle sales and development of high performance models. What it all means is that VW now has its R division like BMW has M and Mercedes’ AMG.

Self-described as the “specialist for sporty exclusive models from Volkswagen in the future,” the R division has already cut its teeth on developing the Scirocco R, the Golf R The new firm has also created some R-Line design packages.

Based in Warmenau, Germany (near Volkswagen’s headquarters) the R division already employs a staff of more than 350 people. Look out for more products from Volkswagen’s R division shortly.

VW CrossPolo to join range

February 22nd, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

Volkswagen will be using the stage at this year's Geneva Motor Show to widen its Polo range, which now includes a high-efficiency Bluemotion model, the GTI version unveiled last week and the CrossPolo revealed today. The latest generation CrossPolo borrows from the hatchbacks sharp new styling and gives it the crossover treatment with black plastic molding around the wheel arches, across the sills and bottom of each door, as well as on the front and rear bumpers. The front bumper gets a wide honeycomb styled low air intake and integrated silver anodized roof rails feature up top. The look is finished off with new 17-inch two-tone wheels.

Globally, Volkswagen will offer no less than six engine options, although it's unlikely all of them will make it to NZ. There are three gas-powered engines that include a 1.2- and 1.4-litre four-cylinder, as well as a 1.2-litre TSI engine that features direct injection and turbocharging. For European customers there are also three diesel engines available and a choice of a six-speed manual transmission or 7-speed DSG automatic.

Check back as we bring you more updates on the upcoming Geneva Motor Show

Volkswagen Polo 2010 Review

February 19th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

One of the best things about playing mini golf is that you get much of the pleasure of golf only condensed down into a simpler form. While the concept of mini golf works well as an activity for dating teen couples it hasn’t always worked so well for Volkswagen’s Polo. The Polo model has been around for 35 years making it only slightly younger than its Golf big brother. The Golf has gone on to be one of the most successful cars in history while the Polo has seen solid sales but has still shivered in its shadow as a smaller, less attractive substitute. Now, the Polo has entered its fifth-generation and unlike the Mark VI Golf is an all-new vehicle designed entirely from scratch.

The new Polo was created as a poster boy for VW to show its current focus on technology and simple modern design. It’s working well with the new Polo already winning the European Car of the Year Award for 2010. Car and SUV had some seat time in the latest Polo to see just what makes it so special.

Continue reading “Volkswagen Polo 2010 Review” »

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