Tag Archives: volkswagen

2007 Volkswagen Eos Base Review

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Whenever you think of a Volkswagen and a convertible in the same sentence, the association”chick car” comes to mind. Like for example, if you see a Volkswagen Beetle convertible on the street, you automatically assume that it is driven by a girl. Talk about sexism. Volkswagen’s second convertible offering (up till 2014), the Eos was also subject to the chick car syndrome. I wouldn’t drive a Volkswagen Beetle or an Eos but that’s not because of the stereotype. I just dislike convertibles in general. I also dislike Starbucks and Nutella, so I have pretty popular opinions. Right? Anyhoo, the Eos debuted in 2007 in North America, and it boasted a metal hardtop roof, earning it the title of the cheapest metal hardtop convertible on sale at the time. Right now, here we have a 2007 Volkswagen Eos. Considering its reputation as a chick car, you would assume that it is driven by a girl. You are right: it is driven by my first prom date. She was a cheerleader in high school, she is pretty, and I assume she likes shopping. So she fits the stereotypes of a girl who drives a chick car ( I am assuming). But there is one caveat. This Volkswagen Eos is a stick shift. That’s right, I converted my prom date to manual as she initially wanted an automatic for her first car. The stick shift is also the reason why I wanted to review an Eos even though I have already reviewed a 2012 Eos. With the automatic equipped refreshed Eos in mind, how does the pre refresh manual equipped Eos compare?  Continue reading

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2007 Volkswagen Eos Base Teaser

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Review coming soon!

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1997 Volkswagen Jetta GLX VR6 Review

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Even though the Volkswagen Jetta is popular as a “chick car”, I never got around to reviewing one because as you might have guessed, I refused to review an automatic Jetta. When I was growing up, I always had a fondness for the third generation Jetta. I loved the boxy looks of it, and how with a spoiler and the blacked taillights, it resembled a sports sedan. My friend’s mom let me come to her office to review her coworkers’ cars, and she knew I only wanted to do manual cars, so she let me look around the parking lot. I came to this beautiful green Jetta, and I looked inside, and sure enough, it was a manual. Not only that, this is the top dog GLX VR6. I got so excited that I started sputtering facts about the VR6 engine and random details of the Jetta that she could not help but get annoyed. Moving back to the Jetta, the original Jetta debuted in 1979 as a sedan version of the Golf hatchback. It was literally a Golf with a trunk crafted on. Back then, European cars were typically hatchbacks, and sedan versions of the hatchbacks were basically a hatchback with a trunk instead of a hatch. The Mk1 Jetta (generations of the Jetta are classified by MK’s) was designed by Giorgetto Guigiaro, a famous car designer known for designing Ferraris and Lamborghinis. Given that European cars sold in North America at the time were expensive luxury cars, the affordable Jetta became the best selling European model in the continent. The MK1 Jetta was praised for its handling and performance, but less so for reliability. The second generation Jetta arrived in 1984, and it retained its title as the best selling European car in North America, and another redesign followed in 1993, boasting a more aerodynamic look as well as an increase in refinement and quality. The VR6 version here is the high performance version of the Jetta, and it comes with a 172 horsepower narrow angled six cylinder engine.  Continue reading

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2008 MazdaSpeed3 Review

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As a successor to the Protege, the Mazda3 launched in 2004 showcasing Mazda’s new design language and nomenclature. Before 2003, Mazda’s lineup was filled with pleasant but humdrum cars such as the Protege, MPV, Millenia, 626, Tribute, and so on. Starting in the late 1990s, Ford had a controlling stake in Mazda, and the two cooperated on future vehicles’ developments. With Ford’s resources and funding, Mazda had the opportunities to completely revamp its lineup. Numerical names would be used for its models (at least in Europe and North America), and Mazda set about reinventing itself. The Mazda3 and Mazda6 were the results. The Mazda3 (Called the Axela in Asia), developed with Ford alongside the Ford Focus and Volvo S40, embodied European styling and handling in a fuel efficient and affordable package. As a result, it was a success and garnered rave reviews worldwide. The Mazda3 chassis had the capability for more power, so Mazda saw fit to produce a Mazdaspeed variant of the 3. Mazda’s niche division, Mazdaspeed, produced a version of the Protege, which gained mechanical and visual tweaks enough to transform it into a sporty small sedan. This time, instead of a sedan body style, the Mazdaspeed3 would be a hatchback in order to please European buyers. In Europe, hot hatches, vehicles with fast power and sporty handling combined with the practicality and comfort of a hatchback, were popular. I have reviewed both the first and second generation Mazda3s (both sedans), so I was keen to try out these Mazdaspeed version. This is not your ordinary Mazda3.Whereas the top of the line version of the Mazda3 had up to 160 horsepower with a five speed manual transmission, the Mazdaspeed3 had racier exterior tweaks, and a turbocharged 263 horsepower four cylinder with a six speed manual transmission. Sounds like a hoot to me. Continue reading

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2012 Volkswagen Golf R Review

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Even though this looks like an ordinary Golf, I can assure you it is not. It is not the TDI diesel, nor the sporty GTI. Rather, this is the high performance R model. The Golf itself is one of the world’s best selling cars, and it all started with the 1974 first generation (sold as the Rabbit in the U.S). Dubbed the MK1 (generations of the Golf are codenamed MK), the front engined and front wheel drive replaced the rear wheel drive and rear wheel engined Beetle. With this generation came the GTI version, one of the first “hot hatches.” In Europe mainly where hatchbacks are the norm, Europeans crave the hot hatchbacks for their blend of high performance and ultimate practicality. As the Golf grew in age and size, so did the GTI. It was not until MK4 generation (1997-2004) that Volkswagen upped the GTI with the R32. In contrast to the GTI’s four cylinder turbo engine (a GTI hallmark) and front wheel drive underpinnings, the R32 employed a 3.2 liter VR6 six cylinder engine and all wheel drive. With 237 horsepower, the R32 was faster than the GTI and considerably more expensive. When the next Golf debuted in 2005, GTI and R32 variants followed. Unlike the first R32, this generation R32 was not popular. It still came with a V6 and all wheel drive, but whereas the previous R32 was exclusively six speed manual only, this R32’s only transmission was a paddle shifter dual clutch automatic transmission. A car like the R32 is supported by a specific community, and the community values European driving dynamics which includes the need for a manual transmission. Volkswagen redesigned the Golf in 2008, and instead of a R32, the high performance variant of the Golf was named “R” which I think is due to the fact it uses a more powerful version of the GTI’s four cylinder turbo instead of its own V6. Having had the chance to drive a MK6 GTI, I was interested in how this MK6 R compares in terms of handling and performance.  Continue reading

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2005 Volkswagen Passat GLS Review

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In contrast to the success Volkswagen garnered in the Roaring Sixties, by the time the 1970s approached, Volkswagen was in trouble. The Beetle’s appeal was waning as it became outdated and competitors’ vehicles were leaving it in the dust. Introduced in 1973, the original Passat was a version of the Audi 80/Fox sedan (VW owns Audi), but the thing is that it was actually called the Dasher in North America despite being named the Passat everywhere else. It received positive reception for its practicality and responsive handling but did not sell that well. The Passat was redesigned in 1981-1982. Again, even though everywhere else it was known as the Passat, Volkswagen sold the Passat as Quantum in North America. Finally, the third generation brought the Passat name to North America in 1990. As the years passed, it slowly grew in size and fame. By the time the fifth generation appeared in 1998, the Passat was regarded as an excellent family sedan. With this generation, the Passat moved upmarket with a focus on luxury and comfort. It is actually based off the first generation Audi A4. For 2001, the Passat received a refresh.

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2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Turbo Review

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The original people’s car came to fruition in 1938. With its affordable price and practicality, the Beetle was a success. Its success prolonged the Beetle’s lifespan into the 1970s. By then rally racing had become huge. The rally racing created demand for Volkswagen to build a rally racing version of its Beetle. Volkswagen took a Super Beetle with the 1.6 motor and added performance upgrades, a bright yellow and black paint job. It even had a fire extinguisher in case of an emergency during races. The GSR was what the Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution and Subaru Impreza WRX are today albeit in a rear engine and rear wheel drive format. With the latest Beetle, Volkswagen revived the GSR edition. Just like the original GSR, the GSR has a limited run of 3500 units.

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