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VOLKSWAGEN DRIVES & BEETLEMANIA! By Brian Foley

Lots of Volkswagen drives so far this year from the Passat and Golf to the New Beetle, and there is more to come.

The Volkswagen Passat is a well established family favourite, spacious, comfortable, steady as she goes on all roads, and with a choice of petrol and diesel engines to suit the many and varied motoring requirements. The Passat Edition R recently tested impressed on several counts, mainly comfort and quiet running, plus lots of interior and boot space.

The 7th Generation VW Golf is not only one of the best of the many compact hatchbacks but is arguably the best of them all! The VW Golf was nominated European Car of the Year 2009, and the current Golf again scooped the award for 2013 with the biggest ever margin of 212 points - VW Golf 414, Toyota GT86/Subaru BRZ 202, Volvo V40 189. pooints. The VW Polo was COTY 2010 and the VW up! in 2012.

Volkswagen has literally dominated the World Car awards in recent years. The Golf V1 in 2009, VW Polo in 2011 and now the latest VW Golf in 2013 Such awards are hard earned and a tribute to the excellence that is the hallmark of Volkswagen.

My personal favourite VW is the not the Golf, Passat, or Polo – its the Beetle. The latest version of the Beetle is more true to the original of the species than the rather bulbous previous New Beetle. It also fun to drive in its many variations, but it’s the trendy shape that make it so aesthetically appealing.

You can buy a 1.2 up! for €12,545 and buzz about town in style. For those who like their music loud, there are two new up’s called Groove up! and Rock up! complete with 6-speakers, subwoofer and 300 Watt amplifier. Being sensible is opting for the Golf, with the 1.2 listed at €20,745 - or for the more adventurous who dare to be different and the 1.2 Beetle is listed at €21,745. All prices listed are OTR (on-the-road)

A sad result of the pretty poor Irish summers of recent years is the big drop in demand for convertibles and cabriolets, hence the absence of the Golf and Beetle cabrios from the Irish motor market.