The Truth About Cars » Gol The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Sun, 20 Jul 2014 13:00:25 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Gol Fiat Brazil: Uno Kicks Gol Off Top Spot. Films At Eleven Fri, 30 Mar 2012 15:22:28 +0000

Following up on the good news of sister Chrysler in America, Fiat do Brasil has some good news of their own to send embattled Turin’s way. As of March 20, the Uno has officially pushed ahead of the VW Gol and has taken the sales crown in Brazil. According to Brazilian car site, this is the first time the Uno has been ahead of the Gol for an extended period of time. Hitherto, the Uno had threatened VW’s pride and joy a month or another, then lagged behind.

But wait, there’s more!

As of March 20, Fiat has grown their market share in passenger cars and LCVs to 24%, while VW managed to hold on with 20.7%. Apparently, Fiat has gained on the coattails of GM, which has fallen to 15.9%. GM had started the year in spectacular fashion being market leader in January, and made Brazilian Chevy fan boys smile. However, that amazing performance proved to be short-lived and much to their dismay, GM’s drop has been even more dumbfounding.

The Uno is ahead of the Gol by a grand total of 52 cars. In March so far the difference is much bigger: 13,993 to 12,361. On the year, the Uno has sold 50,056 while the Gol has managed 50,004 sales. Of course, these numbers are but a preview and a lot can change until the end of the month, but the fact is that the Uno has seen rising growth while Gol sales are stagnant.

As to the general market, month on month growth has been of 7.75% while the year has seen a pitiful rise of only 1.86%.

So, many pretenders to a pie that’s not growing so much. In stark contrast to Europe, Fiat is facing this situation by launching new models. They have just launched their trump card in Brazil’s second largest market segment, that of the compact sedan. Fiat’s offer to the market is the Grand Siena (see video below and more on it later).

Suffice to say the sheet metal and much of the mechanical bits are all new. This car’s wheelbase has grown from 2.37m to 2.51m. Facing the likes of Renault’s Logan (reviewed here), VW’s Voyage, Ford’s New Fiesta, Nissan’s Versa and Chevy’s Cobalt (reviewed here).

Along with the new Palio, the Grand Siena is Fiat’s bet that they’ll keep on leading and Brazil. If they are right, they may well keep the lights on in Turin.

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Gol Weekend: Paint It Black (And White) Sun, 27 Mar 2011 16:50:20 +0000

Before you read this article, go back and read the History of the Gol (Partes Um and Dois). Really, go. Now that you’ve read this icon’s history you are better prepared to opine on what lies ahead. In celebration of the model’s 30th anniversary, Volkswagen do Brasil has launched a commemorative version of the Gol. VW is calling it “Vintage”.  What is it?  Simply the most expensive Gol in history.

The Vintage can be yours for R$52,180 (US$30,694 at R$1.7=US$1). That makes it the most expensive Gol ever. Any and all changes to the car are all esthetic. What makes it different then is the special decoration from the factory. Plus, in hopes that Jack Baruth will go for it, VW throws in a Stratocaster guitar to sweeten the deal. Weirdly though you only get the guitar 30 days after buying the car.

Even the colors of this Gol are as vintage as 19th century porn: Black & white. The car it mostly white. The roof is painted black. There are black stripes at the bottom of the doors, hood and hatch. Internally, the seats are covered in black and white leather (with white stitching) as are the door panels. The instruments are lighted by exclusive LEDs. White plastic also decorates such details and door handles and gearstick. Think of it as the Gol Pierre Cardin Special with VW saving the money for Pierre Cardin, and you’ve got it.

Brazilian mag Quatro-Rodas says the special alloy rims are 16 inchers painted in white. Competing mag Auto-Esporte says the wheels are 17 inchers and are painted black. As you can see from the pictures, they are both right.

Now (you’ve read the History, right?) only 30 of these will be made and sold. At selected dealers throughout the nation. Through special order. Keep in mind that the Gol has sold more than 6 million units in its 30 year history. It’s as Brazilian as beautiful women, palm trees and caipirinha. I called a couple of dealers in my hometown and finally found one that said he would be selling the car. I told him I had a check for R$52,180 and would be willing to go to the store and make the order today. He squirmed a little and said that we’d need to talk. I said I wouldn’t increase my offer and he insisted that I go down and talk.

Unfortunately, I don’t have that cash at the moment. If I did buy the car would I be making an investment that would pay off handsomely in future? Or is Volkswagen offering fool’s gold for a king’s ransom?

Anyway, if the price wasn’t so rich I’d say kudos, VW. You made a tastefully decorated car for a model that deserves the celebration. If it weren’t so expensive.

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VW Launches Aventureiro Version Of Its Most Popular Brazilian Model Sat, 25 Sep 2010 16:47:06 +0000

Quite of few of you have asked me to do a history of VW do Brasil’s most sold car ever: the Gol. No mean feat, considering the runner-up is probably still the Beetle. I’m currently working on a history of the car (that I hope will be up soon), but as an appetizer, let’s check out VeeDub’s latest Brazilian offering. If you happen to like it, it’s an intriguing piece of work. If you don’t, you’ll probably think it’s just confused.

First, let’s get something out of the way. There is a Golf. And there is a Gol. Different cars. Different sports.

The latest version of the Gol follows the aventureiro philosophy. Raised suspension, mixed-terrain tyres, cool or hideous graphics (everything is relative). It’s all there. Plus it comes in this super yellow high visibility color that VW reserves only for this kind of car. Just in case you get stranded in the wilderness.

What’s it weak spot? Money. Ready? Here goes. R$40,370 (US$22,427). Or R$43,030 (US$23,906), if you choose to have yours with an automated transmission. Now, for this kind of money, and being a well-equipped car and all, you’d expect air con to be standard. You’d be wrong. You have to add almost 2,000 US dollars to get that. Considering that Brazilians with this kind of cash to blow on a car will expect air conditioning,  for that kind of money. That VW has the audacity to charge extra for it, or not include it already in the package is mind-staggering. And is yet another reason that helps explain VW’s fall from grace in Brazil.

Pricing and marketing issues aside you ask, how does it drive? It drives like any other Gol with a 1.6 engine out there. Except it has beefier tires and the suspension is raised 28 mm over the regular version (according to Brazilian enthusiast site Bestcars). This makes the air drag coefficient worse. This all means your Gol Rallye will fall behind the regular version. In a straight line or in the curvies. By how much? Well VW do Brasil informs that the regular version will eventually reach 190 or 192 km/h (or 118.75/120 mph according to fuel, see below). This alternative puppy will fight, doggedly, to get you up to 112.5 or 113.75 mph – numbers gathered at Bestcars). Those top speeds though are hard to get to (maybe on an endless, flat, straight, sea-level highway with perfect pavement). I do have to give VW credit though. This Gol will go all day at 160 km/h (100 mph) without breaking anything. Just be aware it won’t be quiet going about it and that you’ll have to brake mightily to make that curve ahead.

Speaking of speed, the Gol Rallye’s engine is the same one that motivates the regular “street” version. The venerable 1.6 EA unit. Venerable of course has different connotations. One of them is old. You can see how old it’s getting when you realize it only produces 101 or 104 hp (if fed with ethanol or the concoction called gasoline in Brazil). It also (you can also thank those exaggerated tires) feels less spirited under hard acceleration, though the factory numbers show an almost negligible difference (from 10.1/9.8 to 10.6/10.3 secs from 0 to 100 km/h or 0 to 62.5 mph, thanks Bestcars).

Like I said before, it drives like any other Gol. So, despite the thicker front sway bar, and harder springs out in the rear, this car fearfully dives under hard (or not) braking, and mindlessly lifts its snout under hard (or not) acceleration. Due to the special suspension bits, it’s also harder than other Gols (not to mention the competition). On Brazil’s normally busted pavement it becomes quite a nuisance. Call me soft, but other cars have a softer suspension (that don’t give up the ghost in curves, either), which soaks up bumps and potholes and etc., etc., etc. better. Some, many Brazilians in fact, call this sporting, taunt, Germanic. In a word, superior. My backside doesn’t agree. It just calls it like it feels it: Sore.

The automated gearbox is another thing. Not quite as effective as an automatic, it’s not nearly as costly either. It has become rather popular in Brazil precisely because of that. However, it’s just not as smooth as a conventional automatic. It requires a learning curve. Or you’ll be bumping and jerking your head through traffic. The trick is to lift you right foot of the accelerator when you “sense” a shift is coming. This becomes almost second nature to the good drivers out there. For those with learning difficulties, it just means a head-jarring ride. BTW, VW links this feature to the trip computer. If you opt for the manual, you can’t get a computer. Why? Curious minds want to know…

How about the stick? This is the pièce de resistance of Brazilian VW fans. They just can’t get enough of touting its superiority. It has short throws. It has precise engagement. But, but, what’s that noise? Well I’ve been told that there’s  a little part called the tremulator that causes that. In my Dad’s company-issued regular 1.6 Gol all gear changes were accompanied by a very audible and distinct thud! In the Rallye it’s somewhat subdued, but it’s there. Maybe not thud!, but thud. Call me crazy but I prefer a little less precision and slightly longer throws, but no “thudding”.

Inside, there are some differences to the regular version. The headliner has gone from gray to black. Not a deep black, but black nonetheless. In such a small car the sensation of airiness is important, at least to me, but that headliner… Again, in the spirit of the car, we’ll call it sporting. Finishing is meh, though well put together. Some call the design and color choices somber. Others just think they’re stark. The pedal placement issue has not been resolved though. The steering wheel now aligns perfectly with the seat, but the pedals are still weirdly and uncomfortably misplaced to the right. More often than not, I’d shoot my foot out to depress the clutch and find nothing but air. Of course you get used to it. However, other cars don’t have this issue. It’s an improvement though for VW as older Gols used to have the wheel, seat and pedals all misaligned, bending your spine into an “S”. Chiropractors no doubt love the Gol. Getting back to that clutch…does it really have to be so heavy?

So, let’s sum up. It’s taunt, sporting, somber, classic, drives like a tank and, according to most Brazilians, is terribly reliable. For others it’s hard, stark and dark, and just simply uncomfortable.

So there you have it. TTAC’s first write-up of the Gol. Certainly not what VW wants to hear. It also flies in the face of what many of my countrymen think. It’s my assessment though. And I stick by it.

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