“What brings you to Vermont?” asked the young woman I was sitting beside on my flight to Burlington to drive the newly refreshed Passat.
“Volkswagen,” I replied simply.
After a pause, and with an eyebrow raised, she came back with the question: “Diesel?”
This is how every conversation about Volkswagen will start for years to come. And, to be fair, it’s also how we’ve talked about Volkswagen for the last 20 years — minus the eyebrow. Volkswagen is as intrinsically connected with diesel as Vermont is to small-town values that border on being Canadianesque.
Except now, conversations about Volkswagen diesels are punctuated with that eyebrow — and for all the wrong reasons.
Why aren’t we seeing diesel/electric hybrid cars and light duty trucks? Wouldn’t the fuel economy be phenomenal? Gas hybrids do well in their own right, as do diesels. So what’s holding up the diesel/electric Passat? Many cities have gone to diesel/electric buses for fuel savings, so we know the technology is real for passenger vehicles. Is the combined torque simply too much for mere mortals to use responsibly?
What gives, Sajeev?
According to one Chattanooga factory worker on the TDI Club forum, Volkswagen is ramping up production of the new Passat TDI despite not being certified by the Environmental Protection Agency regarding its emissions.
The new 2016 Passat, which will launch later this year, is equipped with three different engines — a 1.8-liter turbocharged and a 3.6-liter V-6 gasoline engines, and a 2-liter diesel engine. The poster said those cars already built and equipped with the TDI engine are missing significant portions of their front fascia as they come off the assembly line.
The Passats in question are missing headlights, grilles and front bumpers, said the poster.
In all reality, Volkswagen probably won’t pay $37,500 for each car that cheated its way through U.S. emissions standards, but the German automaker will probably pay thousands for each car to fit a device that would clean up their acts.
The presumed fix would come by retrofitting a Selective Catalytic Reduction (Adblue or urea) system although that wouldn’t be the only fix necessary. Researchers discovered that the Passat TDI that they tested, fitted with the SCR system, was 5 to 20 times over the NO limit — less than the 10 to 40 times by the lean NO filter cars, but still illegal.
The long list of items needed to fit models of the Volkswagen Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 doesn’t include the engineering needed to retrofit the cars and the costs to crash test the models after the significant modifications. That’ll add hundreds of millions to the bottom line.
Volkswagen rolled out its 2016 Passat on Tuesday in the thick of a growing scandal around the company’s admission that it cheated on emissions tests worldwide.
The new mid-size sedan sports a new front and rear end, updated instrument panel and infotainment with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto (and USB connectivity!), and for the first time will boast an R-line model with 19-inch wheels.
Last year’s engines carry over: A base 1.8-liter turbocharged four and a 3.6-liter VR6 will power the Passat. According to VW, a 2-liter turbocharged diesel (yes, that diesel engine) will be available in the Passat, but it’s unclear when Volkswagen may begin selling that engine option.
Volkswagen in Canada will suspend sales of its Volkswagen Passat, Golf, Jetta, Beetle and Audi A3 cars after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the engines in those cars had an illegal device that “cheated” emissions tests.
“We will work with our colleagues at Volkswagen of America as well as our parent company in Germany to resolve this matter in the most timely fashion,” Volkswagen Canada spokesman
Audi Canada has also issued a stop-sale of the Audi A3 TDI, stated Audi Canada spokesman Cort Nielson. No details were available regarding Audi’s plan for continued availability of the A3 TDI.
VW hasn’t announced a timeline for fixing its cars and resuming sales. Over the weekend, VW’s CEO Martin Winterkorn apologized for the scandal.
This week’s “Ask Bark” comes from a reader who wants to know if he should prolong his Volkswagen-related madness or start new Volkswagen-related madness.
Volkswagen has announced sweeping changes to their suite of tech-driven safety features for the 2016 model year, making a vast array of options available on almost every model within its range.
The features, which are currently only available on the Touareg, will trickle down to a number of other models including the Beetle, CC, Jetta, Passat and Golf in all its flavors.
The longstanding joke around modern Volkswagens stems from the widespread illumination of the Check Engine Light — CEL, for short. Forums lament the seemingly overwhelming complexity of the modern People’s Car, all the while mocking. The four-cylinder volume models tend to get the bulk of the bashing, but when VW adds valves and cylinder heads, the complexity goes up exponentially.
Certainly, Meatloaf sang of a Mk3 Jetta in his timeless classic “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” even though the Dasher was on the showroom floor when the record hit shelves.
With the 1986 Quantum GL5 Junkyard Find we had a couple of days ago, we might as well make this a VW junkyard week. With that in mind, I present this icky-looking Volkswagen Dasher today. (Read More…)