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.
Let’s start with the good news: It’s still possible to purchase a German-made Volkswagen sedan with a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a manual transmission. Your humble author did just that back in February of 1998, taking delivery of a 1998 Passat 1.8t and thoroughly enjoying the sleek sedan while it was in my possession. The current Passat is aimed at a different market, and quite successfully so; it’s the “CC” four-door koo-pay that is meant to carry the torch for all the old B5 Passat fans.
Which makes sense, because this is fundamentally an old Passat. An eight-year-old Passat. And that, as you might expect, is a bit of a problem.
Two years ago, I caused VWVortex members to spit bits of Pocky all over their mothers’ basement walls when I declared the Jetta GLI the winner in a four-way comparison test of Volkswagens equipped with the enthusiast-oriented 2.0T engine. The idea of comparing Volkswagens to each other seemed a bit odd at the time, but take it from a guy who’s owned a 1990 Fox, a 1998 Passat, a 2000 Golf GLS 1.8T, two Phaetons, and an ’82 Quantum Coupe: if you’re a true believer, you don’t even bother to look at what the other guys have for sale. In the land of Volkswagen nutjobs, “cross-shopping” means “pretending you’re considering the lease of an Audi A4”.
I can’t believe every automaker and their dog needs an entry-level luxury car, but some folks pull it off better than others. Case in point, this VW CC versus a Hyundai Azera or the (current) Lincoln MKZ. Which makes me wonder what designers say in the studio when trying to make such an upscale motor from a rather dowdy platform mate in the corporate stable.
I suspect a fair bit of cursing, especially for the poor souls tasked with the aforementioned Lincoln. And while badge engineering is a vital (yet terrifying) part of the game, me thinks the designers at VW had more leverage, more money and way more fun making this ride. Because the roof proves it.
Volkswagen’s Chinese joint venture with FAW will announce a China-made Volkswagen CC next month. Two notable items: The launch ceremony will be on July 15 in Shanghai, right in front of the nose of Volkswagen’s other joint venture partner, SAIC. And the car will cost the princely sum of 320,000 yuan ($47,000) in China, if Gasgoo is correctly informed. That’s what a well appointed Audi A4L goes for. Volkswagen had been showing the car at Chinese auto shows for a while, whetting the appetite for a China created CC.
Volkswagen has announced [via Autoblog] that “in response to requests by many customers,” the Passat CC will now be available with seating for three in the back seat. The lesson: even the people who spend more money for a more-fashionable but less-practical version of a mass-market car want that extra seatbelt just in case. Which begs the question…