By on February 4, 2019

2018 Volkswagen GTI front quarter

Volkswagen has big plans for mild hybrid powertrains and fully electric vehicles, but the perpetually popular Golf GTI’s successor won’t be a point of contention for motoring purists. That’s because VW has reportedly pulled a screeching U-turn on that model’s electrification.

According to Autocar, the eighth-generation Golf’s hot (but not hottest) hatch variant won’t go the hybrid route. Instead, company engineers have concerned themselves with incremental improvements over the current model. No electro-mobility here; just fun hatch.  (Read More…)

By on August 6, 2018

Our personal biases frequently lead us to condemn any number of advanced automotive technologies. That’s partly because we’re dinosaurs who fetishize vintage automobiles that, in reality, are actually far worse than we like to pretend. But it’s also because most modern-day tech sucks harder than a jet-powered Dyson. A large portion of that problem stems from automakers implementing technology solely to appease regulators or line their pockets with cash.

Fortunately, this isn’t always the case. You sometimes end up with things like power windows, torque vectoring, the dual clutch transmission, and satellite navigation. And while it’s still handy to know how to read a map, GPS has made car-based voyages a breeze, and it’s only getting better.

Waze, a preferred navigation app for many, offers community-confirmed accident information, fuel pricing, and speed traps. Since its purchase by Google in 2013, the system now finds itself baked into Android Auto. Things are progressing rather nicely, as a new partnership with Volkswagen implements features that cater specifically to driving enthusiasts.  (Read More…)

By on July 13, 2017

hyundai i30 n

After four years of development, Hyundai is ushering a new entry into the hot hatchback category with its i30 N. Based on the newest incarnation of the family friendly i30, known throughout North America as the Elantra GT, the N badge separates it as a serious performance model. Hyundai appears to be taking direct aim at the Ford Focus ST and Volkswagen GTI, both through the N’s performance and styling — which seems to be a handsome amalgamation of the pair.

Available in two trims, the base model i30 N provides 246 horsepower while the performance package quipped version bumps that number up to 271 hp. Both use a turbocharged 2.0-liter and six-speed manual transmission and, according to Hyundai, can manage 0-60 times in the low six-second range. Power is sent to the front tires and only to the front tires, with an electronic limited slip differential to keep things manageable in the corners.

It’s a legitimate hot hatch and Hyundai’s first if you discount the Veloster — which you definitely may.   (Read More…)

By on December 7, 2016

2018 Euro VW GTI Golf

Alexis writes:

I give advice to everyone about what to get and not get, and yet I’m finding it impossible to decide for myself.

I’m a moderately successful realtor living in Toronto, and my 2005 Saturn Ion is about to give up the ghost. Yes, I know, an enthusiast driving an Ion doesn’t really make sense, and I admit it’s a car for people who just gave up — that’s why I bought it four years ago.

Alas, it’s time for something else.

(Read More…)

By on May 19, 2016

2016 Volkswagen Golf R Lapiz blue

$26,415.

$36,470.

$43,395.

The jumps in price from the four-door Volkswagen Golf GTI to the Volkswagen Golf R to the Audi S3, three closely related cars, are not insignificant. Yet in spite of the dollar differences, or perhaps because of the dollar differences, the trio inevitably undergoes the value proposition comparison, as if “value” is the reason 460 buyers per month spend around $40,000 on a Volkswagen hatchback.

I’ve now been privileged to spend a week with each car. Sadly, a Lapiz Blue 2016 Volkswagen Golf R just left my driveway to make room for, as fate would have it, a 2016 Toyota Prius.

And I have no trouble making the case for the Golf R as the fast VeeDub to own. (Read More…)

By on May 2, 2016

2015 Volkswagen GTI, Image: © 2016 Steve Lynch/The Truth About Cars

The automotive media slobbered over the redesigned 2015 Volkswagen GTI sporty hatchback ever since its introduction two years ago. I put 13,500 miles on mine over the past year and I agree that it is one of the great all-around fun cars available today.

I just went through the process of selling it, and that is when the real fun began.  (Read More…)

By on March 2, 2016

1984 Volkswagen GTI

Once again, I’m dazzled by those wheels, just like the Quantum we looked at last week. I’m a sucker for clean, well-styled factory wheels: Oldsmobile Rally wheelsFuchs found on Porsches, Rostyles worn by so many British cars. The Volkswagen “Snowflake” wheel is another that is difficult to improve upon by the aftermarket.

For some reason, that hasn’t stopped VW enthusiasts from “improving” their cars with incongruous tire and wheel widths and double-digit camber settings. “Stance” culture isn’t exclusive to the Wolfsburg faithful, but it has infected too many good cars.

(Read More…)

By on December 30, 2015

IMG_1051

As my personal GTI is powered by gasoline, you might think this will be the first Volkswagen story you have read in the past three months that doesn’t mention Dieselgate.

You’d be wrong. (Read More…)

By on November 24, 2015

BMW 318is

TTAC commentator tedward writes:

Hey Steejeev,

I thought I’d finally throw my hat into the ring as my wife and I are on the hunt for a second family car.

We currently own a ’91 BMW 318is and a ’13 Volkswagen Jetta Sportwagen 2.5 — both manual, of course. In our previous lives as NYC residents, this was an extravagant stable that required personal sacrifice and demanded constant justification in casual conversation.

On one hand, we find ourselves with one real life car that fits us all; on the other, a relatively unsafe car that shouldn’t be relied upon (at 200,000+ miles) for day-to-day duties.

(Read More…)

By on July 18, 2014

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How quaint it all seems, looking back 10 years and remembering how the enthusiast public was fretting about the Dodge Neon SRT-4 and its half-shaft threatening 250 lb-ft of torque.  How could a front-drive car put such twist through the front wheels? Well, now we’re dealing with Fusions and Sonatas putting down similar figures, and the newest crop of turbocharged front-drive hatchbacks are putting down some staggering numbers.

(Read More…)

By on June 3, 2014

IMG_6137 (Medium)

After the first one, the second one, the worst one, and the star-crossed one, we’ve finally arrived at the Mk7 GTI.

Good news: it’s worth the wait.
(Read More…)

By on February 20, 2014

golfgte

Joining the Volkswagen GTI and GTD is the new Golf GTE, a performance plug-in hybrid that puts down as much power as a GTI. According to AutoExpress, a prototype they drove last year hit 62 mph in 7.6 seconds while emitting 60 percent less CO2 than a Toyota Prius. Power comes from a 1.4L TSI 4-cylinder engine making 148 horsepower, mated to a 108 horsepower electric motor.

By on July 24, 2013

AngelesCrest-009-450x300

Despite planning to sell 486,000 units in America this year, Volkswagen has trimmed its sales targets to 440,000 units, after shedding market share in the first half of 2013.

(Read More…)

By on June 20, 2013

tumblr_mnjda9F4dq1qd21vlo1_500

If the first half of my automotive life was informed by Honda products, the second half was largely colored by “Sport Compact Car” magazine, which I still consider to be America’s finest automotive print magazine. From the age of 13 onward, I faithfully purchased SCC every month, enthralled by the idea of low-budget import car builds and sweeping California canyon roads. I liked that they took a different tack than most of the other tuner magazines; they weren’t as dogmatic as the other rags were with respect to the “Japan rules, America sux” dichotomy that seemed to pervade the lesser publications. There were no photo spreads of Asian women in flourescent bikinis. Unlike the editorials in Grassroots Motorsports, the budgets for their projects seemed realistic.

One shot that has stuck with me is this shot of an ancient 323 GTX sliding through the dirt; I can’t remember if it was an SCC project car or not, but it encapsulates what I always pictured Southern California to be; an automotive playground free of rust and full of roads that are appropriate for whatever driving conditions you could want. The 323 GTX’s near me are either terminally oxidized or going for absurd amounts of money ($6,000 for a barely running 26 year old Mazda that would amputate my legs in a crash? No thanks) but Mazda was kind enough to lend me a Mazdaspeed3 for my first trip to Los Angeles so I could live out my canyon run fantasies on the Angeles Crest Highway, albeit in front-drive form only. If that wasn’t enough, TTAC contributor Jeff Jablansky brought along his own Volkswagen GTI MKVI for comparison.

(Read More…)

By on October 18, 2012

When you’ve reviewed over 600 cars, few new ones surprise you. With the polished road manners and granitic structure of a far more expensive car, the 2012 Ford Focus was one of the few. But its 160-horsepower engine, while easily adequate for daily driving, doesn’t provide the thrust many driving enthusiasts demand. For 2013, this should no longer be a problem. A 252-horsepower Ford Focus ST has joined the line.

(Read More…)

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