There are countless Car of the Year awards handed out each year, and naturally, Europe has its own way of doing things. Every year, a panel of jurists representing seven publications in seven different languages and seven different countries get together to name their joint Car of the Year. The panel released a list of 32 candidates back in July, and it has now whittled that list down to seven nominees.
We Get An Early Steer Of The Toyota Mirai, Volkswagen Passat HyMotion And Audi A7 H-Tron
The LA Auto Show is known for its environmentally friendly vehicle debuts. At last year's show, hydrogen fuel cell concepts from Honda and Toyota joined a lease-ready Hyundai Tucson FCEV to cast a green hue over the convention center. This year, automakers took us a step closer to a fuel cell future by offering drives of their hydrogen-electric hybrids.
Toyota is certainly grabbing attention with the pricing of its Mirai fuel-cell vehicle, but Volkswagen is proving it understands hydrogen too at this year's Los Angeles Auto Show with versions of the Golf SportWagen and Passat that showcase its HyMotion system. The German brand is already testing the technology with a fleet of vehicles in the US.
Volkswagen certainly isn't afraid to make the most of a platform, especially in Europe. Just look at all of the versions of the Golf that you can buy across the pond. Now, with the Euro-market Passat just hitting the market over there, the folks in Wolfsburg are already getting their latest creation ready for future variants. According to Car and Driver, VW confirmed in its employee newsletter that the wagon is ready to go, and the CC, Alltrack and GTE plug-in hybrid are all in development.
Volkswagen (and many other European automakers) have a storied history of launching products in their home market before bringing those wares over to the United States. Look at the seventh-generation Golf, for example, which just arrived in the US as a 2015 model but first debuted at the Paris Motor Show back in 2012. So while you might assume that the slick new Passat seen here will show up in US showrooms in another year or two, you'd actually be wrong. Sorry, folks – we're missing this
We all know that the letters GT stand for Gran Turismo, but tacking on another letter can evoke a different meaning altogether. GTO for Ferraris (or Pontiacs), GT-R for Nissan supercars, GTA for high-performance Alfa Romeos (or car-theft video games, or metropolitan Toronto)... The list goes on and on, but few are as familiar with the idea as Volkswagen, which uses the letters GTI for hot hatches, GTD for their diesel counterparts, and most recently, GTE for plug-in hybrids.
It's not particularly unusual to see cheap cars in China, or those with designs stolen from foreign competitors, but increasingly the best-selling vehicles there would be very recognizable to just about any auto enthusiast. There appears to be one fact of life whether looking at car buyers in Sacramento, Stuttgart or Shanghai: People who can afford to buy premium cars often look first at the Germans.
Sorry, Americans – this one isn't for us. Yes, this is the all-new 2015 Volkswagen Passat, seen here in Euro-spec trim. And while the Passat is indeed a strong player in North America, this isn't the version we'll be getting – our car has been tipped to get a substantial refresh for the 2016 model year.
Volkswagen of America continues to see a sales decline, and the automaker is getting desperate to stop it. From January through April, Volkswagen sold 118,154 vehicles, down 10.4 percent from the year before. Something has to be done to stem the losses, and the business thinks it has an idea – introduce cars faster.
The schism that separates the European-market Volkswagen Passat and its American-built cousin is evidently only set to widen, as renderings have officially been released showing off the next-generation Euro-market Passat sedan, and it looks quite different than our larger, less costly family sedan. That's especially true up front, where it wears an aggressive scowl thanks to a chrome strip that forms a brow over the piercing headlamps and grille.
The Volkswagen brand sold 407,704 cars last year, a 6.95-percent decline compared to 2012, and it's down a further 8.36 percent through the end of April 2014 compared to this time last year. In order to to put the sales football between its Strategy 2018 goal posts, the brand would need to add 100,000 more sales every year to achieve the lofty 800,000-unit target. Coming to grips with how unreasonable that is, VW US CEO Michael Horn has said, "For now, we have to have realistic targets."
It appears that despite slowing sales, Volkswagen isn't ready to give up on its dapper CC sedan yet. VW of America CEO Michael Horn says that a sleek, new design is being worked on and could be here in about two years.
Volkswagen has followed up on a stop-sale order from earlier this month, announcing a voluntarily recall of 26,400 vehicles that are powered by the brand's 1.8-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine. The new mill replaced the despised 2.5-liter five-cylinder in the Jetta, Passat, Beetle and Beetle Convertible last year. Weirdly, though, of the 26,452 units covered in the recall, only 1,655 are customer vehicles.
Volkswagen has issued a stop sale on several models in the US while the automaker waits for parts to repair a transmission fluid leak. About 25,000 cars with the EA888 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine and automatic transmission are covered under the stoppage, which includes models of the Jetta, Passat, Beetle and Beetle Convertible. All of the affected models were built after February 1.
In the past, buyers that desired a sporty Volkswagen were rather limited in terms of choice. You could have a GTI, a Jetta GLI or a Golf R. If you wanted to move beyond the compact segment, you were stuck looking elsewhere. For 2014, though, VW decided to try and sportify it's big Passat sedan.
Volkswagen is constantly searching for ways to bring fuel-efficient options to the midsize Passat - a smart strategy considering it competes in one of the most popular vehicle segments. You can already opt for a diesel-powered TDI model, but the new VW Passat BlueMotion Concept hints at a future technology to improve fuel economy without resorting to hybridization.
Think back to last year's Detroit Auto Show, and you'll recall Volkswagen quietly introduced a spruced-up version of its midsize sedan, very plainly dubbed the Passat Performance Concept. This show car featured things like 19-inch wheels, carbon accents, an advanced front lighting system and – most importantly – a boosted version of the company's 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, tuned to produce a healthy 250 horsepower.
Cylinder deactivation is pretty easy to understand in, say, a V8 or V12, where not all the pistons need to be firing all the time. But cylinder deactivation on a four-cylinder engine? That's something new, and precisely what Volkswagen has in store for us at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show.
Volkswagen has announced pricing for the whole Passat range with the new 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which starts at $20,895* for the base 1.8T S sedan equipped with the standard five-speed manual transmission. Step up to the 1.8T Wolfsburg Edition, standard with a six-speed automatic, and buyers are looking at $23,695*. The SE with a five-speed manual starts at $24,475*, and it goes up from there. The Passat 1.8T SEL has already launched and starts at $30,895*. (*Prices don't i