Volkswagen T-Roc

Volkswagen T-Roc.

If you think there are a lot of Volkswagen SUVs to choose already, wait till you see what’s coming in 2018. First there will be a new seven-seat version Tiguan Allspace, then a next-generation Touareg which, despite its considerable size, will be based on an extended version of the MQB platform also found in the Polo, and finally a Polo-sized convertible called the T-Cross. Before all that, here’s the T-Roc, which will be available to order in the spring. Slightly smaller than the Tiguan in all dimensions, it’s built in…

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Volkswagen Golf 1.5 TSI R-Line Five-door

German-registered Volkswagen Golf R-Line.

There is always a risk, when you write nice things about Volkswagens, that some buffoon is going to accuse you of being putty in the hands of the Beast of Wolfsburg. To forestall this, I’m going to start off by mentioning two aspects of the Golf which do not impress me. First, VW has never, in over forty years, been able to distance itself from the huge rear pillars which some fool thought were a good idea during the design stage of the Mk1. This is usually referred to as…

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Volkswagen Golf GTI Performance DSG Five-door

Tilted action shot of red Volkswagen Golf GTI cornering hard.

A colleague happened to mention, shortly before I climbed aboard the GTI, that he thought it a far superior machine to the Golf R. It would be easy to refute this during a frank and forthright exchange of views over coffee by quoting figures and pointing out the R’s mechanical advantages, but when you actually drive the GTI it’s easy to come round to his point view. At this point, a scamper through Golf history seems appropriate. Volkswagen originally used the GTI badge to denote only high-performance variants. Later, its…

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Bug Life

1938 Volkswagen Beetle.

Beneath a heavy grey December sky which promised snow, a beige ’61 VW 1200 De Luxe chugged its way south out of Edinburgh along the A68 to the steady beat of an air-cooled flat-four. Past Fala Dam and through the Lammermuir Hills the little car climbed, and as the long steep ascent of Carter Bar approached its driver dropped a gear and the exhaust note hardened. It was 1971 and a few days before Christmas. I was making my way home from university for the holidays, and undertaking the journey…

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Volkswagen Arteon

Frontal view of a Volkswagen Arteon R-Line coming out of a dip on a country road.

For a company more accustomed to building hatchbacks, estates and SUVs, Volkswagen is straying into unfamiliar ground by doubling the number of large coupes¬† (meaning ones significantly heftier than the Scirocco or Beetle) in its portfolio. Like the CC, the new Arteon is never going to sell in great numbers – “don’t expect us to announce that it has become one of our top five models,” a VW spokesman told me – but that doesn’t mean it should be dismissed. As I hope to demonstrate here, it’s a very good…

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Volkswagen Golf

Dark blue Volkswagen Golf R in mid corner.

Volkswagen’s UK operation is careful to describe the latest Golf as an updated Mk7 rather than a Mk8 or even a Mk7.5. It’s undoubtedly very similar in a lot of ways to the version you could have bought up to the early months of this year. The bodyshell is exactly the same as before, the suspension has not been altered on any model, and there are no new engines. From an engineering point of view, very little has changed. But it’s, you know, complicated. Although the structure remains as before,…

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Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 V6 TDI 224PS Aventura

Ravenna Blue Volkswagen Amarok Aventura on a left-hand corner.

If you have bad memories of driving pickups round about, say, the turn of the century, and fear that things have become no better since, five minutes behind the wheel of the Volkswagen Amarok will persuade you otherwise. Even after an early 2017 facelift it still doesn’t look particularly aggressive as pickups go, yet it is enormously capable in difficult situations, and at the same time beautifully composed in easier ones. No other Amarok is as fast or expensive as the Aventura. Along with one version of the cheaper Highline,…

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The Golf GTI: An Appreciation

Red Volkswagen Golf GTI MkI parked next to a stone staircase.

This is the man who put a million on black and it came up red. This is the man who married a sex kitten just as she turned into a cat. This is the man who moved into gold just as the clever money moved out. This is the man who drives a Volkswagen. Everyone must have something in life he can rely on. So goes the voiceover, and then to the strains of Ravel a sleepy eyed tuxedo-clad bon vivant leaves a Riviera casino in the early hours, pockets…

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Volkswagen Touareg 3.0 TDI 262PS R-Line

Blue Volkswagen Touareg R-Line.

I was in a Volkswagen Touareg when the first named storm of the winter hit the south-west of England. That was when the golden glow of autumn turned into black fury. Hedges thrashed in the gale, falling leaves were mixed with twigs as they barrelled along the lanes of Cornwall. Sheets of rain hurled and spun from sodden, overcast skies. Fields flooded, great tongues of storm-roughened water lapped from ditches into the roads, tractors brought clods of clay onto the carriageway at every gate. For a while, everywhere was mud,…

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Volkswagen Golf Ecomatic

Rare example of a surviving right-hand drive Volkswagen Golf Ecomatic.

It seems odd to describe a mainstream car built not much more than twenty years ago as a “classic”, but I think the Volkswagen Golf Ecomatic is just peculiar enough to qualify. In most respects it’s a very ordinary third-generation five-door Golf fitted with a non-turbo 1.9-litre diesel engine whose maxmium power output is just 63bhp. (Nowadays that seems a ridiculously feeble figure, but the car is quite light, being unencumbered with safety equipment that would be considered essential in the modern era, so it doesn’t feel as slow as…

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