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Posts from the ‘Pacific Volkswagen’ Category

29
Nov

Come visit Santa at LAcarGUY

la car guy

With Thanksgiving over, the holiday season is officially upon us. In preparation for Christmas, Santa will be stopping by the LAcarGUY stores to spread the joy of the holidays.

Do you have a gift you’d like to ask Santa for? Are you unsure if you’re on the naughty or nice list? Or do you just want to take a picture with the big guy himself?

Child or adult, LAcarGUY encourages you to stop by its stores to meet Santa and enjoy breakfast on us. Full details are below. Be sure to find the store nearest you, or the store with the vehicle you’ll be asking Santa to bring you for Christmas, to see if Santa will be stopping by from 9 a.m. to noon on December 7th or 14th!

 

Dec 7th from 9am – 12pm:

 

Audi Pacific: 20460 Hawthorne Blvd. Torrance, CA  90503

Pacific Volkswagen: 14900 Hindry Ave Hawthorne, CA  90250

Pacific Subaru: 20550 Hawthorne Blvd. Torrance, CA  90503

 

Dec 14th from 9am – 12pm:

 

Toyota of Santa Monica: 801 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA  90401

Lexus of Santa Monica: 1501 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA  90404

Volkswagen of Santa Monica: 2440 Santa Monica Blvd Santa Monica, CA  90404

Toyota of Hollywood: 6000 Hollywood Blvd Hollywood, CA  90028

Pacific VW (Pet Day): 14900 Hindry Ave Hawthorne, CA  90250

 

14
Nov

Volkswagen to Debut Electric e-Golf at LA Auto Show

Volkswagen e-Golf LA Auto Show, electric, VW

Volkswagen continues to prove its commitment to green technology with the unveiling of the e-Golf at this year’s Los Angeles Auto Show. With a full array of diesel vehicles and the recent introduction of the gas-electric Jetta Hybrid, the e-Golf moves Volkswagen into the realm of all-electric vehicles.

Boasting a range of between 70 and 90 miles, the e-Golf is able to manipulate its electric motor’s power delivery to give drivers the option of more horsepower or greater range.

Three different driving modes are available: Normal, Eco, and Eco+. In Normal mode the e-Golf makes a full 115-horsepower and 199 lb-ft of torque, or enough power to take the e-Golf from 0-60 mph in a reasonable 10.4 seconds.

Stepping up to Eco mode improves the vehicles range, but also pulls back some of the e-Golf’s modest power. With 94-horsepower and 162 lb-ft of torque available in Eco mode, the e-Golf scoots from 0-60 in 13.1 seconds.

For owners who really want to get the most range from their e-Golf, there’s Eco+ mode. With power pared down to 74-horsepower and 129 lb-ft of torque, and the A/C shut off, Eco+ mode is ideal for city use.

In the event a Volkswagen e-Golf owner does find his or her car out of electricity, Volkswagen is offering an exclusive roadside assistance plan that will take an owner and his or her e-Golf to a charging station at no cost, provided that the owner is within 100 miles of his or her home.

Furthermore, if an owner does not want to wait with his or her e-Golf as it charges, Volkswagen will cover the cost of a cab ride home; though, such an event will likely be rare as the e-Golf’s battery can be recharged to 80-percent of its capacity in approximately 30 minutes when using a DC Fast Charging system.

Volkswagen designed the e-Golf to help owners cope with potential range anxiety. A range monitor provides the driver with general information, such as the impact auxiliary systems like the A/C will have on the e-Golf’s range. And regenerative braking will be offered in three different levels in order to allow e-Golf driver’s to recapture the most kinetic energy back if they so desire.

Unlike many modern electric vehicles, the e-Golf is unique in that its architecture was designed from the start to use electric propulsion. As such, the battery and electric motor don’t intrude into the passenger compartment.

Sporting the familiar styling of the all-new Golf, the e-Golf wears a unique fascia with “C-shaped” LED daytime running lamps that will become a signature cue of all electric Volkswagen’s. Volkswagen also added LED headlamps that use less energy than halogen or xenon units.

The e-Golf marks the beginning of a new electric age at Volkswagen and we at LAcarGUY News look forward to seeing the next steps the company takes on the road to electrification. LAcarGUY News will be at the Los Angeles Auto Show posting the latest news and images from the show on our Facebook pages. Be sure to “Like” Pacific Volkswagen and Volkswagen Santa Monica on Facebook to get the latest information from the show floor.

22
May

Meet Pacific Volkswagen Product Specialist Gorkem Gercek

America is a melting pot, people come to this country from all over the world for kinds of different reasons, and here at LAcarGUY, we are a microcosm of that.  We have a great diversity of people that we are proud to call employees here at LAcarGUY.

Gorkem Gercek

As part of a new feature we want to highlight some of the great people who work here, and help you, be it as a sales person, a service technician or someone in the back office.  The first person we are going to feature is Gorkem Gercek, one of the Product Specialist at Pacific Volkswagen.

Gorkem was born in and raised in Istanbul, Turkey, on the European side.  Istanbul is a unique city in a number of different ways, one of them is it is a city that is on two continents, both European continent and the Asian continent separated by the Bosphorus Straights, one of the busies sea lanes in the world.

Gorkem was born into a Volkswagen family, it’s all his family has every owned!  So, it should come as no surprise that his first car was a Beetle, and then after that, he owned five Polo’s before coming to America for college in 2007.

When you are born into a Volkswagen family, and are a Volkswagen enthusiast, and you have to write your thesis for your M.B.A., what’s your subject?  “How Volkswagen Can Better Cater To The U.S. Market”!

It’s interesting that many of the points in Gorkem’s thesis, more affordable, better distribution, focus on value, are many of the items VW, has move towards in the last few years.  While he was at National University here getting his M.B.A. what car did he buy?  Why a Volkswagen of course!  It’s a 1998 Wolfsburg Edition Jetta, and it’s daily driver still.

We asked Gorkem what makes you stand out at Pacific Volkswagen.  He said that everyone comes to him with questions about Volkswagen’s because he knows the products and the brands worldwide.  A great example was recently one of his colleagues at Pacific Volkswagen came to him and asked if VW make pickup’s because he saw a a pickup with VW badging over the weekend.  Gorkem was able to show him pictures of the Amarok, which is sold in Mexico and throughout Asia.

We asked Gorkem is there was a car in Volkswagen’s world lineup that he’d like to see sold in America that is not, and he said without a doubt it’s the Polo.  He feel’s it’s a great car for what young people are asking for.  A small, really affordable car ($15,000-$16,000) that also is safe and gets great fuel economy.  He points out that the BlueMotion TDI Clean Diesel gets over 70MPG!

We are proud to have Gorkem on our team at Pacific Volkswagen, and if you have any questions about VW’s world wide, he’s your man.  The next time you stop in, make sure you say hello.

15
Jan

LAcarGUY Partners with Grades of Green in Trash Free Lunch Challenge

LAcarGUY’s group of South Bay dealerships have partnered with Grades of Green to kick off the 2013 Trash Free Lunch Challenge. Grades of Green is challenging schools to reduced lunchtime waste by encouraging students to pack trash-free lunches and to sort waste into recycle, compost and landfill bins. The 4R System that Grades of Green introduced helped divert over 10,000 bags of trash and saved participating schools thousands of dollars in 2011-2012.

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The project teaches students the 4Rs: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Rot (compost)

  • By bringing TRASH FREE each day, the students will make a difference at school by REDUCING lunch time landfill waste. They will know the number of landfill bags produced at lunch before the Challenge and by being TRASH FREE during the Challenge, they will see that number decrease.
  • By bringing REUSABLE lunch boxes, water bottles, sandwich and snack containers each day they will reduce lunch time waste.
  • The school will implement a sorting system during lunch which will include bins for: RECYCLING, ROT (compost), liquids and stacked trays. Educational games will teach students about WHAT items go into each bin and WHY.
  • Each bin in the sorting system will be clearly labeled to support students in the proper sorting process. These signs will educate and reinforce the concepts of REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE and ROT.

The Grades of Green team has been visiting participating schools and holding assemblies to educate students and get them excited about the project. Applications to participate in the project are due March 15th and finalist chosen among those schools with the least amount of trash will be announced March 22nd. Judges will visit the finalists on April 16th and the winning school will be announced on April 22nd at the awards ceremony.

Participating schools include:

  • Vista Mar High School
  • Washington Elementary
  • Riviera Elementary
  • Lunada Bay Elementary

And supporting LAcarGUY dealerships are Pacific VW, Audi Pacific, Subaru Pacific and Pacific Porsche.

14
Oct

Local Community Heroes Receive Their 2012 Beetle’s From Oprah Winfrey Show

LAcarGUY’s two Volkswagen stores, Pacific Volkswagen and Volkswagen Santa Monica, handed over the keys of the newly redesigned 2012 Beetle to three local Oprah Winfrey fans, as part of the show’s “Ultimate Favorite Things” giveaway!

These three lucky fans were given the surprise of their lives during a November 2010, Oprah “Ultimate Favorite Things” episode, when audience members, all specially selected community heroes, found out that they would be receiving a brand new 2012 Beetle.

Excited to participate in such a deserving promotion, LAcarGUY’s Volkswagen Santa Monica was proud to give Gina Elise, the “calendar angel,” her new, Silver 2012 Beetle. Gina is the founder of PinUpForVets.com, a project that supports hospitalized Veterans and deployed troops.

The other local recipients were a couple, Evelyn and Rob Calip, who picked up their Red and Blue 2012 Beetles at Pacific Volkswagen earlier today. Evelyn is a breast cancer survivor who started a non-profit, Evelyn’s Breast Friends Forever! to provide support to other women going through the same journey.

Redesigned for only the second time in history, the sportier 2.5L 2012 Beetle is a modern interpretation of the iconic Beetle design. Balancing classic beauty with a contemporary edge and enhanced performance, the 2012 Beetle provides an exhilarating driving experience.

“LAcarGUY is thrilled to offer Los Angeles the 2012 Beetle, reborn and reengineered for the 21st century,” said Mike Sullivan, Owner of LAcarGUY. “I’m especially pleased that we are giving these Beetles away to such a deserving group of local heroes.”

Oprah Community Heroes pick up their 2012 Beetles from LAcarGUY

Oprah Community Heroes pick up their 2012 Beetles from LAcarGUY

Oprah Community Heroes pick up their 2012 Beetles from LAcarGUY

Oprah Community Heroes pick up their 2012 Beetles from LAcarGUY

Oprah Community Heroes pick up their 2012 Beetles from LAcarGUY

Oprah Community Heroes pick up their 2012 Beetles from LAcarGUY

11
Oct

Pacific Volkswagen Passat Test Drive Event October 14-16

You’ve heard about the all new Made In America Volkswagen Passat, now it’s time for you to find out just how good this car is! Pacific Volkswagen is having a test drive event this weekend, October 14-16 at our store at 14900 Hindry Ave in Hawthorne.

We will have all trim lines of the 2012 Passat available for you to look at, sit in and test drive. We will also have VW Specialists on hand to answer all the questions you may have. Test drive one of the new Passats during the weekend and you will receive a $25 gas card!

If you come on Friday, lunch is on us!!! We will have the World Famous Grilled Cheese Truck here from 12-2pm providing all their great eats!

Also during this event we have special pricing for 2012 Passat leases, that make getting into a new Passat easy for everyone. Come on down to Pacific Volkswagen and see just out impressive the new Passat is.

5
Oct

Volkswagen Announces Pricing For The New Golf R

• Well-equipped two-door model starts at $33,990
• Sunroof and Navigation models have MSRPs of $35,490 (two-door) and $36,090 (four-door)
• Most powerful Golf production engine to be sold in the U.S.
• Six-speed manual transmission and all-wheel drive standard
• Predicted fuel economy of 19 mpg city, 27 mpg highway
• Bi-Xenon headlights and LED DRLs standard on all models
• On-sale early 2012 as a 2012 model, in both two- and four-door versions

Intelligent downsizing. That’s what the new Golf R represents. The heir to the 2004 and 2008 Golf R32 models, the new R manages to have more power, more performance, and consume less gasoline than its illustrious iconic performance forebears. And it offers all this for just $33,990, plus destination, for the two-door Golf R model.

Whereas the R32 models used 3.2-liter VR6 engines, the new Golf R is fitted with a high-output version of the award-winning turbocharged 2.0-liter TSI® engine. This engine makes 256 horsepower, six more than the VR6 fitted into the 2008 R32. As well as offering more power and performance, the Golf R is also more economical, with manufacturer estimated fuel economy of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway compared with EPA estimated mileage of 18 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for the prior model.

Like the previous R32 models, the Golf R is equipped with Volkswagen’s 4Motion® all-wheel-drive system: the latest generation of this system can divert up to 100 percent of the torque to the rear wheels, if needed. All Golf R models sold in the U.S will be equipped with a close-ratio six-speed manual transmission. For the first time, the Golf R will be available in two- and four-door guises as well as in two trim levels: well-equipped Golf R and luxurious Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation.

Exterior

The Golf R is a refined vehicle that’s marked by clean, minimalist lines that are mixed with sharp, intricate detailing. The style is sleek and contemporary, yet timeless and elegant.

The changes made for the Golf R are subtle yet striking, in keeping with the car’s mission of providing sophisticated and understated performance. Up front, there’s a new bumper that incorporates LED daytime running lights and three large black air intakes that help cool the engine. The radiator grille is finished in gloss black and features an “R” logo that sets the front of the car apart from the rest of the Golf range. Unique Bi-Xenon headlamps that are framed in black also have the Adaptive Front-lighting System (AFS), whereby the lights turn with the steering wheel, up to a maximum of 15 degrees, to provide better visibility around bends.

The car’s streamlined profile continues toward the rear, with a pair of subtly flared side skirts running along the lower edge of the body. The new 18-inch aluminum-alloy wheels expose gloss-black-painted brake calipers that incorporate the “R” logo; the exterior mirrors also have a gloss-black finish.

There’s further differentiation at the back of the R, where a new rear bumper was needed to accommodate the central twin pipes for the exhaust system, similar to the tailpipes fitted on the original 2004 R32. The bumper also features a gloss-black diffuser. The back end is highlighted by a slightly larger tail spoiler than that of the GTI and a subtle “R” badge. The R is available in five colors: Rising Blue, Candy White, Carbon Steel Gray, Black, and Tornado Red.

Interior

Just like the exterior, the interior has been enhanced to make it even more purposeful and demonstrate its role at the apex of the Golf range.

On opening the door, the driver and passenger will note aluminum “R” kickplates on the sills, before sliding into deep bucket seats. These are adorned with an “R” logo on the head restraint and are upholstered in supple leather.

The squared-off steering wheel is also swathed in leather, with gloss-black-finished spokes that carry through from the exterior design. Other R-specific features include: blue pointers for the instruments; the shifter knob with an “R” motif; aluminum trim for the dashboard and doors; and aluminum pedals.
The Golf R comes extremely well equipped, even in base form. Fully automatic dual-zone climate control is standard, along with a multifunction steering wheel, Premium VIII audio with eight speakers, aux-in, a Media Device Interface with iPod® connectivity, and Bluetooth®. The Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation adds the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; a 300-watt Dynaudio® sound system; a sunroof; and Keyless Entry with push-button start.

Just like the rest of the Golf range, the R is practical and versatile. The high-lifting tailgate provides easy ingress and egress to a load area that offers 15.3 cubic feet of space. And with the folding rear seat back split 60/40—and featuring a pass-through—there’s real flexibility for load carrying.

Engine and Transmission

The Golf R is fitted with the most powerful Golf production engine ever seen in the U.S. The car uses an updated version of the EA113 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine, rather than the EA888 engine used in the current GTI. Like the EA888, the EA113 uses direct fuel injection and double overhead camshafts with variable intake timing. Because the Golf R develops more power and torque than the GTI—256 horsepower and 243 lb-ft compared with 200 hp and 207 lb-ft—a number of changes have been made. The cylinder block is reinforced, stronger connecting rods are fitted, and a BorgWarner K04 turbocharger is used, boosting at up to 17 psi. With manufacturer estimated fuel economy ratings of 19 mpg in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, this is the most fuel-efficient Golf R model ever sold in the U.S.

The Golf R is offered with a slick shifting, close-ratio six-speed manual transmission that features a magnesium selector housing and cable operation with very short lever movements. The latest-generation 4Motion all-wheel drive is also standard on the Golf R. This system uses a Haldex® clutch pack that continuously varies the amount of torque sent to the rear wheels, depending on whether slippage is detected at the front. In normal driving, the Golf R acts like a front-wheel-drive machine, which has benefits for fuel economy. However, if needed, up to 100 percent of the torque can be directed to the rear wheels for traction on more challenging surfaces.

Suspension

The Golf R has unique calibration for its suspension, even compared with the GTI. At the front, it uses a damper-strut layout with lower control arms and a stiff, tubular anti-roll bar that combine to help keep the front tires planted during hard cornering, reducing body roll and heightening steering feedback.

At the back, there’s a compact multilink independent layout that features coil springs, telescopic dampers, and an anti-roll bar. The four-link layout features three lateral control arms—the spring mounting, the track rod and upper control arm, and a trailing link at each wheel. Suspension assemblies are attached by way of a rear-axle subframe and, as at the front, rubber and metal mountings that are soft in torsion but stiff radially are used to help ensure the anti-roll bar responds immediately and suppresses body roll effectively.

The spring and damper units are located separately on each side of the car at the rear, with the coil spring bearing directly on the trailing link and the damper attached to the wheel hub assembly. This enables the suspension geometry on the compression stroke to generate a toe steering effect that maintains neutral behavior, or some slight understeer, in all driving and load-carrying situations. It also helps ensure excellent driving stability on rough, uneven road surfaces. Stylish 18-inch-diameter aluminum-alloy wheels are shod with 225/40 all-season performance tires.

Steering and Brakes

The Golf R uses a third-generation electro-mechanical power steering system that is able to vary the feel of the steering to suit the speed and driving situation. It is firm and direct when driving at highway speeds, requiring less effort at parking speeds. Other advantages of the system include its mild self-centering action, and its ability to help compensate for driving hazards like crosswinds and steep road cambers. In the Golf R, the steering ratio is quicker than the GTI’s for an even sportier on-road feel.

The brakes were modified to cope with the Golf R’s higher level of performance as compared to the GTI. Golf R gets vented 13.6-inch-diameter front and 12.2-inch rear discs, up from the GTI’s 12.3-inch-diameter vented front and 10.7-inch solid rear discs. Naturally, anti-lock brakes (ABS) are standard, along with electronic brake pressure distribution (EBS) and hydraulic brake assist (HBA). The latest version of HBA is able to discern whether the braking is “normal” or an emergency according to the speed with which the pedal is depressed. In the event of an emergency, HBA helps increase the brake pressure and activates the ABS.

Safety and Security

The 2012 Golf R comes with an array of standard safety features. For driving security, enhancements include Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR), and an Electronic Differential Lock (EDL). A hill holder function automatically applies the parking brake when the vehicle comes to rest and the brake is depressed in traffic, preventing the car from rolling backwards or forwards. The brake is released once the driver presses the accelerator pedal. This is especially useful in slow traffic on long inclines.

Should the car be involved in a crash, the occupants are protected by driver and passenger front and front side thorax airbags together with Side Curtain Protection® head airbags for front and rear passengers. Volkswagen’s advanced Intelligent Crash Response System shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and even switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in certain types of collisions.

Like all 2012 Volkswagen models, the Golf R is covered under the no-charge Carefree Maintenance Program. All scheduled maintenance is covered for the length of the New Vehicle Limited Warranty—three years or 36,000 miles, whichever occurs first.

Model Line-up

The base Golf R is a sophisticated and luxurious performance car, with a high level of standard equipment.

Golf R

Starting at $33,990, the two-door Golf R comes equipped with Bi-Xenon headlights; dual-zone Climatronic® air conditioning; cruise control; leather-trimmed multifunction steering wheel; power windows with auto up/down function; leather seating surfaces; 60/40-split folding rear seat with pass through; aluminum pedals; a leather shifter knob and brake lever; and Bluetooth® technology. The eight-speaker sound system has an in-dash six-CD changer, AM/FM/SiriusXM™ Satellite Radio, and auxiliary input jack along with an iPod® adapter.

Golf R with Sunroof and Navigation

Starting at $35,490 for the two-door model, this adds: a power tilt-and-slide sunroof; Keyless Entry with push-button start; the RNS 315 touchscreen navigation system; and the eight-channel 300-watt Dynaudio® premium sound system.

12
Sep

All-New 2012 Passat, 8th Volkswagen to Receive a 2011 Top Safety Pick Award

Having moved North American production to Chattanooga, Tennessee, the all-new Volkswagen Passat has now been repositioned to compete at the heart of the mid-sized sedan market. Now it has earned the coveted Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s (IIHS) Top Safety Pick rating for 2011, which is the highest possible for the non-profit safety research organization.

This annual rating recognizes vehicles that perform best in protecting passengers in the Institute’s front, side, and rear crash test evaluations, along with the newly required roof-strength test evaluations. Top Safety Pick ratings are only awarded to vehicles that are fitted with electronic stability control and head protection airbags.

The Passat is the eighth Volkswagen vehicle to win the award for 2011. Among its winning siblings is the CC 2.0L TSI, Jetta, Jetta Sportwagen, Tiguan, Touareg, and four-door GTI models.

“Performance of the Passat is another example of Volkswagen’s ongoing commitment to engineer vehicles that earn the highest safety ratings,” says Institute president Adrian Lund. “Top Safety Pick winners achieve that status by earning the top ratings in the Institute’s four demanding tests, and by having electronic stability control, the most important feature in helping drivers avoid many kinds of crashes in the first place.”

“The new Passat is an important vehicle for Volkswagen,” said Jonathan Browning, President and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. “It has been engineered in Germany specifically to compete in the heart of the North American mid-sized sedan segment.”

“To have IIHS recognize the Passat as the Top Safety Pick is a great statement for this new car–and to have eight Volkwagen models with this significant award is an equally great statement for the brand. It’s a testament to our commitment to make safety such a high priority in vehicle development, using advanced techniques such as laser seam welding and the extensive use of high-strength steel to build exceptionally strong structures.”

The Passat will hit our showrooms in the third week of September. Join our Facebook community or follow us on Twitter to be one of the first to know! Or contact us today and have one of our sales consultants contact you personally as soon as the vehicle arrives.

11
Aug

The 2012 Passat Resists the Dark Side

Reposted with the permission of acarisnotarefrigerator.com.

The adorable little kid in the Darth Vader outfit who starred in VW’s popular Super Bowl commercial, The Force, won’t need to invoke The Force to compel consumers to buy the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Passat. I’m relieved to report that the car is good enough to sell itself. [For the record, that commercial turned out to be a very good investment for Volkswagen as it went viral and has been viewed more than 41.4 million times on YouTube alone. ]

Like most auto enthusiasts, I was concerned and apprehensive last year when VW announced that its new mid-size car was going to be a US-only Passat with an inflated size and a deflated sticker price. To do this, VW built a beautiful, shiny, new $1 billion factory in lovely, noisome Chattanooga, Tennessee. And they did it all with “only” around $557 million in state and local taxpayer incentives.

Volkswagen’s new plant in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Right now, the only model built there is the 2012 Passat.

The new Passat was announced after the 2010 launch of the all-new 2011 Jetta. I found the new Jetta disappointing in almost all metrics save for the wonderful TDI engine option. The Jetta had been stripped of suspension parts and fitted with interior plastics courtesy of Walmart. Built in VW’s Puebla, Mexico plant, the Jetta is now cheap enough to compete with the Asians. Ugh. In short, the new Jetta had turned to the Dark Side to boost sales.

Americans respond to big price reductions, so sales of the Dark Side Jetta are up. I mourn the loss of a Jetta sedan with a class-leading interior, independent rear suspension and 4-wheel disc brakes. I’ve always been a fan of VW because the little German-engineered cars were günstiger.

The 2011 VW Jetta – knock knock – come on, wake up!

The 2012 Passat, with a base MSRP of $19,995, is targeted directly at the mid-size family sedan leaders: The Toyota Camry, Honda Accord, Nissan Altima, Hyundai Sonata, Kia Optima, Ford Fusion and Chevy Malibu. It’s thousands less than the previous German-built Passat, primarily due to cost cutting and elimination of the profit-sucking exchange rates.

Where the Jetta’s styling redefines anonymous, the new Passat is more detailed and mature, albeit as conservative as the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page. Pictures don’t do the Passat justice and color makes a significant difference. All the promos show the car in a pale color; however, my black tester really popped with its controversial, bright, rapper-size fore and aft VW badges and sinister-looking polycarbonate shades streamlining the halogen headlamps into the prominent 3-bar corporate chrome grille. It may look like Darth Vader, but it hasn’t gone to the Dark Side.

The front of the 2012 Passat looks a bit menacing in black. The VW badge is certainly prominent.

I contacted VW Santa Monica (part of the LACarGuy group) ahead of time to make sure they had a diesel Passat available to test. The test car was just that – a VW tester sent directly to the Santa Monica dealer to make the rounds of local events and provide a dedicated test vehicle for 40 mpg-hungry LA-area greenies.

No window sticker, just a nice “gift” to Santa Moncia Volkswagen. Note the QR (quick response) code on the sticker. You can read it with an app on your smartphone.

I’m sure the base Passat 2.5L, saddled with VW’s unremarkable 170 hp 5-cylinder hamster wheel, will be the volume leader. Inexpensive always sells. VW also offers a top-line Passat with a 3.6L 280 hp V6; but here in green veneer L.A., the marquee model is the TDI with the 2.0L 140 hp 236 lb-ft torque turbo-diesel direct-injected engine mated to either a 6-speed manual or VW’s 6-speed DSG dual-clutch automated gearbox.

Why the excitement? Well it’s because the manual version is rated at 31 mpg city, 43 mpg highway and the automatic is rated at 30 city/40 highway. The Passat’s highway mileage meets or beats any mid-size sedan, including the Toyota Camry, Ford Fusion and Hyundai Sonata Hybrids. Anecdotal evidence from numerous sources suggests that the TDI’s highway mileage will actually be higher. With its 18.5 gallon tank, the Passat TDI has a cruising range exceeding 700 miles. Vegas road trip anyone?

The rear of the 2012 Passat is more defined than the Jetta. It won’t win any design awards, but it’s well executed. Note the large VW badge and the TDI SEL on the right trunk lid.

It was a nice day for a drive in Santa Monica where the blistering summer heat was all the way up to 73 degrees — a daunting test for the Passat’s standard dual zone automatic climate control.

The little diesel engine feels right at home in the Passat and has no problem tugging around its 3,360 pounds. I experienced a bit of hesitation from the DSG when I punched it into a turn from a stand still; however in normal driving in city traffic, the transmission shifted smoothly. I never felt a lack of power because of the gobs of torque available from only 1,400 rpm.

All in easy reach: The handsome DSG shifter, start stop button and dual zone automatic climate control. The digital temperature settings can be read in the center infotainment screen.

The new electromechanical power steering felt light, somewhat isolated, but on center. It retains enough German precision to make it a better driver’s car, particular in DSG sport mode. The front wheels tracked dead straight. As with most VW products, torque steer has been all but banished by the engineers in Wolfsburg.

I did my usual tap and scratch test on the interior plastics of the new Passat and I have good news: This isn’t the Jetta. The dash cowl is covered in a pleasing, textured, soft-touch plastic. The “Autumn Nut Burl” trim, while not real, is convincing enough. The door trim above armrest level is textured and softened while the trim below the arm rest and below the dash belt line is a harder plastic that taps a bit hollow.

The driver’s side door panel is pleasing and the various plastic panels all match despite being of different quality. I like the way the grab handle was integrated into the design.

The tilt/telescope three-spoke multifunction leather-wrapped steering wheel felt good in my hands and adjusted for a perfect view of the instruments. Basic functions were all easily accessible and my hand fell naturally both to the shifter and adjacent start/stop button.

I was grateful for the 8-way power sports seat with driver’s side memory that are part of the $4,300 TDI SEL2 option package. It took a bit of fiddling, but I found a comfy position for my 6′ 1″ lanky frame. The heated and leather-trimmed seats have Dynamico ® (synthetic suede) inserts that tether you in for an added sporty dimension.

It’s not a great picture; but you can see the power seat controls.

I didn’t test the navigation system, but the smallish 6.5″ touch screen had sharp graphics and was easy to read. The Fender Premium Audio System has a 30 GB hard drive, Bluetooth, satellite radio and iPod control. The interior is almost Lexus-quiet, with surprising little engine or road noise infiltrating the airy cabin. This modern advanced “clean” diesel engine is both quiet and odor-free.

The smallish – 6.5 inch – infotainment screen. Here you see some of the controls for the Fender Premium Audio System.

I missed a backup camera or sensors that would be an inexpensive add-on to the existing navigation system. There were no rain-sensing wipers either. And I’d prefer the iPod controls in the center armrest area rather than the glove box.

The 2012 Passat has class-leading front and rear legroom and its cargo capacity is almost at the top with 15.9 cubic feet. The standard 60/40 split rear bench folds down so that long flat cargo (think flat boxes at IKEA) are an easy fit. The trunk was completely lined and flocked; however, the trunk lid was naked and sported goose neck hinges rather than gas-pressure struts. I smell a diligent cost accountant at work.

The back seats look inviting and you can see the suede-like material inserts.

The capacious trunk has a fairly low lip, so it’s easier to load stuff. It’s nicely lined too. Note the little pulls at the top of the opening that allow you to drop the rear seats for more room. Also you can see the naked trunk lid and cheap goose neck hinges.

Base MSRP for the 2012 Passat TDI with DSG is $27,895. The SEL2 package is $4,300; however, you get almost every luxury feature and infotainment upgrade you could want. In fact, there are no other options offered. Add the $770 destination charge and the fully-loaded car is $32,965. This prices the 2012 Passat TDI smack in the middle of its similarly-equipped fuel sipping hybrid competition and it is, by far, the frugal enthusiast’s pick of the bunch.

25
Jul

TDI Panamericana Pit-stop at Pacific Volkswagen

We are proud and excited to announce that renowned adventurer and off-road racer, Rainer Zietlow, and his team will be making a stop at Pacific Volkswagen on August 3rd on route to completing the TDI Panamericana Endurance Challenge.

To commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Pan-American Highway, Zietlow and his team have taken on the ultimate endurance challenge–a fast, two-week drive from Argentina to Alaska on the longest road in the world. The team will cover 14 countries and nearly 16,000 miles in a 2011 Volkswagen Touareg TDI Clean Diesel SUV. To check out the teams progress, view their website www.tdi-panamericana.com.

So drop by Pacific Volkswagen on August 3rd to cheer the team on and join in the celebration.