We Drove (Almost) Every Volkswagen Currently on Sale: Review
Usually sometime during the summer, automakers like to wrangle up journalists like a herd of cattle, and let them loose on nearly every car in their current lineup. That happened last week when Volkswagen told me they'd be keeping me in some amazing hotel, feeding me, and letting me get behind the wheel of almost every car they sell in the U.S. Some we liked more than others, but overall, it was an interesting look at what the VW brand is currently offering in the States.
Engine: Electric Horsepower: 115 Price (as tested): $35,445 or $299/Month Lease Welcome to the future, where electric Golfs rule the street. OK, maybe not yet. But considering how well the e-Golf is built, and how comfortable it is to drive, I can’t see why this thing wouldn’t rule the electric segment in a few years. Oh, and did I mention it’s only a $299/month for a lease?
Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder Turbo Horsepower: 200 Price: $35,595 You really have to admire the Volkswagen Eos. Not for being a good car — it isn’t — but for attempting to give buyers the option of a cheaper German alternative to the Audi A4. It was a valiant effort that didn't really bear any fruit. Thankfully, 2014 is the end of the line for the Eos.
Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder Turbo Horsepower: 200 Price: $32,495 You tend to forget that the Volkswagen CC still exists. The original styling that made it so eye-catching has been dumbed down to mimic the rest of the mostly bland lineup. It still remains a viable sedan in the segment, but only just. Starting at $32,495, it is pricier than say a Toyota Camry or Hyundai Sonata, but inside, it’s a very nice place to be. And if you're so inclined, it comes with a manual.
Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder Turbo Horsepower: 210 Price: $24,995 I drove the new GTI earlier in the year, and it didn’t really leave me overly impressed. I soon figured out that the DSG gearbox — while a good option — just didn't compare to the crispness of the manual version. It was sharper, it was more focused, and it was just more fun. Probably too fun, since we got in some trouble with it. Note: the GTI was not made for rallying and you should not treat it as so. Sorry, Volkswagen. Other positives include the well-equipped interior, the good looking exterior, and the plaid seats. Because plaid.
Engine: 2.0L Diesel Horsepower: 140 Price: $21,295 When I got into the Jetta, it was well-built and comfortable and halfway through I forgot what I was driving. No, really — I completely forgot if I was in a Jetta or a Passat. Maybe because neither of those cars really appeal to me, or maybe because neither of them are really appealing to anyone in general. There was some good news though. We drove the manual TDI, which gets up to 42 mpg highway and retails for only $21,295. It’s pretty basic, but pretty good for what it’s worth.
Volkswagen Beetle Turbo R-Line
Engine: 2.0L 4-Cylinder Turbo Horsepower: 210 Price: $24,995 Considering how much fun the little GTI is, a lot of people tend to forget that Volkswagen still builds a Beetle Turbo. And a fun one, at that. It’s got 210 horsepower and a manual gearbox. And like the GTI it is front-wheel drive, but also like the GTI it’s fun enough to toss around some twisty mountain roads. At the end of the day — outside the Beetle and GTI — most of the lineup seemed forgettable. Every car is very clean and very precise and very German, but you sort of find yourself wishing for something, anything to give the VW brand some life.