VW Touareg: A First Drive
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By Jamie Vondruska
Back in the early 1990s when the Sport Utility Vehicle craze started to take off in the United States Volkswagen was struggling to sell 50,000 cars a year. The idea of a VW sport utility vehicle was a far-off notion. To do it right would require an all-new platform, and none of Volkswagen's existing commercial truck platforms would fit bill. So Volkswagen found itself without the necessary hardware to support what was quickly becoming the biggest automotive trend of the 1990s. Not only that, but they desperately needed to do something to turn their fortune around in the North American market, otherwise they would have been forced to pull out altogether.
Around the same time Dr. Ferdinand Piech took over the helm of the Volkswagen group, and he set in motion a plan to completely replace every single passenger car Volkswagen sold. The plan included an SUV somewhere in the future, but funding for an all-new platform, new all-wheel-drive system and an engineering staff already spread thin over many other projects would make it very difficult. However with sport utility vehicles rapidly cannibalising car sales in the US, Volkswagen needed to do something.
Along came Porsche, which has very strong family ties to then VW Chairman Dr. Ferdinand Piech. Porsche has an engineering facility in North America that ironically did engineering work for Daimler-Chrysler's Jeep Grand Cherokee. That expertise along with the ability to share funding, development costs and engineering talent meant that both Porsche and Volkswagen could get the SUV that both companies wanted. In 2003 we will finally see the result of this collaboration.
Volkswagen recently gave us an opportunity to sample their forthcoming Touareg SUV both on-road and off at Volkswagen's Ehra Lessien proving grounds and we came away both surprised and impressed. The surprise due to the fact that we, like the rest of the journalists invited to the preview, had fairly low expectations since the Touareg appeared to be little more than another SUV in a sea of similar vehicles. We were wrong. What impressed us was how complete a package the Touareg is with very good on-road manners and tremendous off-road capabilities wrapped in a very handsome package.
First, photos don't do the Touareg justice - with very clean lines, a wide stance and easily identifiable cues that it is a Volkswagen; the Touareg has a great presence. In photos the Touareg tends to look smallish in size, but in real life it is fairly large. While not in the same league as the Ford Excursion, the Touareg as compared to other European luxury SUVs is fairly large. At 1930 mm wide and 1720 mm tall, with a wheelbase of 2860 mm and an overall length of 4750 mm, the Touareg sits 100 mm longer and 50 mm wider than the BMW X5.
Volkswagens have historically had a ‘small on the outside but large on the inside’ reputation. The Touareg breaks this trend with a larger than life exterior and, while plenty roomy inside for all passengers, cosy feeling interior. The Touareg has 550 litres of storage space in back, and 1,570 litres with the rear seat folded down. You can access the rear hatch area by lifting the rear hatch or through the rear window, which can be open separately while the rear hatch is closed. Front and rear seat room is plentiful and even the rearmost hatch area has a fair amount of room, more so than you would think looking from the outside. The Touareg does not have a third row of seats and Volkswagen makes no excuses for this.
The vehicle is designed for both the European and US market, and as a result has size limitations that restrict overall length. Chances are most buyers of this SUV are not looking for a big family hauler, since the Touareg leans slightly more towards the luxury end of the SUV spectrum.
The driving position has good visibility all around and easy access to all controls. While we were warned the vehicles we drove weren't even pre-production models, fit and finish was excellent already and we're expecting even better from the final production models. Power everything is standard.
The Touareg has a high level of off-road capability tied together with a brand new all-wheel-drive system that is unique to the Touareg and its Porsche Cayenne brother. Standard on all models are electronically controlled centre and rear differential locks, a true low-range gear set, and a torque split capable of going 100% front and 100% rear. Also available optionally on the V6 but standard on the V8, V10 TDI and W12 models is an air suspension system. The air suspension system also includes an air fill hose that can be used separately to inflate tyres or anything else you might need.
Ground clearance is a healthy (and class leading) 300 mm with 33-degree approach and departure angles. The Touareg is also able to wade through 585 mm of standing water thanks to watertight door and tailgate seals and engine air intakes that have been relocated higher in the engine compartment. Volkswagen also showed a prototype of what they are calling the ‘extreme’ package which includes numerous skid plates, air suspension as standard equipment, sway bar links that electronically disconnect to allow more independent wheel motion, a front differential, side running boards and an exterior mounted spare tyre on a swing out gate.
Volkswagen set us loose at their highly protected Ehra Lessien proving grounds, just north of the Volkswagen headquarters in Wolfsburg, for some on-road and off-road fun. Volkswagen had six Touareg models for us to sample: two 165 kW 3.2-litre VR6 models with standard spring suspension; two 231 kW 4.2-litre V8 models with air suspension, and two 233 kW V10 TDI models with air suspension. All of the vehicles on hand were largely hand built units so some of the detailing we saw might be different to the final production version.
The V6 model will be the base unit. It will come standard with a slew of standard equipment and a toned down appearance package indicative of a base model - no wood trim on the interior, blacked out front grill, smaller standard wheels and other touches. Even though the 3.2-litre VR6 is rated at 165 kW in the Touareg, we're inclined to think VW might be under-quoting the output a bit. The V6 model moved off the line rather well, especially with the 6-speed Tiptronic, which is standard on all models. Volkswagen quotes a 0-100 km/h time below 10 seconds for the VR6 model. The 3.2-litre is quiet and smooth and definitely not an engine option to shy away from.
The 231 kW 4.2-litre V8 is borrowed from Audi. It gives a very nice growl at higher RPMs and moves the Touareg smartly off the line. Volkswagen claims a 0-100 km/h time of below 8 seconds for the V8 model. The added weight was a little more noticeable when tossing the vehicle around the slalom cones, but not significantly different than the V6 model.
The 233 kW V10 TDI is by far our favourite pick of all the models, not because of the 233 kW but because of the 750 Nm of torque. The V10 TDI model really moves off the line with big authority and literally pushes you back in your seat. It is also the quietest TDI we've ever heard and returns nearly 9.8 L/100 km combined cycle according to VW. Every journalist in attendance at the event echoed the same sentiment that the V10 TDI is THE Touareg model to have. VW engineers tell us that since truck emissions are much looser than gasoline emission standards there is a VERY good chance we'll see the V10 TDI in the second year of production, along with possibly a 310 kW+ W12-cylinder model (engine from one of VW’s Bentley range).
All Touareg models come standard with a host of alphabet soup electronic systems to make sure you don't get in over your head: electronic stability program (ESP), anti-slip regulation (ASR), anti-lock brakes (ABS), engine braking control (EEC) and hydraulic brake assistant (HBA). All these systems work rather unobtrusively and the ASR and ESP are capable of being shut off via a switch on the centre console. Other safety features include six airbags and an after crash procedure in which the Touareg, after being involved in a serious accident will automatically unlock all the doors, disrupt the starter line from the battery, turns off all HVAC systems, cuts the fuel supply, turns the hazard lights on and, if equipped, will use an option OnStar system to call for help.
Volkswagen set up a cone course with slalom, decreasing radius high-speed sweepers, garage gates, an avoidance manoeuvre gate and more all designed to show the agility and safety aspects of the Touareg. VW engineers encouraged us to push the Touareg as hard as we could on the track and while the vehicle has some typical SUV body roll, dive and squat characteristics, the Touareg overall hangs on very well with its Yokohama AVS S/T performance tyres doing a commendable job coping with the mass. Through the cones the Touareg has decent turn-in and will understeer at the limit but is easy to bring back in line through throttle input. The levels of ESP interference were low enough that we didn't bother turning the system off. Not to mention we weren't interested in balling up one of VW's hand made prototypes. Overall the Touareg handled much better than we expected and was extremely quiet inside making for a nice place to spend a number of hours travelling.
Braking is wonderful due in large part to the decent tires standard on the Touareg and six-piston Brembo callipers (!). Little to no fade after repeated stops and very easy pedal modulation with no wandering at the limits of adhesion. A great set-up that looks very impressive when viewed through the optional 18" wheels.
After spending several hours on the track it was time to head over to the off-road section of Volkswagen's proving grounds. This veritable off-road playground had a wide variety of surfaces, hill grades, sand pits, water pits and more for us to get some idea of the off-road capabilities of the Touareg. While the course was designed with the Touareg in mind (meaning there wasn't anything the Touareg couldn't handle) there were a few things that definitely stuck out. First, sand is usually a place where an SUV will stumble since it tends to be a flowing medium that can overwhelm tires and AWD systems quickly often resulting in a vehicle that buries itself up to the axles and an owner that has to reduce tire pressures and dig the vehicle out. Not the Touareg. VW engineers encouraged us to do our best to bury the truck in the sand to no avail. The Touareg would simply haul itself out without a hiccup.
Another interesting feature is a hill climb and descent control. Volkswagen had a large hill with various grades of climb up to 45 degrees and with varying surfaces of dirt, loose rocks and small boulders. Drop the Tiptronic in first gear with the AWD system in ‘low’ and while climbing the 45 degree grade you can lift off the accelerator and the vehicle stays perfectly in place with no drifting backwards or forward crawl - it simply holds the vehicle in position without the driver having to use the brakes. Likewise when crossing over the top of the grade and down the other side, leaving the Tiptronic in first gear gives you controlled decent down the other side with no runaway down the hill.
A few other journalists commented that the VW off-road course didn't seem as extreme as the Land Rover off-road facility in the United States, and that given the Touareg's on-paper qualifications it would be an interesting comparison of the two vehicles. Volkswagen engineers smiled at this notion as they reportedly spent vast amounts of time in places like Dubai, Colorado, Utah and Nevada pushing not only the Touareg beyond its limits, but its competition as well. There was talk of flipping a Mercedes ML and braking the frame on a GMC during their excursions. We think the Touareg will easily exceed the off-road needs and wants of all but the most hardcore off-roaders and will raise the eyebrows on a few others that wouldn't give this truck a second look in the backcountry. VW made it clear that the Touareg and Cayenne set their sites very high both on-road and off-road and after our first drive we believe them.
Overall for us as VW enthusiasts, the Touareg was a vehicle we originally had mixed emotions about. None of our staff currently owns an SUV and no one gets particularly excited about them either. However a number of us here enjoy camping, snow skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking and a variety of other outdoor recreational activities and the Touareg is a very tempting option to have now. It has great on-road manners and tremendous off-road capabilities, 3,500 kg towing capacity (race car tow vehicle anyone?) and most importantly one kick butt diesel option that gives not only performance but decent fuel economy as well.
We'd also like to see Volkswagen offer the new 3.0-litre V6 TDI with 165 kW and over 475 Nm of torque as an additional way to help differentiate the Touareg and give more diesel options to consumers.
The Touareg will be publicly introduced this September at the Paris Auto Show in Europe and at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit next January. After that it will be sold in export markets such as the USA – and Australia.
By Steve Carter
Before the launch of the new VW Touran in the first quarter of 2003, Volkswagen is now publishing initial pictures and facts about the high-quality interior of its compact 5 to 7-seat compact van. The versatile interior of the Touran, which has five seats as standard and seven as an option, has been carefully thought through to the very last detail and is designed for anybody who simply needs plenty of space - or up to seven seats - in the course of their private of professional activities. Up to three rows of seats allow a very high degree of variability and thus make outstanding versatility possible. Moreover, the interior of the Touran is distinguished by the generous amount of space it offers. Despite the compact exterior body dimensions, it achieves a size usually only associated with significantly larger vehicles.
Further arguments in favour of Volkswagen's new van are its comprehensive standard equipment package, which includes, for example, a radio with CD player, central locking with radio remote control, not to mention ABS, EDL and ESP.
Like all the seats in the Touran, the driver's and front-passenger seats are distinguished by their well-balanced ergonomic characteristics. The seats are of a completely new concept. Compared to a conventional passenger car, they provide a slightly higher seating position (631 mm) a seat-to-roof dimension of 1,020 mm, which gives the occupant a relaxed, uncramped feeling. Front, side and curtain airbags are fitted as standard to protect the driver and the front passenger. If children are travelling in a rearward-facing child seat fitted in the front, the passenger-side airbag system can also be deactivated via switch in the glove compartment, which is operated by a key. An easily visible warning light between the central ventilation outlets verifies that they are deactivated.
Of great practical use are the many stowage spaces in the front seating area. For example, there is a stowage box and a draw (from the Trendline version up) for larger utensils under the driver and front passenger seats. Above the instrument panel there is another box whose contents are protected from curious looks by a flap. Additional stowage space is provided in the form of a large roof console with three compartments.
A further locking stowage compartment is integrated under the armrest in the centre console between the driver's and front passenger seats. Just as easily accessible: the large stowage compartments in the doors with space for a 1-litre bottle or a road atlas. Another compartment underneath the radio console, two-cup holders next to the handbrake and the glove compartment, which is cooled via the air-conditioning system, complete the package and underline its all-round suitability for everyday use.
Moreover, all essential interior components - from the cockpit to the door trims and the control elements have all been newly developed. Wherever the driver comes across familiar elements, for example the headlight switch, sophisticated detail solutions were consciously selected, whose basic function can be operated intuitively, without having to relearn the function. This principle is typical for Volkswagen, as is the highly functional layout of new control elements. For example, the ventilation and air-conditioning system: a completely new, self-explanatory control concept was developed for the ventilation function and for the optional/ equipment-dependent air-conditioning systems (Climatic/Climatronic including separately controllable air conditioning for driver and front passenger)
The three single seats in the second row are positioned next to one another and weigh less than 16 kilograms each. Just a few movements are needed to adjust them in either fore/aft or sideways directions, fold them or remove them. Because of the high seating position (676 mm), they also offer excellent long-distance comfort regardless of the occupant's height. The seat-to-roof dimension here is 989 mm.
The attention to detail is continued in the second row of seats. Pockets and folding table, including cup holders in the backrests of the driver's and front passenger seats (from the Trendline version up), the middle seat that can also be used as a table, stowage compartments in floor in front of the seats and large stowage compartments in the doors (also with a holder for a 1-litre bottle) will happily cope even if need to take your children's favourite toys along.
And those who want to play with these toys will be given the best possible protection on board the Touran. The second row is also fitted with curtain airbags. All three seats have three-point seat belts and head restraints. The two outer seats also have "isofix" fixtures for securing the corresponding child seats. The higher seating position not only gives a better view, but also makes it much easier for parents to fasten their children's seat belts. Small and large passengers alike can make use of the special cup holder in the rear section of the center console, which can also be used to hold a large drinking bottle.
If required, the Touran can also be fitted with a third row of seats. When they are not in use, the two high-quality single seats can quickly be lowered into the floor of the vehicle.
Three-point seat belts and head restraints that can be fully extended are of course also fitted here. The head restraints can be securely and neatly stowed away in a separate compartment in the floor of the luggage compartment before the seats in the third row are lowered.
A glance at the area of the third row of seats reveals that together with the boxes and pockets in the front two rows of seats, the total number of stowage spaces in the Touran is 39, depending on the equipment fitted. Here too there are locking stowage compartments and cup holders in the side trims, a stowage space in the sidewall of the luggage compartment and in the floor of the luggage compartment. Even the warning triangle has its own space - in the trim of the tailgate, where it can easily be reached even when the vehicle is fully laden. A net and hooks for bags on the sidewall, and an easy-to-operate luggage compartment cover (from the Trendline version up) round off the picture of a new type of automobile, an automobile that has been developed with no ifs or buts to be absolutely suited to everyday use. Not only that. With the 7-seater, the alternative possibility has also been created to position the luggage compartment cover behind the third row of seats.
Variability and extremely efficient versatility also distinguish the luggage compartment. In the classic 5-seat configuration, the luggage compartment is capable of holding of 695 litres, with a payload of 660 kg. Even as a 7-seater, the Touran has a capacity of 121 litres. When all seats in the second row are removed and those in the third row lowered, the maximum load volume becomes an impressive 1,913 litres, or 1,989 litres for the 5-seater version. Volkswagen will market the Touran with three equipment lines (Basic, Trendline, Highline) and - when it is launched - with one petrol and three diesel engines.
All of these engines feature direct-injection technology. The extremely efficient petrol engine bears the designation ‘1.6 FSI’ and generates 85 kW. The output spectrum of the diesel engines starts at 74 kW (1.9-Ltr. TDI). This is supplemented by the newly developed 100-kW 2.0-Ltr. TDI with 4-valve technology. In the course of 2003, two other petrol engines will follow. Volkswagen attaches particular importance to the best possible emissions characteristics. All engines meet the limits stipulated in the emissions standard EU4.
By Paul Bartolo
Working in conjunction with Porsche to develop the basic Touareg/Cayenne platform, Volkswagen is a latecomer to the SUV market. But in doing so, VW has left no stone unturned to come up with a vehicle that is highly capable off-road, performs on-road like some monster sports car yet, at the same time, offers deep-rooted luxury, solid build quality and impressive list of standard features.
Central to Touareg's breadth and depth of ability, especially off-road, is its height-adjustable air suspension. This dictated our choice of the V8 Touareg, where air suspension is an option, instead of the V6, which comes with coil-springs and no air-suspension option.
Touareg's standard ride height is on par with most 4WDs, to the eye similar to the Prado Grande. Jacked right up it's almost 100mm higher again. On our set piece 4WD course designed to test approach, ramp-over and departure angles, the BMW completed the course but lost its rear mud flaps in the process and dragged its nose and tail. The Prado and Pajero did it without too much fuss, but both still dragged their rear bumpers on the steepest exit. And as for the Touareg? Well, nothing touched at all. The Adventra was a non-starter on this particular test as there was little point in trying.
The Touareg's off-road prowess is further enhanced by serious low-range gearing -overall first gear, low range reduction is better than 50:1! Also part of the package is an optional rear diff lock and what is arguably the most effective traction control we have yet to come across. On the negative side, the ride on the two higher off-road suspension settings is very bouncy and the engine's air intake is positioned behind the headlight, not ideal for deep-water fordings.
Powered by a creamy smooth V8 backed by a six speed automatic transmission, the Touareg offers more than enough performance if you're in a hurry, and relaxed, effortless progress everywhere else. The auto box has a 'tip shift' function, which is handy, as the ‘box can be occasionally slow to respond in full auto mode.
For something as big as it is - the Touareg's wheelbase is longer than a Land Cruiser 100 and its front and rear tracks wider - the monster VW offers excellent on-road dynamics and spectacular brakes. Great ride too, especially in the suspension's 'comfort' mode.
So what don't we like about the Touareg? Well, the price for one. The driver's seat also didn't suit everyone, the rear visibility is poor and the high fuel consumption limits the touring range, even though it still has more range than the Pajero. We also can't understand the space-saver spare, but at least VW recognises this shortcoming and offers an optional full-size spare on a rear carrier.
By Phil Matthews
Volkswagen's “first ever 4x4” (according to ignorant advertising writers), the Touareg, was released for Australian sale in 2003. Co-designed with Porsche (their similar model is called the Cayenne), it is available with a choice of V6, V8 or turbo diesel V10, and is priced from $A68,000 to well over $100,000 for the top model. The Touareg recently won Overlander Magazine's 4WD Of The Year award. It won the award thanks to its excellent off-road ability, on-road dynamics, refinement and performance.
Since the early 1970s VW has generally named their models after winds; the Golf (Gulf Stream), Passat (Trade Wind), Jetta, Vento, Scirocco and Bora are examples. Not all of course; the Polo, Lupo and Phaeton are exceptions. Well, what about this big four-wheel drive thing then? What on earth is a ‘Touareg’?
In English, the word is spelled ‘Tuareg’, and if you look in an encyclopaedia such as the Britannica, that's where you'll find it, although it can also be spelled ‘Twareg’ (there's our first hint for the right pronunciation).
The Tuareg are a desert people of the Sahara, north Africa. The French colonised most of that part of the world, and in French the word is spelled TOUAREG.
The Tuareg are Berber-speaking pastoralists who inhabit an area in North Africa ranging from Touat in Algeria and Ghudamis in Libya, to northern Nigeria and from Fezzan, Libya, to Timbuktu, Mali. They are the typical veiled or cloaked, camel-riding Sahara natives of Hollywood fame.
Their political organizations extend across national boundaries. In the late 20th century there were estimated to be 900,000 Tuareg. There has been some speculation that they were originally pushed into the desert from the Atlas area by the Arab advance from the east. In southern areas the Tuareg are not the majority of the population, and share their existance with other nomads like the Fulanis as well as sedentary people such as the Hausas, Djermas and Songhai.
The northern Tuareg live mainly in true desert country, whereas the southerners live primarily in steppe and savanna. The Tuareg consist of confederations including the Ahaggar (Hoggar) and Azjer (Ajjer) in the north and the Asben (Air Tuareg), Ifora, Itesen (Kel Geres), Aulliminden, and Kel Tademaket in the south. The southerners breed zebu cattle and camels, some of which are sold to the northern Tuareg. There are altogether some eight main groups of Tuareg, occupying different areas of the Sahara.
Raiding of caravans and travellers was important in pre-European times, as was caravan trading, which declined with the introduction of motor vehicles. Droughts across southern Mauritania, Senegal, Niger, Burkina Faso (Upper Volta), and Chad in the 1970s and ‘80s both reduced the numbers of the southern Tuareg and eroded their traditional pastoral way of life.
Tuareg society is traditionally feudal, ranging from nobles, through clergy, vassals, and artisans, to labourers (once slaves). The conventional Tuareg dwelling is a tent of red-dyed skin (sometimes replaced in the later 20th century with plastic). Traditional weapons include two-edged swords, sheathed daggers, iron lances, and leather shields. Adult males wear a blue veil in the presence of women, strangers, and in-laws, but that practice began to be abandoned with urbanization. They have preserved a peculiar script (tifinagh) related to that used by ancient Libyans.
At the Sydney Motor Show in late 2003, several local sales people were saying ‘twah-reg’, while one of VW's German sales girls was saying ‘Tour-eg’. Most of the motoring journos seem to say ‘tour-eg’, as do VW dealers today and the voice-overs in their first Australian TV ads. They are wrong.
Being a French word (VW uses the French spelling, Touareg), it should be pronounced as the French do:
By Phil Matthews
Volkswagen's prestige limousine, the Phaeton, now has a new long-wheelbase version that has just been launched in Europe and North America.
The extra 120mm has been added purely for the extra comfort of rear seat passengers, and introduction of the stretched version now means Phaeton is offered in a total of eight different engine, gearbox and body shapes.
In North America, the Phaeton has made its debut and will only be sold in the new long-wheelbase configuration - powered by either the 4.5-litre V8 engine or the range-topping 6.0-litre W12 powerplant that delivers a silky-smooth 309 kW of power. German models can also be ordered with Volkswagen's world-acclaimed V10 twin-turbo TDI diesel engine.
Volkswagen's four-wheel continuous pneumatic suspension is standard in the long-wheelbase model Phaeton. This unique system is integrated into a luxury chassis comprising a trapeze rear suspension and four-link front layout.
Long wheelbase Phaetons also feature an even more luxurious range of standard equipment including a rear seat control for the 4-zone Climatronic air-conditioning, an electric glass sliding/tilting sunroof, an electric sunblind for the rear window and manual blinds for the rear side windows.
Optional extras are staggering. For example the 'Rear Seat Entertainment System', a multi-media package comprising a 6-disc DVD changer, two 6.5 inch-LCD screens fitted in the front head restraints, and two headsets. Another example is the rear refrigerator that can be integrated into the rear seat. Not merely a box cooled by the in-car air conditioning system, it is a separate 17.5-litre refrigerator with its own compressor.
Then there is the seat material itself. ‘Sensitive’ - a smooth Napa leather recognized as the most luxurious leather used in automobiles - can be ordered. Only Californian plantation trees are used for the wooden trim, made by craftsmen. And for the exterior paintwork, heliochrome paints can be selected as well as high gloss finishes with maximum shine and scratch-resistant qualities.
Volkswagen Group Australia will launch the Phaeton locally in 2005.
“We knew the long wheelbase version was in the pipeline and this is the version we will launch in Australia,” explained Volkswagen Group Australia's Managing Director, Mr Peter Nochar. “The Phaeton is the pinnacle of Volkswagen's global lineup and - as we're a Group company - we feel it is essential that this vehicle is available to Australian customers.”
Combined with the award-winning Touareg SUV (now on-sale), the Phaeton will provide Volkswagen with two significant vehicles in Australia's prestige automotive market. “With the Touareg, Volkswagen has brought to the market a vehicle now recognised as being the world’ best luxury SUV. The Phaeton has received similar accolades and we're looking forward to its arrival in Australia in 2005,” Mr Nochar added.
(Note – plans to introduce the Phaeton to Australia were shortly cancelled. The Phaeton has never been sold here. Ed)
By Phil Clark
Volkswagen has set a new benchmark in Australia's growing compact delivery van market with the launch of the all-new Caddy.
Based on the platform of Volkswagen's all-new fifth generation Golf, the Caddy provides a choice of 1.6-litre petrol or 1.9-litre turbo-diesel engines, a massive 750 kg carrying capacity, both side and rear doors for easy loading and a comfortable, ergonomic interior.
The styling of the front end shows Caddy's links to the all-new Volkswagen Golf, but the large surface grille and grey plastic bumper endow its own distinctive appearance.
Inside, Caddy also shows its Golf lineage with passenger car-like comfort and generous cockpit space. As well, there is a range of features designed to make life just a little easier for couriers and other delivery van customers - a thoughtful example being the roof-mounted storage bin perfectly sized to accommodate clipboards and the other sorts of paperwork normally carried by small van drivers.
Factory-fitted air-conditioning is standard across the range, along with seat belt pre-tensioners, CD sound system and height-adjustable front seats, which feature additional storage compartments underneath.
Front independent suspension is straight from the all-new fifth generation Golf. Caddy also gains the new electro-mechanical power steering that has received so much praise with the Golf - turning circle is a mere 11.1 metres.
Volkswagen Commercial vehicles designed a two-leaf-spring rear suspension especially for the Caddy in response to the variable payloads that are the modus operandi of all delivery vans. Load-dependent shock absorbers, that change their characteristics in response to the compressed path, achieve progressive damping.
Everywhere you look, Caddy shows the experience of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles, with features tailor-made for delivery van operators. For example the stylish, modern design offers lots of smooth space on the sides for the easy application of signwriting, and the doors do not intrude into the cargo area, which provides six foldaway lashing eyes to secure load of all shapes and sizes.
At the rear, two different size (asymmetrically-split) large double-wing doors provide a loading height of 1137mm. The doors can be ordered with or without windows and can be opened to 180 degrees for quick and easy loading (a vital consideration for operators of these vehicles who stop frequently).
The standard sliding door on the left side enables easy access. But if that's not enough, Caddy can be ordered with an optional second sliding door on the right side. The cargo compartment has trim covering the inside of the cargo area up to window line, providing protection for the outer body skin.
Volkswagen launches the Caddy into an Australian market segment that is growing but has not until now offered a diesel engine option. Caddy provides the 1.9-litre direct injection turbo-diesel (TDI) engine that is also available with the Golf. With 77 kW it is the most powerful of Caddy's three engines, and with its healthy maximum torque of 250 Nm available from as low as 1,900 rpm, it is a joy to drive in the city environments that are normal for these sorts of vehicles.
Average fuel consumption of the 1.9TDI is as low as 6.1 litres per 100 km giving a theoretical range of almost 1,000 km from the 60-litre fuel tank.
Similarly, Caddy's 1.6-litre petrol engine also comes from the Golf. This lively engine has four valves per cylinder, delivers 75 kW at 5,600 rpm and maximum torque of 148 Nm at 3800 rpm. Zero to 100 km/h takes only 13.7 seconds. Standard transmission in both versions is a five-speed manual.
By Jamie Vondruska
Where others fail, the Volkswagen Touareg just keeps going – and up – to an altitude of exactly 6,080 metres above sea level. The Touareg ‘Expedition’, built by Volkswagen Individual in Wolfsburg, has been confirmed as holding the Guinness Book of Records entry for the highest altitude recorded for a vehicle.
On 29 January 2005, battling against icy winds and a lack of oxygen, the expedition team fought its way through the lunar landscape of Chile's Ojos del Salado, the world's highest volcano, in a standard Touareg Expedition to achieve the world's altitude record for vehicles. The altimeter and GPS system displayed an altitude of 6080 metres (Mt Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak, is just 2228m). This is the highest point on the surface of the Earth that a vehicle can reach, and return safely from.
On 16th February the confirmation came from London: the achievement has been officially recognised by the Guinness Book of Records. The Touareg has thus impressively proven its strengths in extreme conditions and surpassed the performance of all other off-road vehicles.
The route of the team of eight, headed by expedition leader Rainer Zietlow, first took them through the Atacama desert, the world's driest area. The base camp is located at 4,400 metres above sea level above the salt lake Laguna Santa Rosa, famous for its pink flamingos. From here the track continues over stones and pebbles with an 80% gradient, snow fields and soft volcanic sand. At the wheel of the Volkswagen Touareg was Ronald Bormann, who has won the European Truck Trail competition several times. In sections where rocks as large as a man blocked the path, the winch, fitted as standard to the Touareg Expedition, helped the team on its way.
The additional spotlights were also part of the standard equipment package, and were fitted to the roof rack containing spare wheels and rescue equipment. They lit the way through the night to the rock-strewn summit. As the air became thinner at 5,000 metres above sea level, the crew was given additional oxygen by altitude specialist Dr Rainald Fischer. This way the chairman of the Association for Mountain and High Altitude Medicine (BExMED) was able to ward off the potentially life-threatening altitude sickness.
The Institute for Cartography at the University of Dresden helped to select the route to the summit following a recent four-week survey of the summit region for the purpose of making new maps. The knowledge gained by the expedition will help the scientists verify their work.
However, the most important scientific aspect of the expedition to a region endangered by earthquakes and volcanic eruptions was the installation of a seismographic station, managed by the Geological Research Centre in Potsdam. This station makes it possible to register eruptions directly above possible earthquake focus sites, thus advancing global earthquake research.
In the city or country, on freeways or a dirt track, as a service vehicle at the Dakar rally, on a circumnavigation of the world or as an expedition vehicle used for scientific purposes - the Volkswagen Touareg has once again impressively shown that it is equipped for a wide range of situations.
By Steve Carter
Volkswagen's multi award-winning Touareg SUV line-up has been expanded with the arrival of a new five-cylinder turbo diesel model called the R5 TDI. The newcomer joins its brother - the tremendous V10 twin-turbo - to give Volkswagen two diesel variants for the luxurious Touareg.
Priced from only $69,900, the R5 TDI Touareg represents genuine value-for-money when considered against comparable vehicles from rival German and Japanese manufacturers.
Power for the R5 TDI comes from Volkswagen's 2.5-litre five cylinder turbo-diesel - one of Volkswagen's latest generation diesels - delivering 400 Nm of torque (virtually the same as the 4.2-litre V8 petrol Touareg) and 128 kW of power.
The R5 TDI uses unique 5-spoke 'Canyon' 17-inch alloy wheels. There are two R5 TDI models - the standard (R5 TDI) and luxury (R5 TDI L) variants.
Since its launch, Volkswagen's Touareg has garnered a swag of '4WD of the Year' awards, including significant gongs in North America (Motor Trend and Car & Driver magazines) plus the Overlander magazine award in Australia. And the British Research and Technology Centre Thatcham named the Touareg as the most ‘theft-proof’ 4WD.
As Overlander magazine said in its ‘4WD of the Year’ award: “In summary we can only say one thing about the Touareg. It's so clever and so capable, that every 4WD manufacturer should buy one and pull it apart to find out what makes it tick. There are some good lessons to be learnt, that's for sure.”
Like all Touareg models, the R5 TDI has a six-speed Tiptronic automatic transmission with Dynamic Shift Program (DSP), and transmits its drive to all four wheels via Volkswagen's 4XMotion system with a transfer gearbox - featuring a switchable off-road low-range gear - front, rear and centre differentials. Centre differential lock is standard and an electronic rear differential lock is optional.
In normal conditions power is split 50/50 front and rear but when the going gets tough, up to 100% drive can be transferred to either front or rear or even to an individual wheel. The driver can also activate the differential locks (up to 100%) manually using the rotary switch in the cockpit.
The dual-wishbone front and rear suspensions feature acoustically insulated subframes to simultaneously provide the almost imperceptibly low levels of noise transmitted to the luxury interior (as per a prestige sedan).
Away from sealed roads, the Touareg is simply formidable. Ground clearance is 237 mm; approach/departure angles are 28 degrees (aided by the short front and rear body overhangs); the ramp-over angle is 22 degrees and the wading depth is 500 mm.
It's clear to see the styling cues that are shared between Volkswagen's full-size 4WD, the all-new Golf and the Phaeton luxury sedan - most notably the arrow-shaped transition from the front doors and mudguards to the bonnet. Similarly, the Touareg also possesses the new ‘face’ of Volkswagen - distinctive grille/headlight, turn signals integrated into the exterior mirrors and the distinctive rear light design.
Even the details convey an impression of the highest quality and an ideal balance between form and function. Examples: the large dials for the Climatronic air-conditioning system as well as the drive and running gear controls are ergonomic masterpieces, their surfaces of precious, scratch-resistant metal.
The R5 TDI is powered by a 2.5-litre in-line turbo-diesel engine with pump injection, which represents Volkswagen's new generation design of five-cylinder diesel engines. The 5 cylinder engines were developed for both transverse and longitudinal mounting in various Volkswagen models (Touareg is longitudinal).
For the R5 TDI Touareg, maximum torque is 400 Nm at 2000 rpm and peak power is 128 kW at 3500 rpm.
The cylinder faces are plasma-coated. This means a coating powder is applied to the cylinder wall with a plasma burner and as a result there is no need for liners in the cylinders of the aluminium block. Plasma-coating helps to reduce weight by dispensing with press-fitted grey cast iron cylinder liners.
Adoption of a cross-flow design with the aluminium cylinder head means the intake and exhaust ports are arranged opposite each for maximum charge cycle efficiency.
A cooling duct has been cast into the piston in order to cool the piston ring area. The oil spray nozzles inject oil into this cooling duct as soon as the piston is at bottom dead centre.
Touareg features Volkswagen 4Xmotion all-wheel-drive system that guarantees not only outstanding off-road characteristics but also a high degree of safety and dynamic potential on paved roads.
The flow of drive is handled by a transfer gearbox, that unlike some other luxury 4WDs comes standard with a low-range off-road reduction gear. Ccentre electronic differential lock is standard, optional on the rear. The continuously adjustable multi-disc clutch of the centre differential lock is automatically triggered by the drivetrain's electronic system.
When the off-road going gets very tough, the centre differential is simply locked and low-range selected by the centre console-mounted rotary switch. So equipped, the R5 TDI Touareg can overcome even the steepest 45 degree slopes. Touareg also offers standard hill-starting assist and (when the ESP is switched on) downhill assist.
Suspension features an independent dual wishbone setup with upper links from aluminium and lower links from steel (fronts) and forged aluminium top links with steel wishbones at the rear.
Standard internally ventilated fixed calliper brake discs including ESP, braking assistant and electronic brake force distribution (EBD) securely and reliably bring the Touareg to a stop.
By Steve Carter
Volkswagen has made a spectacular entrance to the compact people mover segment in Australia with the all-new Caddy Life.
With up to seven seats and two 700 mm sliding doors, the Caddy Life suits just about everyone, and every occasion. In fact you could say the Caddy Life is a kind of Bauhaus model on wheels - pure reason in an attractive form.
According to Volkswagen Group Australia's General Manager of Commercial vehicles, Mr Phil Clark, the Caddy Life is designed to be part of today's lifestyle for the new-age automotive consumer - people who live life to the full and expect their cars adapt accordingly.
“The Caddy Life offers space for everything which forms part of life and makes it worth living: picking-up the children from school; loading the groceries at the shopping mall; accompanying a football or cricket team to an away game, heading off for a holiday with a bicycle in the back and surfboard on the roof...or just commuting to the airport,” Mr Clark said.
Those youngsters or party animals who perennially occupy the back seats will be pleased each row has a higher seating level than the one in front - an aspect that provides a pleasant ambience wherever you sit.
Caddy Life offers a payload up to 608 kg and the rear seat can be partially folded, fully folded and folded/tipped to accommodate varying loads. With this stylish new Volkswagen, versatility comes with a capital ‘V’.
Caddy is based on the platform of the new Golf so comfort and ride/handling are the best in class. Inside, the drivers' seat is vertically adjustable and the steering wheel height and inclination can be adjusted to find the perfect driving position. As well there are numerous storage locations including the front doors, which boast integrated storage for one-litre drink bottles.
In critical situations, Caddy Life delivers with standard features including ABS anti-lock brakes, TCS Traction Control, EBC Engine Braking Control and ESP (Electronic Stability Control).
Caddy Life will appear in the showrooms of Australian Volkswagen dealers in the second half of 2005.
By Ed Grunnold
The Golf family grows. With the release in Germany of the new Golf Plus, a new member of the Wolfsburg compact-class is now on the market. It will be sold as an additional model alongside the existing Golf 5 range.
Although a first glance at the new Golf model reveals nothing too different from the current Golf 5 and previous Golf 4, there is however an essential difference. Not for nothing is the new model called Plus. At 1.58 metres tall the Golf Plus rises 95mm higher than the Golf 5, but is still some 54 mm shorter than the Touran people mover. This creates more Golf head room than ever before.
The Golf Plus has new multi-function variable seating with asymmetrical divides and an additional 160mm in length. When the rear seat is folded flat to make load space, the seat automatically lowers itself further to create an evenly flat load surface. According to the position and rake of the seats, the boot volume can be varied between 395 litres and a maximum of 505 litres. Should the rear seat be positioned to maximise load space, this increases to 1,450 litres.
Should no front passenger be required, the front seat can be positioned or moved to provide a table with beverage holders. The table contains additional storage compartments in a stack module, and the control box for the multifunction loudspeakers.
Between the front seats is a cool compartment for either CD or DVD entertainment units. A 230-volt adapter is available at extra charge.
Innovations designed for the Golf Plus, such as method bracketing and navigational subsystems, will be incorporated into the existing Golf production line. The Golf Plus options will add to the existing Trendline, Comfortline and Sportline levels. Bi-Xenon curve night lights were already available.
The lower range will have a chioce of two petrol and diesel engines. The 1.4-litre petrol produces 56 kW, and the 1.6-litre FSI motor produces 86 kW. The 1.9-litre TDI is 78 kW, while the 2.0-litre TDI has 105 kW. Further motors will follow. A six-speed transmission with Tiptronic is standard.
By Tony Westman
Volkswagen's smallest car, the Lupo, is based on the old-model Polo's chassis, but it is significantly shorter and comes as a three-door model only. It's built on the same production line as the closely-related SEAT Arosa, and apart from trim variations and a different nose, they're near enough identical twins. Volkswagen offers a unique high-performance Lupo, the 1.6-litre GTI, though otherwise all the engines are the same, too. And cheapest of the power options is a 1.0-litre version. It has been on sale in Europe for 6 years but has never been sold here.
I drove one in Germany last month. For those seeking a city car that's seen as a 'cut above' other models, the Lupo may well attract. The VW badge guarantees a good image, which explains prices notably higher than the all-but identical, if slightly more basic, SEAT Arosa. However, there are compromises to be accepted; don't expect the Lupo to fill the role of even the smallest of superminis, because its boot is simply minuscule. There's a decent amount of space inside, but again practicality is restricted by the limitations of three doors. And if you're a racer, the 1.0-litre engine will soon frustrate.
For such a small car, the Lupo offers impressive refinement. Road and wind noise are kept well under wraps, and although the engine is noisy when extended, it's never harsh, or even less than smooth. The interior is built to fanatically high levels, making Lupo easily the most solid-feeling of city cars. It's funkily-designed too, and trimmed in bright, cheery colours. Ride quality is good, absorbing even low-speed city-centre bumps, and it's naturally very easy to park - visibility is good, and short overhangs make slotting it into spaces a breeze.
The engine, although smooth, is not very strong, so the 1.0 Lupo is pretty slow; even to achieve 0-100 km/h in a yawning 17.7 seconds forces you to work it hard, so it intrudes more than you'd expect. Motorway refinement, too, is dented by 'short' gearing, while the gearshift itself is notchy and a little slack. Handling is uninspiring and suffers from too much body roll and a lack of precision, while steering is light and lacking in feel. What's more, it's not particularly well-equipped, considering premium prices; its SEAT cousin, the Arosa, features more kit, yet is cheaper too - which makes little sense.
Although on paper the engine offers good fuel economy, if you try to overcome its lack of pace you'll end up spending more on fuel bills than you'd initially expect. Even motorway trips aren't as fuel-efficient as they could be, due to the short gearing. Servicing may cost more than for its Ford rival, though insurance is cheap and retained values are excellent; you'll lose less with the VW than you will with other makes. Then there's the bonus of superb build quality, which should ensure that it stands up to the rigours of town driving a little better than its rivals.
We probably wouldn't go for the Lupo 1.0-litre guise, mainly because, while it feels like a much larger car in many ways, the lack of power inevitably limits its appeal. It's not as comfortable on motorways as it could be, and there's little power in reserve when you really need it. The handling, too, is less than sharp, though that's more forgivable, because the ride is very good in compensation. There's also that brilliantly well-built interior and comfortable seats - but the ridiculously small boot knocks it back once again. With more power (using, say, the 1.4-litre unit which is also offered) the Lupo would appeal more; in this guise, the compromises are a little too great, unless you don't drive quickly, don't carry much luggage, but do want VW quality on a budget.
By Hans Ludemir
Budget cars are big business. While the Italians and the French have always loved their little Fiats, Renaults and Citroens, the Germans and British knew that making an impression demanded, above all, size and a pair of deep pockets.
Things change. Cars have got much, much cheaper, which should mean that everyone chooses something bigger and better. The other side of the coin is that company car tax, linked to the list price of the new car, goes up every year so many buyers need something cheaper. Private buyers, of course, have always known how to spend their budget wisely. So what can you get at the bottom end of the market? Nine years ago the most basic Ford Ka cost £8,000. Today you can get one for £6,000, perhaps £5,000 if you look hard for one that has been registered but not sold.
The Fiat Panda is the modern alternative and there are several Japanese and Korean rivals at around this price too. New models like the triple whammy joint venture from Citroen, Peugeot and Toyota - the C1, 107 and Aygo give buyers lots of choice. The trouble is all of these cars are tight on space. They are sub-supermini, and no one has even thought of superminis as putting space high on the agenda.
Now Volkswagen is set to change the perception of the budget car with the new Fox, which replaces the Lupo. Built in Brazil (hence VWs opportunity to keep the price down) it's based on the Polo but with a much taller body. That immediately gives it a big space advantage inside, with more room for everyone's legs and simply superb all-round visibility for town driving. There are three doors and four separate seats, and though more of both are possible, VW is being careful not to eat too much into the Polo's more upmarket proposition. The Fox is certainly not as posh inside either. Some areas look rather rudimentary and it's odd these days to get in a car with old-fashioned wind-up windows and manual door locks.
While we are picking holes, there's little in the way of touchy-feely pleasure to be gained from the interior either, hard-plastic functionality being the name of the game here. But this is such a fundamentally sound design that you quickly forget all that. The seats are big and comfortable. The ride competent, the noise level surprisingly restrained and it steers and brakes far better than it needs to. There's even full in-out, up-down adjustment to the four-spoke steering wheel that ensures a driving position to suit most drivers.
The Fox has a simple three-engine range, 1.2, 1.4 and 1.4 diesel. The first and the last have three cylinders, which give a rather purposeful engine note that's actually quite pleasing. It's this base 1.2 that we put the miles on and the more we drove, the more we enjoyed it. No, there's no excess of power. 41 kW gives a forgettable 0-100 km/h acceleration time but on the road this Fox is much more usable, pulling away reasonably well in town and able to take motorways in its stride. There's also the small matter of 6 litres per 100 km and low 146 g/km CO2 emissions. With a few passengers the 1.2 will need a bit more work with the gears but that's hardly a chore with such an easy gearchange. In reality, what this car needs to do only adequately - offer an interesting driving experience - it does rather better. It's core strengths, however, need to be its practicality and its value for money.
The space, (optional) sliding rear seat to alter the balance between rear passenger and luggage space, and the countless bottle and cup holders mean the Fox scores very highly in the first area. We'll have to wait and see how much VW UK can persuade its German owners about keeping the price down, but this has surely got to start at sub £7,000.
In the budget car segment, Ford's Ka sells more than all its rivals put together even though it's nearly ten years old. The Fox isn't funky enough to beat it on the style stakes, but it has the more appealing VW badge, greater practicality and driving pleasure to potentially make it the new class winner when it's launched here early in 2006. There are no plans to sell it down under to you Aussies.
By Jeff Hurwood
The announcement of the new Crafter completes the renewal of the entire Volkswagen light commercial vehicle range. This began with the new T5 Transporter in 2003, followed by the new Caddy, which has helped total sales of Volkswagen commercial vehicles to rise from 256,520 in 2004 to a forecast 324,500 for 2005, a growth of 26.5 per cent. UK sales of VW Commercials have grown by 41 percent over the last three years.
While the large LT model suffered a stop-start history in Australia and never sold more than a handful of vehicles, the Crafter is destined for an Australian release in the second half of 2006 and should peg back its main competition, the Mercedes Sprinter on which the Crafter is based. Volkswagen and Daimler-Benz have a sharing arrangement for this large commercial, and the Crafter is actually built by Daimler-Benz - with VW's own drivetrains.
Four versions of Volkswagen's fuel efficient, five cylinder TDI engine are available in Europe, delivering 65 kW, 80 kW, 100 kW and 120 kW. The new unit is now equipped with common rail fuel injection and a diesel particulate filter combining durability, low fuel consumption and low emissions with a wide choice of power outputs.
The Crafter is equipped with a 6-specd manual gearbox as standard - an automatic transmission will be optional. The generously sized braking system has considerable reserve capacity even at maximum vehicle weight. Optimised suspension gives the vehicle good cornering stability, and for additional safety, the Crafter is fitted with ESP and ABS as standard.
The economically designed cabin includes a driver's airbag as standard, while front passenger, curtain and side airbags are available as options. For added convenience, remote central locking and electric windows are also standard. A dash-mounted gearlever offers increased comfort, and also releases more cabin space. Continuing the space theme, provision has also been made for the storage of many items that van drivers often need to accommodate.
A choice of three wheelbases, four load compartment lengths and three roof heights enhance the versatility of the new model. The Crafter has a maximum load capacity of 17 m3 and the 5-tonne panel van can now transport a weight of approximately 2,670 kg.
There is ample width inside the vehicle for two Euro pallets to stand next to each other. This is complemented by superior load compartment access - in vehicles with the medium or long wheelbase, a sliding door reveals a loading aperture 1.3 m in width and 1.8 m in height, allowing Euro pallets to be loaded easily. An optional transport safety system can be used to restrain loads.
The Crafter has been designed to be visually more striking than its predecessor. Strong lines, vertical clear glass headlights and robust side protection strips characterise the modern design, giving the Crafter a distinctive appearance. The Crafter also uses a variation of VW's current 'corporate grille', the deep vee shape seen on the Polo, Golf, Bora and Passat.
Sales are expected to start in the UK during September 2006 following a world public launch at the Commercial Vehicle Show in Birmingham during April 2006, to open a new chapter in the 30-year history of the LT.
At this stage the specifications of models bound for Australia have not been released, but the out-going old model LT35 is sold here in four body variations only - short or long wheelbase, and high or low roof, with choice of only two engines - a 2.5L diesel with 80 kW, or a 2.8L diesel with 116 kW. The larger capacity dual-rear wheel LT46 shares both engines, but is only available in high or low roof. The new Crafter's larger range of variations should bring additional variety to VW's Australian lineup.
By Greg Lehmann
New Caddy Life is the ingenious people mover built on Volkswagen's acclaimed Caddy platform. Caddy Life can seat up to seven adults comfortably with ample headroom. Take a couple of rows of seats out, and Caddy Life effectively becomes a Caddy - the smartest cargo van in town, with over 3 cubic metres of carrying capacity. Caddy Life is a neat blend of form and function to meet a range of people and cargo carrying needs.
Caddy Life is aptly named. Busy people have busy lifestyles and require plenty of space, functionality and quality. This is where Caddy Life excels. Caddy Life effectively rethinks automobile tradition by setting new standards for loading volume, both people and cargo.
Caddy Life benefits from Volkswagen Golf DNA, sharing the Golf’s on-road manners, impeccable build quality and engine and transmission technology through the 1.9 TDI with the acclaimed DSG gearbox. Caddy Life is smooth, well controlled and easy to drive.
With a total length of 4.4 metres, a width of 1.8 metres, and a height of 1.8 metres, the Caddy Life has enough space to fit everything in your life. Pick the kids up from school, go shopping with the family, go to an away game with the whole team on board (or most of them!), head away on holidays with the bike in the back and a board on the roof or a thousand and one other life challenges that require flexibility and space.
Caddy Life features intelligent exterior equipment for true vehicle flexibility. The two rear sliding doors on either side of the vehicle are a smart solution - making it easy to get in, get out, load and unload. When retracted, the sliding doors yield an ample entry of 70 cm. Both sliding doors feature an inset sliding window and all glass areas are dark tinted to reduce the impact of the harsh Australian sun.
The 1.6 Caddy Life comes with 15" steel wheels as standard with full wheel trim. Alloy wheels are standard for the 1.9 TDI and can be ordered as an option for the 1.6 engine.
The contoured driver's seat is height-adjustable. The height adjustment for the front seats is standard for the 1.9 TDI and optional for the 1.6 engine. To ensure safe handling and provide a clear view of the instruments, the angle and height of the steering wheel can also be adjusted.
Caddy Life comfortably accommodates the whole family. Seven amply sized adult passengers pose no problem whatsoever with the optional rear seats installed. The 3-seater bench in the rear provides plenty of legroom and is surprisingly comfortable. It can be double-folded in a 2/3 or 1/3 configuration depending on who or what you're carrying. In other words, fold them together, then fold them forwards to optimize space.
The seating in the Caddy Life has been cleverly height adjusted through the rows, so that passengers travel in true cinema-style -each row being slightly higher than the one in front. This improves visibility for all passengers making long trips more appealing for all.
The load compartment capacity in the 5-seater configuration is 750 litres and can be extended to 2,890 litres. By removing the optional two-seater bench, the length of the cargo space is 1,354 mm and the volume is 2.3 m3. Even with the optional third row of seating, the 7-seater boasts an impressive 190-litre load compartment. If you're looking to carry even more cargo, Caddy Life is capable of towing up to 1,350 kg (1.9 TDI engine).
The Caddy Life offers a huge array of storage options. There's a storage compartment in the driver's door and on the front passenger's door that will take a 1-litre bottle, there's an ample centre console compartment with an armrest, two cup holders out front and one in the rear.
More pockets are found in the rear passenger compartment in the sliding doors and in the footwell of the first row of seats in the passenger compartment. For small items, net pockets under the roof in the passenger's compartment are handy and there's even a compartment with lid and document clip for the driver with an open compartment on the instrument panel.
Back in the rear load compartment, Caddy Life has four lashing eyes to tie down odd sized cargo.
By Gary Besstner
The very word ‘Kombi’ represents freedom, style, travel adventures and old-fashioned fun with family and friends. The new Kombi Beach captures that same spirit in a way that hardly any other vehicle can. Kombi Beach is a true getaway vehicle that helps you escape from the routine and rigours of everyday life. It gives you genuine versatility with its capability to move people around through the week, and then come into its own on a weekend for a couple of days of rest and relaxation with comfortable sleeping areas and innovative German functionality.
It doesn't take you long to realise the potential of Kombi Beach. If you're into sports, this is one flexible lifestyle machine. Think cycling, surfing, golf, sailing, skiing, kite-surfing, kayaking, rock climbing - you name it. With its adjustable seats, extremely flexible interior and clever array of stowage spaces (pockets, nets and hideaway compartments abound!), there is ample storage for all manner of sporting equipment.
The Kombi Beach has a distinctive two-tone design that reflects its famous past and the glory days of the ‘60s. It is available in Off-Road Grey combined with a stripe of Sundown-Orange, Lime or Stone-Blue. Kombi Beach is 4.89 metres long, 1.9 metres wide and 1.96 metres high. The maximum load volume (without seats in the passenger compartment) is 5,800 litres.
The utilitarian interior deliberately sets the tone for Kombi Beach, achieving comfort, safety, flexibility and function without fuss. A clever modular system is central to the storage solution, with stowage box, soft bags, table and chairs safely tucked away. It's only when you start packing the vehicle that you realise just how much space is provided and discover the tremendous versatility of the Kombi Beach.
Perfect for carrying equipment - inside or out. You won't have trouble getting your board, sails, bikes or other odd shaped sports gear in and out through the huge tailgate. If you're moving people, they enter the rear compartment through the generous metre-wide entry point revealed by the large sliding door on the left side of the vehicle.
Carrying something bigger? Too easy. There are eight mounting points for roof load carrying systems. The optional roof carrier can be loaded with up to 100 kg.
Take a quick glance inside the Kombi Beach and you immediately understand the theme of keeping it simple with lifestyle in mind. That doesn't mean VW has cut corners though. Every feature has a purpose and all appointments are finely crafted. Comfort and safety are absolutely paramount. VW has gone to great lengths to optimise the flexibility and durability of interior equipment to give you total confidence in taking your VW away with you. This is a vehicle you can rely on, year after year.
The structural element that makes Kombi Beach so flexible is the unique rail system in the floor that gives you the ability to configure the interior seats in any combination you want.
Moulded rails above and below the rear side windows support two handy fabric bags for stowage. Both bags can be easily detached and feature strong carry straps. The rails also act as a harness for a roof net, which doubles as back-up storage for things like blankets, sleeping bags and spare clothes.
The predominant feature inside the Kombi Beach is the adjustable and removable two-seater folding seat bench, which forms either a huge interior sleeping area or a spare seat bench. When you fold down and combine the bench seat with the upholstered stowage box and bed extension at the rear, you end up with a cosy sleeping area 2.3 metres long and 1.7 metres wide.
The optional ‘Good Night Package’ for the Kombi Beach includes curtains and elastic covers for additional security and privacy. For those who like to read at night there are two flexible lights in the headlining on either side of the rear sleeping area.
Kombi Beach features clever inclusions that add comfort and convenience - like the innovative folding table you'll find within the sliding door and the standard folding chairs. It's easy to set up next morning so you can enjoy your breakfast in the great outdoors. Or lunch. Or dinner! Kombi Beach is a very social vehicle... swivel the front seats through 180 degrees and you've got a lounge/dining room interior for inclement weather.
Back on the open road, the ergonomic seats with armrests are designed for enjoyable touring. For additional driver comfort, the leather steering wheel is height and reach adjustable and there is a conveniently placed joystick gear lever, a clear instrument panel and a well-conceived storage compartment system featuring plenty of storage space and cup holders.
After a hot day at the beach, the Kombi Beach helps you cool down thanks to the integrated air conditioning and ventilation system with 4-speed fresh air fan and recirculation air flap. For allergy sufferers, a dust and pollen filter (standard in every model) keeps the air clean. If you decide to head to the mountains instead of the coast, the Kombi Beach's dual heating system (one heater up front and one in the back) will keep the entire interior at a comfortable temperature.
And on the subject of comfort - with the twin battery setup, you can even equip your Kombi Beach with an additional individual sound system for passengers in the rear of the vehicle.
The Kombi Beach gets top marks when it comes to safety. Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS), Electronic Brake-pressure Distribution (EBD). Seat belts are front height adjustable with pre-tensioners and belt force limiters. All passengers have 3 point seat belts. Driver and front passenger airbags are standard. Front side and curtain airbags can also be ordered.
For additional grip, the Kombi Beach is equipped with TCS (Traction Control System) and Anti-Slip Regulation (ASR). As an optional extra the Kombi Beach can be equipped with an Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP) plus brake assist system. If you like to drive on the beach, the option of Volkswagen's 4MOTION (all wheel drive) is also available.
Remote central locking is standard on all models. It is possible to programme your Kombi Beach so that it locks automatically once the vehicle is in motion. The Kombi Beach also has an alarm system with interior monitoring, tilt sensors and back-up horn in addition to an electronic engine immobiliser.
Volkswagen TDI engines give you higher output, variability and economy. The 2.5 TDI with unit injector or ‘pumpe düse’ technology is mated to all driveline variants. This powerplant is the ‘little brother’ of the already famous 2.5 TDI 128 kW as used in the T5 Transporter and Multivan range.
The Kombi Beach develops 96 kW of power at 3500rpm and 340 Nm of torque at 2000-2,300rpm. The vehicle meets the EU3 emission standard whilst maintaining a fuel consumption of 8.5 litres for the 2.5 TDI Manual, 9.3 litres for the 2.5 TDI Automatic and 9.4 litres for the 2.5 TDI 4Motion.
The driveline variations are: 2.5 TDI Manual (6-speed), 2.5 TDI Automatic (6-speed automatic with Tiptronic) and the 2.5 TDI 4Motion (6-speed manual, all wheel drive). These transmission combinations give the Kombi Beach a top speed of 168 km/h, 164 km/h and 165 km/h respectively.
The manual transmission features 6 forward gears and can transmit a maximum of 500 Nm of torque. The compact design of this transmission is suitable for transverse design thanks to the four-shaft design. The automatic transmission has 6 forward gears and can transmit a maximum of 400Nm of torque and is also available in a Tiptronic specification.
The Volkswagen Kombi Beach is priced from $54,990 for the TDI manual and $57,990 for the TDI automatic.
By Hans Ludemir
Wolfsburg, 21 July 2006 - Volkswagen will call its new compact SUV the ‘Tiguan.’ The decision on the name is a brave journey into new terrain, as is the small VW SUV itself. The readers of the AutoBild group chose the name, with more than 350,000 votes made from ten countries. The clear winner was ‘Tiguan.’ The Touareg's little brother is to be produced in Wolfsburg and will be launched in 2008.
Dr Wolfgang Bernhard, the chairman of the board of management for the Volkswagen brand said, "This unique event is demonstrative of how Volkswagen is opening up: we made a clear appeal to the market - potential buyers could help choose the name Tiguan. The positive reaction shows that this is the right approach."
The name Tiguan was developed by Volkswagen Marketing, along with four other alternatives Nanuk, Namib, Rockton and Samun. The readers of the AutoBild group selected their favourite from these five potential names. The response was astonishing and a clear majority voted for Tiguan.
The Tiguan represents the transfer of the globally successful Touareg philosophy to the class of the compact SUV (Sport Utility Vehicle), a segment which has grown considerably in the last few years. Travel, adventure and excitement are associated with the exotic sounding name. That suits the bill perfectly: thanks to its concept based on driving dynamics and high comfort levels, the Tiguan is suited to urban environments as well as rough terrain far from normal roads and thus provides the driver with absolute freedom. A first glimpse of the new Volkswagen SUV was provided by the off-road design study Concept A at the beginning of 2006.