Volkswagen sells a wide range of upscale passenger cars and utility vehicles, and is the most affordable German brand available in North America. Volkswagen is recognized for the high level of driving pleasure in their vehicles as well as the largest diesel powertrain offering in North America.
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Founded before WWII in 1937, its name translates from German to English as “people's car” and its first automobile was just that – a car for the people.
The distinctive, round-shaped car had an air-cooled four-cylinder boxer engine that delivered 25 hp to the rear wheels, and enough space for four passengers and their luggage. Volkswagen's Type 1 would become known more affectionately as the VW Beetle. The basic design remained relatively unchanged for over five decades with only minor changes and mechanical updates, until production finally ended in July 2003. Over 21 million original Beetles were produced.
VW expanded little during the '50s and '60s with the exception of the Type 2 panel van, produced in many variations including microbus, flatbed pickup and camper van, as well as the Type 3 sports coupe and convertible. VW vehicles starting to arrive in the U.S. in 1949, and in Canada in 1952.
The 1970s saw the introduction of the Passat (Dasher in North America), the Scirocco coupe, the subcompact Golf hatchback (Rabbit in North America) and Jetta sedan. The Golf GTI was crated in 1976 and offered in 1983 in the U.S. and Canada as the Rabbit GTI. The Vanagon replaced the Type 2 in 1979. Diesel powertrains were starting to appear in VW models at the end of the ‘70s.
A Cabriolet version of the Golf/Rabbit was also available from 1980, while in 1981, the Quantum mid-size sedan and wagon arrived in North America, offering a four-wheel drive powertrain from 1984. The 2- and 4-door Jetta reached the U.S. and Canada in 1982. In 1985, the Rabbit name was dropped, and both the Golf and Jetta were redesigned. GTI and GLI versions are offered.
In 1990, the third-generation Passat was introduced in replacement of the Quantum, and the EuroVan replaced the Vanagon. The Corrado and its supercharged engine arrived in the U.S. and Canada in 1990, replacing the Scirocco, and a new platform led to the fully modern New Beetle being launched in 1998.
A Cabriolet version of the New Beetle was launched in 2003, replacing the droptop Golf, while the mid-size 2004 Touareg was Volkswagen's first SUV. In 2007 appeared the Eos and its power-folding hardtop convertible. The full-size Phaeton sedan was launched in Europe in 2002, but offered in North America from 2004 to 2006.
In Canada, two affordable models were offered: the City Golf from 2007 to 2010 and the City Jetta from 2007 to 2009. Meanwhile, the Rabbit name returned to the U.S. and Canada for a few years, but VW ultimately restored the Golf from 2010 on.
Today, Volkswagen’s North American line-up consists of the compact Golf in 3-door, 5-door and wagon body styles, the Jetta sedan, the performance-oriented GTI and GLI models, the mid-size Passat, the CC four-door coupe, the Eos coupe/convertible, the Beetle, the compact Tiguan crossover, the Touareg SUV and Touareg Hybrid as well as the Routan minivan.
Hitting the open road for a long trip -- and I mean more than a few days -- is a desire I've held near and dear to my heart for longer than I've held a driver's license. Cruising the Wrong Coast southbound, crossing over to the West Coast along the Gulf, and down the Mexican boarder to then climb right back up to north of the 49th and finally return home. I plan to do that one day soon.
While change is a necessary evil, and something select people thrive on, it's not always a good thing. Take for example, Volkswagen. From the beginning they've been known for reliable, long-lasting cars that get the job done.
Once a styling knockout, Volkswagen's 2013 CC has unfortunately lost much of its initial appeal. When it first surfaced as a 2009, the car world could scarcely get enough of the then-Passat CC's silhouette, avant-garde design and everything else we've come to expect from Volkswagen.
When Volkswagen launched the Amarok in 2009, Canada and the U.S. were both overlooked. Now, according to sources quoted by Autoblog, the German automaker is starting to revise its position.
Next week at the 2014 Geneva Auto Show, Volkswagen will unveil a new compact SUV concept called T-ROC.
A Fourtitude forum administrator caused a stir when he reported that the U.S. versions of the new Audi S3 and Volkswagen Golf R won't use dual injection like their European counterparts, making them less powerful.