Tag Archives: Volkswagen

2011 New York Auto Show: The Good, The Bad, The WTF

The time has finally come, the New York Auto Show came and went. The last major U.S. auto show of the season. If you ask many in the industry, you might hear a collective sigh of relief. Last week was a flurry of press conferences and vehicle reveals.

As you might expect, some were great, but there were definitely some winners and losers. Of course, we must mention the WTF section as well. So without further delay, let’s jump into it. Read More…

Review – 2011 Mazdaspeed3: The Happy Hot Hatch

Sequels are always difficult. Take for instance the first generation Mazdaspeed3. That car had quite a following. When it came time to replace it with a second generation model, there had to be some talk around the water cooler as to how fans would react to the update.

I spent a week with the 2011 Mazdaspeed3 to find out if the smile really does make the car happier, and if they did anything about the torque steer? I guess the main question is, did the second generation Mazdaspeed3 lose any of the charm that made the first one so lovable? Read More…

2011 Volkswagen Jetta Pricing and Model Details

Just posted by VWMico is the pricing and details of the 2011 Volkswagen Jetta.  Quoted below is the information from that post, but a few key facts for the quick rundown for your viewing pleasure below-

  • 2011 Jetta will start at $14,995
  • 2011 Jetta will come base with 115 HP/125 lb-ft 4 cylinder (party like it’s 1999!)
  • 2011 Jetta TDI starts at $22,995
  • 2011 Jetta GLI is absent from this list so it will either appear later or as a 2012 model possibly
  • Dealerships are taking orders

Jetta Base: Includes S features, minus: manual A/C, RCD 310 radio, remote keyless entry, power exterior mirrors – $14,995

Jetta S: 2.0L, 115 HP / 125 lbs-ft, 4-cylinder engine, 5-speed manual transmission OR optional 6-speed automatic transmission, front disc brakes, rear drum brakes, 15” steel wheels w/ full covers & all-season tires, power & heated black exterior mirrors, black grille, manual A/C, RCD 310 radio w/ CD player, aux. input & 4 speakers, power locks w/ remote keyless entry, power windows w/ one-touch auto up/down on all four windows, 6-way manually adjustable front seats, 60/40 split folding rear seat, tilt & telescoping steering column, temperature display, front airbags, side & curtain airbags, ABS, ESC, TPMS, LATCH, daytime running lights, immobilizer – $15,995

Jetta SE: Includes S features, plus: 2.5L, 170 HP / 177 lbs-ft, 5-cylinder engine, 16”steel wheels w/ full covers & all-season tires, body color exterior mirrors w/ turn indicators, V-Tex leatherette seats, front center console w/ storage box, chrome interior accents, carpeted floormats, illuminated vanity mirrors, rear center armrest w/ pass-thru, cruise control – $18,195

Jetta SE with Convenience: Includes SE features, plus: 16” Sedona alloy wheels w/all-season tires, heated washer nozzles, heated front seats, leather wrapped multifunction steering wheel, brake handle & shift knob, Bluetooth®, MDI w/ iPod® cable, Sirius® satellite radio, 6-speaker sound system – $19,545

Jetta SE with Convenience and sunroof: Includes SE w/ Convenience features, plus:power tilt & sliding sunroof, Premium VIII touch-screen radio w/ SD memory card reader – $20,795

Jetta SEL: Includes SE features, plus: 17” Joda alloy wheels w/ all-season tires, 4-wheel disc brakes, chrome front grille & window trim, fog lights, RNS 315 touch-screen navigation w/SD memory card reader, keyless access w/ push-button start, trip computer, driver lumbar adjustment – $21,395

Jetta SEL with sunroof: Includes SEL features, plus: power tilt & sliding sunroof –$22,295

Jetta SEL with Sport package: Includes SEL w/ Sunroof features, plus: sport suspension,sport bolstered comfort seats, sport pedals & door sills – $22,995

Jetta TDI: Includes SE w/ Convenience & Sunroof features, plus: 2.0L, 140 HP /236 lbs-ft, TDI® Clean Diesel engine, 4-wheel disc brakes, 16” Mambo alloy wheels w/ allseason tires, trip computer – $22,995

Jetta TDI with nav: Includes TDI® features, plus: fog lights, chrome grille & window trim, RNS 315 navigation w/ SD memory card reader, keyless access w/ push-button start, driver seat lumbar adjustment – $24,195

Add Destination charge of $770 to all models, and $1,100 for automatic transmission.

Source- VWMico

AutoBird Podcast – Esp 30: “Bon Voyage Episode”

Episode 30 starts with introducing this weeks guest Drew Dowdell owner of CheersandGears.  Moving into the garage we talk about the 2011 Ford Fiesta I was in for the past week along with the Chevrolet Malibu Drew was in. We then move along to the major news of the week segment.  This week included-

  • 2011 Honda Odyssey (Link)
  • 2011 VW Jetta (Link)
  • 2011 Dodge Challenger details (Link)
  • Hyundai Equus, Genesis to get 5.0 L Tau V8 (Link)

We then proceed to the clip of the week segment.  This week we featured an ad by Daimler proclaiming the best or nothing. (Link)

This week we introduce a new segment called car spotting.

Next came our main topic which was discussing Tesla and their upcoming IPO and everything that comes along with that.

Last we plug our respective blogs, Cheers and Gears,  AutoBird Blog and Accelerate Mpls.

Cars & Café – June 5, 2010

Another month means another gathering for Cars & Café out at the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen.  As I woke up at 5:50 am to get ready and then hop into the 300ZX, I looked out the window to see rain coming down.  I instantly decided taking the 300ZX was not happening – not this month.

By no means did this mean I was not going, rather I just did not feel like taking the 300ZX out in the rain.  I went back to bed, because the reality is if you do not plan on showing a car, getting to the AutoMotorPlex ridiculously early is not a huge deal.  After getting a little more sleep, I found myself pulling into the event at 9 am.  Things were already hopping.  There was a line of cars still flowing into the complex, although a few Porsches were actually leaving.  As I was walking down the hill, a Carver County Sheriff pulled in and asked if he could show his car (jokingly of course).  Gotta love the panther cars!

The fact that the weather was not amazing did not stop car lovers and onlookers alike from flowing in and filling up the AutoMotorPlex.  In fact, certain cars ended up being turned away to park at the top of the hill due to the sections filling up.  Notably missing (at least I did not see it) was the Scion XB with the taped on LED strips to the headlights.  I also did not see the 240SX with the zip tied body kit.  That was all fine because the first thing I saw was a black BMW Z8 and I just love that car. The license plate on the Z8 read HOUSPMT, and while I did not meet the owner the car was in great condition.

Other notable cars included a terrific looking Saab 900 (I assume a Turbo but it was debadged and the hood was not open).  I was really digging the car – until I saw the rear which has what can only be described as – you know those aftermarket lights that can go on trucks, with four squircles to make it look similar to a Corvette?  Yeah, those!  Anyways, they were um …well ugly compared to the traditional taillights or even some other aftermarket options.  The rest of the car, I lust after.  A very nice R Design Volvo C30 was in attendance with the license plate BORK.  That is just classic.  I really loved the Audi GT Coupe with great blue paint.  A very nice black 300ZX Twin Turbo was there – and while it may be fast its not Uncs Z (that story is coming someday).

A 1964 Volkswagen 1800 convertible was being shown and it was just classic.  A true Michelle Naranjo vehicle if I have ever seen one – she probably dreams of it now that I sent her a picture of it.  Another cool car I had yet to see in the flesh was a Shelby GT500 Super Snake.  Blue with a black and white interior the car was just gorgeous.  Other cool appearances included the VW Bus that been at all three Cars & Café’s so far this year.  I spoke with the owner and he mentioned a new paint job would be coming towards the of the summer.  Sad, because I actually dig the current look.

Overall, the turnout was great.  Even though it rained the lot was packed.  Good times, donuts, coffee and great people – all with a common passion.  Maybe next month we will get sunshine instead of clouds and rain.  Until next month,  heres to good motoring and safe driving.

BREAKING – Next Generation Volkswagen Jetta Pricing Leaked?

VWVortex forums leaked what is believed to be the base price of the next generation Volkswagen Jetta.  According to the founder and owner of VWVortex, jamie@vwvortex, the base model will start at a mere $14,950.  Watch out next generation Ford Focus and Chevrolet Cruze; the big VW is coming and they are serious about becoming large and in charge.  It is alleged that we will see real photos of the new car in a mere two weeks.  The base and mid-level cars will be shown and go on sale first while the GLI model will go on sale later next year.

Source- VWVortex

Photo- Autoblog

VW T3 Crash Test – Just Like A Pop Can

This is a video of a Volkswagen T3 crash test.  I know we need crumple zones but this is just ridiculous.  Just like when Belushi smashes the pop can on his head remember this video every time you go to smash that pop can.  Oh how far we have come….

Cars & Café – April 3, 2010

It has been four long months of winter wonderland but the sun has finally broken out and the snow is melted.  Another season of Cars & Café has come upon us and the first one of the season did not disappoint.  I was a little nervous as the weather predictions for Saturday were calling for rain, but that all changed last Friday.  I started to get hope as the prediction changed to a chilly 51 degrees and sunny.  I woke up early Saturday morning (late, I was supposed to get up at 6 but had a major alarm clock fail on my part.  I forgot to turn it on and woke up at 6:37 am) and looked outside to find the sun breaking cover.  Excited, I hopped in our 1990 300ZX and headed out to the AutoMotorPlex in Chanhassen.

Our 1990 300ZX

It was a chilly 42 degrees at 7:38 am when I rolled into the AutoMotorPlex.  Gates opened at 6:30 am and only a few tuned up Audi’s and a lonely (read awesome) BMW Z8 were there so far.  I parked in the Japanese parking area and started mingling.  Cars started pouring in around 8 am and it just never stopped.  The sun started warming things up and we reached a nice 57 degrees.  It turned into a huge turnout with couples, families and enthusiasts alike, all coming together with the passion of automobiles.

Some of the more notable (read interesting) rides included a first generation Scion XB that was white with plain steel wheels.  What made it really interesting was it was lowered, had the windows tinted, and had strips of LED lights taped (yes, taped with black duct tape) directly above the headlights.  Parked next to that was a Nissan 240SX with a broken up body kit that was held on with zip ties.  Yes, you read that right zip ties.  The 240SX was painted green with John Deer graphics.  The owner commented on how the zip ties break all the time and he replaces them constantly.

LS1 Shoved into a mid 80's Mazda RX7

All was not lost though because many really awesome cars where there as well.  There were more Corvettes from all different eras than I could count.  Some Corvettes were heavily modified some were plain stock though most were tasteful (save for a few).  A Volkswagen bus showed up and was in really good condition.  When a mid 80’s Mazda RX7 pulled in, I knew something interesting was under the hood mainly because of the sound coming out of it.  Upon further inspection the owner had shoved a LS1 engine under the hood with a custom exhaust system.  One of the most questioned cars was the original Mini Cooper but it was a stretch limo version.  The owner informed people it was originally owned by the Spice Girls and was actually signed by them on the rear.

Spice Girls Mini Cooper Limo

De Tomaso Pantera

The cars garnering the most attention were the Ford GT, Lamborghini Murcielago, De Tomaso Pantera and the Aston Martin(s).  A ton of American cars showed up and they even had their own (decent size) section.  Three Pontiac G8’s were in attendance all parked next to each other.  Two were GT’s and one was a GXP.  The GXP had a Holden badge on the rear and one GT had a custom hiding (flip down) front license plate.

The turnout was terrific. The weather held out and really ended up being beautiful.  I am not sure we could have asked for a better Cars & Café to kick off the season!  Here is looking forward to the first Saturday next month.

AutoBird Podcast Episode 7


This week, episode 7 discusses the week in review on both of our respective blogs, AutoBird Blog and AccelerateMpls.  The first topic is the Volvo XC60 that I drove this past weekend.  Our conversation moved on to the U.S. attacking Japan’s cash for clunkers program.  Next we talk about Volkswagen acquiring 19.9% of Suzuki.  The last topic we cover is the Ford Flex being anointed a future collectible by the National Automotive History Collection though we get a little off topic we have a fun conversation.

Download this episode (right click and save)

2011 Hyundai Sonata- Game Changer

2011 Hyundai Sonata

2011 Hyundai Sonata

The midsize sedan segment is one of the most competitive and is the largest volume class of vehicle.  The perennial kings of this segment have for a long time been the Toyota Camry and Honda Accord.  The Ford Taurus once played in this segment but then faded away.  The Hyundai Sonata has been making moves and gaining market share for years now.  Each revision getting better and more refined.  Having sold over 1.2 million Sonatas, it is safe to say Hyundai is getting the swing of things.

The U.S. version of the 2011 Sonata was shown at the LA Auto show.  The car is radically different then the current generation.  With a fluid design and crisp lines, the new Sonata looks terrific.  The cars overall shape somewhat mimics the higher end Volkswagen CC four door coupe styling.  An up swept character line runs from behind the front wheel well through the door handles, and through to the top of the taillights.  The car’s overall stance is somewhat sporty and aggressive.  The rear trunk has a slight spoiler built in.  The rear tail lights look like a mash up of a BMW 3 series and the brand new 2011 Infiniti M.


The interior of this new Sonata is going more up scale.  The hvac controls are similar to those found in new Fords and Volvos.  Do not worry about the lower roofline in the rear, rear headroom has decreased by a mere 0.4 inches.  Hyundai worked with the headliner and put the rear seat cushions slightly lower to keep the headroom.  The car is actually 130 pounds lighter then the outgoing model.  Hyundai accomplished this weight decrease with the increased use of aluminum in the frame and high strength steel for some of the body parts.


Three trim levels will be available, GLS, SE, and Limited.  The SE and Limited trim levels will have a chrome grille.  The GLS model will have a body color grille.  The new Sonata will be available at launch with a one choice 2.4 liter direct injection four cylinder.  This engine will push out 198 hp and 184 lb-ft to the front wheels through either a six speed automatic or a six speed manual.  Those who opt for the SE model, which is going to be the sportier model, will get dual exhaust along with paddle shifters, and 2 more hp along with 2 more lb-ft of torque.  Hyundai did announce a turbo four cylinder and a hybrid model are both coming but did not release details.  No V6 is being offered (for now).  Hyundai was heard saying the V6 in midsize cars will go the way of the dinosaur.  While final numbers are not in yet, Hyundai expects the Sonata to be rated at 23/35 mpg with the automatic transmission.  That is 2-4 mpg better then the competition.

So what just happened?  Well Hyundai is setting the stage to try and over take the crown from Toyota and Honda in the midsize segment.  With a base price under $20,000, the new Sonata just became the best value and fuel efficient non hybrid in the midsize class. Pretty much, when no one was looking Hyundai got serious.  Your move Toyota and Honda.