Tag Archives: Volkswagen Polo

The Continental: More G-Wagens, a New Škoda, and Happy Birthday to an Icon

By Jens Meiners

The Continental

Each week, our German correspondent slices and dices the latest rumblings, news, and quick-hit driving impressions from the other side of the pond. His byline may say Jens Meiners, but we simply call him . . . the Continental.

A nice success story for my favorite off-roader, the Mercedes-Benz G-class: The Swiss army has decided to replace the 4189 G-wagens currently in service with brand-new versions. The old vehicles have been in the fleet for two decades and are fitted with 2.3-liter gasoline engines, but the new Gs get a 184-horsepower, 3.0-liter V-6 turbodiesel and a five-speed slushbox.

The Swiss army models are part of the 461 vehicle line, which has been partially substituted by the more plush and advanced 463 series since 1990. However, the 461 remained in production for military and government use, and it was even offered to private customers as well. Today, the purposeful 461 is still offered in several global markets as the G300 CDI Professional. It’s not cheap; in Germany, it costs almost exactly two-thirds as much as the G500 (which is sold as the $113,905 G550 in the U.S.). Cost aside, it is the quintessential G-wagen—and, philosophically, the opposite of the recent embarrassment that is the G63 AMG 6×6.

Skoda Rapid Spaceback

New Škoda!

Another attractive Škoda signifies both the brand’s strength and the return of the hatchback in Europe. The Rapid, essentially a low-cost vehicle that is rebadged as the SEAT Toledo and the Volkswagen Santana, now comes as a five-door hatchback. Škoda’s boss told me about it over dinner last year: It is called the Spaceback and is 7.1 inches shorter than the sedan and more useful. From the rear view, the large glass area looks futuristic, but the side view, with a third window behind the rear door opening, recalls a station wagon.

It is interesting to compare the Rapid with the Volkswagen Golf Mk VII: The Spaceback’s length and height is almost identical to the VW’s specs, but it is slightly narrower. The Škoda’s platform is a mixture of components from the Volkswagen Polo and previous-generation Golf, and therefore it does not reach the latest Golf’s level of sophistication. A lot of the Golf’s (mostly optional) assistance systems are not available here, and the engine range is topped by a 122-horsepower, 1.4-liter four. For customers looking at a GTI or a fully optioned regular Golf, the Rapid Spaceback won’t be an option. But for those who merely seek reliable transportation, the Czech relative might work just as well. Especially since it is a very pleasant and convincing car from behind the wheel, as I found out last year when I drove the Rapid sedan at its launch in Bratislava.

Opel Vivaro

Opel’s Stylish Van

The Opel Vivaro is the offspring of a curious cooperation, being essentially a rebadged Renault Trafic that was styled under the tutelage of former Renault chief designer Patrick Le Quement. And it will soldier …read more

Source: FULL ARTICLE at Car & Driver

Official: 2013 World Car of the Year finalists announced

By Jeffrey N. Ross

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With the Chicago and Geneva auto shows not even out of the way yet, the automotive world’s sights are set on the New York Auto Show for the naming of the 2013 World Car Awards, and the top 10 finalists for World Car of the Year and World Performance Car were recently announced and will be voted on by 66 journalists from around the world (including our own European Editor, Matt Davis).

Vying for the top award are the Audi A3, 2013 Range Rover, 2014 Mazda6, Mazda CX-5, Mercedes-Benz A-Class, Peugeot 208, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, the trio of Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86, Volkswagen Golf and the Volvo V40. Since its inception, past winners of this award include Volkswagen Up! (2012), Nissan LEAF (2011), Volkswagen Polo (2010), Volkswagen Golf (2009), Mazda2/Mazda Demio (2008), Lexus LS 460 (2007), BMW 3 Series (2006) and the Audi A6 in the award’s inaugural year.

The competition is no less fierce for the performance car of the year with the Aston Martin Vanquish, Audi RS5, BMW M6, BMW M 135i, Ferrari F12Berlinetta, Mercedes-Benz SL63 AMG and SLS AMG, Porsche Boxster/Cayman, Renault Clio Sport and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZ/Toyota GT86. This award was first handed out in 2006 with previous recipients including Porsche 911 (2012), Ferrari 458 Italia (2011), Audi R8 V10 (2010), Nissan GT-R (2009), Audi R8 (2008), Audi RS4 (2007) and the Porsche Cayman S (2006).

The top three finalists for each award will be announced at the Geneva Motor Show on March 5, and the winners will be revealed on March 28.

Continue reading 2013 World Car of the Year finalists announced

2013 World Car of the Year finalists announced originally appeared on Autoblog on Fri, 01 Feb 2013 18:02:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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Source: FULL ARTICLE at Autoblog