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2012 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline: The Best Kind Of Devil

by Peter Dushenski @carenvy

The Devil is Christianity’s disincentive manifest.

For followers of the infinitely compassionate Jesus, lusting after your neighbour’s new Cayman S is punished with an eternity of soot and sweat in your eyes. It’s that severe. For followers of Gautama Buddha, the shadowy tempter Mara provides a similar embodiment of evil action. He’s also not very nice. Judaism and Hinduism lack such a manifestation of poor behaviour, perhaps because they both prefer to trade in intangibles, but the notion of the Devil has now permeated global culture. Transcending boundaries, Satan, Lucifer, and The Prince of Darkness are synonyms for the absolute pinnacle of perversion.

If you’ve ever watched Top Gear, you were probably appalled when Jeremy, James, and Richard referred to diesel as the “Devil’s Fuel”. Could they have been talking about the same torquey elixir that motivates our trailer-pulling trucks up the steepest of slopes? Wasn’t diesel a fun way of being efficient? Not for European folk, it seems. For them, regardless of religious background, diesel is the devil.

Ironically, we Canadians hold it in the highest of regards. Our finest and most capable trucks, plastered with iconic nameplates like “Cummins”, “PowerStroke”, and “Duramax”, all swill the stuff. And that’s just the domestics, the German companies that sell diesels here can’t import them fast enough. Mercedes Canada could stop selling their gas-powered SUVs tomorrow and their salesmen wouldn’t even notice. And we all have a friend with a diesel-powered Golf or Jetta who drove cross-country on 3 tanks, making the kind of history he won’t shut up about.

Jean jacket-wearing Canucks look at the efficiency figures, feel the rich kick of torque, and book summer flights to Europe just for the chance to see the bloody things. Compared to granola-pounding Prii, diesel cars offer an unmatched sense of Eurochicness and pump-hopping pride. Surprise, surprise, we can’t get enough!

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What’s Cooler? Part II – Battle Wagon Lite

Earlier this month I talked about needing a station wagon to haul around he who will be the newest addition to our little family. Station wagon, estate, touring, shooting brake… these all make sense to me.. Barring some shift in oil prices or the further breakdown of Minnesota roads, I won’t be driving an SUV (really just a large tall station wagon). Barring blunt force head trauma, I won’t be driving a minivan. A Mustang V8-powered Volvo 940 was compared to a supercharged M3-powered BMW 525i Touring. Verdict? BMW.

I’m still casually surfing the Internet for a station wagon that amuses me. Something that can haul the diapers as well as the mail. Something that has some style to it. Something that commands respect and awe from the other parents. More importantly, according to my wife, something that won’t break the bank. Hey, she’s the one who pointed out I still need funds for the old car projects.

Admittedly, I had all but forgotten the Volkswagen Fox two-door wagon even existed. Appearing briefly in North America somewhere between the late 1980s and the early 1990s, these Brazilian-built econoboxes wheezed and lumbered along with something like 81 horsepower from their 1.8-litre, longitudinally-mounted four-pots. The sedans shared styling cues with the Audi 4000 (80) and VW Jetta. The wagons, however, looked like an intoxicated union between a early Mk-2 Golf and a Communist-era Fiat police car.

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Parts Cars I Have Known – My Life With BMWs

People who know me know I have a problem. I collect old BMWs, specifically the models fewer people care about. I have had E3 (the Bavarias) and E12 (the first 5 Series) sedans, as well as one garden-variety 1985 535i. Anything with an ‘M’ prefix? Nope. A beautiful CS coupe? Not yet. The iconic 2002? One, briefly, in ‘tii’ form though I never drove it because the burning oil fumes would get sucked into the cabin through the rotted spare tire well.

I don’t care, because the cars that have stuck around are like family members. Like Max the 1972 Bavaria and Chuck the 1981 528i, owned 12 and 10 years, respectively.

E12s_both1Relatively recently, we shipped the 528i from California to its new home in Minnesota. While it is straight and rust-free, and sports a freshly-rebuilt 3.5-litre engine, Chuck has lots of needs. And those needs, apparently, required a donor. Enter one 1976 530i, also known as Sam the rusty parts car, purchased over the summer and driven around since.

Recently, however, Sam shuffled off his mortal coil due in no small part to the liberal application of wrenches and sockets. Yes, it was time for him to donate his remaining worthy bits for the potential betterment of the other children. Kind of like the Donner party, but with a transmission and dashboard instead of legs and a spleen.

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Review: 2009 Volkswagen Jetta TDI Highline


By Kevin Harrison

There are a lot of things about North Americans that I really don’t get. For instance why do we like Walmart enough that it has to be open 24 hours? Have you ever bolted up at 4 am wanting to buy a new set of silverware?

Likewise, why are we so opposed to diesels? For some reason we’ve asphyxiated them with a bad reputation, and as a result, North Americans have not responded well to them.

This attitude is in complete contrast to Europe where selling a car without a diesel option is like ordering a hamburger at a Chinese restaurant – it just doesn’t make sense.

VW has been trying for decades to make diesels more mainstream in our market but they hit a bit of a snag in 2007 when stricter emission standards forced them to axe their diesel and revamp it. During that period TDI’s were missing in action in our market.

But they’re back for 2009, and VW promises them to be even more powerful yet more efficient than before.

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Detroit 2009: Audi Are a Bunch of Teases

Audi is betting the future is diesel, not electric. Photo courtesy of Kicking Tires.

Audi is betting the future is diesel, not electric. Photo courtesy of Kicking Tires.

Oh say, can you see?  The 2.0-L Audi A3 TDI is coming to America…well, soon, anyway.  Audi have officially announced that the redesigned 2010 A3 TDI will hit US shores in the third quarter of 2009, with official fuel mileage numbers and pricing both yet to be announced.  No release date has been announced as of yet for Canada, but with both Audi’s Q7 TDI and look-ma-the-A3-TDI-engine-has-a-twin VW Jetta TDI currently being road-legal contenders in Canada, we’ll be kind of shocked if it doesn’t happen.

What’s more shocking than withholding such a crucial Audi development from Canadian shores, though?  Follow the jump to find out and to check out some more pics of the A3 TDI. 

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KTM Makes Custom X-Bow For Readers


KTM, Austrian maker of mostly two-wheeled nonsense motorcycles, released the Audi-powered carbon fibre X-Bow sports car to much fanfare for European customers last year. But what about us Canucks? Well apparently KTM has heard our pleas. Not only with the X-Bow be sold in North America and be made street legal, but buyers are also given some optional goodies to choose from that will allow them to enjoy their track-day special all year. Even in the snow. Just look at those tires! They’ve got chains! Freaky. If you like cars, snow and S&M, follow the jump for more. 

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