Travel torque: Volkswagen’s double whammy for car of the year

The Tiguan.
The Tiguan.

On Wednesday March 15, the 2017 car of the year will be announced. Travel Torque’s Melinda Ferguson is placing bets that Volkswagen will rev home with the title.

Despite the VW global emissions scandal that hit headline news in late 2015, costing Volkswagen billions of dollars in fines and lawsuits, South Africans have responded to the biggest scandal in the German manufacturer’s history, as though it never existed. The much-loved brand is still firmly placed as the second most successful local brand, only beaten by Toyota.

It’s continued to enjoy its seventh year of domination in the passenger car market with the VW Polo Vivo, followed by the Polo, as the top-selling passenger car, which goes to show that sometimes oil is thicker than scandals.

In a few days the South African Guild of Motoring Journalists will announce the 2017 car of the year at a gala banquet in Midrand.

VW South Africa revs into the competition with not one, but two finalists this year – the hugely impressive VW Passat which oozes space, quality and luxury, and the on and off road technical SUV maestro, the VW Tiguan.

The Tiguan.

Ten facts about the VW Tiguan

  • The bigger, bolder second-generation Tiguan arrived in South Africa in early September 2016.
  • Reviews by the South African motoring press were rapturous.
  • The technical advances in the new Tiguan have particularly impressed which include Active Info Display and the very latest MIB-based infotainment system.
  • It’s VW’s first SUV to be built on the MQB platform.
  • More than 2.8 million units have sold worldwide since it was first launched in 2007.
  • The optional R-Line package includes a sport suspension system, 19” Sebring alloys, and a body-coloured rear spoiler.
  • It’s impressive off road with a rugged all-wheel drive system, packed with premium high class tech, including 4Motion Active Control.
  • Space reigns supreme – when the rear seats are folded down, there’s a whopping 1655 litres of cargo space.
  • The Tiguan is high-specced with standard offerings including: cruise control, front fog lights, a leather multi-function steering wheel, connectivity package (Bluetooth & USB interface) and roof rails.
  • The innovative Active Bonnet – a first for any VW – significantly reduces the risk of injury to pedestrians and cyclists. When contact is made with the bumper, a sensor strip triggers a pyrotechnic actuator, lifting the rear edge of the flexible bonnet by around 50mm.

Pricing: From R378 000

Rating: 5 stars

The VW Passat.

Ten facts about the VW Passat

  • The Passat is classy, understated and hugely capable with class-leading boot space of 519 litres.
  • Its size belies its power – it nips to 100km in around 6.2 seconds.
  • In November 2016, a diesel variant, the TDI was added to the petrol range with stunning fuel consumption of 5.0L/100kms.
  • The TDI has a smashing 130kW of power and 350Nm of delicious torque.
  • The entry level Luxury Line TDI comes standard with LED daytime running lights, 3-Zone Climatronic Air-conditioning and gorgeous heated Vienna leather seats.
  • The top of the range Executive comes standard with Nappa leather seats, LED headlights with dynamic cornering, as well as the R-Line Styling Package which includes 18” ‘Marseille’ alloy wheels.
  • The tow package includes a tow bar, trailer and park assist.
  • The all-digital virtual cockpit instrument display, an example of VW’s innovative techno mastery, makes you feel like you’re driving into futuristic perfection.
  • In August last year the Passat 1.4 TSI DSG set a South African petrol passenger car record by driving more than 2000km on a single tank.
  • In 2015 the VW Passat won European car of the year.

My bet is that the Tig is set to take the coveted South African Guild of Motoring Journalists car of the year title. If the Passat wins I’ll be first in line to crack open a bottle of Evian. Either way my money is on VW.

Pricing: From R468 200

Rating: 5 stars

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