2013 Volkswagen GTI (pic by Jeff Stork)

2013 Volkswagen GTI: Still the One

I don’t buy modern cars these days, because between press cars and the small flock of Mercedes diesels that tend to follow me home, there just isn’t the need. But it’s pretty inevitable at a party, someone will ask me…

2014 Volkswagen CC

2014 Volkswagen CC Is A Steal

I’m a big fan of the Mercedes-Benz CLS63, BMW M6 Gran Coupe, and Audi RS7 — all super-sexy, four-door German super-coupes. Packing muscles of the gods, they romp from 0-60 mph in less than 3.5 seconds and touch 190 mph with their 560 horsepower V8 engines. The only downside is, these fabulous show ponies cost around $130,000. Thankfully, there’s a way to get all the style of these Autobahn blitzers with the sticker price of a loaded Honda Accord.

JamesHamel-First_Drive_Comparison-_2013_VW_Golf_TDI_vs__2015_-img_0970

First Drive Comparison: 2013 VW Golf TDI Vs. 2015 VW Golf TDI

Volkswagen lovers with an eye on a Golf TDI hatchback are no doubt asking themselves if they should hold out until model year 2015 for the update or snap up a sixth-generation version like the 2013 model. (FWIW, there will be a shortened 2014 model year for the Golf made up of leftover stock of the current version.) To address such dilemmas, we thought we’d pit the two against one another.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI

2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI: The Un-Diesel

I like the Beetle, and find it much better looking and better trimmed than its “New Beetle” predecessor. And by now, it seems like I’d driven just about every variant of the Volkswagen Beetle except I hadn’t yet been behind the wheel of the TDI, so when the offer was made I eagerly accepted.

2013 Volkswagen Tiguan

2013 Volkswagen Tiguan Explains Itself

How do I explain the Volkswagen Tiguan?

First, that’s a made-up name that supposedly conjures an image of a snarling tiger mixed with a slithering iguana. Is it meant to be a menacing meat-eater or an aquarium pet for the reptile-obsessed? Maybe you put the tiger in the tank and an iguana in the boot? It’s all so confusing. Fortunately, it’s easier to get a fix on the machine itself.

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI

2013 Volkswagen Passat TDI Solves The Riddle

At your local VW dealer, you can get a Passat with a 170 horsepower, 2.5-liter, five-cylinder engine or a 280 horsepower, 3.6-liter VR6, but that’s so common. The real auto enthusiasts and tree-clingers among us will opt for the 2.0-liter four-cylinder Clean Diesel that grunts out 140 horsepower and 236 ft-lbs of torque. And why not choose the six-speed manual transmission to achieve 31/43 mpg city/hwy.? As loony as it sounds, a TDI with a manual transmission is a pretty sporty ride. My partner is rarely one to fight for driving rights on long trips, but he refused to hand over the helm. Diesel driving is intoxicating

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible (photo by Jeff Stork)

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible Turns Heads In California

Last summer, I drove the restyled Volkswagen Beetle Turbo and came away impressed — especially with the more masculine, 356-like styling, upgraded interior, and the spirited performance that reminded me of the first- and second-generation GTIs I owned back in my college days.

2013 Nissan JUKE NISMO

Cool Cars Blow Into The 2013 Chicago Auto Show

Los Angeles and Detroit are two of the largest auto shows in North America, but automakers often save some big news for Chicago. From a new little diesel to a Superman sedan, big man van, and Texas-sized truck, there was a lot to see at the 2013 Chicago Auto Show, which wrapped up last week. Here are some of the highlights:

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

2013 VW Beetle Convertible: Not Just Another Retro Drop-Top

Although Volkswagen kicked off the whole retro thing in 1998 with the “New Beetle”, it doesn’t want you to think of the current third-generation Bug in those terms. To be honest, the New Beetle was anything but retro. Like the latest iteration, it rode on the most-advanced Golf architecture, driven by an engine over the front-driven wheels. It looked almost futuristic. With a new design that bridges the future-bubble with its iconic ancestor, the 2013 Beetle Convertible evolves.

2013 Volkswagen Golf R

2013 Volkswagen Golf R Is A Po’ ‘Mo’s Porsche

My former boss, who is still afflicted with a Saab 900 Turbo he purchased new in ’87, came to my office looking for the keys to the Golf R I was driving. Apparently, it’s on his short list of new cars. He’s also a fan of the Audi A5, BMW 3-Series coupe, and various Porsches. The fact that somebody who understands serious German pedigree puts the R on his list tells you a lot about the R. Think of it as a po’ ‘mo’s Porsche.