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2018 Volkswagen California 30 Years Special Edition

2018 Volkswagen California 30 Years Special Edition

30 years on, you can still turn your Volkswagen minivan into a camper

Volkswagen celebrates the 30th anniversary of its sun-chasing California campervan with a special edition model of which only 999 examples will be built with a choice of three engines. The 30th anniversary Californias will be priced at $83,570 in the U.K.

Originally, Westfalia was the company that converted a variety of Volkswagen vans for use as mobile campers - which were known as VW Californias. This tradition dates back to 1988, but it all ceased in 2001 when Westfalia was bought by Daimler-Chrysler. From that point on, Volkswagen manufactured their own campervans with help from the Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles arm.

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2018 Volkswagen Tarok Concept

2018 Volkswagen Tarok Concept

VW’s new shot at the pickup segment

Volkswagen wants to start selling a pickup smaller than the Amarok which it plans to call Tarok and which is previewed by this very close to production concept it revealed at 2018 Sao Paulo International Motor Show in Brazil.

The vehicle revealed in Sao Paulo is nearly identical to the production model it previews, and we really expect VW to only operate major changes to the front fascia in its transition from study to series production.

Judging by the fact that its interior is identical to that of the VW Tharu, a China-only SUV related to the Skoda Karoq and Seat Ateca, it’s pretty clear the project is already in the advanced stages of development - there is nothing even remotely concept car-like about the way it looks inside.

The plan is to reportedly just sell it in Brazil, where it would sit below the Amarok in the company’s pickup hierarchy. On the local market, it’d rival models from Fiat and Renault; no plans have been announced to sell it outside Brazil yet, but it seems unlikely VW won’t try to push it in other markets as well.

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13 Crossover Wagons You Could Buy Instead of an SUV

13 Crossover Wagons You Could Buy Instead of an SUV

Buck the trend, get a wagon!

High-riding vehicles, like crossovers and SUVs are at the height of popularity right now, but they’re not the only way to go if you want practicality and some off-road capability. Crossover style raised wagons are a great alternative and while they can still drive you over a rough field or rutted road with ease, they’re better to drive on road and actually pretty stylish.

They are essentially the wagon versions of different cars which have gained extra ride height and plastic cladding on the outside to protect them from scratches in their most vulnerable points. These vehicles usually have standard all-wheel drive and are usually a higher trim level, so they are not cheap (compared to the vehicle they’re based on) but they also come with a lot of equipment.

Here’s a list of the 13 coolest crossover-style wagons you can buy today.

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2018 Volkswagen Amarok by Carlex Design

2018 Volkswagen Amarok by Carlex Design

A Rugged, Mean Look To Kill Your Ranger Raptor Wet Dreams

You think that the Ranger Raptor is cool? Look at this! It is a Volkswagen Amarok 3.0 TDI tuned up a notch by the fantastic Polish tuner Carlex Design. While the Poles are best known for their work on the interior of cars - something we have witnessed with their incredible Mercedes-Benz X-Class transformation - their latest works revolve around exterior mods as well. This is not surprising considering that specialists there have become well-known all over the world. They have to widen their business scope, don’t they?

I think we are lucky they did because the latest work by Carlex Design on Volkswagen’s mid-size pickup squeezes out the best of what the German pickup can offer. While we in the U.S. can’t actually get the Amarok, adventurous Europeans can go mad with it. All with a 3.0-liter TDI, V-6 that develops 268 horsepower and 428 pound-feet of torque. That is so much more than 210 horsepower from the Range Raptor’s 2.0-liter diesel mill.

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2018 Volkswagen Grand California

2018 Volkswagen Grand California

Possibly the best camper you will ever imagine

Exactly one year ago, Volkswagen revealed a camper dubbed the California XXL Concept. It was an early look at a production model they actually put into production just now. Scheduled for live unveiling at the Dusseldorf Caravan Salon that will start later this month, the Volkswagen Grand California is a production version of the last year’s concept and it is every bit of awesome as you may imagine. Forget about the Airstream, or anything similar. This is better, but you can’t have it because Volkswagen Commercial vehicles aren’t available in the U.S.

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Wallpaper of the Day: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

Wallpaper of the Day: 2018 Volkswagen Atlas

The Volkswagen Atlas was expected to be a model that slotted between Tiguan and the Touareg, but for some reason, VW thought it needed another SUV that was larger than its largest SUV. Then again, the Touareg was one of VW’s many pushes into the luxury market it has no business trying to compete in. To put it simply, nobody wants to pay that much for a Volkswagen when you can get an Audi badge instead. Be that as it may, the Atlas came onto the scene looking sexy and spacious with a decent price and plentiful interior. And, as Volkswagen’s latest SUV offering, and a pretty one at that, we decided to make it our wallpaper of the day. We’ve hand-picked one that’s getting screen time at Top Speed headquarters, but we’ve also included a full lineup of wallpapers at the bottom of the page. Check ‘em out at take your favorite.

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The Volkswagen Touareg is Here, and It Puts the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE to Shame

The Volkswagen Touareg is Here, and It Puts the BMW X5 and Mercedes GLE to Shame

It’s not even a fair fight anymore…

Volkswagen has finally introduced the third-generation Touareg, and it comes to prove a point that Volkswagen isn’t playing around in the premium segment. The exterior gets a healthy restyle that brings it inline with more aggressive offerings on the market while the interior pushes technology to a whole new level. Of course, you can see some Audi and Porsche cues here and there but, for the most part, the Touareg stands on its own four wheels. The new Touareg will initially be offered with two variations of a diesel-drinking V-6 and a V-8. A gasoline V-6 is scheduled for the future while China is set to get a hybrid powertrain.

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Mercedes-Benz X-Class Vs. The Competition

Mercedes-Benz X-Class Vs. The Competition

‘Ze Germans reimagine the pickup segment, but how does it stack up?

Mercedes-Benz just made quite the splash when it dropped the new X-Class. Framed as the first truly “upscale” pickup truck, the X-Class intends on redefining the midsize segment with unprecedented levels of luxury and refinement. It might seem like a strange combination to mate luxury with pickups, but as Mercedes points out, “the number of pickups for private use is increasing. They are no longer viewed purely as workhorses.” As such, the X-Class aims to broaden the pickup’s buyer appeal, seeking out folks like “land owners and farmers in Argentina, business owners and building contractors in Australia, families with an affinity for premium products in Brazil, trend-conscious individualists in South Africa and Great Britain as well as sporty adventurers in New Zealand and Germany.” Sounds like quite the collection of buyers. But here’s the thing – is the X-Class really all that revolutionary?

To find out, we placed it alongside some of its biggest competition, including the Toyota Hilux, the Volkswagen Amarok, and the Ford Ranger. And, since its possible Merc might bring the X-Class stateside eventually, we threw in the GMC Canyon Denali as well. Read on for all the specs and info you need, and let us know in the comments how you think the X-Class stacks up.

Continue reading to learn more about how the Mercedes-Benz X-Class compares to the competition.

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Is VW Building an Atlas-based Unibody Pickup?

Is VW Building an Atlas-based Unibody Pickup?

Speculation and remarks from VW officials seem promising

America will never see the Volkswagen Amarok mid-size pickup skip the Chicken Tax and arrive in stateside showrooms. That leaves VW clearly out of the pickup truck game, while other automakers are raking in profits while VW twiddles its thumbs while bleeding Dieselgate cash to the U.S. Government. But VW might have another Ace up its sleeve. According to reports, VW is currently evaluating the possibility of a unibody mid-size pickup based on its new Atlas crossover. That’s right, the Honda Ridgeline might soon have some company.

The news comes from CarBuzz, which spoke to Dr. Matthias Erb, Volkswagen of North America’s chief engineering officer, at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. According to Erb, the German automaker is currently exploring the possibility of scaling the Atlas’ platform for use as a unibody mid-size pickup aimed directly at the American market.

It’s an interesting idea, to say the least. Basing the pickup off the Atlas platform and using Atlas parts has many positives, including the reduced cost of engineering an entirely new platform and powertrain lineup, the already-established assembly plat in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and the outright chaos avoided by trying to revamp the body-on-frame Amarok pickup to meet U.S. Government standards in emissions and crash testing, along with building an assembly plant in North American to avoid the Chicken Tax.

What’s more, the Atlas-based truck would have less competition. The Honda Ridgeline is the only unibody pickup based on a SUV currently sold in the U.S., so VW wouldn’t have to worry about competing with GM, Ford, Ram, and to a lesser extent, Toyota, and Nissan.

In fact, Erb told CarBuzz he knows the full-size truck segment is a tough nut to crack. “Body-on-frame trucks are a protected market, he told the outlet. "More than 80 percent of trucks in the U.S. are full-size. There are three main automakers who greatly protect this segment: Ford, GM, and Ram. They’re not just about to let someone else invade their turf.”

Opting to go unibody avoids this long-standing rivalry, allowing VW to compete on a more manageable level with the Honda Ridgeline. Of course, none of these plans are set in stone at this time – at least as far as we know. However, VW could certainly earn some market share in the niche corner of the unibody mid-size pickup segment. At this point, anything that could bring additional profits to the cash-strapped company would be given deep consideration.

Continue reading for more information.

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2017 Volkswagen Atlas R-Line

2017 Volkswagen Atlas R-Line

Sportier looking SUV makes debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show

Volkswagen’s largest SUV to date, the Atlas made its public debut in 2016 Los Angeles Auto Show and went into production for the 2018 model year. Rumored for many years, the Atlas was previewed by the CrossBlue concept all the way back in 2013. The SUV rides on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, which is shared with the slightly smaller Skoda Kodiaq. Although similar is size to the more upscale Audi Q7, the latter uses the newer MLB2 underpinnings. The three-row SUV was unveiled with two turbocharged engines and will be built at the company’s Chattanooga plant in Tennessee. The Atlas will be marketed as the Volkswagen Teramont in China when production in Shanghai will begin in 2017.

Although the Atlas has yet to hit dealerships as of January 2017, Volkswagen has already rolled out a new version. Dubbed R-Line, it’s similar to other vehicles wearing the same badge, sporting a trim package that adds unique features inside and out for a more distinct look among regular models. The R-Line is based on the SE and SEL trims and comes with no upgrades under the hood — which isn’t surprising given that this is the case for other nameplates too.

Updated 01/10/2017: We added a series of images taken during the car’s official debut at the 2017 Detroit Auto Show. Check them out in the "Pictures" tab.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Atlas R-Line.

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2018 Volkswagen Atlas Goes Into Production

2018 Volkswagen Atlas Goes Into Production

Volkswagen tries appealing to America’s SUV obsession

Volkswagen yesterday officially began production of the 2018 Atlas SUV at the automaker’s Chattanooga, Tennessee assembly plant. The three-row crossover will begin arriving at dealerships nationwide in the spring of 2017. Volkswagen says the early start on production allows for time to build inventory.

When asked about the Atlas, Volkswagen Chattanooga’s CEO, Christian Koch, said, “I am very proud of the hard work the Chattanooga team has put in to bring the Atlas to series production. The challenge of integrating a new vehicle line while simultaneously completing a major expansion of our facility was daunting, but our team stepped up to the task and now we have taken another step towards the market introduction of the Atlas.”

The Chattanooga assembly plant has added nearly 400 jobs in conjunction with a $900 million investment associated with the Atlas production. The plant now has more than 2,800 team members and is one of the area’s largest employers. The 1.9 million square-foot plant is still relatively new, having opened in 2011 as the primary assembly plant for the Passat sedan. Both the Atlas and Passat will be built alongside each other. Both are specifically designed for the American market.

The 2018 VW Atlas nestles between the more expensive Touareg and the smaller Tiguan. Despite its placement in VW’s lineup, the Atlas is the largest of its SUVs. It features room for seven occupants within three rows of seating. Fold-flat rear seats allow for 96.8 cubic feet of cargo room. The Atlas debuts VW’s first fully digital gauge cluster, much like those found in Audi vehicles. Two engine choices are available: a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder and the 3.6-liter VR6. An eight-speed automatic comes standard and VW’s 4Motion AWD system is optional on VR6 models.

Pricing has not been announced, but the 2018 Atlas is expected to carry a base MSRP of $29,000 while the range-topping trim could sell for $45,000 to $50,000.

Continue reading for more information.

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1962 Volkswagen Double Cab Transporter

1962 Volkswagen Double Cab Transporter

Volkswagen’s stab at the U.S. pickup market

Early Volkswagen products are immensely well known. Show a photo of the Type 1 Battle or Type 2 Microbus to any random stranger, and you’ll likely get correct answers. American culture in the 1960 and 70s catapulted the two Volkswagen products from mere transportation to cultural icons. Nevertheless, Volkswagen made several variations of the Microbus that aren’t nearly well known. This 1962 Double Cab Transporter is a prime example.

The Double Cab, or as it was known in Germany, the “doppelkabine,” got its start when Volkswagen discovered aftermarket companies creating double cab versions of the single cab Transporter. VW adopted the idea and began production for the 1959 model year. The enlarged passenger compartment offered room for six occupants. Like pickups in modern days, the extra cab space cut into the available bed space. Nevertheless, the Double Cab Transporter made perfect sense for construction crews, farmers, and of course, the occasional hippie.

The Double Cab Transporter was an innovative piece. Its chassis was shared with the original Microbus, including its rear-engine, rear-drive, forward cab architecture. Because of the rear engine design, the Transporter’s bed floor was raised, leaving room beneath for the drivetrain. This also made loading and unloading cargo a breeze, since the bed floor was at waist height. The Transporter’s bed walls were also hinged, allowing all three sides to fold flat against the body, making it a true flatbed truck.

Though the Volkswagen truck wasn’t overly popular, it did help create a lasting impact on global truck production and sales. It was in 1963 that President Lyndon B. Johnson imposed the 25 percent tariff known as the Chicken Tax. Among other things, the tariff was designed to protect U.S. automakers form overseas competition importing vehicles. This swiftly cut off the supply of VW Transport vans to the U.S. To this day the Chicken Tax still prevents automakers from importing foreign-built trucks to the States.

A pristine example of the Double Cab Transporter trucks recently cross the auction block at Mecum’s 2016 Monterey car week. Though it didn’t sell, Mecum estimated this fully restored truck would sell between $65,000 and $85,000.

Continue reading for our full review on the Volkswagen Double Cab Transporter.

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2016 Volkswagen Touareg by Wimmer RS

2016 Volkswagen Touareg by Wimmer RS

German SUV gets much-needed upgrades

The second-generation Volkswagen Touareg does not count as a performance vehicle, or even a sports car for that matter. It’s one of Volkswagen’s SUVs that’s admittedly long in-the-tooth after bursting into the market in 2010. But the surging popularity of SUVs continues to this day and it has given cars like the Touareg an added dimension of appeal that doesn’t come from customers, but from aftermarket tuners. Ten years ago, you’d be hard-pressed to find a tuner willing to make a kit for an SUV. But now? Everyone’s doing it, including Wimmer Rennsporttechnik, which has just presented an updated version of its Touareg kit, one that helps the SUV’s 3.0-liter TDI V-6 engine improve its output to 310 horsepower and 443 pound-feet of torque.

On the standard level, the 3.0 TDI Touareg is capable of producing 204 horsepower and 332 pound-feet of twist. Those are good numbers, but not great. So Wimmer modified the SUV’s engine control unit, and in doing so, it managed to squeeze out an extra 106 ponies and 111 pound-feet of torque. Those modifications were done in 2015 so naturally, the German tuner went back to the well and added a few more tuning bits on other aspects of the SUV.

The result is this: a 310-horsepower Touareg with a new set of wheels, an improved suspension, and a throatier sound courtesy of a new exhaust system. The tuner didn’t indicate what kind of improvements these new components add to the SUV’s performance capabilities, but rest assured, the Touareg is better in so many aspects with the Wimmer kit than what it would have been without it.

Continue after the jump to read the full story.

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2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack

2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack

A Golf wagon on stilts

It’s been a full year since Volkswagen showcased the Golf SportWagen Alltrack in prototype form at the 2015 New York Auto Show, and the production model is finally set to make its global debut at the 2016 edition of the same event. In essence, this is a compact station wagon version of the Golf we all know and love, only this time it’s on stilts. With a higher ground clearance, wider wheel arches and a Haldex-based all-wheel-drive system, it is probably the most adventurous-looking Volkswagen that isn’t an SUV.

Unlike the European version that debuted at the 2014 Paris Motor Show, the American one features the "SportWagen" nameplate, but other than that it is identical. The Golf SportWagen Alltrack will go on sale in fall 2016, offering a non-SUV alternative to the slightly larger Tiguan.

“We heard from dealers and customers that they wanted to see a Golf SportWagen with the all-terrain capability that comes from an all-wheel drive system,” said Joerg Sommer, Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy of Volkswagen of America. “We are excited to introduce the Golf Alltrack to meet the active lifestyle needs of our customers.

Updated 03/21/2016: Volkswagen announced it will bring the production version Golf SportWagen Alltrack at the 2016 New York Auto Show. The model is set to go on sale later in the fall.

Continue reading to learn more about the 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack.

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The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

The 2015 Truck of Texas: Crowing the Winners

Every fall, dozens of journalists from all over Texas and around the country gather to compare, test, and crown the winner of the “Truck of Texas” competition. It’s a coveted award from the Texas Auto Writers Association that signifies Texas’ collective approval of a truck. And not only are trucks involved, awards go out for the SUV and CUV of Texas.

I already touched on the topic in the preview piece, but awards are also given to the winner in each vehicle category and for various things like “best connectivity” and “best powertrain.”

This year’s competition was fierce. There were 84 vehicles present from 21 automakers entered into 17 different categories. Evaluating the field were 69 TAWA members comprised of journalists and social media influencers.

So let’s get down to the results. Keep reading for the full breakdown.

Continue reading for the results of the 2015 TAWA Truck Rodeo

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2016 Volkswagen Amarok Atacama

2016 Volkswagen Amarok Atacama

Volkswagen’s Amarok is no doubt a popular midsized pickup truck in many global regions, thanks to its sleek looks, wide variety of powertrains, and its very veedub interior. But for 2016, Volkswagen is adding a new limited-edition trim to the Amarok’s repertoire. The Amarok Atacama is designed to give customers extra features without sacrificing any of the truck’s capabilities.

Named after the Atacama Desert of South America, the Amarok Atacama uses more alliteration than proliferation of parts to attract attention. The truck doesn’t have any special mechanical bits or drivetrain upgrades, like tires, horsepower improvements or a raised suspension. It does, however, offer trim-specific features like bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch wheels, and several appearance upgrades.

Exclusive to the trim are Vienna leather seats, and the Amarok’s recently upgrade steering wheel is also present. Dual zone climate controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and a navigation system come standard.

There are plenty more features on the Amarok Atacama, so continue reading for the full rundown.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Amarok Atacama.

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Volkswagen Confirms Two New SUVs

Volkswagen Confirms Two New SUVs

Just looking at the current landscape of the automotive industry, it doesn’t take long to see that crossovers and SUVs are hot-ticket items once again, but equally obvious is just how far Volkswagen is behind its competitors when it comes to this lucrative vehicle segment. We already know that the Tiguan and Touareg are going to be redesigned soon, and a new U.S.-built, three-row crossover is also in the cards, but the German automaker could be looking to bolster its SUV/CUV lineup even further.

According to a report from CarAdvice, VW is considering adding two new crossovers, with the most obvious being a subcompact CUV to compete against the likes of the 2016 Mazda CX-3, 2015 Jeep Renegade and 2016 Honda HR-V. Slotting in between the compact Tiguan (which is expected to grow for its next generation) and the A-segment Taigun, there aren’t many details about this new subcompact VW crossover, but it could be based on the 2014 Volkswagen T-Roc Concept that was introduced at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.

While this subcompact crossover would definitely be aimed at volume sales, VW is also said to be considering a production version of the Cross Coupe (shown above), which could put styling and sportiness above function (similar to the BMW X6). Since 2012, VW has revealed four different variations of the Cross Coupe, suggesting that this is a likely candidate for production.

VW will complement its traditional crossover lineup with the 2017 Volkswagen Golf SportWagen Alltrack and Passat Alltrak, which are high-riding, all-wheel-drive versions of the Golf and Passat wagons.

Continue reading for the full story.

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Volkswagen Plans Lineup Of Five SUV For The US

Volkswagen Plans Lineup Of Five SUV For The US

Volkswagen’s attempts to dominate the U.S. market have fallen short, with the automaker posting a 10 percent loss last year, despite the market growing by six percent. However, rumors have emerged suggesting VW has five new SUVs planned for the U.S., with hopes of grabbing profits from the ever-increasing Sport Utility trend.

Word has come straight from VW’s technical chief Heinz-Jakob Neusser that the company will launch three new SUVs with two possible coupe-like derivatives coming after. The first will be the CrossBlue – the seven-passenger, 16-foot-long SUV slotted below the next-generation Touareg. The CrossBlue is a likely candidate for the coupe transformation, as VW has already released a concept version back in 2013. The CrossBlue Coupe would compete against the BMW X6 and Mercedes GLE Coupe.

The CrossBlue is expected by the latter part of 2016 and will be built at VW’s Tennessee plant, where plans are already underway to expand the still-new facility by some 130,000 square feet.

Next in the list is a replacement for the five-seat Tiguan. This crossover would have three-row seating and would be based on the long-wheelbase Golf platform. Expect it to slot under the CrossBlue. A refreshed and sportier Tiguan will also debut.

Also coming is a compact crossover that competes with the Nissan Juke. Already seen as the Taigun Concept, Neusser calls the crossover the “Polo SUV,” indicating both its relative size and its underlying architecture. The Taigun will measure roughly 12.5 feet and come in a five-door configuration.

Continue reading to learn more about Volkswagen’s future SUV lineup.

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2016 Volkswagen T6

2016 Volkswagen T6

Volkswagen has pulled the covers off its sixth generation of Transporter van. Complete with new styling inside and out, along with a host of new safety features and a crop of new engine options, the T6 prepares for the 2016 model year.

Besides perhaps the Type 1 Beetle, the Transporter is Volkswagen’s most iconic family member. Originally getting its start back in 1950 as the Type 2, the Bus has done everything from deliver packages on local delivery routes to becoming a cultural icon during the 1960s Hippie movement.

Like the original Type 2 T1, the Transporter has continued offering multiple configurations, including a panel version with no side windows and the Kombi with side widows and a removable rear seat, used much like today’s SUVs with the ability to carry both passengers and cargo.

The sixth generation Transporter now carries the torch while also setting the bar much higher. And while it’s doubtful the T6 will lead any cultural movements, it’s nice to know the van’s lineage is full of history.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen T6.

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2015 Volkswagen Touran

2015 Volkswagen Touran

The Volkswagen Touran debuted in 2003 as an MPV based on the compact Golf platform. This vehicle met the space requirements of most families, while also handling the crowded streets of Europe. In 2010, VW released the second-gen model, and for the 2015 Geneva Auto Show, Volkswagen will introduce the third-generation Touran.

Still based on the Golf’s platform – the MQB – the 2015 Touran looks completely different than any before it. Gone are the soft body lines and the boring interior of yesteryear, and in come more angular lines and a completely revamped interior.

While redesigns are typically a good thing, redesigning a top-selling model like the Touran requires extreme care not to scare away buyers. Did VW hit the mark with the 2015 Touran, or will this new look push buyers away?

Continue reading my full review of the 2015 Touran to find out what I think.

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