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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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2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept

2017 Volkswagen Sedric Concept

The Brave Little Toaster grew into a self-driving concept

Volkswagen is launching a new initiative – create a world with self-driving vehicles that transport people in living room-like comfort, all without the need of a driver’s license, eyesight, or even the physical ability to drive. Leading the charge is the first concept car from Volkswagen Group. It’s named Sedric, which is short for self-driving car. VG says Sedric is the “father” of other autonomous concepts soon to come, each branded from different subsidiary brands under the VG umbrella. These “children” and “grandchildren” will build on Sedric’s foundation, eventually providing ride-sharing and private ownership experiences unlike anything known today.

Granted, this is a tall order for Volkswagen. There are a ton of moving parts that must be incorporated, not the least of which is the proliferation of the Internet of Things. Still, the new world previewed by Sedric is one of comfort and convenience, without the hassles inherent to driving. Think inner city commuting or the daily grind of chauffeuring kids to school, parents to work, and the insane scheduling that surrounds after-school activities. Sedric’s self-driving and autonomous nature alleviates the stress of transportation. Or so Volkswagen hopes.

Sedric’s overall design is one of originality. It doesn’t need to conform to the traditional configuration of a car or SUV. It has almost no overhangs beyond its wheels, it doesn’t waste interior space with driver controls, and it incorporated technology in nearly every aspect of its design. Its all-electric drivetrain offers clean, quite transportation, while requiring minimal space under the floor.

Now Volkswagen isn’t trying to kill the joy of driving. Rather, the automaker is trying to revolutionize personal transportation for busy families, older children, and senior citizens. The local Porsche dealership will still have go-fast fun machines ready to tackle the back roads and by-ways.

Continue reading to learn more about the Volkswagen Sedric Concept.

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2017 Volkswagen Crafter

2017 Volkswagen Crafter

VW’s new Crafter is now an in-house creation

Volkswagen has just updated its largest euro-style van, the Crafter, for the 2017 model year. “Update” might be an understatement, though, as the Crafter is new from the wheels up. This comes as Volkswagen split with its long-time van-building partner, Mercedes-Benz. Yep, VW basically badge engineered itself the Crafter off the Mercedes Sprinter platform. Mercedes even built the van for VW, though the Crafter was powered by VW-sourced powertrains.

The new Crafter still plays on the extreme functionality found in the Sprinter. Its low load floor and available high roof heights allow for large amounts of cargo and even walking room. The van’s short overhangs and tight turning radius is perfect for navigating narrow European streets.

Volkswagen engineers didn’t just reverse-engineer the Sprinter for VW’s use. They reportedly conducted an extensive survey of Crafter customers to find what features they liked, didn’t like, and wanted to see in future products. VW says this lead to driver aids like a backup camera, adaptive cruise control, a side wind compensation system, and even the availability of VW’s 4Motion AWD system.

On top of these features, VW updated the standard powertrain option. The new “EA288Nutz” 2.0-liter TDI four-cylinder is offered in four output levels, including a twin-turbo variant with 175 horsepower. What’s more, the Crafter offers more drivetrain choices than just about any vehicle in recent memory. Customs can order FWD, RWD, or AWD, on top of an automatic or manual transmission. Impressive.

Keep reading for more on the Crafter.

Continue reading for the full run-down.

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“Dirt Every Day” Races 1967 Ford F-100 & VW Van: Video

“Dirt Every Day” Races 1967 Ford F-100 & VW Van: Video

This unlikely pairing makes for hilarious fun

Fred Williams, 4Wheel & Off Road editor and host of Dirt Every Day, pairs up two unlikely vehicles for an informal (and rather fun) race around a grassy and dirt-filled track in the middle of nowhere. The vehicles: a 1967 Ford F-100 and a 1989 Volkswagen Van. Yep, this is a race for the ages.

Williams employs the help of his friends to get the event going, and his ole buddy Frank supplied the F-100. The truck had been sitting up for seven years, set aside after Frank broke his neck in an accident. Now with hand controls, he’s able to pilot the truck once more. Well, that is after Frank and Williams get the truck running again.

The VW van is in a similar state of disrepair. New progressive-rate coil springs and Fox Racing shocks bring the van’s suspension into the current century, while a slight engine tune and Super Swamper rear tires motivate the mess. It’s pretty impressive how the Van morphs from a heap of crap into something that looks fun.

I won’t spoil all the video’s fun, so enter full-screen mode, crank the volume, and enjoy the pilot episode of season five of Dirt Every Day.

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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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