Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Fall Driving Safety Tips

As weather and road conditions change with the season, following fall driving safety tips will help keep you safe as you enjoy the cool crisp air and the beautiful colors of the autumn leaves.

The Dangers of Leaves on the Roads
When leaves accumulate on the roadway and become wet, they can get extremely slippery, making the driving conditions similar to driving on ice. If the temperature drops below freezing, the wet leaves will freeze and turn into dangerous icy leaves on the roadway. Besides reducing the car's traction, causing skidding and the possibility of losing control of the vehicle, leaves often cover the painted road markings, making it difficult to know the locations of the lanes.

  • Slow down if you are driving on a road covered with leaves, especially when driving around turns.
  • Allow yourself plenty of room to stop in an emergency. Keep a greater distance between you and the car in front of you.
  • Leaves make it difficult to see potholes and bumps in the road.
  • A pile of leaves raked to the side of the road is an inviting place to a child. Children enjoy jumping into the leaf piles or burrowing down into them and hiding. Never drive through a leaf pile. Use caution going around turns and where children are playing.
  • Keep your windshield leaf free to avoid wet leaves getting stuck under the windshield wiper blades.
  • In order to avoid the possibility of a fire hazard from the exhaust system or catalytic converter, never park your vehicle over a pile of leaves .

Changing Weather Conditions
In many areas, autumn is a damp, wet season. There are many rainy or foggy days and nights. As the temperatures drop, frost often coats the ground at night.

  • When driving in fog, set your headlight to low beam. This setting aims the beam of light down toward the roadway.
  • In the fall as temperatures drop, frost often forms on the roadway, causing hazardous driving conditions. Drive slowly and break gently at overpasses and bridges as these areas frost over more quickly than other roadway surfaces.
  • Be aware of areas where black ice forms on the roadway.

Adjust for Fewer Hours of Daylight
In the fall there are fewer hours of daylight. In the earlier darkness it is common to see children outside playing or riding their bicycles. People are walking their dogs, jogging or taking late afternoon or evening walks. In the fading light of dusk it is more difficult to see the children and pedestrians.

  • Watch out for children at their bus stops in the morning and as they return home in the afternoon.
  • Halloween is a fun fall holiday. Take special care where children are out trick or treating. They may be wearing masks or costumes that limit their visibility.
  • Always drive defensively.

Vehicle Maintenance

  • Keep your headlights cleaned and in proper working order, making sure they are aligned.
  • Replace your windshield wiper blades if they show any signs of wear.
  • Keep an emergency car safety kit in your vehicle.

Additional Fall Safety Driving Tips

  • Always keep a pair of sunglasses in your vehicle. Fall sunrises and sunsets can be very brilliant. The bright sun often creates a large amount of glare, making it difficult to see other vehicles, the roadway or the road's shoulder. Wearing sunglasses during these times reduces the danger.
  • If you live in an area where there are deer, they are more apt to run into the roadway especially at dawn and dusk since the fall is an active breeding time. If you see a deer cross the roadway, proceed very slowly as they often travel in groups.

Naturally safe driving practices are essential all through the year. However, being aware of the unique autumn driving hazards and following the fall driving safety tips here will make you a safer driver.

Source: safety.lovetoknow.com

Monday, August 31, 2015

2016 Volkswagens to Have Technology Features Previously Available On Premium Vehicles

In separate announcements, Volkswagen of America revealed that its 2016 model year vehicles will support both Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto, along with crash avoidance systems and other driver assistance features that were only previously available for the premium Touareg SUV.
Volkswagen introduced its MIB II infotainment system, an all-new system that lays down the foundation for the company's Car-Net connected vehicle services platform.
MIB II will also be offering one of the most comprehensive suites of features and services for connected vehicles in the entire automobile industry, with its App Connect system allowing users access to the seamless integration of their smartphones to the vehicle using Apple's CarPlay, Google's Android Auto or Mirror Link.
In addition to App Connect, other systems that MIB II also offers are Security & Service, which includes various services for connected cars and advanced telematics, and Guide & Inform, which improves the navigation capabilities of the vehicle and provides users with an advanced infotainment interface.
Volkswagen said that the company has decided to collaborate with leaders in the technology industry for the identification and integration of the most recent innovations into its vehicles, as opposed to attempting to control all developments for car connectivity within their products.
The first 2016 models that will be bearing MIB II and the compatibility with both Apple's CarPlay and Android Auto will begin to be released in showrooms of dealers in late July of this year.
In addition, Volkswagen also announced the addition of several new features to 2016 model year vehicles. These new features include front assist systems, adaptive cruise control, park assist systems and lane assist systems.
The front assist system will warn drivers of a possible front-end collision through a sound alert and a warning symbol that will appear in the vehicle's instrument cluster. If necessary, the autonomous emergency braking system will be activated to prevent the vehicle form crashing in the event that the driver fails to hit the brakes on time.
Adaptive cruise control will assist drivers in maintaining a steady speed and distance from the vehicle at the front, with the driver setting the speed and desired distance through the multifunction steering wheel of the vehicle. The driver can override the speed and distance settings at any time using the accelerator pedal, brake pedal or steering wheel.
In addition, an automatic post-collision braking system will also be included for certain vehicles, with the system applying the brakes of a vehicle upon a crash to prevent the motion of the vehicle in leading to more damages and injuries.
The vehicles that will offer these features, depending on the model and trim level, are the Beetle, CC, Golf, Golf GTI, e-Golf, Golf R, Golf SportWagen and Jetta.
Source:  www.techtimes.com

Thursday, August 27, 2015

10 Safe Driving Tips for Fall Weather

Fall means a number of wonderful things, like warm, comfy sweaters, foliage, and baking pumpkin pies. For drivers, fall also brings unique dangers to the roads. Find out what makes fall driving dangerous and what you can do to keep yourself safe.

Why Driving In The Fall Can Be Dangerous

Weather conditions can be unpredictable in the fall. A bright, beautiful afternoon can turn rainy and cold in minutes. And with days getting shorter, you could find yourself commuting to or from work in darkness.

Back-to-school traffic
Fall means back to school for kids, which means more cars and buses on the roads. Drivers also need to watch out for increased pedestrian traffic in the morning and afternoon as children walk to and from school and their neighborhood bus stops.

The first rain in a few weeks can be particularly dangerous, as water pools on top of dust and oil that haven't had a chance to wash away and makes the pavement extremely slippery.

Leaves (and leaf peepers)
Fall foliage is certainly beautiful, but as leaves begin to fall, they litter the roads, making streets slick while obscuring traffic lines and other pavement markings. They also hide potholes and other road hazards. And when it rains, it can make those wet leaves on the roadway as dangerous as ice.

And where there are turning leaves, there are leaf peepers. These leaf-peeping drivers tend to crawl along the roads and make unpredictable stops to admire the changing foliage. If you're driving behind a car with out-of-state plates, give them a little extra space just in case they stop short for a photo.

Cold fall mornings often lead to fog, which can greatly limit your driving visibility and perception of distance. Fog tends to occur in low places or areas surrounded by hills, water, mountains, and trees. One common mistake drivers make during foggy conditions is putting on their high beams instead of staying with their low beams. This only makes visibility worse because your high beams will bounce off the fog and create glare.

When driving through fog, slow down and stay well behind the car in front of you so you'll have adequate time to stop if you need to.

During the fall, temperatures tend to drop dramatically during the night, which can lead to morning frost and icy spots on the road. This is especially common on bridges, overpasses, and shaded areas of the road.

Sun glare
Fall is also a bad time for sun glare on the roads. Sun glare can impact your sight for seconds after exposure, making it hard to see pedestrians, oncoming traffic, or the car in front of you. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drivers describe being "blinded" after exposure, and this sometimes leads to accidents or near misses.

Sun glare can also cause problems when the sun sets behind drivers. In this case, sunlight can bounce off your rearview mirror or reflect off traffic lights up ahead, and this can blind you for a split second while your eyes adjust. It can also make it hard (or impossible) to see traffic lights, which can prevent you from knowing if you're supposed to stop or go.

The fall season brings an increase in deer activity because it's their time for mating and migrating. If you live in a deer-heavy area, watch for darting deer, especially when driving at night.

Fall Driving Tips
  • Being prepared for fall's inclement weather and hazardous driving challenges is half the battle.
  • Watch your speed: Drive a bit slower when faced with fall driving hazards, especially if you're driving around a school bus.
  • Keep your distance: Leave a little more space between you and the car in front on rainy or foggy days, during dawn or dusk, and in areas with wet leaves. This will give you more time to react.
  • Stick with low beams: Keep your headlights on low when driving in the fog (and rain). High beams will only cause glare.
  • Clear frost away from your windows: Frost can reduce visibility and response time on the road.
  • Approach traffic lights carefully: Sun glare can make it harder to see traffic lights change, so approach them with more than the normal care.
  • Avoid using products that increase gloss: Washing and waxing with these products can magnify the fall's sunny glare and make it hard to see.
  • Clean your windshield, inside and out: When your windshield's illuminated by sunlight, dust particles, streaks, and smudges become magnified, making it hard to see the road.
  • Watch for wildlife: especially in the early morning and evening hours.
  • Check your tire pressure: Since fall weather rapidly changes from warm to cold, your tires will often expand and contract. This can lead to a loss of pressure.

Source: www.esurance.com

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Getting Your Teen Their First Car: A How-To

Make sure you're setting them up for safety right from the start.

1. Choose the Right Car

Let's face it, if you left the decision up to your teen, you would probably end up with either a huge SUV or a suped up sports car, neither of which is particularly safe for a young, new driver. However, there are plenty of options out there to make both you and your teen happy. And with the right research, you can find a car that is not only fun to drive, but also safe and reliable, too.

Choosing a midsize car is the best way to go, according to The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety and the Insurance Information Institute. Depending on your budget, you can opt for either a new or used model - just make sure the car is in good condition with updated safety features like airbags and electronic stability control. Also, you'll want to check out crash test and safety ratings before making your final purchase.

Fuel efficiency is another important factor to consider, especially in today's economy. Unless you're willing to cover the cost of filling your son or daughter's tank each week, buying your teen a gas guzzler is probably not a good idea.

2. Get the Best Auto Insurance Rate

The truth is that no matter what car you choose, insuring your teen driver will increase your auto insurance rates. But there are some things that you can do to make these costs as manageable as possible. In fact, another great reason to opt for safety first at the car dealership is that it can help keep your auto insurance premiums down. Because safer cars tend to have a lower accident risk, they are usually less expensive to insure.

Another way to get the best auto insurance rates possible is to scope out potential discounts. If your teen is a full-time student, for instance, he or she may be eligible for a good student discount. Researching your options beforehand will help you to make an informed decision when trying to find the right car for your teen.

3. Set Boundaries

Choosing a good car and purchasing the right auto insurance are only the first steps in keeping your teen safe on the road. Talking with your teen about safe driving and setting clear rules and guidelines are also important. To ensure that your teen stays safe behind the wheel, you can:
  • Limit the number of passengers your teen can have in his or her car at any one time;
  • Establish a "no cell phone" policy to ensure that your teen does not text or call while driving;
  • Discuss what to do in cases of emergency, including accidents and adverse weather conditions.

Resource: Allstate Insurance Co.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Regular Car Checks Recommended During High Summer Temperatures

Staying on top of your car's systems during the height of summer can help ensure a comfortable and safe ride.

Summer can be tough on cars, especially during high temperatures when heat can destroy batteries and stress the cooling system and tires. As a precaution, these vehicle components should be checked periodically during summer to help avoid breakdowns and car problems, according to the Car Care Council.

Excessive heat and overcharging shorten the life of a battery. Heat causes battery fluid to evaporate, which then damages the internal structure of the battery. A malfunctioning component in the charging system, usually the voltage regulator, allows too high a charging rate, which will eventually destroy a battery.

To get the most life out of a battery, the council recommends having the electrical system checked to make sure it is charging at the correct rate. If your car's battery is the type that needs to be topped off, check it often, especially in hot weather and add distilled water if necessary. Keep the top of the battery clean. Dirt can become a conductor, which drains battery power. If corrosion accumulates on battery terminals, it becomes an insulator and inhibits the current flow.

The cooling system also works harder during hot temperatures to prevent overheating of the engine. To keep the cooling system working effectively, the coolant and distilled water mixture for a vehicle's radiator should be 50:50. As a reminder, never open a hot radiator cap when checking the coolant level in the reservoir.

As a rule of thumb, the coolant should be changed annually on most vehicles. This will keep the cooling system fresh and clean inside, which helps prevent corrosion and assures that the coolant has the proper boiling point and protection. A pressure test, thermostat test, a cooling fan test and a visual inspection for leaks and corrosion should also be done annually. Hoses and drive belts should be checked for cracks, bulges or frayed edges.

The radiator should be kept clean by periodically using a garden hose and a soft brush to carefully remove bugs, dirt and debris.

Tires also need special care in warmer weather as high temperatures put added stress on them. To maximize tire life and safety, check the tire condition and inflation pressure monthly, and have the tires rotated every 6,000 miles. Summer heat will cause the pressure within a tire to rise, therefore, it's important to check the pressure when tires are cold. The owner's manual includes the recommended air pressure for your vehicle's tires.

"It takes very little time and money to make sure your car runs properly during summer, and although breakdowns happen, they can definitely be minimized by taking a few extra preventive maintenance steps," said Rich White, executive director, Car Care Council.

The council reminds motorists that the vehicle's exterior also can be damaged by sunlight, UV radiation, acid rain, salt, dirt and air pollution. To protect the paint and finish, vehicles should be washed weekly and waxed every six months.

The Car Care Council is the source of information for the "Be Car Care Aware" consumer education campaign promoting the benefits of regular vehicle care, maintenance and repair to consumers. For a copy of the council's Car Care Guide or for more information, visit 

Source: Car Care Council

Monday, June 29, 2015

2016 Audi A4 is larger, lighter

The 2016 Audi A4 arrives with a bang, but no surprises. We say that because the formula for creating the news A4 one we know all too well. Make it larger, add a bunch of content, reduce weight, and improve both power and efficiency. It's a recipe for success, and this fifth-generation A4 looks to be a solid contender against its chief rivals, the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes-Benz C-Class.

The shape hasn't changed; it's immediately recognizable as an A4. Instead, this new model updates that familiar design with sharper lines, similar to what we've seen on the new Q7, or even the R8. The big story here is that the 2016 A4 is up to 264 pounds lighter than its predecessor, depending on trim and engine. Additionally, the A4 is the most aerodynamic car in its class, boasting a drag coefficient of just 0.23.

A fresh, modern cabin lies within that lighter shell – one that looks decidedly more upscale than the last A4. Many elements are reminiscent of the Audi Prologue Concept that we first saw (and drove) in Los Angeles last year – specifically, the steering wheel, and the new MMI controls. In fact, Audi has positioned its infotainment controls closer to the center console – in front of the gear selector. This reminds us of the current A8, where Audi specifically designed its shifter to act as a sort of wrist rest. You can rest your arm on the gear lever and still access all of the MMI functionality. Speaking of which, that's the latest generation of Audi's MMI interface, packing navigation, touch capability, LTE connectivity, and WiFi in the 8.3-inch color display.

Audi isn't saying which engines will come to the United States right now, but when the new A4 launches, it'll be offered with three gasoline and four diesel engines in Europe. Our best guess is that the US-spec car will come with the latest 2.0-liter TSFI turbocharged inline-four with 272 horsepower, as well as Audi's tried-and-true 2.0-liter TDI diesel four. Front- and all-wheel drive will be available, and for the first time, two-wheel-drive models will get a proper dual-clutch transmission – no more CVT.

Camp in style with the new Volkswagen California

Now in its fourth generation, the California is still unique in the camper van world as it is designed and built in house, by VW itself.
Based on the equally new Volkswagen T6 commercial vehicle, the latest VW camper van gets the option of four-wheel drive and a paddle-shift gearbox for the first time and the vehicle can be specified with adaptive suspension for greater comfort even when fully loaded.
There is also a range of safety systems including Driver Alert -- which monitors activity to make sure the driver is awake -- brake assist for performing emergency stops more rapidly, and post-collision braking for bringing the California to a complete halt immediately after an accident.
In terms of camping comforts, the California can sleep four, has a pop-up roof for improving headroom and concealing a double bed, a fridge, stove, sink and a host of ingenious storage solutions.
The California will be offered in two trim levels -- Ocean and Beach -- and the first deliveries are expected this summer.
Source: http://news.yahoo.com/

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Volkswagen Launches New ‘Contemporary’ Brand Font

Car and Driver is reporting that Volkswagen will no longer use VW Utopia as their official font, opting to go with the new “more contemporary, less geometric” VW OT typeface instead.  Created by design consultancy MetaDesign, the new font is “inspired by Volkswagen’s distinctive vehicle design”, and should be making its way to Volkswagen products very soon.  We have to wonder though, is this really the best use of Volkswagen’s time and money?
Not to say that a new font couldn’t be found to subconsciously bring customers into dealerships, but we’d wager that some new product and an expanded marketing effort in key markets could do the same thing.  To read the whole report, jump over to Car and Driver’s website, right here.


200 Nm: Highest specific torque of any petrol engine sets new benchmark
99 g/km CO2: Low-emitting Golf TSI BlueMotion attains efficiency class A
Ten key facts about the new Golf TSI BlueMotion:
1. Innovative 1.0 TSI offers highest specific torque of any large-scale production series of petrol engines: 200 Nm per litre displacement.
2. First Golf BlueMotion¹ to feature a petrol engine consumes just 4.3 l/100 km
3. Emitting just 99 g/km CO2, the Golf TSI BlueMotion is one of the most eco-friendly cars in its class.
4. Despite its efficiency, the Golf TSI BlueMotion with an 85 kW / 115 PS engine has a top speed of 204 km/h.
5. The downsized 999 cc high-tech, three-cylinder EA211-series engine is as refined as a four-cylinder engine.
6. A 7-speed DSG (with automatic gear changes) is available; this version Golf also consumes just 4.3 l/100 km.
7. The Cd value of 0.28 helps reduce fuel consumption.
8. The Golf TSI BlueMotion is available in two equipment trim levels: Trendline and Comfortline.
9. Golf Estate (4.3 l/100 km)² and Golf Sportsvan (4.5 l/100 km)³ will also launch with a TSI BlueMotion version.
10. Golf offers cutting-edge, progressive networking with Volkswagen Car-Net, Media Control and App Connect.
  • A petrol engine that is as fuel-efficient as a diesel – until recently this was barely conceivable. A three-cylinder engine that is as powerful and refined as a good four-cylinder – that was barely conceivable until just recently. But now it is a reality. This engine exists. The 1.0 TSI from Volkswagen. The German manufacturer will now be installing it in Europe’s most successful car: the Golf. The name of the new high-efficiency model: Golf TSI BlueMotion. Until now, the Golf BlueMotion was only available in diesel (TDI) and natural gas (TGI) versions. The Golf TSI BlueMotion (which can be ordered in the Trendline and Comfortline trim levels) now extends the model range with one of the most economical cars of our time. The combined fuel consumption of the most fuel-efficient petrol-powered Golf ever: 4.3 l/100 km. This fuel consumption equates to incredibly low CO2 emissions of 99 g/km – and the Golf TSI BlueMotion achieves these figures with both the standard 6-speed manual gearbox and the optional 7-speed dual-clutch gearbox (DSG). At the same time, the Golf Estate and Golf Sportsvan will launch as TSI BlueMotion models. With a manual gearbox, the Golf Estate also consumes 4.3 l/100 km; with DSG the figure is 4.5 l/100 km. For the Golf Sportsvan, the figures are 4.5 (manual) and 4.6 l/100 km (DSG).
  • Specific torque of a sports car. The 1.0 TSI on-board the Golf TSI BlueMotion is the first large-scale production petrol engine to attain a specific torque of 200 Nm per litre displacement. The maximum power of the three-cylinder engine – 85 kW / 115 PS – lies just above the level of the first generation Golf GTI (110 PS). In terms of responsiveness and top speed, the Golf TSI BlueMotion can reach 204 km/h and so surpasses the legend (182 km/h). When it comes to fuel consumption, it even beats the first diesel-powered Golf TDI BlueMotion (4.5 l/100 km). Clearly, the Golf TSI BlueMotion – a five-seater, and optional four-door all-round car that does not require even a hint of compromise from its owners despite its efficiency – is defining a new benchmark among petrol models in its class with diesel-like fuel consumption figures.
  • Affordable. With the lowest price tag of any Golf BlueMotion version, the TSI model is extremely affordable. In Germany, the Golf TSI BlueMotion Trendline costs 20,450 euros – and includes standard features such as air conditioning, seven airbags, Automatic Post-Collision Braking System, XDS electronic differential lock, start/stop system with brake energy recovery, model-specific rear spoiler in body colour, sport suspension (body is 15 mm lower) and BlueMotion 15-inch “Lyon” wheels.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Powering Your Car with Water: Audi Realizes the Green Dream, Synthesizes Diesel from H20

Maybe EVs aren’t inevitable after all. Audi, together with the German energy company Sunfire, has announced that it is able to synthesize diesel from water and CO2, and that the product can fuel automobiles.
The process involves heating water to 800 degrees Celsius, creating steam. Electricity—from a green-energy power source, naturally, biomass in this case—heats the water, and the resulting high-temperature electrolysis breaks it down into hydrogen and oxygen. The oxygen is released, and the hydrogen is combined with CO2 taken from the atmosphere. Under high heat and pressure, the two synthesize to create a liquid known as blue crude. The blue crude is refined into what Audi calls e-diesel.
So far, e-diesel is being mixed with traditional diesel, but it could potentially be used as a fuel on its own. The e-diesel is claimed to be sulfur-free and cleaner-burning than standard diesel. The first five liters went into the tank of an Audi A8 3.0 TDI driven by Germany’s Minister of Research.
Audi and Sunfire claim that the process to make e-diesel is 70 percent efficient. They estimate that once production is ramped up, the cost to consumers in Europe would be comparable to traditional diesel, at 1.00 to 1.50 euro per liter (approximately $4.00 to $6.00 per gallon).

Monday, April 27, 2015

VW Golf R 400 reportedly green-lit (again)

After speaking to Volkswagen powertrain boss Dr. Heinz-Jakob Neusser at the 2015 New York International Auto Show, we uncovered that the Volkswagen Golf R 400 would be sold in the United States... if it ever made it to production at all, that is.

That prerequisite looks like it's about to be fulfilled, as the same good doctor that said the super-poweredGTI would come to the US has confirmed to Car that development is currently underway. This follows up on reports from late 2014 that the 400-horsepower car would make production.

"We have the Golf more sporty than ever before, since we soon will have the Golf R 400 – we will do this car," Neusser toldCar. "We are in fact in development of it right now."

That is, we think you'll agree, splendid news. Of course, it also begs the question of when the new car will arrive. According to Car, it'll be just "a few short months," indicating that the Frankfurt Motor Show will likely host the Golf R 400's debut later this year. Whether that proves correct, though, likely won't be clear until later this summer.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Volkswagen of America, Inc. announced pricing on the 2015 Passat Limited Edition model. The Limited Edition model will have a starting MSRP of $23,995 (plus transportation) and supersedes the Wolfsburg and SE models from the current model year.

The new Limited Edition model offers a great value: compared with the automatic transmission S model, it has $2,755 of additional equipment, but costs just $1,555 more. The Limited Edition model introduces the following standard equipment above the S: 17-inch aluminum-alloy wheels; KESSY® keyless access with push-button start; a rearview camera; V-tex leatherette seating surfaces; heatable front seats; a power eight-way driver’s seat with power lumbar; a touchscreen radio with SiriusXM® Satellite Radio capability; 8-speaker sound system; a leather-wrapped steering wheel, parking brake, and shifter; chrome window surrounds; and front foglights.

The Chattanooga, Tenn.-built Passat Limited Edition comes standard with the award-winning 1.8-liter, turbocharged and direct-injection EA288 TSI® four-cylinder engine, mated to Volkswagen’s smooth shifting six-speed automatic transmission. This highly efficient powerplant offers an estimated EPA fuel economy rating of 24 mpg in the city and 36 mpg on the highway. Like the rest of the Passat range, the 2015 Limited Edition model offers class-leading rear-seat legroom, a voluminous 15.9 cubic foot trunk, and German-engineered ride and handling.

Volkswagen Passat Named 2015 European Car Of The Year

The 2015 European Car of the Year winner is the Volkswagen Passat, with the stylish sedan and wagon beating out some very lame competition in the final round of voting, such as BMW’s unsightly 2-Series Active Tourer, the Ford Motor Company’s [NYSE:F] Mondeo (which is actually just a version of the Fusion on sale for several years already), and Renault’s Twingo minicar. The only credible rival on the list is Mercedes-Benz’s new C-Class, which came third overall. Second place went to Citro├źn and its unconventional C4 Cactus.

However, the Passat won the award with a very wide margin. The judges awarded it with 340 points versus the 248 of the C4 Cactus and 221 of the C-Class. Note, we’re talking about the Passat sold outside the U.S. It was picked because of its advanced technology, handsome design and wide variety of configurations. The judge’s also noted the car’s excellent road behaviour and comfortable ride, which create its fun-to-drive character.

Previous winners of the award include the Peugeot 308 (2014), VW Golf (2013) and Opel Ampera/Chevrolet Volt (2012).

The task of choosing the winner of the European Car of the Year award is handled each year by a panel of judges that represent 22 European countries, made up mostly of journalists and other members of the auto industry. For a car to be eligible, it has to be a new vehicle available now or before year’s end in five or more European markets. The car must also have the prospect of at least 5,000 annual sales, thus ruling out many of the exotic supercars Europe is renowned for.

“We are extremely proud of this accolade,” Volkswagen Group CEO Martin Winterkorn said in a statement. “In the new Passat, we have again succeeded in developing a car that sets the standards for its class in terms of technology and quality—this honor is a tremendous confirmation for the work of our engineers, designers and the entire team."

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Audi introduces leaner, fitter second-generation Q7 | Imports by Day

After a long run on the market, Audi has finally signaled the end of the first-generation Q7 with the introduction of the long-awaited second-gen version of the brand's first crossover.

The 2016 Q7 is a far lighter machine than the vehicle it replaces, thanks to ample use of hot-shaped steel and aluminum. Beyond that, the Volkswagen Group's MLB platform will allow the fullsize Audi to accommodate a range of engines, including more potent versions of the US market's 3.0-liter, supercharged V6 and 3.0-liter TDI. On top of that, the next-gen Q7 will also be available as a diesel plug-in hybrid, complete with a version of the brand's Quattro all-wheel-drive system.

The Q7's new design, meanwhile, gives the car an almost wagon-like appearance and profile. The "Singleframe" grille is wrapped in an aluminum-looking surround, not unlike Audi's smaller RS Q3. Audi's cleanly styled headlights flank it, while the large taillights aren't as aggressively angled as Audi's other crossovers.

The cabin is lavish, featuring a typically stylish design with plenty of tech. A 12.3-inch TFT display takes the place of a conventional instrument cluster, while the center stack is crowned by its very own display. Even the HVAC display controls are handsome.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Volkswagen Cross Coupe GTE is a sleek take on brand's future CUV | Imports by Day

Volkswagen continues its long tease leading up to an eventual US-built, seven-passenger, three-row crossover with the Cross Coupe GTE at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show.

While it's still affixed with the tinsel of a concept car, there are a lot of details that will arrive on VW's eventual production crossover. The wheelbase of the GTE is said to be identical to the production model, although this five-passenger CUV is actually about a foot shorter overall, Volkswagen's chief of design, Klaus Bischoff, told Autoblog.

The overall shape of the GTE's greenhouse, meanwhile, will also be very similar to the car that'll come to market, although more progressive from the C-pillar forward (that's right kids, that sexy sloping rear end isn't for production). Despite the aggressive rake, a peek in the GTE's trunk revealed room for the CUV's third row.

Beyond hinting at a new addition to the company's lineup, the GTE also gives us a look at future Volkswagen design, including the use of four-element LED running lamps. Body lines will be as sharp as is feasible.

Look for the production version of Volkswagen's seven-passenger SUV at the end of next year.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

What to look for in a Car for your Teen Driver | Imports by Day Monroeville PA

If you ask any teenager what they are looking forward to doing the most as they get older, at the top of most lists is probably being able to drive. After all, being licensed to drive gives teens a great sense of freedom – they can now come and go as they please; they are no longer dependent on mom and dad to get them where they need to go.

However, the time when teens begin to drive can potentially be the most deadly. Every dayseven teens ages 16 to 19 die from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle crash. And the crash rate is 3.7 times higher for 16 year old drivers compared to drivers all of all ages, and 2.7 higher for drivers aged 16 to 19.

For parents that are conducting a used cars search for appropriate vehicle options for their teen drivers, how can they help them stay as safe as possible? Here’s a look at five in-car options to look for during their used cars search.

Side Airbags

Although everybody knows about airbags as a safety component in vehicles, some may not realize the importance of side airbags. A study conducted in 2006 conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found side airbags that protected driver’s heads helped reduce deaths in cars that were hit on the driver side by about 37 percent.

Electronic Stability Control

ESC works through speed sensors that are placed on all wheels and the steering wheel to help drivers when on roads that are slippery or very curved.

If the ESC system notices the vehicle is about to go in an opposite direction from where the steering wheel is pointed, is will break the necessary wheels to help keep the car under control. ESC can be found vehicles from 2012, and even earlier.

Crash Avoidance Technology

Over the past few years, vehicle manufacturers have unveiled a crop of new applications to help drivers avoid car accidents. These crash avoidance technologies work by providing the driver with warnings, or in some instances even automatically putting on the brakes. Examples of these technologies to look for in a used cars search include blind spot detection, adaptive headlights, lane departure warning, and front crash prevention.

Anti-Lock Brake System (ABS)

An ABS is another safeguard against slippery roads, as well as inexperienced young drives that may find themselves “panic braking” in certain situations. The ABS helps ensure the brakes on a car do not lock up, which could cause a driver to lose control of the vehicle. ABS on the rear wheels allows the vehicle to keep moving in a straight line, while ABS on all wheels allows the driver to maintain steering capabilities.

Seat Belt Reminder System

Although the “ding, ding, ding” that reminds you to buckle up every time you’re in the car can be rather annoying, studies show they do save lives. For instance, a study published in 2008 found 97.5 percent of passengers put on a seat belt when in a vehicle with a reminder system, while only about 86 percent did in cars without a reminder. And teens need all the reminders they can — a 2002 study found that only 69 percent of teens ages 16 to 24 wear their seat belts, and more than two-thirds of teens killed in car crashes were not wearing seat belts.