Volkswagen has taken another step forwards in the democratisation of technology, with the introduction of standard-fit ESC electronic stability control and DAB digital radio on all of its passenger car models in the UK, from the up! to the Phaeton.

ESC (previously fitted to almost every model in the range and optional on others) now comes included as standard in every 2015 model-year Volkswagen.  ESC detects critical situations at an early stage, and takes action – by applying the brakes to one or more wheels and reducing engine power if necessary – to stop skidding and help bring the car safely back under control.  

As well as enhanced safety, there’s now enhanced entertainment in every Volkswagen, too, thanks to standard-fit DAB digital radio tuners across the range.  Volkswagen UK was one of the first manufacturers to make DAB standard on many models, having added it from May 2012 in every 2013 model-year vehicle from Polo to Touareg. It was added to the Phaeton later in 2012, and introduced as an option on the up! in 2013.

DAB digital radio gives customers a greater than ever choice of stations for their listening pleasure, from music to comedy to drama to sport (cricket aficionados in particular will be delighted that they will be able to listen to Test Match Special, while crystal clear BBC Radio 5 Live is a boon for all sports fans).  Of course, all Volkswagen audio systems also include FM radio reception too, and the majority of models come with Bluetooth audio connectivity, as well as iPod, USB or aux-in connections.

Volkswagen has one of the largest model ranges in the UK, spanning from the up! city car via the Polo, Golf, Golf Estate, Golf SV, Golf Cabriolet, Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Cabriolet, Scirocco, Eos, Tiguan, Passat, Passat Estate, Passat Alltrack, CC, Touran, Sharan and Touareg to the Phaeton.  Engines include a wide range of petrol and diesel units, as well as fully electric vehicles.  A plug-in hybrid joins the UK line-up next year.

The 2015 model-year range of Volkswagen models is available to order now.

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The Volkswagen up! has taken the top place in the latest What Car? / J D Power customer satisfaction survey – one of four Volkswagen models to feature in the top 10.

In second place was the Golf Plus, making it the top-ranked Small Family Car; while the Scirocco came fifth (and top of the ‘Fun Car’ class).  The Tiguan compact SUV came sixth, adding to a tally of top 10 results that put Volkswagen fifth overall in the ranking of manufacturers.  The Touran MPV came 12th, and top of the MPV class.

The What Car? / J D Power survey is rated on the detailed feedback of more than 15,000 motorists, based on their experiences with their cars.  This year’s survey took place between January and March, and is based on cars registered between January 2011 and December 2012, of which at least 4,000 were sold.  The results are based not on the vehicles alone, but on the whole ownership experience.

The up! won plaudits from its owners for its fuel economy, excellent visibility, the layout of the dashboard display and its styling, especially the exterior/interior colour co-ordination.

Commenting on the survey, Robert Hazelwood, Director of Volkswagen UK, said, “These results prove what our customers already know: Volkswagen offers practical, value for money vehicles that are as good to own as they are to drive, backed up by an efficient Retailer network that always puts the customer first.”

What Car? Consumer Editor Alex Newby added “The up! has performed brilliantly.  It has won the top award in the city car category and is also the overall winner. What Car?'s Car of the Year 2012 has proven itself to be reliable, easy to drive and fuel efficient.  These features make it a worthy victor.”

The full results of all 109 models tested in the What Car? / J D Power customer satisfaction survey can be read in the July issue of What Car? magazine, which is on sale now.

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Isofix is an international standard designed to ensure your child's car seat is fitted easily and securely. Isofix is being adopted worldwide as a safer way to travel with your children. The Isofix child seat fixes directly into compatible fittings in your car, creating a secure link with no need to use the adult seatbelts. Studies have shown many child car seats are not fitted properly. With Isofix, securing your child's car seat properly is much easier, reducing the risk of injury in an accident.

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Volkswagen has revealed the first technical details of the all-new Passat Saloon and Estate, ahead of the cars’ unveiling in July and their public premiere at the Paris Motor Show in October.

The eighth-generation Passat will bring with it a range of new technologies and features, to ensure that even after 41 years and over 23 million sales worldwide, it remains as competitive as ever.

Thanks to the use of advanced materials – including high-strength, hot-formed steel and aluminium in certain areas – the new Passat is up to 85 kg lighter than its predecessor, helping it to claim expected fuel-efficiency improvements of up to 20 per cent. 

Despite exterior dimensions that are actually marginally smaller than those of the previous Passat, interior space is improved, with more leg- and head-room, as well as increased luggage space.

A highlight of the Passat’s new range of engines is a high-performance, four-cylinder, 2.0-litre, bi-turbo diesel delivering 240 PS and an extraordinary 500 Nm from 1,750 rpm.  This engine will be available only with a new seven-speed DSG gearbox and 4MOTION all-wheel drive. A plug-in hybrid model will also be offered, with potential to travel 31 miles on battery power alone, and with a potential maximum range of around 600 miles.

Other new technology to be offered on the new Passat includes the Active Info Display, which replaces the instrument cluster with a fully configurable interactive 12.3-inch TFT display; a heads-up display; the latest Modular Infotainment System, including the Car-Net remote app; a further-developed 360-degree Area View function; and the latest generation of Park Assist. This newly developed Park Assist includes the option for the car to park itself forwards into perpendicular spaces – useful, for example at supermarket car parks, where access to the boot is important. It also includes a world-first Trailer Assist, which provides assistance when reversing a vehicle with a trailer attached – without the need for any modification or adaptation of the trailer.

Other safety technology includes Side Assist with Rear Traffic Alert; Traffic Jam Assist which makes stop-and-go driving more comfortable; Emergency Assist, which can potentially halt a vehicle when the driver is incapacitated; and the latest Front Assist system with City Emergency Braking, which optionally combines both radar and camera sensors to add pedestrian detection.

All new Passats will feature LED tail lights, while headlights will be halogen or LED.  In conjunction with Dynamic Light Assist, one of the two LED headlight options automatically adjusts the beam for maximum illumination of the road without dazzling other traffic.

Further details and first pictures of the Passat will be available in early July, ahead of the car’s public unveiling at the Paris Motor Show in October. UK sales will start before the end of the year, with first deliveries expected in early 2015.

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It was nothing less than Volkswagen’s greatest single victory in the history of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). In extremely difficult external conditions, Jari-Matti Latvala/Miikka Anttila (FIN/FIN) and Sébastien Ogier/Julien Ingrassia (F/F) celebrated a hard-fought one-two victory in the Polo R WRC at the Rally Argentina. Andreas Mikkelsen/Mikko Markkula (N/FIN) completed the German factory team’s triumph by claiming fourth place. Crowds of enthusiastic fans lined the route of SS 14, holding their breath as Latvala and Ogier repeatedly fought it out to win the fifth round of the season. Mikkelsen also helped to make the event a resounding success for Volkswagen by doggedly working his way up the leader board. Taking first and second place further extends Volkswagen’s lead in the Manufacturers’ Championship. Following the Rally Argentina, the three Volkswagen duos are now also at the top of the table in the Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship. The event marked Jari-Matti Latvala’s tenth win in the World Rally Championship and his third in Volkswagen’s colours.

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