Recall Alert: 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible, Passat

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Vehicles Affected: About 26,452 model-year 2014 Volkswagen Jetta, Beetle, Beetle Convertible and Passat cars equipped with a 1.8-liter turbo engine and torque converter automatic transmission.

The Problem: The O-ring seals between the oil cooler and transmission may leak fluid, which could contact a hot surface and result in a fire. The automaker said it is not aware of any fires, injuries or accidents attributed to this issue.

The Fix: Volkswagen began notifying owners earlier this month, and dealers will replace the O-ring in the transmission oil cooler for free. On April 9, the automaker issued a mandatory stop-sale order on all of the affected models manufactured between Feb. 1, 2014, and now.

What Owners Should Do: Owners can call Volkswagen at 800-822-8987, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's vehicle-safety hotline at 888-327-4236 or visit www.safercar.gov for more info.

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By Matt Schmitz | April 22, 2014 | Comments (0)

VW Beetle Dune Concept Car Needs More Dune, Less Beetle

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Search for "Beetle dune buggy" online and what pops up are knobby-tire, flared-fender, jacked-up vintage Beetles ready to blow through the top of a dune. The Volkswagen Beetle Dune concept introduced at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit is a modern "Baja Bug" for the 21st century, though this Beetle Dune doesn't look ready to jump much more than a shallow curb.

More 2014 Detroit Auto Show Coverage 

I'm no way an old Beetle enthusiast — they're a die-hard bunch — but this concept goes about 75 percent in the direction of what I'd imagine for a modern dune-buggy concept.

By Joe Bruzek | January 14, 2014 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Beetle Dune Photo Gallery

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Volkswagen's ski-toting dune buggy turned heads at this year's Detroit auto show, trading the Beetle's cute looks for aggressive wheels and trail-ready styling.

More 2014 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The Beetle Dune concept has been raised a couple inches and wears yellow-orange metallic paint along with 19-inch alloy wheels, glossy and matte black trim, and chrome details. Based on the R-Line version of the Beetle, it uses the model's 210-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. Check out the gallery below.

By Jennifer Geiger | January 13, 2014 | Comments (8)

Volkswagen Beetle Dune Concept at the 2014 Detroit Auto Show

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Looks like: VW gives its cute hatchback an edgy off-road look
Defining characteristics: This Beetle was raised 2 inches for more ground clearance
Ridiculous features: VW engineers bolted a pair of skis on the back … for dune skiing?!
Chances of being mass-produced: Similar to a desert mirage, it's likely this car will exist only in your imagination, though Volkswagen said, "the Dune concept shows the potential for a new production version of the sportiest Beetle ever." 

If you thought the only look the Beetle could rock was cute, think again. The Beetle Dune concept debuting at the 2014 North American International Auto Show reveals the hatchback's rugged side with a raised body and all-terrain-looking exterior treatments. Volkswagen says the look harks "back to the VW Bugs that conquered beaches and dunes in times past," but engineers had a different climate in mind — they bolted a pair of skis to the roof. 

More 2014 Detroit Auto Show Coverage

The concept was built off of the sporty R-Line Beetle and uses the model’s 210-horsepower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and six-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission. This new concept builds off of the New Beetle Dune concept that was unveiled at the 2000 Los Angeles Auto Show, and VW says the 2014 version is "a lot more feasible," though VW has not confirmed production plans for the Beetle Dune. 

By Jennifer Geiger | January 10, 2014 | Comments (8)

Are There Any Small Diesel Cars?

"Are there any small diesel cars?"

Anonymous

2013AudiA3TDI

Chevrolet, Volkswagen and Audi currently offer a diesel engine in compact-size cars.

The current compact diesel cars are the Audi A3 TDI and Volkswagen Beetle TDI, Golf TDI and Jetta TDI, all of which use VW's turbocharged direct-injection 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The Chevrolet Cruze Clean Turbo Diesel went on sale in select markets in June and is scheduled to be available nationally in the fall. It uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with EPA-estimated 27/46 mpg city/highway, which is the highest highway rating of any non-hybrid passenger car. The combined city/highway rating of 33 mpg, however, is one short of VW's TDI.

You can read our first-drive impressions of the Cruze diesel here. The Cars.com Vehicle Recommender, found here, can help you determine which diesel-powered car is best for your needs and budget.

Have a car question you'd like us to answer? Send us an email at [email protected].

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By Rick Popely | August 11, 2013 | Comments (0)

IIHS Tests 12 Compact Cars: Six Pass, Six Fail

A half-dozen compact cars have earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's Top Safety Pick+ honor, the nonprofit vehicle-safety advocacy group announced today. Of the 12 models evaluated, top awardees included the two- and four-door versions of the 2013 Honda Civic, 2013 Dodge Dart, 2013 Ford Focus, 2013 Hyundai Elantra and 2014 Scion tC. All of these received Good or Acceptable ratings overall in five different crash tests.

Six other cars — the 2013 Chevrolet Sonic, 2013 Chevrolet Cruze, 2013 Volkswagen Beetle, 2013 Nissan Sentra, 2013 Kia Soul and 2014 Kia Forte — earned Marginal or Poor ratings. "In some cases dummies' heads struck hard structures like the windshield pillar and instrument panel," IIHS media relations associate Kristin Nevels said in a statement.

By Matt Schmitz | August 8, 2013 | Comments (8)

Volkswagen to Offer New Diesel Engine

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Come late 2014, the Volkswagen Golf, Beetle, Passat and Jetta will offer a new turbo-diesel four-cylinder engine that could get as high as 46 mpg highway in EPA figures. Final numbers are still pending, but Volkswagen announced that its new turbo-diesel four-cylinder — dubbed EA288 — will replace the existing turbo-diesel four-cylinder (shown above) in TDI versions of all four 2015 models.

Volkswagen notes that it has sold more than 47,000 diesel cars in the U.S. year to date, which represents more than three-fourths of all diesels sold here.

The engine has similarities to its predecessor — turbocharging and direct injection — and it should have the same 2.0-liter displacement, spokesman Mark Gillies told us. Beyond that, Volkswagen says it has a slew of new features, including better exhaust-gas treatment, numerous friction reductions and integration of the intercooler with the engine’s intake manifold. If that’s all Greek to you, VW says the end result should improve gas mileage and sharpen accelerator response. The new diesels also have slightly more oomph: 150 horsepower versus the outgoing TDI’s 140 hp. Torque remains the same, with a diesel-appropriate 236 pounds-feet.

By Kelsey Mays | August 6, 2013 | Comments (1)

Smart ForTwo Tops List of Most Embarrassing Cars

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Drive a Smart ForTwo and you have one of the most embarrassing cars in America, according to a new survey by CarInsurance.com.

The Foster City, Calif., company asked 1,500 drivers age 25 and older to pick the most embarrassing car from a gallery of 12 current or recent vehicles: the Chevrolet HHR, Chrysler PT Cruiser, Nissan Cube, Smart ForTwo and Volkswagen New Beetle hatchbacks; the Chevrolet SSR and Subaru Baja pickup trucks; the Honda Element, Hummer H2 and Pontiac Aztek SUVs; the Lincoln Town Car sedan; and the Nissan Murano CrossCabriolet convertible.

Respondents were asked to deem each car embarrassing or not and then ranked the three most embarrassing. The ForTwo pulled an ’84 Reagan — it won by a landslide. (Or it lost by a landslide, depending how you see it, in which case it pulled an ’84 Mondale.) Nearly half of the respondents said they’d be embarrassed to drive Smart’s tiny hatchback, and a third said it was the most embarrassing car. The survey allowed respondents to specify a reason, including write-in options. "It looks like I couldn’t afford a real car," CarInsurance.com says one respondent wrote.

By Kelsey Mays | August 5, 2013 | Comments (19)

2014 Volkswagen Beetle GSR Starts at $30,815

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Volkswagen's limited-edition 2014 Beetle GSR hardtop will start at $30,815, including destination, when it goes on sale in August. That gets you the 210-horsepower hatchback with a six-speed manual transmission; it's $31,915 with a six-speed dual-clutch automatic. It also means the 2014 GSR costs $115 less than the 2013 Beetle R-Line hardtop. Volkswagen plans to build just 3,500 of the Gelb Schwarzer Renner — German for "yellow black racer" — editions worldwide, and Americans will have to hurry before Pittsburgh Steelers fans snap up the U.S. allotment. (Or not. We hear they like vintage Mercedes 300D sedans, anyway.)

Taking its cues from the Beetle Turbo and R-Line, the GSR has a black roof, trunk and side mirrors, plus black stripes along the hood. Nineteen-inch wheels wear P235/40R19 tires. The GSR's doors, fenders and bumpers are yellow; so is the trunk-lid spoiler. Inside, the leather sport seats and steering wheel have yellow stitching, and the car's number (1 to 3,500) is etched into the steering wheel. The parking-brake handle also comes wrapped in cowhide, and the shift knob has a unique GSR design. Other standard features read similarly to the well-equipped R-Line: Fender audio, Bluetooth and iPod/USB connectivity, a panoramic moonroof, navigation, heated seats and keyless access with push-button start.

By Kelsey Mays | July 17, 2013 | Comments (0)

Volkswagen Improves Fuel Economy With New Engine

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Volkswagen's turbocharged, direct-injected four-cylinder engines are no strangers to the automaker's high-performance vehicles, including the GTI, Jetta GLI and Beetle Turbo. For 2014, more mainstream versions of the Jetta, Passat and Beetle gain this engine technology; a new turbocharged, direct-injected 1.8-liter four-cylinder is joining the lineup. It will deliver better gas mileage and performance than the current non-turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder.

The automaker estimates the new 1.8-liter improves highway gas mileage by 16% compared to the Jetta's current five-cylinder while the Passat's fuel economy jumps 9% and the Beetle's highway mileage goes up 17%. By our calculations, that could take a Jetta's 31 mpg EPA highway rating with an automatic transmission to 36 mpg and the Beetle's from 29 mpg to 34 mpg; the Passat's 9% gain means an increase to 33 or 34 mpg. Volkswagen says the new engine runs on regular gasoline as opposed to the premium fuel some automakers recommend for small turbocharged engines.

By Joe Bruzek | July 10, 2013 | Comments (0)

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