Volkswagen is enhancing the driving experience
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Spoilt for choice
As car technology advances at a rapid rate, new car buyers are increasingly expecting a car with features that enhance passenger comfort, safety and provide a great driving experience.
“In New Zealand we’re a little bit spoilt,” says Greg Leet Volkswagen’s General Manager for Passenger Vehicles.
“Our cars are typically offered at a very high specification, as opposed to some other countries, so there are not a lot of additional options because our cars are already so highly spec’d.”
A variety of on-board features are available throughout the Volkswagen range. These are like having another set of eyes, ears, hands and feet right there in your vehicle, making driving safer and more enjoyable.
Leet says that the approach Volkswagen take is that any safety features available are in the car as standard.
“The Kiwi way is the cars are as safe as they can possibly be and traditional features like navigation and rear-view camera are standard across the range. Those things are a given these days.”
He cites Volkswagen’s decades of experience and a research and development department second-to-none as reasons why it can offer buyers a premium vehicle experience at a less than premium price tag.
The difference from a 2014 model to the latest can be large - emblematic of the rapid advancements in engineering and technology.
The Polo, for example, is on a completely different platform from what it was in 2014 - which enables more fuel-efficient engines, more advanced technology and greater safety features.
“Not so long ago you’d have navigation that was only available on an SD card or hard drive in the multi-function display,” says Leet.
“Now navigation is better served by just plugging your phone in. That way you get access to connected services so you can see things like traffic delays up ahead.”
Driver safety and convenience is also at the core of Volkswagen’s Adaptive Cruise Control which enables auto-accelerating, decelerating and braking to keep pace with the vehicle in front - a feature which operates down to 0 km/h, unlike many competitor offerings which have a higher speed cut off point.
Other safety features on offer in the Volkswagen range include Front Assist, Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert and Lane Assist, the latter one uses advanced technology to learn your driving patterns. If it notices that you are drifting more than usual, the steering wheel will vibrate to alert you.
And parking accidents are a thing of the past with Volkswagen’s Park Assist - the only thing you need to do is find a parking space, engage the Park Assist and work the accelerator (Park Assist comes standard on the Tiguan range and on a number of other models, including the Golf, when buyers choose one of the higher trim packages).
“I’m currently driving a Touareg,” says Leet, “and my favourite feature is the infotainment screens – they’re easy to work and crystal clear with so much information at your fingertips. It’s night and day to what we had even a few years ago.”
The Touareg, which was recently voted the Best Luxury SUV from Cars Guide, offers an interactive digital landscape consisting of display and control elements which Volkswagen deems “the cockpit of the future”.
Its dual screen information system largely replaces dashboard and centre console buttons with the latest touch screen technology.
Called the Innovision Cockpit it controls air conditioning, seat heating, ventilation, and massage functions and also allows a ‘head-up display’ that virtually projects important information immediately in front of the driver on the windscreen.
Through it you’re able to customise the car’s interior look and functionality to your preference; you can change music, update navigation, and take phone calls safely.
If you’re driving and see road works ahead you can look down and see in a glance if there’s an alternative route available.
The risks of night driving have also been attended to with a night vision camera that intuitively predicts when a roadside pedestrian might cross your path, warns the driver and, if they do, applies the brakes.
And there’s no more manually dipping your lights as the Touareg’s powerful LED matrix headlights automatically manage their intensity so as not to blind oncoming drivers.
Auto Car NZ’s recent review of the Touareg (which has a powerful V6 turbo-diesel engine and 3.5 tonne towing capacity) deemed it a real bargain in its sector - “For similar money other options include the Lexus RX 350 Limited and... the Land Cruiser and Jeep Grand Cherokee, but we’d prefer the VW thanks”.
“I’m lucky enough to have driven all the current Volkswagen models,” says Leet, “and the thing that I’m constantly impressed with is the quality of the drive they offer. It’s really exceptional.”
Buying a Volkswagen has never been easier with easy weekly payments plans, a special offer five year warranty, and surety over service costs thanks to Volkswagen’s online service calculator.
See the range at www.volkswagen.co.nz