Volkswagen For 2001
By Carey Russ
After nearly abandoning the U.S. marketplace in the early 1990s, Volkswagen has made a strong comeback. No wonder, given its current lineup. There are no major changes for 2001 - yet - but all of its cars get important new standard and optional features.
VW's fun-in-the-sun, Golf-based Cabrio is one of the least-expensive four-seat convertibles around, and features an expanded lineup for 2001. There is a value-priced GL, a well-equipped GLS, and a new, premium GLX. The GL is priced below last year's model, and has a vinyl top, manual windows and mirrors, cloth upholstery, and air conditioning, stereo cassette audio, and an alarm system. The GLS power windows and mirrors, heated seats, and a cloth top. The GLX gets a power top and leather seating as well.
Golf and GTI
VW's four-door Golf and two-door GTI are among the few hatchbacks still available in this country. The popular GLS trim level got a 150-hp 1.8-liter turbo engine midway through model year 2000, and is now available with a sport suspension. GTI GLX models come with radio and cruise controls on the steering wheel, which is an option on the GLS. Head protection airbags will be offered later in the model year.
The New Beetle has its first minor styling revision for 2001, with larger outside rearview mirrors. 17-inch alloy wheels are available on the GLS and GLX trim levels, as are high-intensity lights.
Since its major model change two years ago, the Jetta is no longer merely a Golf with a trunk, although it is built on the same platform. Like the Golf and GTI, a sport suspension is now available on GLS and GLX models, as are steering wheel-mounted radio and cruise controls. Side curtain head-protection airbags will be offered later in the model year.
The Passat has been a strong contender in the midsize sedan category. An all-wheel drive "4Motion" model was added part way through 2000; some 2001 models have multi-function steering wheel controls. Side curtain head protection airbags will be available later in the year.
The Microbus may arguably have been the first minivan, but its descendent isn't so micro. Later in the model year, the EuroVan will get a new version of the VR6 engine with 201 horsepower, up from the current 140. Way up from the 40 or so of the Mircobus. Think of it - a 200-horsepower VW bus!
Volkswagen 2001 Cabrio ENGINE 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder Peak horsepower: 115 @ 5200 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 122 @ 2600 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front-engine, front-wheel drive 4 - speed automatic 5 - speed manual CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Unit construction Front suspension: independent MacPherson strut Rear suspension: torsion beam axle BRAKES 4-wheel antilock disc EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: 24/31 manual; 22/28 automatic Fuel tank: 13.7 gallons Golf and GTI 1.8T ENGINE 1.8-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder Peak horsepower: 150 @ 5700 rpm Peak torque, lb-ft: 155 @ 1950-4500 rpm DRIVE TRAIN Front-engine, front-wheel drive 4 - speed automatic 5 - speed manual CHASSIS & SUSPENSION Unit construction Front suspension: independent MacPherson strut Rear suspension: torsion beam axle BRAKES 4-wheel antilock disc EPA ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY City / Highway: 24/31 manual; 22/28 automatic Fuel tank: 14.5 gallons