Beetle: When it unveiled the Beetle Pink Color Edition concept at the 2015 New York auto show, Volkswagen said it was measuring public opinion. Well, the public must have been tickled by the idea because the #PinkBeetle now joins the lineup. And yes, “#” is part of its name. We can only assume that VW would rather have people making fun of it for car names with hashtags than eviscerating it for Dieselgate. It’s available as a coupe or a convertible. A 170-hp turbocharged 1.8-liter four with an automatic is the sole powertrain. Oh, and it’s pink and has pink bits inside, because, #PinkBeetle is pink. In other Beetle news, the Classic returns with 17-inch wheels that emulate the look of hubcaps, checked-cloth seating surfaces, and a palette of retro colors. Standard equipment includes a six-speed automatic with shift paddles and VW’s Discover Media infotainment system with navigation. A rear spoiler and a leather-wrapped handbrake lever and shift knob also come aboard. Other Beetles get R-Line–style bumpers, and a Dune convertible joins the coupe.
Golf Alltrack/SportWagen (shown above): The Alltrack is a Golf SportWagen with the SUV-wannabe treatment—lower-body cladding, a slightly raised ride height, and standard all-wheel drive. VW’s 4MOTION system has a Haldex coupling that can send up to half of the 1.8-liter turbo four’s 199 pound-feet of torque to the rear axle. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic is the only transmission choice at launch; a six-speed stick will arrive later. Available in three trim levels, the Alltrack’s equipment includes an off-road driving mode (which incorporates hill-descent control), available brown leatherette upholstery, silvery roof rails, and an Alltrack-specific grille. Wagon aficionados who are turned off by the SUV pretense now can get 4MOTION all-wheel drive on the regular Golf SportWagen as well (with manual or automatic transmissions).
GTI: A GTI Sport, four-door only, slots between the S and the SE trims. It comes standard with 18-inch Nogaro wheels, bixenon headlamps, LED daytime running lights, keyless access, a pushbutton ignition, black mirror caps, and the Performance package (Golf R brakes, electronically controlled limited-slip differential, and a 10-hp power bump to 220). The Performance package is now standard on the SE and no longer available on the S. The S and SE can be optioned with a Driver Assistance package, which brings forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and rear cross-traffic alert. Those items are now standard on the Autobahn trim; that model’s Driver Assistance package adds lane-departure warning, Parking Steering Assistant, and automatic high-beams.
Jetta: The lineup shrinks to three trim levels, all of which get more standard equipment. Most notable are adaptive cruise control and forward-collision warning with automatic emergency braking on the SEL. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are standard on SE and higher trims, as well as the GLI.
Mid-size SUV: Volkswagen’s long-awaited mid-size crossover, based on the Passat and built in Chattanooga, Tennessee, is promised to arrive next April. Presumably by that time it will have a name. We expect that it will have three rows of seats and a choice of either a turbocharged four-cylinder or a 3.6-liter V-6.
Tiguan: The new version, already on sale in Europe, doesn’t arrive here until next summer as a 2018 model, so in the meantime VW’s small SUV is just having its trim lines reshuffled.