A Path Less Traveled

VW had 22,000 square feet of display space at the Chicago Auto Show, plenty of space for its multiple SUVs.



VW Atlas Cross Sport: Excessive Where It Matters Ad Debut

Actors Paul Giamatti (Sideways) and Kieran Culkin (Fargo) star in a three-part ad campaign for VW’s Cross Sport SUV.  Giamatti plays a frustrated accountant who must reign in a spendthrift client (Culkin).  He is assuaged, when his client gets a VW—until he learns it’s transportation to a Las Vegas casino.

The ad, therefore, presents the Cross Sport as a stylish, sensible and affordable alternative to conspicuous consumption.  Johanne Leonardo is the creative agency.  The ad debuted on ABC’s The Bachelor.  Two more episodes follow.

In a sense, the ad pays homage to vintage Beetle ads, which extolled the virtues of living large in an inexpensive small car.  VW, as corrective commodity consumption, resonated with Americans who were concerned the wasteful, affluent society.

The Cross Sport’s starting MSRP is $31,565.  A fully loaded one is $50,815.


2019 VW Arteon Review: A Pinnacle of Panache by Cliff Leppke

Once upon a time, VW built a humble looking car.  That changed when the forever-fashionable Karmann Ghia coupe arrived.  Its Italianate body looked Ferrari fast, elegant and expensive.

For 2019, VW offers a new couture creation:  the Arteon, a four-door coupe-like vehicle with a liftback.  That and frameless side glass, gem-like body surfaces and Dior-tight panel fit ape the Audi A7 for fewer bucks.  Its full-width grille with effective LED headlamps looks like Kabuki mask after a Bauhaus makeover.  The clamshell-like knee-low hood has a built-in pedestrian protection system.

Because Arteons don’t share their metal skins with VW’s sedans, their fastback silhouettes look cohesive.  No automotive gerrymandering, here.  Compared with the old VW CC, this one dons a stretched wheelbase.  Thus, there’s more rear legroom under the rakish roof.  Headroom is sufficient, too.

Push the logo-motion VW rondel on the rear lid and tug.  You’ll open access to an expansive trunk with a premium rug.  Few new vehicles put this much class at their backs.

The Areton is sporty; not a sports car.  It steers precisely, but pushes when things get twisty.   Maintaining a dignified quick clip on highways, however, is its forte.  It whispers with barely any wind rush.  A pushbutton lets you recalibrate shock damping and steering effort.  The 245/45R18 Conti ProContacts clop rudely in sport.

There are 268 turbocharged ponies under the bonnet.  My tester routed those stallions via an eight-speed automatic to the wheels via 4Motion all-wheel-drive.  When prodded, those equine posers are gruff.  Power is certainly adequate.  The vehicle weighs 3,854 lbs.  At 70 mph, the mill loafs at 1,850 rpm.

Duck in.  Its dashing interior décor is a tick up the luxury motoring ladder.  Two front power adjusting seals provide equal rights (same height, lumbar and backrest adjustments).  Their kinked pleats, which echo the grille, are supportive.  An analogue-style clock punctuates the dashboard’s Noirish horizontal vent slats.

Wood-tone inlays flank an eight-inch touchscreen with volume and tuning knobs.  Soft-touch materials cover the dash and door cards.  CarPlay and Android Auto are included.   There’s a phone tray below the center stack plus USB and 12-Volt ports.

VW’s bright digital cockpit resembles a Best Buy TV showroom. One must wend through the infotainment screen’s menus in order to tweak instrument brightness.  Convenience items include self-folding mirrors, a driver’s seat with memory and radar cruise control.

The aft pew has a designated center seating position—adults may apply.  This section’s arm rest folds opening a slot for skis or gutters.

Fuel economy crested at 26.5 mpg overall.  Its EPA numbers: 20 city, 27 highway and 23 combined, burning recommended but not required premium fuel.

The $42,790 Arteon is nicely trimmed and smoothly powered.  It’s VW’s automotive pinnacle of panache, a charming set of wheels for Euro-discerning shoppers.


The VWCA (Volkswagen Club of America) is a not-for-profit hobby club for owners and enthusiasts of Volkswagen and Audi automobiles. Founded in 1955, the Club has followed the evolution of Volkswagen from the early air-cooled Beetle to the latest models to roll off the assembly line. We are not owned by, affiliated with or sponsored by Volkswagen AG or Volkswagen of America, the Importer. The Club is operated and managed solely by volunteer members who contribute their time and energy in pursuit of our motto, "to help Volkswagen and Audi owners enjoy their cars to the fullest." Read about the club's history.



May 16 , 2020
Michigan Vintage Volkswagen Festival

Riverside Park, Ypsilanti, Michigan

Jun 28 , 2020
NIVA Bugfest 2020

CHANGE OF LOCATION TO: Fox Valley Volkswagen, 4050 E. Main Street Saint Charles, Illinois

Jul 05 , 2020
Bartlett Independence Day Parade
Kirk Schulz 630-837-7887 Firebugman@aol.com
Bartlett, Illinois

Jul 12 , 2020
33rd Annual Vintage Picnic - Rockford, IL

Alpine Park Rockford, Illinois

Sep 04 , 2020
Buses Nowhere Near the Arch
Bill Bowman: bill@bnnta.com
Hannibal, MO