Hildegard is Robert Beaumont's 1957 Beetle, which was parked for more than 40 years, unable to run. Slowly but surely, he's brought it back to life.



VW Begins Taos Production for the U.S.; Consumer Reports Ranks VW 18th, VW’s Porsche Spinoff?

Feb. 10:  VW’s Mexican plant began producing the Taos for export markets.  The U.S. is the Taos’ first destination arriving at your dealer by the end of Q2 2021.  VW has already built 4,300 units for the Mexican market.

The Taos features a new-for-the-U.S. 1.5-liter, 158-hp turbocharged mill.  This variation of VW’s EA211 engine family is more powerful and more economical to feed than VW’s current 1.4-liter gas engine.  One of its efficiency tricks is its variable turbine geometry turbocharger.  

Feb. 18:  Consumer Reports’ 2021 Brand Report Card Ranking, based on test and survey data, places VW 18th, Audi 11th and Porsche 4th out of 32 brands.  J.D. Power’s 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study ranks VW below average at 28th with 163 problems per 100 vehicles surveyed.  The average is 121 problems.  Audi is 20th (127 problems), whereas Porsche is second (86 problems).

Automotive News reports VWAG is weighing whether to spin off Porsche as a separately traded brand.  This could raise additional capital.  VW would retain the majority of Porsche shares.


2020 VW Tiguan: It’s Loaded Before You Load It

VW says the 2020 Tiguan represents a value proposition.  In other words, it’s loaded.  Standard features include a driver’s assist pack and Car-Net with Wi-Fi.  You can top $40,410, when you pick the SEL Premium R-Line with 20-inch wheels, heated steering wheel, 360-view parking aid, 4-Motion and wireless phone charger.

The Tiguan’s chiseled bod covers a spacious interior.  Handling is responsive but this VW has several quirks.  For instance, VW hides the instrument “rheostat” on the eight-inch infotainment touchscreen where you cannot adjust the Digital Cockpit brightness while moving.  Setting seat heat or steering wheel warmth is confounding.  And, you must poke two steering wheel switches in order to disable lane-keep assist.

There are three USB-A ports, an 1/8-inch audio input, several 12-VDC sockets, two SD card slots, a CD player, plus a flinty ride.

Those exploring the Tiggy’s middle and rear environs confront hard plastics offset by pliable door-card inserts and carpeted bins.  The firm mid and the optional Lilliputian third-row seats are easily reconfigured.

Deep wells flank the stowage bay’s floor.  A retractable cargo cover stores in a cove.  VW illuminates this compartment well.  Operating the cargo cover snags the third-row’s shoulder belts.  My tester’s Easy Open rear lid didn’t work.

A 2.0-liter 184-hp turbocharged four-cylinder engine with start/stop sips regular fuel.  It buttons to an eight-speed automatic.  I observed 24 mpg overall.  The EPA says 20-mpg city, 27 highway and 23 combined.

Unfortunately, this mill sometimes gurgles to loudly.  On highway trips, wind, road and engine murmur are subdued.  One bonus:  there’s some road sense.  Brakes are effective and automatic LED headlights lucid.  Acceleration from 60 mph is sluggish.

This Tiguan comes up short as a $40,000 chariot.  There’s a lot to like; it offers driver engagement.  Before you buy, check engine noise and try its user interface.


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.