Drive Type: AWD
Trim: GLS 4 Motion Sedan 4-Door
Morganville, New Jersey, United States
2001 GREY VOLKSWAGEN PASSAT
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has revealed its annual list of Top Safety Picks, an award that highlights automobiles it says offer "superior crash protection." A new and still more significant award, the Top Safety Pick+ honor, is given to those vehicles that earn good ratings for occupant protection in four out of five areas of measure. And while some 117 vehicles were given the TSP seal of approval for 2013, just 13 passed muster for TSP+.
To be fair, IIHS only evaluated 29 vehicles with its new testing procedures for TSP+ (we'd expect that the number of qualified cars will rise substantially for 2014). Luxury and Near Luxury midsize cars were the first groups evaluated, followed by midsizers in the Moderately Priced Cars category - unsurprisingly, it's only midsize cars that you'll find among the class this year.
Only two luxury sedans made the list of 13 for 2013: the Acura TL and Volvo S60. The other 11 cars on the list included entries from domestic, Japanese and German car makers: Dodge Avenger, Chrysler 200, Ford Fusion, Honda Accord (sedan and coupe), Kia Optima (but not its close kin, the Hyundai Sonata, strangely), Nissan Altima, Subaru Legacy and Outback, Suzuki Kizashi and the Volkswagen Passat all made the grade.
Volkswagen introduced its aggressive R-Line appearance package on the CC and Beetle last year, but later this year, this treatment will also be applied to VW's crossovers, the Tiguan and Touareg. Both sporty-looking utility vehicles will be unveiled next week at the Detroit Auto Show.
The 2014 Tiguan R-Line comes standard with bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights, and the package adds 19-inch wheels, grey fender extensions, body-color side skirts and a liftgate spoiler. Inside, the R-Line adds a flat-bottom sport steering wheel with paddle shifters, a black headliner and numerous metallic trim accents such as the stainless scuff plates, the aluminum pedals and metallic finish on the instrument and door panels. The Tiguan R-Line will be offered in front- and all-wheel drive configurations.
As for the 2014 Touareg R-Line (shown above), this model gets an ever more distinctive look with an aggressive front fascia, 20-inch wheels and dual oval-shaped exhaust outlets in addition to the painted side skirts and LED taillights. Similar metallic interior trim pieces found inside the Tiguan R-Line will also make their way into the Touareg as well as gloss black accents on the instrument panel and center stack.
A keen angler recently went to Polish tuner Carlex Design (the same folks who did that steampunk Mini Countryman a while back) for a revamp of his Volkswagen Multivan. What resulted is perhaps the most striking - yet fishing-unfriendly - interior we've ever seen in a van. Below the shoulder line, if a surface isn't covered in cross-stitched Alcantara, then it's covered in cross-stitched leather. Even the steering wheel airbag boss. And the seat supports. And the cupholders.
The brown hue of the Multivan's interior is called Criollo, named for an especially fine specimen of cocoa. The finishing touch on the overhaul is a fileting knife that Carlex made for the owner. We imagine he'll use the knife for the marine life, but keep his van far away from it.