We were fortunate enough to be invited by Philwest Volkswagen in Somerset West for a Ride and Drive to experience a series of VW`s. Excitement over came us when we were informed that the new 2016 Passat R line and VW Cross UP would also be part of the selection!
The day began with a scrumptious breakfast at Somerset West Country Lodge where we were briefed on the day`s proceedings and safety precautions. This was also a great way to meet the rest of the Ride and Drive crew.
After a hefty English breakfast we loosened our pants and excitedly made way to the cars. The selection consisted out of the fierce VW Amarok 132kw automatic, the Passat comfortline & Passat R line, the Golf SV, the VW Caddy, the VW Polo highline & the impressive all-new 4 door VW Cross UP! (note: A Crowd Favorite!)
With difficulty in choosing the first ride, Team SOCA set off first in the Passat Comfortline. With a total of 12 drivers, we would do a total of 12 stops to ensure that everyone got a chance experience a different vehicle.
We made our way towards Franschhoek in somewhat stormy weather but had high hopes for the overcast to clear. Our first stop was at Tokara Wine Estate on the Helshoogte pass. This well-renowned pass gave the drivers the ability to properly experience the driving capabilities of their vehicles and what an experience the Passat turned out to be. Firm steering and tight suspension when put it into sports mode. Absolute pleasure to drive with more than enough interior space.
Our next stop was just outside Franschhoek for some snacks and refreshments that seemed to ‘magically’ appear in the one vehicles’ boot (Thanks Philwest!). Everyone reflected on and discussed the features of the cars and from the start it seemed that a favorite emerged – the lady in red…
All filled up (again), we changed vehicles and got into the VW Amarok 132kw automatic. This 2 liter beast destroys ascending hills with its 400nm torque diesel engine, putting all negative opinions we’ve heard before about the 2 liter engine to rest. Big up to VW for that impressive 2 liter, can’t wait to see what they do with the new V6 though.
After conquering the N2 though the Houwhoek pass, we stopped just before Botrivier to switch again. It was our turn in the feisty red VW Cross UP! What a little legend this city car is. It only boast an 1 liter engine, but WOW – she had no problem on the open road with more than enough pulling power. Painted in red the Cross Up made a lasting impression on everyone, including us!
Our next quick stop was on a bridge just outside Botrivier. This was an excellent opportunity for photographs and to send out the drone for some spectacular footage (check it out here). On the road again, this time with the VW Caddy. Astonishingly, this panel-van featured a noise-free ride with well fitted luxury trimmings. The high roof makes it easy to load equipment and reconfigure the seats. Overall, very impressed with its design features. The engine lacked a bit of power when ascending or overtaking but for a business run-around vehicle that don`t need a high performance engine, well worth it.
Securing the Golf SV on the next stop, close to the Arabella Country Estate, this was our (and everyone else’s) first time driving the SV. This particular Golf was designed with more space in mind boasting a higher roof, more seat configuration and larger boot capacity. This Golf is easy to get in to and perfect for those long journeys with the kids, even with flip down trays behind the front seats making it super comfy. Good one, VW!
Entering Kleinmond we made a quick pit-stop to freshen up and of course fight over which next to drive. This was our turn now with the Passat R line! Jippee! Timing was perfect as we were heading towards Betty`s Bay and the acclaimed Rooi Els drive, we had the chance to test the VW DSG gearbox on the mountain pass, blessing us with its bending and twisting road. The weather also decided to clear and sun graced us with its presence – the perfect driving condition!
Our final stop was between Rooi Els pass and Gordons Bay, leaving us with the last vehicle to test out – the VW Polo highline. This little hatchback city car was also among the most talked about in the group as the ride is surprisingly smooth and comfortable. Don’t let the 1.2 liter fool you because putting your foot down will definitely get your blood pumping. A rather enjoyable drive!
We ended up back at the Somerset Country Club, where we were treated to a delicious lunch and a cold beer to end off the day`s excitement with owner and Dealer Principle of Philwest Volkswagen Somerset West, Alan Davison. What an amazing day! Test out these VWs for yourself to see what we’re talking about. Contact Philwest Somerset West and set it up: 021 840 4900.