Fun & Games in Mellow Orange

Point of View

Read all about it !

Read all about it !

Total Satisfaction Ride to Lago di Garda with the Touran 2.0 TDI

Fancy a drive down South? Such a simple suggestion and yet the mere mention of the word ‘South’ for the motoring enthused seems to conjure up an escapade of shine peddling along some back road in the hills of Alabama in a rumbling pickup truck.

Wine barrels and Pumpkin Touran

Wine barrels and Pumpkin Touran.

“Susie, grab your shotgun, tie that hound and hang on to your hat – we got rye to deliver”. A veracious recollection, not quite – in our case deep down south meant the eastern side of the beautiful Lago di Garda in Italy. What’s more, no old rambling pickup truck, we had a brand-new car at our disposal: a VW Tiguan 2.0 TDI – in orange metallic, which VW have decided to call “Habanero Orange Metallic”.

Touran – Tower of Reliable Substance

Shot gun and hound storage? Forget about it, as the local would say, pressing the open- the-boot button on the key, flattening the third seat row and in went the bicycle, plus plenty of luggage for 2 persons to set off to an all activity holiday in a multifunctional fun vehicle.

The Italians must have liked Pumpkin because they allowed the Touran to drive anywhere.

The Italians must have liked Pumpkin a lot, because they allowed the Touran to drive anywhere.

In short: The Tiguan 2.0 TDI with just 150 hp (110kW) surprised us all along. Having been used to driving sportscars in the premium segment, we expected to be faced with something resembling that of a suburban tractor, we were proved wrong from the outset. Not only is the car and its navigation system self-explanatory (we hate leafing through manuals), it is great fun to drive. And – a totally new experience for us – it uses so damn little petrol.

Fits in nicely with this luscious area. But what's more: Fun to drive!

Fits in nicely with this luscious area. But what’s more: Fun to drive!

A propos Diesel: It is simply terrible how the Americans have blown the “Diesel issue” out of all proportion. And now all kinds of countries are following suit maligning the combustion engines. How short-sighted can one get, oblivious to proper well-to-wheel, womb-to-tomb considerations. The fact remains: Volkswagen are building fantastically good cars!

It is one thing to ask managers to step down. Winterkorn’s resignation is a sine qua non. His autocratic managerial style, in his later years short of despotism, certainly nurtured an unhealthy ‘culture’ of con tricksing.

And another truth: The cars with the so-called defeat device are extremely good cars.

Bella macchina. My Pumpkin 2.0 in front of a nice hotel in Salo'.

Bella macchina. My Pumpkin 2.0 was allowed exclusive parking in front of hotel Duomo plus ristorante Rosa in Salo’ overlooking the lake.

A further aspect not to forget: Whereas airbag producer Takata and other companies have caused terrible accidents and even casualties, not to mention the oh-so-progressive Tesla’s lethal self-driving software, Volkswagen engineering is safe and sound and intelligent – in spite of American lawyers’ propensity to come up with bogus figures as to how much more deaths through cancer will be caused through slightly higher emissions. What a lot of bull…ocks.

Heavy Duty? No, saper vivere!

Vino e pane - simple life can be bliss! After a wine and oil tasting, we drove home with lots of vini Camincioli. Luckily, the Touran offers plenty of space!

Vino e pane – simple life can be bliss! After a wine and oil tasting, we drove home with lots of vini Comincioli. Luckily, the Touran offers plenty of space!

But to revert to the Tiguan 2.0 TDI: It was real joy to embark on an all activity spree to beautiful Lago di Garda. What might have seemed a somewhat boring utility vehicle has matured into a truly amazing f-car. F for fun, family, fantastic. Clean design. Amazing equipment. All the assistant systems one might want, for instance the very useful rear view camera. The only assistant tool we would have loved to have on top, is a head-up display. Head-up displays in our view are one of the most useful innovations and should be part of every car in today’s confusing traffic with its erratic speed limits. In total, our version came up to 35,850 Euro, plus 11,807 Euro for special equipment. Pity that our mellow orange costs extra. It so befits this car! Makes it stand out in a nice way, as you can see on the photos. At any rate, it truly is an all activity vehicle which suits many quite diverse purposes. Needless to add, the Diesel momentum adds this extra zest when driving.

The Latin poet Catullus would certainly have loved to have had Pumpkin at his disposal to increase his mobility in ancient times. Sirmione.

The ancient Roman poet Catullus would certainly have loved to have had Pumpkin at his disposal to increase his mobility to and from Roma aeterna. Photo taken near where his rural villa is supposed to have been. Sirmione.

text and photos: Susanne Roeder

Pumpkin and I hit it off very well together.

Pumpkin and I hit it off very well together.

©roe

Bacchus, to thee alone? No, olio e vino!

Bacchus, to thee alone? No, olio e vino!

 

 

 

 

Opel Meriva: Second Generation Rejuvenated

The engine is the heart of a car. With the new generation 1.6 CDTI Opel has managed to present the quietest and most efficient diesel engine in its class. We were able to testdrive the advanced technology in the facelifted second generation Opel Meriva, a few days before its introduction to German car dealers. Impressed by the nifty and easy-to-drive little van, we feel certain this car will appeal to drivers of all ages, be it singles, young families or elderly couples.

Since its launch in 2010 about 400.000 Meriva B have been sold in total, approximately a quarter of them in Germany. After its debut in the Zafira Tourer, the Meriva is the second model to benefit from the 1.6 diesel engine replacing the 1.7 diesel as substantially reworked engine with low friction transmissions which offer better efficiency and much more precise and smooth shift operation. The German car manufacturer has invested more than 50 million Euro into the optimisation of its five- and six-speed gearboxes.

Merivadiesel_smallRegarding its outer appearance the Meriva has been inconspicuously rejuvenated, most notably using chrome elements, as in the newly designed front grille and the elegant chrome waistline. The new front and fog lamps with energy saving LED daytime running lights and LED rear lamps give the Meriva a perky and more determined look.

And as far as infotainment is concerned, with IntelliLink Opel offers all the latest technology. Infotainment nowadays seems to bank on the driver’s individual smartphone. Thus, the new Meriva boasts of seamless smartphone integration into the vehicle. We can well do, drive and live without this feature. But, together with a further wide range of premium functions provided by IntelliLink, this seems to be a definite selling point.

Whispering Engines

We on the other hand focused on the driving experience. Thus, the 1.6 diesel engine ( we drove the version with 136 hp/100 kW, 320Nm torwze, 4.4 l/100km and  116g/km CO2) can be warmly recommended. Compared to its predecessor, the 1.7 CDTI, there is a plus of 6hp and 20 Nm, while efficiency is improved by 10% as regards fuel consumption and emission of CO2. During the course of the year, a further version of the 1.6 CDTI with 110 hp/ 81 kW will emit no more than 99 grams of CO2 and consume a mere 3.8 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres, making the Meriva the first (diesel) monocab under 100g.

As to the interior, the Meriva oozes pureness and solid quality. Of course, the patented FlexDoor system has remained a salient component of the Meriva’s ergonomic concept. While the usual opening angle of doors is 68 degrees, Meriva’s 84-degree opening doors in front and rear allow easy access. Yet the most spectacular feature of the FlexDoors system are the highly ergonomic rear-hinged rear doors which give comfortable access to the rear. The engineers are proud of their flexibility and ergonomic champion – a title first bestowed upon the Meriva in 2010, when the second generation was launched.

The price for the Meriva 1.6 CDTI in Germany starts with 23,350 Euro as “Edition”, 24,790 Euro as “Color Edition” and  24,890 Euro as “Innovation”. The entry price for the smallest petrol engine (100 hp/74 kW) is 15,990 Euro (prices include VAT). All engines, be it gasoline, LPG or whisper-diesel 1.6 CDTI, already comply with Euro 6 emission standards.

Summary / Zusammenfassung

Frischzellenkur für Opels Minivan Meriva. Natürliche Schönheit kommt von innen. Deshalb ist der 1,6 Liter Dieselmotor, der nach dem Zafira Tourer nun auch im Meriva geräuscharm werkelt, die wichtigste Neuerung beim Facelift der zweiten Generation Meriva. Unverändert attraktiv bleiben die hinten angeschlagenen Fondtüren als auffallendstes Merkmal des patentierten FlexDoors Türsystems. Opel hat den Meriva konsequent weiter verbessert und seinen Status als pfiffiges Alltagsauto für alle Altersklassen weiter ausgebaut.

Susanne Roeder

©roe