The strength of the Volkswagen line-up has been recognised today with the manufacturer scooping two New Car Honours awards from Britain’s best-selling motoring weekly publication, Auto Express. While the compact MPV Touran, due for launch on August 4, claimed the title of Best MPV, the New Beetle Cabriolet was named Best Convertible.
The judging panel commended the Touran for its interior space, high quality, excellent driving characteristics, and above all, its flexibility. It is the only vehicle in the compact MPV class to be offered with either five or seven seats. The latter, at a premium of £500, is expected to account for the majority of Touran sales, as the third row can be easily folded completely flat into the boot floor when not required.
In summing up, Auto Express said the Touran had ‘swept to the top of the class, deposing the all-conquering Vauxhall Zafira in the process’. The magazine added: ‘In a category where practicality and ease of ownership are key factors, the Touran answers the design brief to the letter. And … it raises the standards in so many key areas that even the great innovators in the sector are left feeling somewhat old hat.’
The New Beetle Cabriolet also scooped a New Car Honour from Auto Express. This is the second major award for the car, which was named Best Convertible by What Car? magazine earlier this year. The Beetle’s ‘fun’ factor, easy-to-open roof, high practicality, wide engine choice and refined drive, as well as its excellent value-for-money proposition, earned it the Auto Express award.
The judges said: ‘This year’s winner is a car that has fun stamped all the way through it. A machine that blends retro design with contemporary technology and 21st century levels of comfort. …But what really makes the Volkswagen a winner is its fine value for money. It undercuts its main rivals … by thousands of pounds while throwing in plenty of standard equipment to boot. Add Volkswagen’s reputation for producing cars with great residuals and you have a soft top that appeals to the head and the heart in equal measure.’
What’s more, since winning the award, the appeal of the New Beetle Cabriolet has been widened further with the launch of an entry-level 1.4-litre with an on road price of just £14,175.Published 25 July 2003