A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of accompanying my husband and my sister to the Volkswagen Free Driving Tour at the International Center in Mississauga. I had never been to an event like this, but my husband and sister, who are both car fanatics were extremely excited to attend. I just loved the fact that I had an exciting event to set off our weekend of fun – we were on our way to Manitoulin for four days and this was the perfect event to start us off.

The Volkswagen Free Driving Tour is an annual summer event that is meant to allow Volkswagen drivers and enthusiasts the opportunity to test the Volkswagen german engineering in real life on a specially designed closed course. This year, Volkswagen is celebrating their 60th anniversary, so this year’s events around Canada are also celebrating their birthday! Professional drivers were on site to assist and inform as you sped cruised along the track, testing the brakes, pick up (acceleration), traction control (on a skid pad) and turning ability (on the cool tight curves).

When we arrived I was amazed at the track that VW had set up in the parking lot of the International Center. It was more expansive than I had thought, and some people were already on the track by the time we reached. We were greeted and led through the VW tent, listening to the guide giving us a tour of the VW lineup. We were given all sorts of information about the cars we were about to test drive, including t heir history, their features and little factoids (is that a word?) that just made the experience all the more interesting.

Having my husband and sister driving the cars trying to be better drivers than I am (ahem) just gave me a little extra push to do well (yes, I admit my competitive edge came out a bit). Unfortunately, I believe I was the only one who knocked down a cone – but on my defense, I was the first one to drive the course out of the three of us, so they had an advantage!!! In the end, my husband was told that he had done the fastest time on that track (at least for that day). If that was true, or if they were just being nice and stroking his ego, I’m not sure…but I know he has a heavy foot so I wouldn’t doubt it!

I loved that Volkswagen also set up activities for after your drive, including a “make your own smoothie” bike and a “songpop” type quiz. I also got to view some beautiful sleek little Volkswagen convertible babies that are not available in Canada (yet – hint hint VW!!).

In the end the event was a spectacular event that allowed us to investigate the Volkswagen brand quite intricately. We learned about the history of Volkswagen, the new features being offered, the safety of the Volkswagen brand (which is spectacular by the way!) and we were even allowed a little glimpse into the future line up. The Volkswagen event was the topic of conversation for our entire Manitoulin trip!

And, just to prove that it was a good event, I had my husband write a few notes (in point form) on what he thought about the event – so, here I am introducing my Luv Luv, the car-crazy man in my life:

– Overall the event was very well planned and organised. The track was impressive and the VW swag was wonderful.

– My favourite car of the event with the Passat 3.6L. It was very luxurious for the price of an entry level luxury sedan. I’ve always been a huge fan of Lexus and Infiniti but this car re-directed my attention to VW.

– The most impressive aspect was the TDI. TDI stands for turbo direct injection. In non technical terms it means a clean burning diesel that performs well even in the cold Canadian climate. It also means over 1400km per tank of fuel. Let’s say an average tank of petrol now is around $60 and will give you between 600 – 700 highway kilometers. The TDI will easily double this. TDI also means green, or blue, if you are in Europe. Modern diesel is low in sulfur and because you consume less, your carbon foot print is lower. You could go even further and use bio diesel which is 100% sustainable and near carbon neutral.

The Original Beetle!

– The other impressive car was the new Beetle. As a guy, I’ve always found the Beetles to be very feminine looking and lacking in any “wow” factor. The new Beetle, however, takes the car back to its original roots. You know when Porsches copied the design to make their car? Well the new Beetle still boasts of the same fun and cuteness of the previous model, but now also has a set of “balls” on it that makes it “male friendly”.

– For a zippy, fun car, the Golf GTI does the trick, but I felt the little 4-cylinder lacked low-end torque. In order to have some fun with it, I had to be north of 4000 RPMs. That being said, the air conditioning being on did not affect the power of the car. This is something I always hated with 4-cylinder cars, but VW manages this well with their advanced power management system.

– In the end I’d recommend the new VWs to any car buyer on the market, except for those of you looking to buy my Japanese car so that I can buy a VW!!
Needless to say, the Luv Luv was unduly impressed. And just for a little extra laugh, I’m going to give you access to my personal VW driving page (showing me driving the Passat and the Beetle) so that you can laugh at how awkward I was while driving their cars – I did ask one or two questions that you may like though – so feel free to make some popcorn and laugh at with me, and then head over to the nearest Volkswagen dealership or event and go have some driving fun for yourself!

Serena is a 30-something, PR-friendly, gluten-free, dairy-free, “smug-married”, self-proclaimed people-watching allergy-queen just trying to navigate this obstacle course called life. Her blog, Bewildered Bug, is her attempt to relay her everyday experiences. Feel free to contact her there, on Facebook or on Twitter.

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