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The People's Car project began during World War II to make cars more accessible to ordinary citizens in the German market, which until then comprised almost exclusively of luxury cars. Volkswagen saw its first major success with the iconic Beetle, which lives on in its newest iteration today. The company
has produced many important models over the years, including the Golf, Jetta and the Type 2 Microbus. With its massive success since the war, VW has used its resources to purchase and operate many other manufactures, including Audi, Lamborghini, Bentley and Porsche. Its reputation exceeds sales in North America, but it remains one of the world's most important automotive brands.
Aside from the Beetle, the compact Golf hatchback is VW's most popular model. Like the Mini Cooper, the Golf is often credited as being one of the first truly enjoyable and practical cars. If the Golf's 170 horsepower isn't peppy enough for your hot-hatch needs, the GTI's 200 horsepower should do well. But if that still isn't quite enough, the Golf R's 256 horsepower should certainly do the trick. The Jetta now offers more powertrain choices than ever, with gas, diesel and hybrid options for the sedan, and gas and diesel for the SportWagen.
Almost indistinguishable from the baby brother Jetta is the midsize Passat, available with just one body style, but with several different engine choices. Having dropped the Passat from its name, the CC separates itself from the rest of the sedan lineup with its sleek lines and available AWD. On the other end of the design spectrum, the Beetle retains its instantly recognizable shape in hardtop or convertible form, even though the engine now rides in the front of the cabin unlike the original.
VW's first SUV, the Touareg,has a tough time competing in a crowded segment, but offers a variety of drivetrain, including a 240-horsepower V-6, or a range-topping 380-horsepower hybrid. For a happy middle ground between the space of a Golf and capability of a Touareg, the Tiguan starts at $22,995 for the base S model, and the price climbs over $36k for the R-line with 19-inch wheels and a sport tuned suspension. See more... See Less