Biggest Ever Group Test

Which Motorhome, the UK’s number one magazine for motorhome testing, has just completed its biggest ever group test of twelve Volkswagen campers at the Caravan Club’s site in Ferry Meadows.

All campers tested were based on the current shape Volkswagen T5, featuring the classic side kitchen layout with an elevating roof. The campers tested included Volkswagen’s own California, while the remainder were from all the UK’s leading manufacturers: the Bilbo’s Komba SE 35, Bilbo’s Celex LWB, Bebb Sport Lifestyle, Rolling Homes, Jerba Cromarty, Danbury Surf, VWKC Komet, VWKC Karisma, Concept Multi-Car Trio Style, Leisuredrive Crusader and Hillside Birchover.

All the campers were tested by Which Motorhome’s highly experienced road-testers, who found a surprising variation between them. The results of this test, along with the winner are published in the December issue of Which Motorhome, on-sale on 8th November.

Which Motorhome was established in 1986 and is widely recognised as the leading magazine for those looking to buy their first motorhome or upgrade their existing motorhome to a new model.

Which Motorhome has recently been relaunched and includes more motorhome tests than before, while the magazine is often first to test new motorhomes as they are launched. Which Motorhome covers everything from new A-classes to luxury low-profiles and secondhand bargains, so there is something to suit all budgets!

Editor, Peter Vaughan said: “Which Motorhome introduced group testing to motorhome magazines in the UK and we continue to lead the way with this, our biggest ever group test. And with more motorhomers downsizing, as well as rapidly growing interest in VW campers, there has never been a more appropriate time to look at these unique and highly-aspirational vehicles.’

Managing Editor, Daniel Attwood, added: “This issue of Which Motorhome is a must read for anyone interested in Volkswagen campervans. The team have pulled off one of the greatest tests of VW campervans since their introduction some 50 years ago… and it makes for great reading!”



Volkswagen’s latest concept car, the Taigun, has been unveiled at the São Paulo motor show, and previews the look of a possible small SUV based on the New Small Family platform, which underpins the award-winning up!.

Just like the up!, the Taigun is small on the outside – at just 3.86 metres long and 1.73 metres wide – but big on the inside, thanks to a generous 2.47 metre wheelbase.  These dimensions give the Taigun short overhangs (708 mm front and 681 mm rear) and purposeful proportions, while the clear, concise exterior styling follows the unmistakable Volkswagen design DNA.

Powering the four-seat Taigun is a new 1.0-litre, three-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine producing 110 PS at 5,000 rpm and pushing 175 Nm (129 lbs ft) of torque through the six-speed manual gearbox.  The engine is based on the latest EA211 series, and with the use of direct fuel injection and turbocharging it is able to return a combined fuel consumption of just 4.7 litres per 100km (60.1 mpg), despite being able to take the 985 kg Taigun from zero to 62 mph in 9.2 seconds and on to 186 km/h (115 mph) top speed.

The look of the Taigun is deliberately styled to emulate that of its SUV siblings, the Tiguan and Touareg, as is evident in the rugged side panels, underbody protection and practical roof rails with LED spotlights.  Wide tracks (1,473 mm front and rear) help give the Taigun a purposeful look, while 17-inch alloys with 205/50 R17 tyres, high ground clearance and plentiful torque enable it to deal with rough surfaces.  This is, however, very much a vehicle for the urban environment: the high driving position gives the driver an optimum view in traffic, while there’s plenty of room for luggage, thanks to a practical 280-litre loadspace that increases to 987 litres with the rear seats down.  What’s more, the tailgate is split, with the top two-thirds opening upwards and the bottom third folding down, making loading even easier.
The interior of the Taigun is simple and spacious (headroom is 1,036 mm in front and 980 mm at the back), with controls pared back to a minimum.  The front air nozzles, for example, not only individually control the direction of the air flow, but also the blower speed and the temperature, which is displayed within the nozzle.  Meanwhile the central infotainment system can pair with the majority of smartphones, providing an intuitive interface.  Above this are mounted auxiliary instrument gauges that display oil pressure, coolant temperature and turbo charge pressure.

Volkswagen will be monitoring public reaction to this vehicle before taking a decision on whether to put the Taigun into production.


Whether you are a classic motoring fan, classic film buff or simply a lover of all things retro, this year’s Footman James Classic Motor Show is sure to be one to remember.  With so many stunning classics, all with a great story to tell and all under one roof at the NEC − it’s a classic fan’s paradise.

To tie in with this year’s theme ‘What’s the story?’ title sponsors Footman James’ stand will feature two stars from the screen; Del Boy’s Reliant Regal Supervan from The Only Fools and Horses series and, in honour of  Bond’s 50th anniversary, the Jaguar XKR from Die Another Day is also expected to draw the crowds.   Stand visitors, who obtain a quote during the three day show, which runs from 16-18 November,will also have the last opportunity to enter the annual competition to win a luxury weekend for two and tickets to Beaulieu National Motor Museum  which includes the world exclusive Bond in Motion exhibition.

Another great story from the screen is the tale of the mammoth restoration of the original Roger Moore Saint Car – the Volvo 71 DXC.  Purchased by Volvo Enthusiasts’ Club founder Kevin Price back in 1997 the car commenced its restoration in 2007 and now, some five years later, thanks to sponsorship from Footman James, is to be unveiled at this year’s show.

Classic Film Festival

New for this year, is the Vintage Mobile Cinema which will screen some of the best classic motoring films of all time, as voted for by fans in a Classic Film Festival poll in the run up to this year’s Show.  So, if you fancy a brief moment of calm, pop along to the Vintage Mobile Cinema and catch up with your favourite classic car or bike movie in true vintage style.

Big game show fun

The 45,000 visitors expected at this year’s show can also take part in an exciting daily game show, The Generation Challenge, sponsored by Footman James, will take place on the Live Stage.  Wheeler Dealer host Mike Brewer will guide participants as they battle through a range of motoring challenges to get to the grand final when they will test their memory on the conveyor belt challenge to win a range of prizes including a luxury hamper and a ride in their dream classic.

Andy Fairchild, managing director of Footman James, said: “We have sponsored the Classic Motor Show for 18 years now, this being our third year as title sponsor, and from day one, we have been immensely proud to support the flagship event of the classic vehicle movement.

“In addition to our feature stand at the motor show you can also see us on our stand at the Footman James Classic Motorbike Show.  Once again we will be sharing the stand with our club partners, The Vintage Motor Cycle Club, which will feature a number of show-stopping classics and the chance to win your very own 1973 Laverda SF1 750cc motorcycle − worth over £6000!”

A ticket to ride

A ticket to the Show gets you a ticket to ride, well almost!  Not only can you meet the Footman James team on the Footman James car and bike stands, but also on the shiny red Footman James Routemaster bus, sadly it will be stationary, but a sight to be seen nonetheless.  Throughout the show, visitors can talk to fellow enthusiasts about the insurance options on offer, as well as obtaining on the spot quotations.


Volkswagen Tees Up New Golf For First Customer Orders

The seventh-generation Volkswagen Golf opens for ordering today, with prices starting below those of the previous model, at just £16,285* (RRP OTR) and rising to £24,880.

The latest Golf is lighter, safer, more advanced, more spacious, more efficient and better equipped than previous generations of Europe’s best-seller, of which over 29 million have been sold – some 1.6 million of these in the UK.  From launch, the Golf is available in the UK in three trim levels: S, SE and GT (GTI and BlueMotion models join the line-up in 2013).  Four petrol engines and two diesel engines are available, in either three- or five-door form.

The petrol engine range starts with a four-cylinder 1.2-litre TSI unit producing 85 PS, rising via a 1.2-litre TSI 105 PS and a 1.4-litre TSI 122 PS motor to the 1.4-litre TSI 140 PS with Active Cylinder Technology, which is capable of 60.1 mpg (combined cycle) and 110 g/km (with DSG gearbox), thanks to the ability to deactivate two cylinders under light loads.

The diesel engines at launch are a 1.6-litre TDI 105 PS and a new 2.0-litre TDI 150 PS unit.  Both feature the latest common rail diesel technology for maximum efficiency.  All new Golf models – both diesel and petrol – come with a Stop/Start system as standard, along with battery regeneration.  Gearboxes are a mixture of five- and six-speed manuals, and six- and seven-speed DSG units, depending on the engines’ power and torque outputs.

All Golf models come with seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, five three-point seatbelts, ABS with ESP, XDS electronic differential lock and Isofix preparation for two rear child seats.  The entry-level Composition Media system includes a 5.8-inch colour touchscreen, DAB digital radio, a CD player, MDI interface (for connecting iPod or MP3 player), Bluetooth telephone preparation and audio streaming and eight speakers.  Also standard is ‘Climatic’ semi-automatic air conditioning, among a host of other features.

Moving from S to SE trim brings an outstanding range of features, including standard ADC Automatic Distance Control with Front Assist and City Emergency Braking, which can even bring the vehicle to a complete halt if necessary, a Driver Alert System, PreCrash preventative occupant protection, Driver Profile Selection, rain-sensitive wipers, an automatically dimming rear-view mirror and dusk sensor (automatic driving lights).

The GT model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, ‘Cherry Red’ rear light clusters, heat-insulating dark-tinted rear glass, electrically foldable door mirrors with puddle lights, and front and rear parking sensors with visual display.  Inside are gloss black inserts, Alcantara and cloth sports seats, LED reading lights, ambient lighting and the Discover Navigation media system with 5.8-inch colour touchscreen.

Options include high beam assist, lane assist, park assist, ACC adaptive chassis control, a rear-view camera, Discover Pro navigation system with eight-inch colour touchscreen, keyless entry and a panoramic sunroof.


The New Volkswagen Golf

Volkswagen Retailers begin taking orders for the new Golf today, 19 October, with first deliveries due from the car’s official on-sale date of 7 January 2013.  For full details, see the price list*.  For more information visit


Customers who want to mix the performance of a petrol motor with the frugal fuel use of a diesel are in for a treat, as the new Volkswagen Polo BlueBT, which uses ACT cylinder deactivation to maximise efficiency and power, is available to order from today.


The new Polo BlueGT, which costs from £17,400 on the road, features a turbocharged 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine producing 140 PS and 250 Nm (185 lbs ft) of torque, yet it returns 61.4 mpg on the combined cycle and emits just 107 g/km of CO2, whether drivers opt for the six-speed manual or the seven-speed DSG transmission.  Top speed is 130 mph and zero to 62 mph takes just 7.9 seconds.


At the heart of the Polo BlueGT, and responsible in large part for its combination of high performance and low fuel economy, is the new EA211 engine.  Under light and medium loads, the second and third cylinders are automatically shut down, producing fuel savings of up to 0.4 litres per 100 km in the EU driving cycle.  At a constant 50 kmh (30 mph) the savings can be as much as one litre per 100 km, and even at 70 kmh (44 mph) in fifth gear, around 0.7 litres per 100 km can be saved.


Cylinder deactivation occurs at engine speeds of between 1,400 and 4,000 rpm, and at torque outputs of 25 to 100 Nm (18 to 74 lbs ft).  If the driver presses the accelerator pedal, the two cylinders are imperceptibly reactivated.  All mechanical switchovers occur within 13 to 36 milliseconds, depending on engine speed.  The multifunction display in the instrument binnacle lets the driver know when cylinders are deactivated.


While the cylinder deactivation is so unobtrusive that only the driver might know about it, the Polo BlueGT itself is distinguished inside and out by various styling cues.  On the outside, there are multi-spoke 17-inch alloys and GT badges front and rear, while the suspension is lowered by around 15 mm.  Added to this are some features borrowed from the Polo GTI (the rear spoiler, rear bumper with diffuser, plus front bumper with LED daytime running lights) and some from the Polo BlueMotion (side sills and front windscreen rain channels).  A black-painted front grille and black door mirror caps complete the look, while a unique exterior paint, ‘Blue Silk’, is available as an option.


Inside, as in the Polo GTI, the roof lining is in black, while the instruments are also adopted from the GTI.  Up front are bespoke BlueGT sports seats and a leather-trimmed steering wheel with BlueGT emblem.  Standard specification includes DAB radio with iPod connectivity, cruise control, Bluetooth phone connection and XDS electronic differential lock.  Orders open today, with deliveries expected in mid-December.


Model Engine


Combined mpg

Price, £ RRP OTR

Polo BlueGT 3dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 6 spd man




Polo BlueGT 5dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 6 spd man




Polo BlueGT 3dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 7 spd DSG




Polo BlueGT 5dr 1.4-litre 140 PS TSI ACT 7 spd DSG




Oil Checking

I have decided to start putting some basic maintenance articles here for you – I know I found it hard to find good simple instruction when I first started doing things with my Beetle (less than a year ago).  I’ll start with the real basics and as I learn new things I’ll get them down in writing.

So firstly, one thing you should do at least once a week is to check the oil level on your aircooled engine – I probably check it more often than that and certainly add to that before any long trips.  Aircooled engines are actually designed to use a bit of oil when they are running and oil is not only for lubrication but is one of the main cooling systems of the aircooled engine – more on that in another article but remember how important the oil system is in your aircooled engine.  So, here’s how to check your oil.

  1. Run the engine til hot, maybe a quick drive round the block, then turn it off.
  2. Wait about 10 minutes after turning the engine off to allow most of the oil to drain down to the crankcase
  3. Pull out the dipstick and wipe with a rag
  4. Re-insert the dipstick and make sure it’s properly in
  5. Remove again and look at the level – there are marks, the level should be in  between the 2.
  6. If the oil level is less than halfway then add a little oil – try not to spill any but if you do wipe it up after.

If you check this as regularly as I mentioned earlier then it should never get lower than the lowest mark – if it does then you probably have an oil leak that needs investigating.  Always make sure you replace the dipstick and the oil filler cap.  I keep the can of oil with me at all times just in case.