2013 VW Free Driving Tour...

My VW Story

I grew up with Volkswagen.
My favourite car growing up was our old grey hand-me-down 1980something Volkswagen Fox.  My friends and I used to play in that car all the time.  We would pretend we were cab drivers.  When we got older, we recreated the scene from Wayne's World and that old VW fox was magically transformed into the "Mirthmobile" and our version of Bohemian Rhapsody was "OMG THE BEST EVERRR!"

I found this picture in my old photo album and I think this may very well be my "Mirthmobile"!  Judging by the giant dent in the front, I think I may have figured out why I was so afraid to drive!  ;)
Strangely enough, even after having such an awesome car to play in as a kid, I never really wanted to drive.  I figured my grandmother never had her driver's license and she turned out just fine.  Getting behind the wheel of a car terrified me.  
My parents urged me to drive by having me drive to the mailbox at the end of our private driveway.  What normally would be a 30 second drive to a normal person would easily take me 20 minutes.  All of which I spent white knuckling the wheel and feeling like I was about to drive into a ditch. 

So while all my friends got their driver's licenses, I was happy just to stay a passenger (...and provide mostly awesome sound effects as we went around corners - just like my grandma!).  Then it happened. I fell in love with a car. A 1998 Volkswagen New Beetle. I remember seeing it for the first time in person at a dealership in Newmarket.  I made my step dad pull our mini van over just so I could see it up close.  

I was 17 years old, certainly old enough to drive one, but my driving anxiety was still very prevalent.  Basically I wanted that car, but I wanted someone else to drive me around in it. Kind of like Driving Ms. Daisy - only we would listen to really cool music and pretend we were Wayne and Garth all the time. 

It took me ten years, but I found myself spending my Saturday mornings in driving school with a bunch of 16 year old kids.  Then before I even had my license I bought my first car - a 2001 VW beetle. I owned that car for almost four months...two of which were after I actually had my license.  A deer took away the car I worked so hard for.  We were very lucky actually, nobody was hurt (except maybe the deer, but even he pranced away) and my insurance company took very good care of me.  Unfortunately, I only had two weeks to buy a new vehicle and the right VW just wasn't available. I ended up with a newer car, but I still dream about the car I lost.

I know it sounds silly to mourn a car, but what I missed most was the passion that VW owners have.  When I was behind the wheel I found myself waving at other Beetle owners or parking next to other Beetles so people would drive by and see them together.  I especially lamented the games of "punch buggy no punch-backs" that people would play when I drove by.  I lost a piece of my personality when I lost that car.

VW Free Driving Tour 2013
I was very lucky to be invited to the 2013 VW Free Driving Tour by VW Canada.  I spent the afternoon among some very spectacular VW enthusiasts, fellow bloggers from all over Canada and the wonderful people at VW Canada (aka - my new besties! Hiiii!).

For those of you who are not familiar with the Free Driving Tour, it is a chance for you to take some pretty awesome VWs out on a track to test their super powers using all five of your senses (yes...even taste).  Of course, you can always keep an eye on https://www.volkswagenplus.ca/ to see if the Free Driving Tour will be making a stop in your area.

I was a little apprehensive showing up to a Volkswagen event in my Pontiac Vibe (even though I have VW rims installed), but VW doesn't discriminate, there were all kinds of car enthusiasts in the room.  I loved hearing about VW's plans for the upcoming year and to hear of all their success this year so far.

Think Blue:
It was very interesting to learn about their "Think Blue" initiative which is all about VW's goal to become the ecologically sustainable car manufacturer and their inspiration to make us all "Think Blue".  VW has made some great accomplishments in this area both by making adjustments to production in the factories as well as making enhancements to the vehicles making them more efficient and lightweight and using technology such as the TDI (Turbocharged Direct Injection) Clean Diesel technology.

Safety Features:
We learned about some of the features that make VW unique.  We were treated to a "Cirque du Soleil"(ish) performance to demonstrate VW's seam welding techniques.  This technique makes a stronger and safer vehicle.  I was pretty nervous when this was demonstrated because the door did fall off my car one time.  My mechanic welded it back on for $20.  True story!


The Cars:
The weather was a little gloomy, but a little rain isn't going to keep the VW fans away!  We were asked to list our top three choices of cars. My choices went a little like this:
-Super Beetle
-Convertible Beetle
-Super Beetle again (oh pretty please?)
 ...but in the end, I figured I was there to experience more than just the Beetle so I ended up with this:
-Super Beetle
-Tiguan (because I liked the name - think tiger and iguana!)
-Convertible Beetle.
The Super Beetle:
The moment I had been waiting for, I finally got to touch a Super Beetle without looking like a weirdo! ...and then I fell in love with a Super Beetle - the end. 

The Super Beetle was my first lap around the track - loved every minute of it!  My "guide" was telling me to go faster and then slam on the brakes on gravel - something I would never do on purpose, but it was the perfect way to get to know the Super Beetle. After it was done, I had kind of wished I had saved the best for last because I was already missing the Super Beetle.

The Tiguan:

I thought of this as the car that grown up me would drive.  I don't want to be a grown up yet, but I figured I would take this car out for a little lap.  The first thing I noticed about the Tiguan - it wasn't a Super Beetle.  After almost taking out an entire lane of pylons, I realized this car handles a little differently than the Beetle.  I was still impressed by its agility and it was nice and roomy which grown up me would find very helpful, but it just wasn't really for me.  Imagine how much fun it would be to say that name all the time though! 

The Beetle Convertible:
The weather was not very co-operative for a top-down run with the Beetle Convertible, but let's face it, having the top down is not the only cool feature of this car.  I got a little giddy when I started the car and it said "Welcome to your Beetle" on the screen.  I liked that the back seat of this car was pretty roomy. I had taken a previous year model on a test drive a few years back and the back seat seemed so obstructed by the roof mechanisms.  This model seemed to have somehow fixed this and the back seat seemed much roomier. One thing I regret is not getting a picture of the inside of this car..it was beautiful!  
When I took it out on the track, I realized that there is indeed a difference between the Beetle Convertible and the Super Beetle.  I could really feel the difference behind the wheel. To me, the convertible seems more "gentle" whereas its Super Beetle counterpart has much more power. 


I want to thank VW Canada for letting me play with their cars for the day! It was so nice to feel like I was a member of the VW Club again.  Being around these cars and hearing more about VW's goals and plans, really made me remember why I loved my car so much. VW's attention to detail and general passion about their products makes me proud to be a fan.


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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Hello..this is my blog. I bought this fancy theme and I don't know what to write here just yet. Maybe one day remind me I have to write something inspiring here?

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