Fueled by its renewed drive to make Volkswagen a premium motoring lifestyle, Volkswagen Philippines engaged members of the motoring media on a Filipiniana-themed lifestyle tour of Pampanga, Nueva Ecija, and Bulacan on board its three newest vehicles: the Santana and Lavida sedans and the compact SUV Tiguan from August 20 to 22, 2018.
The “Volkswagen Media Driving Experience,” a ride-and-drive of three units of the Santana, three of the Lavida, and two of the Tiguan, was enriched by an itinerary that included local culinary stops at restaurants famous for their Filipino cuisine: Bale Dutung in Angeles, Pampanga; Hapag Vicentico’s in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija; and, Bahay na Tisa Restaurant in Malolos, Bulacan.
The group also visited sites notable for their cultural and historical significance, such as the Barasoain Church Historical Landmark and The Museo ng Republika ng 1899 in Malolos, Bulacan. The tour was both educational and recreational, as well, making stops at two Nueva Ecija landmarks, the Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) in Muñoz, and at the Pantabangan Lake. At all destinations, Pinoy pride was seen, touched, and tasted all throughout. To top this Pinoy vibe off, August has been “Buwan ng Wika” (The Month of National Language).
The media ride-and-drive route highlighted the three Volkswagen models’ capabilities and comfort features.
Day 1 of the tour was on relatively flat lands from Volkswagen Quezon Avenue in Quezon City, to Pampanga, then to Highland Bali Villas Resort and Spa in Nueva Ecija. The three models ran in combined city and expressway drives that showcased the power and fuel efficiency of their engines (optimized with the use of Shell V Power, Volkswagen Philippines’ official event fuel partner): Santana’s 1.4-liter Multi-Point Injection (MPI) 4-cylinder gasoline engine, and the 230 TSI engine with BlueMotion Technology of the Lavida and 280 TSI engine with BlueMotion Technology of the Tiguan. The drivers also noted the ease of use of the Santana’s 5-speed manual transmission, the cruise control of the Lavida, and the seamless 7-speed and 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox (DSG) transmission of the Lavida and Tiguan, respectively.
Drivers and passengers also felt the comfort amenities of the Lavida’s Climatronic air conditioning and leather seat material, and the Tiguan’s “Vienna” leather seats, 2-zone Climatronic air conditioning, 8 speakers, and driver power 12-way seat adjustment.
Day 2 was spent touring unexplored Nueva Ecija, with its rolling hills created by the convergence of three mountain ranges (the Sierra Madre, Caraballo, and Cordillera) was the perfect setting to try the power, stability, and handling of the Santana, Lavida, and Tiguan.
The twisty, winding roads and the series of uphills and downhills made the drivers and passengers feel the Santana’s maximum power output of 90 Ps at 5,500rpm and maximum torque of 132 Nm at 3,800rpm. The vehicle’s electronic power steering, front McPherson Independent Suspension, and rear composite torsion beam semi-independent suspension also added to the stable ride during the more challenging parts of the drive. The Lavida’s 130 Ps of power at 5,000 rpm and 225 Nm of torque at 1,400 to 3,500 rpm came to good use in the mountain passes, while its Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) with Brake Assistant, ABS, Electronic Differential Lock and Anti Slip Regulation (ASR), and hill hold control added to a more confident, secure ride. The Tiguan also unleashed its maximum power output of 150 Ps at 5,000 rpm and maximum torque of 250 Nm at 1,750 to 3,000 rpm, and like the Lavida, provided more ride stability with the ESP, ABS, brake assistant, ASR, EDS, EDTC, and hill hold control.
Passengers in the Lavida and Tiguan had the added treat of enjoying the view of Nueva Ecija’s lush forests and skies via the sunroof.
Day 3 of the tour saw the group drive from Nueva Ecija to Bulacan province, then back to the Volkswagen Quezon Avenue dealership after a fuel fill-up at Shell along the North Luzon Expressway. Like Day 1, the route was a combination of provincial, city, and expressway drives, which highlighted, even more, the comfort amenities and fuel efficiency of the three models, two of the most sought-after qualities in cars today, considering the worsening road congestion in urban settings and the steadily increasing prices of fuel.
After this three-day, more than 400-kilometer tour of the provinces of Central Luzon, the participants had a clearer understanding of why the three new models of the Volkswagen -- the Santana, Lavida, and Tiguan -- have consistently been global bestsellers. Along the way, the group also had a deeper appreciation of Central Luzon’s key role in the culture, heritage, history, economy, and identity of the Filipino.