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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Volkswagen Freedriving Tour

My first own car after I came to Canada in 1982 was a 1985 Volkswagen Golf. Why VW in Canada? The choice was pretty simple for me. The Japanese cars seemed a little weak then and most American cars, although comfortable and affordable, for the most part were not suitable for fast driving or not very practical. I would prefer, of course, a BMW or a Mercedes, but the price for my Golf ($ 10,500 + tax) considering my earnings then ($ 5.75 / h), was very high. I had to take a second loan "for furniture" at my local Credit Union to cover insurance and to have a small down payment.

The car was light, comfortable and quite quick. It had a good suspension, powerful brakes and very communicative steering. The result of all these qualities was that after six months I ended up at the

Ministry of Transportation having to explain the six tickets and twelve points I accumulated for “speeding “. I explained to the sympathetic man who interviewed me (yes, there were some sympathetic people working at the Ministry back then), that I freshly came from places where you looked out for traffic and hazards not at your speedometer, and drove as fast as traffic and conditions allowed. He was puzzled, but allowed me to keep my licence with the standard warning to “drive the posted limit”.

I’ve had several Volkswagens since then and it remains to be one of my favorite brands. I would gladly choose two or three of their cars for my garage. So when I received an invitation to Volkswagen’s Freedriving Tour I readily agreed. VW organizes this event every year in five major

Canadian cities. For the usual mob the event takes place over the weekend and on Monday they organized a special part for a small group of hacks like me.

I went to the International Centre, near the Toronto Pearson International Airport last Monday and I was not disappointed. A large parking served as a tight “race track” and VW had about ten cars at our disposal. There were tents with cold drinks and a couple of cars on display. Our questions were diligently answered by a competent crew from VW Canada.

The event was clearly organized by professionals, because they hired some young and lovely ladies and a few good-looking young men who were dressed in shorts and tight shirts so we could properly

assess their figures. After a delicious lunch (stuffed chicken with vegetables ) and after examining several cars, including new 2015 Golf GTI (black in the pictures) and the new generation regular Golf (white), we started torturing our Volkswagens .

I chose three innocent victims: Passat TDI, Touareg TDI and my beloved Golf GTI. I wrote about the GTI recently, so I will spare you my moaning and groaning about the car’s greatness again. I found the Touareg easy to maneuver for such a heavy giant on a very tight track. The truck was very easy to place accurately in the tight corners.

The Passat totally surprised me because I did not have the opportunity to drive the new generation car in the TDI version before. I was expecting an overweight grandpa as I sat behind the wheel of the car and discovered a young athletic ballerina ready for the dance floor. Despite its considerable size, the large car behaved very well and responded to my heavy foot and awkward hands with precision and lightness of a much smaller machine. Passat TDI is now definitely on my list of favorite cars in its category.


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