THREE NEW MODELS
Santana, Lavida and Tiguan are three of the models Volkswagen is currently marketing to the Filipino motorist. These cars are China-assembled but still retain the German build-quality which of course the Baltic state would not allow to diminish.
To prove this point, Volkswagen Philippines took the three cars on a three-day, 400-plus kilometer, multi road condition drive-about of Central Luzon that included the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Bulacan and Pampanga.
Volkswagen even took to heart the celebration of “Linggo ng Wika” and made the lifestyle drive a Filipiniana-themed road trip that took the media to some of the celebrated tourist spots and food hangouts of the three provinces.
Included in the local culinary stops famous for their Filipino cuisine are Bale Dutung in Angeles, Pampanga, a three-hour celebration of Kapampangan dining; Hapag Vicentico’s in Cabanatuan City, Nueva Ecija, famous for its Crispy Pata, adobong pusit and sinigang shrimp and Bahay na Tisa Restaurant in Malolos, Bulacan, famous for their Bulakeno take on traditional Filipino delicacies.
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 drive also took it high up the mountain ranges of Sierra Madre to the famous Pantabangan Lake.
One stop made was the Philippine Rice Research Institute in Munoz, Nueva Ecija — home of Asia’s first scientific research facility for the growing of rice. This is where all the other rice self-sufficient nations around us first learned to improve rice crop harvest (curiously something we have to grasp despite this irony.)
Throughout the whole ride-and-drive, the three Volkswagen models showed impressive performance. The first day saw the group traveling to Highland Bali Villas Resort and Spa in Nueva Ecija, where the three models ran in combined city and expressway drives.
Here is where the Santana’s 1.4-liter Multi-Point Injection 4-cylinder gasoline engine, the 230 TSI engine with BlueMotion Technology of the Lavida and 280 TSI engine with BlueMotion Technology of the Tiguan showed their mettle.
Doing periodic driver changes, Volkswagen was able to highlight how easy it is to control the three cars, the Santana’s 5-speed manual transmission, the cruise control of the Lavida, and the seamless 7-speed and 6-speed Direct Shift Gearbox transmission of the Lavida and Tiguan, respectively, showed excellent response and feedback rates.
Comfort was not an issue during the drive with the Lavida’s Climatronic air conditioning and leather seat material and the Tiguan’s “Vienna” leather seats, 2-zone Climatronic air-conditioning, eight speakers and driver power 12-way seat adjustment.