In this edition of Ask Nathan:
- Volkswagen’s baby crossover heading here?
- Floor mats from the factory?
- Continuously variable transmission (CVT) max reverse speeds?
Today’s first question comes from a fan who wants to know if Volkswagen’s baby crossover is coming here.
Hi Fast Lane crew!
Nathan, I have two questions. Is Volkswagen bringing a small crossover here to compete against the Honda HR-V? And, should people keep buying Volkswagen products after what they pulled?
A: Hi Wayne, thanks for the email.
The 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack is coming for sure. It’s going to fill the gap in their lineup for now. It is closer in size to a Honda CR-V, but it’s not as crossover-ish as the Volkswagen Tiguan. There is a possibility that Volkswagen’s baby crossover, the Volkswagen CrossPolo, might head to our shores. Rumor has it, the Volkswagen Polo lineup may enter our market in the next few years. Keep in mind: that is an unsubstantiated rumor.
As for punishing Volkswagen, simply put, it’s not my job.
This is a reoccurring topic and I sympathize with frustrated consumers; however, as long as Volkswagen gives us vehicles to test, I will continue to evaluate them. That’s the bottom line. Yes, there are other automakers that have participated in deceptive practices; but, as long as they sell products in the United States, I will continue to drive their automobiles.
It’s up to the buying public to judge if Volkswagen is a reputable company.
Hope that helps!
By the way, if any of you have driven the Volkswagen CrossPolo, let me know what you think!
This next question is from a viewer who wants to know if it’s worth it for her to buy floor mats from the automaker or aftermarket.
Q: Hello Nathan,
My name is Brianna and I’m about to buy my first new car. It’s a 2016 Honda Fit and it’s YELLOW!!! I am so excited, and my wallet is not that angry at me for this purchase! Actually, I have to than you and Roman for your YELLOW Honda Fit reviews because I fell in love with the Fit right there and then. Even the salesman at Gunn Honda knew who you are!
Here’s my question, should I spend $143 on all-season floormats and $114 on a cargo tray from Honda or save a few buck from an aftermarket company? I know it’s not much of an auto question, but I wnt to do it right the first time! ;-D
Please tell Roman that you guys are a lot of fun to watch!
A: Hi Brianna!
That’s a great question.
Believe it or not, aftermarket floor mats can be a lot more expensive than the “official” automaker’s mats. I never recommend cheap floor mats from discount stores. It’s an actual safety issue as some of those floor mat companies merchandise may not fit correctly.
I usually pick the automaker’s floor mats as I like the look of uniformity. Having the name and/or automaker’s logo looks good to me.
With that being said: there are some excellent aftermarket floor mat makers who have reputable products. I’ve purchased from Weather Tech before. They build heavy duty floor mats which suit my snowy environment beautifully. They are pricey, but well made.
I would consider the Honda floor mats, unless you need serious protection.
Hope that helps!
The last two questions are about continuously variable transmissions (CVT). They landed on my desk pat the same time and they are very different questions.
Q: Do CVTs still suck? I drove a new Maxima and I thought it was fun. What do you think?
I have a question about continual variable transmissions. After quite a bit of online surcharging and calling several car dealer ships and manufacturers the only information that was “found” was one dealer test drove a Honda Fit and got to 25 mph before he was uncomfortable driving it that fast. He said that the car didn’t feel hindered or was stopping him from going faster.
I got allot of crap from my co-workers for working hard to find this answer and i don’t have the proper cars or place to test this out.
In theory their transmissions are the same forwards and backwards and the cars aerodynamics and suspension are the only factors i see hindering its top speed backwards.
I know this sounds silly but if the car has the capability to do this why not? and why not factor it in when comparing it to another car with a standard transmission? Lets say my 2012 Ford focus SLE hatch vers a Honda Fit.
Thank you for considering this test.
A: Hi guys!
First answer: Yes, CVTs are improving all of the time. While I still find them to be less enjoyable than a manual or dual-clutch setup, they are becoming easier to live with. Why? Simply put: they are beginning to feel like a automatic transmission with gears. They are becoming quieter too.
As for backing up at any speed with a CVT? I believe many of the CVT-equipped vehicles have an electronic limiter that cuts power to the engine under certain circumstances. I will ask around when the opportunity presents itself.
In the meantime, I would not recommend exceeding 10 mph when backing up. One jerk of the steering wheel at high speed in reverse can spell trouble.
Check out this CVT vs a manual transmission!
Nathan and The Fast Lane Car team are here to answer your (reasonable) questions. Interesting and/or entertaining emails will be posted to this column. If it’s relevant in the automotive universe, there’s a chance we may know something about it. The author’s email address and name will be omitted – leaving your initials or nickname, your preference.
From day one, The Fast Lane Car has made it our policy to answer as many questions and comments as we can. We get thousands of emails and comments and feel that, as part of a tight-knit automotive community, having an open dialogue with you keeps things fresh and exciting.
Got a question for Nathan? Drop him a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org