October 28, 2020 By C! Magazine Staff

The Diamond in the Rough

There’s been a paradigm shift lately with the way transportation is being viewed around the world. More and more people are gravitating towards affordable cars as a mode of personal transportation, and the automotive industry is taking note. Likewise, more and more manufacturers are releasing vehicles that focus on value-for-money, looking to capture a market aiming to purchase a car in the PhP 700,000 – PhP 1,000,000 range. As a result, there’s a sudden abundance of cars being offered in this price range. But as the old adage goes, “you often get what you pay for”, and that means that you would have to live with several compromises when looking at a car at affordable price ranges. And those compromises can sometimes be quite noticeable. However, there are a few automotive manufacturers that get the formula right – automotive brands that offer excellent build quality and features while simultaneously keeping prices acceptable and affordable for the everyday commuter. One of them is Volkswagen.

It’s no secret that European cars are set at a higher standard than the rest. Whether you’re talking about build quality, refinement, or the materials used, Euro-badged cars carry the distinction of a more premium product. Volkswagen has a longstanding reputation of producing cars with excellent built quality, and with the Volkswagen Santana and Lavida, you get the “diamond in the rough” combination of build quality at an affordable price.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the Volkswagen Santana is a unique anomaly. Not only are Euro-badged cars under PhP 700,000 unheard of in the local automotive industry, but the level of quality that Volkswagen is known for around the world is well-preserved in the Santana. The Santana’s ride is firm yet comfortable, without the usual rattles and jiggles you’d come to expect from a car offered at this price point. Its dash is well-built, with solidly-placed buttons and knobs that feel great to the touch, and its instrument cluster is highly legible, with a monochrome digital screen relaying your fuel, range and odometer readouts. With an impressive suite of safety features as standard, safety isn’t compromised either, despite the affordable pricing. Airbags for the driver and front passenger are present, together with anti-lock braking, a specially designed safety cage with front and rear crumple zones, and Isofix fittings for child seats. The Volkswagen Santana also has a larger-than-average fuel tank at 55 liters, lessening the trips between fuel stops, which in turns frees up some valuable time. The 1.4-liter gas engine-powered Volkswagen Santana 1.4 MPI with a manual transmission now gets a PhP 66,000 discount, which brings its price down to PhP 620,000. The 1.5-liter MPI S variant with an automatic transmission gets an even bigger discount of PhP 90,000, bringing its price down to PhP 808,000. And finally, the 1.5-liter MPI SE variant with an automatic transmission gets a PhP 15,000 discount, for a total price tag of PhP 947,000. These significant discounts make it even easier to afford a car with German engineering.

Like the Santana, the Volkswagen Lavida offers an increased level of refinement and sophistication to its segment, and upholds the Volkswagen badge of excellent build quality coupled with much-welcomed convenience and safety features. Its 1.4-liter, 4-cylinder turbocharged gasoline engine with BlueMotion Technology mated to a 7-speed DSG transmission provides enough pull for an enjoyable drive both on corners and on straight highways, while its cabin radiates a level of comfort and upscale refinement that is unmatched in its class. Its Electronic Stability Program ensures total control even during emergency maneuvers, while the interior presents seats wrapped in high-quality leather, and various buttons and knobs that offer an excellent tactile feel. The Volkswagen Lavida 1.4 TSI DSG SE variant is now available with a PhP 85,000 discount, bringing its total price down to an impressive PhP 1,086,000. With features like cruise control, tire pressure monitoring, push start, and climatronic air-conditioning which ensures clean air through an air-quality sensor and an anti-allergen filter, together with safety features like Hill Hold, and a Proactive Occupant Protection System which automatically tightens the Lavida’s seatbelts and closes all windows in case of an accident, the Volkswagen Lavida is simply unmatched at this price point.

Both the Volkswagen Santana and Lavida are excellent examples of how you don’t have to break the bank to attain a car that offers excellent build quality and premium features. And with Volkswagen’s special deals on select models, that notion is truer than ever.

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