Survey Says

Survey: SUV owners prioritize safety, comfort and use third row often

Volkswagen's recent survey found that SUV owners are using their third row much more than originally thought.

Photo courtesy of VOlkswagen

Americans are using the third row of their SUV more than Volkswagen originally thought. A survey of 1,000 current SUV lessees and owners revealed that fact and others that showed that safety and comfort are their top two priorities.

"This survey confirms that our current portfolio of SUVs aligns with what consumers are prioritizing here in the U.S.," said Hein Schafer, Senior Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy for Volkswagen of America, Inc. "All of our SUVs rank high on independent measures of comfort, standard safety features and passenger space within their classes, and we're focused on those priorities as we develop new entries like our upcoming subcompact SUV."

The survey consisted of 1,000 SUV owners in the U.S., 500 men and 500 women. Respondents identified an SUV as their primary vehicle. The survey was conducted September 19-24, 2019.

The results of the survey indicated three major trends among SUV buyers.

Safety and comfort rank high in importance but vary by gender.

  • Nearly nine in ten owners ranked SUVs as the best vehicles for your money (96 percent) and indicated that they do not plan on owning any vehicle other than an SUV in the future (87 percent). Drivers also agreed that they feel more confident on the road when driving an SUV (94 percent).
  • Safety and comfort are the highest priority features when it comes to SUVs, with 68 percent of drivers rating them as most important. For men, comfortable seating is more important than overall safety, while women are more likely to place importance on safety and passenger space.

Americans gather in their SUV for family time.

  • More than eight in ten parents say they have family discussions in their SUV, creating a new space for family time, whether on the way to school or on a family road trip.
  • Parents, more than non-parents, agree that they expect to continue to own an SUV from now on (90 percent) and use their SUV as a place for family discussions.
  • SUV owners with a third row are more likely to say family discussions take place in their SUV (75 percent, vs. 60 percent of owners without a third row) and younger SUV owners (18-34 and 35-54) and parents are more likely to use their third row on a daily basis.

Gen Z and Millennials want to be safe, first and foremost.

  • Generationally, Gen Z and Millennials rank the overall safety of the vehicle as most important when it comes to their SUVs, followed by handling on rough roads, whereas drivers ages 55+ ranked comfortable seating as most important.

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Improved hot hatch

The 2022 VW Golf GTI gets new handling tech

Improvements to the GTI's handling and steering should make it even faster in the curves.

Volkswagen

The Volkswagen Golf GTI is one of the most recognizable and popular cars the automaker sells. After a bumpy few years that ended with the standard Golf model being nixed from VW's U.S catalog, we're starting to see concrete details on the upcoming performance variants of the car, which will thankfully end up heading our way. The eighth-generation Golf GTI and Golf R will make landfall in the United States as 2022 models, and will both feature a load of new tech and refinements. VW just announced the changes that are being made to the GTI's handling and performance systems, and they are extensive, to say the least.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI VW is offering the 8th-gen Golf only in high-performance GTI and R configurations.Volkswagen


Volkswagen is giving the legendary hot hatch a host of improvements, which the automaker says will give the car more precise, stable handling at its limit. The GTI's front suspension has been reconfigured with new wishbone bearings and damping hydraulics. VW says that the car's springs and buffer stops have also been revised, which will give the font axle spring rate that is five percent higher than its predecessor. A new aluminum subframe is also in place, which will reduce weight by seven pounds over the previous car.

The eighth-generation Golf brought a new VW Vehicle Dynamics Manager system which will also benefit the upcoming GTI. The system integrates the car's electronic stability control with its electronic differentials, and in GTI models equipped with the optional DCC adaptive damping system, the system adjusts individual wheel damping up to 200 times per second. The differential itself will now come standard with all GTI models. It's an electronically-controlled torque-sensing limited-slip unit, which varies the levels of its intervention based on how the car is being driven and on how the other traction control functions are being used.


2022 Volkswagen Golf GTI The GTI's steering is now more responsive.Volkswagen


The GTI's steering system has also been revised to now include an enhanced progressive steering function that uses software to help turn the vehicle with less steering effort, depending on speed. Volkswagen says that the GTI's steering takes just 2.1 turns of the steering wheel to go from lock to lock when it's equipped with 18-inch wheels.

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The 2022 Bentley Bentayga S combines dark exterior accents with new dynamic capability.

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

Following a mid-generation facelift, Bentley is upping the ante once again on its popular Bentayga SUV. This time, the change comes in the form of a new model - Bentayga S - that is designed to be the sportiest offering in the crossover's lineup. This is the first time an "S" version of the Bentayga has been offered.

Its sport-tuned abilities come courtesy of standard Bentley Dynamic Ride, an anti-roll technology that plays with the model's 15 percent increase in damping in Sport mode to deliver a more engaging drive mode. The automaker has retuned the brakes for the car. It now lightly brakes the inside rear wheel at corner entry to sharpen the front axle turn-in.

The model continues to have four drive modes (Snow and Wet Grass, Dirt and Gravel, Mud and Trail, and Sand) and continues to be able to ford up to 500 mm of water.

2022 Bentley Bentayga S

Photo courtesy of Bentley Motors

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The Bentayga S rides on standard 22-inch wheels in the buyer's choice of one of three finishes while a larger-than-traditional spoiler takes up room out back. Black exterior accents give the Bentley a unique look while a newly designed, free-flowing sports exhaust provides a robust sound out the rear of the car. Gloss black side sills and front and rear lower bumpers work with dark tinted head and taillight lenses, black door mirrors, and black split-oval tailpipes complete the look.

Powering the auto is a 4.0-liter twin-turbo V8 that gets 542 brake horsepower and 568 pound-feet of torque. The power plant moves the car from zero to 60 mph in just 4.4 seconds with the accelerator at the floor and it has a top speed of 180 mph.

Bentyaga S's cabin has new seats, unique stitching, a fresh color split, and Alcantara upholstery. "S" badging can be found on the passenger fascia, instrument panel graphics, and illuminated treadplates.

Buyers can get the car in a four-, five- or seven-seat configuration. The seats are fluted with stitching contrasting and complementing the hide color.

In front of the driver is a fully digital instrument cluster that was designed to be reminiscent of high-end chronographs. Drivers can customize the look of the display.

Pricing for the model has yet to be released, but is expected to be a premium on the current Bentayga starting MSRP of around $166,000.

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