The ATC Report

Car And Driver Interview With Meredith and Maria

Quick Review: 2005 Volkswagen Touareg
Vehicle Type: front-engine 4-wheel drive; 5 door 5-passenger
Curb weight: 5300 lbs.
Wheelbase: 112.4 in.
Powertrain: 3.2 liter V6, 4.2 liter V8, 5.0 liter V10
Transmission; Automatic (recommended), 6-speed manual (not recommended)

Volkswagen claims its first sport-utility vehicle — which takes its name from a nomadic tribe in the Sahara — is something of a luxury sedan with a "mountain-goat attitude." We at Car & Driver tend to disagree. In the fairly level streets of Norway our test crew had nothing but trouble with the balky shifter and reluctant transmission. 0-60 mph times suffered as a result with the best effort at 2 minutes and 31 seconds. The airbags also tended to deploy too easily with only the slight banging of camera and sound equipment to activate them. Some might question the testers as a contributing factor to the poor test numbers but we stand by their New York driving experience and signed contractual proof they were qualified to drive manual transmission vehicles. The only test run that even came close to performance specs was when they had to expedite the camera crew to the hospital for whiplash.
November cover story
November cover story
S&D: It’s nice to finally meet you two, welcome to the interview. How are you both doing?

Meredith: Thanks! I’m doing just fine.

Maria: I’m not doing as well as her. I think I might be coming down with something. And would you look at these shoes? I’ve only had them a week and the heel has worn through already.

S&D: Errr…OK. Let’s just go ahead and begin talking about the race anyhow — all right?

Maria: Whatever. I just knew you wouldn’t really care what I had to say.

S&D: No, we really do want to talk with you and hear what you have on your mind. We just didn’t think that you wanted to talk about shoes.

Maria: [sobs] I just can’t do this! I’ve really tried, but I can’t seem to get the hang of these interviews!

S&D: Here’s an idea — why don’t you just relax, and we will ask you questions. That way it will be easier on you.

Maria: [crying] OK. I guess that will be all right.

S&D: Do you think there was a conspiracy against the New York racers? Were you aware that your camera crew had a remote control “kill” switch for your vehicle?

Meridith: They did not! Did they? Nuh-uh, they didn’t.

S&D: If you insist. How did you feel when your camera crew insisted you stop after a rare, successful launch to “film it from the outside of the vehicle,” only to have you fail miserably once again?
I’d sure feel better about our elimination if I could blame it on something else.
Maria: [sniffing] Wait a minute Meri — that could explain a lot of things. I’d sure feel better about our elimination if I could blame it on something else. These two guys raced* longer than us. Maybe they know things we don’t.

S&D: We do. Okay then, let’s talk about the car. Which engine did the car have — the 3.2 liter, 240 horsepower, V6; the 4.2 liter, 310 horsepower, V8; or were you lucky enough to get the new 5.0 liter, 310 horsepower, V10?

Meredith: What? I really have no idea. We were on a race, remember? Who would have time to figure THAT out?

S&D: Maybe Maria had the time. Maria?

Maria: [sniffling] No, I didn’t notice either. [Begins crying again] See? I knew I couldn’t do this.

S&D: Hey! No big deal. Let’s move on. How about the wheels — did you have the 17, 18, or 19-inch rims?

Maria: [more crying] I tried to see. I really did try.

Meredith: [to Maria] It’s okay, baby…don’t worry about it, baby…everything is going to be fine, baby. [to S&D] Who cares about wheels? Leave it to a couple of guys to worry about size.

S&D: Let’s talk about the transmission, then. Here in the…

Maria: [wails] Nooooo!!!!!

S&D: This is crazy! You have to admit that the transmission problems you two suffered were a contributory factor to your being eliminated.

Meredith: Yes, that’s obvious. But you need to understand that Maria is a bit sensitive about that issue. [to Maria] Just calm down, baby. I’ll answer this question, okay, baby?

Maria: [through tears] All…all…all right.

S&D: As we were saying, here in the U.S., all Touaregs come with an automatic transmission. Obviously, yours was a manual shift. Why did you two claim you could drive a stick shift in your application when you apparently can’t?

Maria: Waaaaaaa!!!! I tried to start it…I tried to…I really tried!

Meredith: That’s just mean! Look what you’ve done to poor Maria! How could you be so callous?

S&D: Look what we did? She’s been bawling since the interview started.

Meredith: You accused her of lying on her application! What makes you think they even asked if we could drive a stick shift?

S&D: We filled out the same application, remember??!!! Hey, how often did someone ask to see your “International Driving License”? [laughter]

Dave: Hey Stever, who am I now — “I tried to get them to answer, I really did!” [more laughter]

Steve: Good one! How about this, “You’re doing fine, baby. Nice job, baby.” [still more laughter]

Dave: Or this one — “Whose turn is it to feed the baby?” [laughter ends abruptly]

Steve: Dude, that wasn’t that funny.

Dave: Yea, I guess not. Let’s finish the interview.

Steve: Hey, where did they go? Meredith? Maria?

Dave: I guess they left. Dang, we never got to ask about Jonathan.

Steve: He’s not important.

*not really “raced” per se, more like waddled.
In next week’s issue: Look for the review of the 2005 Crowned Victoria: Baker Edition. We take this one out to the track and really abuse the hell out of it, but realize the cosmetic improvements don’t improve the product.

(Note: we really shouldn’t have to tell you this each column, but just in case you think that we really DID interview Meredith and/or Maria, you’re wrong. Outside of the fact that Steve used to subscribe to Car & Driver, odds are quite good that the folks who publish that fine magazine have no idea who we are, either. If you still insist on believing that we conducted an actual interview with Meredith and Maria (for Car & Driver), then please write to either of us at your earliest convenience. We have a bridge in Brooklyn we would like to sell you…)