Rob Simpson is a car enthusiast who has a long history with Volkswagen. In the last six decades, he has owned 16 vehicles, with the majority being by the German automaker.
It started in 1969, when he purchases an era-friendly yellow Beetle with a hand-cranked sunroof for $2,100. While he bought a Porsche 914 in 1973 – it was through a Volkswagen dealership – he was soon back with the automaker when he purchased a Super Beetle, followed by a 1977 Golf and a 1981 Scirocco.
While marriage and two children placed his friendship with VW on hold – he wanted a family-friendly vehicle – he rekindled their relationship in 2017. Attracted by the positive reviews, he bought a Golf R.
Last May, Simpson ordered a new 2022 Volkswagen Golf R through Georgetown Volkswagen. With supply chain issues, when he went to pick it up from the dealership in early December, his Golf was the only car on the lot. Simpson tells us why he loves his vehicle.
“From the moment I got my license I’ve been entranced with cars and how they handle,” said Simpson, who lives in Guelph. “My first car was one that I could afford. It was a Beetle. As soon as I was making money, I bought a Porsche 914. It was a mid-engine car, and its handling was amazing. But it cost $7,500 in 1973, which was $300 more than my annual salary. But it fulfilled my passion for a vehicle that was all about balanced handling.
“I ended up selling the 914 when I decided to go back to school. I couldn't afford to keep it. But it stayed with me as a sort of dream car and the epitome of handling.
“I always liked Volkswagens. In 2017, my wife and I were trying to decide between a GTI and the R at the dealership. We took the GTI out first and thought it was nice, but then we tried the R. It was head and shoulders above in terms of the feel, and the responsivity was just amazing. It was love at first sight. I came to think of it as the ideal combination of everything that I valued: Its handling, its performance, and it had a nice restrained and understated exterior.
“It had seating for five and a hatch, which was tremendously functional for everyday living. It had four-wheel drive. From my perspective, it ticked off every box of what in I would want in a car. None of the others had the perfect combination. The R is by far the best all-around car I’ve owned, with zero meaningful weaknesses or deficiencies – other than the lack of a heated steering wheel,” Simpson said.
“The 2022 model promised another 25 horsepower and even greater levels of refinement, including an all-digital dash, more finely tuned suspension, air-conditioned front seats and the previously overlooked heated steering wheel. This car feels even tighter and more dialed-in than its predecessor and offers the most gratifying drive imaginable.”
“It’s certainly a driver's car,” said Simpson. “My wife and I want to drive up to Red Lake in the summer or fall when the leaves change colour. There’s a route where you go up to Sudbury and then take the Trans Canada Highway along Lake Superior. It’s one of the most beautiful drives and parts of the road are very hilly and twisty, which the R will handle so smoothly. It’s a dream trip, and we’re going to do it.”
A CLOSER LOOK:
2022 Volkswagen Golf R
“I really like the handling. It’s got a tremendous, button-down feeling, like you're planted firmly on the road. There's a relatively low center of gravity; you constantly feel the responsivity of the steering and its ability to accelerate so quickly and so easily,” said Simpson. “You feel a lot more confident passing because you know that you can accelerate as quickly as you need to in the situation. But other than that, it’s about driving those hilly, windy country roads. You can imagine that you’re driving in a rally.”
“I’m very particular about seating comfort,” said Simpson. “Mostly it's lumbar support that I find troublesome. The seating in this car is just to die for. It’s got a glove-like fit that you can configure and includes enough length in the seat to support your thighs and an ability to raise the height so you can see comfortably over the dash. I mean, what do you do in a car other than sit? And some automakers pay so little attention to that basic function. Volkswagen has nailed it in this seat.”
“There are innovations that I didn't think I'd like with the 2022. I thought the heads-up display would be really distracting, but now it’s my go-to for determining the speed or navigation,” he said. “I don’t have to take my eyes off the road. I really like that. On the other side, they've gone overboard with the digital displays. It’s like they’re offering you way more than anyone would realistically want. They’re just an unused resource, from my point of view.”
This article was edited for space and clarity. To be featured in Why I Love My Vehicle?, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Renée S. Suen is a Toronto-based lifestyle writer and photographer. Follow her on Twitter: @rssuen.
- BODY STYLE: Compact hatchback
- DRIVE METHOD: AWD
- ENGINE: 2.0-L turbocharged inline-4, 315-hp; 280 lb.-ft. torque
- FUEL ECONOMY (CITY/HIGHWAY): 11.8/8.3 litres per 100 kms
- CARGO VOLUME: 564-977 litres
- PRICE: Starting at $45,995
- WEBSITE: vw.ca