Volkswagen has lifted the veil off of the all-new China-only 2013 Santana. ¬†The sedan will gradually replace the current Santana 3000 Vista, which is little more than a¬†Botoxed second-generation Passat.
In spite of tracing its roots back to 1981, the current-gen Santana is one of the most popular cars in China and replacing it is a Herculean task. ¬†The 2013 model wears a brand-new design that puts it in line with Volkswagen's current design language. ¬†When viewed from most angles, it closely resembles a U.S.-spec Passat.
Clean and basic, the car's dashboard features the bare minimum of equipment needed in a 21st-century car: A climate control unit, a stereo sytem, a storage bin and an instrument cluster. ¬†Buyers who are after upmarket¬†extras such as a touchscreen infotainment system and a dual-zone A/C will need to shop elsewhere.
The new Santana is available with either a 90-horsepower 1.4-liter engine or a more potent 1.6-liter unit that makes 110 ponies. ¬†Both engines are 16-valve four-cylinder units that run on gasoline, which Chinese consumers unanimously prefer over diesel, and send power to the front wheels.
The outgoing Santana has often been criticized for being unsafe. ¬†Volkswagen addressed this issue and offers the new model with ABS, front, head and side airbags as well as an electronic stability control system. ¬†
Volkswagen will present the new Santana to the public at next month's Guangzhou Motor Show and begin selling the car early next year. ¬† The 3000 Vista model will still be offered for a couple of months in order to meet demand from taxi drivers and the government.