Modern Living

Driving tough in the pandemic years

MISS TECH - Kathy Moran - The Philippine Star
Driving tough in the pandemic years
Built to last: The VW Santana makes for a safe drive. (Inset) Here comes the sun: The cool sunroof is a welcome addition.
STAR/ File

The road conditions in Metro Manila have changed during these pandemic years. If you have been a regular on the road from March 2020 to today, September 2021, you would have noticed how drivers, driving conditions and the number of people on motorbikes and bicycles have increased — and the number of pedestrians, too.

As someone who has been on the road (when necessary) during this period, I have noticed the many changes in road conditions (new road blocks, road repairs and slower driving so as to give way to the pedestrians on EDSA and other main roads) and the need to slow down and drive more cautiously.

So, last year, after the very first lockdown, one of the first things I did was to make sure that my car was in good condition for the roads I would face ahead.

The “new normal” road conditions have become ruled by motorbikes, bicycles and pedestrians — and it can be chaotic for a driver in a vehicle to make sure that everybody is safe from harm.

I got to thinking about the cars I had driven — and the way I used to drive them when I recently got behind the wheel of a VW Santana 2021.

The Volkswagen makes me feel safe because it is built tough. There is nothing flimsy about the Volkswagen German-precision vehicle  — and the Volkswagen Santana keeps this reputation going.

Volkswagen is German for “people’s car.” And that is what it is — a car made for the people so they feel safe inside it.

Engine Start

When I first set my sights on the Santana a few years back, I thought that it was a sturdy-looking sedan — and that was the main thing it had going for it. The good thing was I was not going to be disappointed. The way it was built was a force to reckon with compared to the sedans in its class available on the market at that time.

Fast-forward to 2021, and here is the updated Santana. The thing is, the competition has stepped up, too, since this sedan arrived.

Again, at first glance the Santana seemed to look the same as it did when I first saw it. Don’t get me wrong, I did notice the sleeker wheels with a stylish, multi-spoke design, but beyond that it seemed to be the same classic Santana.

And then I thought perhaps that that is where its strength lies — having a straightforward aesthetic makes it stand out in the sedan world where most carmakers are going modern and sleek or sporty.

I guess it is this look that appeals to those who like a minimalist appearance, strong character lines and bold design, too. It seems the Volkswagen didn’t try to fix something that wasn’t broken — and that is a good thing.

For what we are calling the new normal, perhaps a VW Santana is a match for the roads ahead.

The 2021 Santana packs the features and amenities of previous Santana models into an updated edition of the 180 MPI AT S and the 180 MPI AT SE variants. The 1.5-liter engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and is capable of generating maximum power of 111 PS and 145 Nm of torque. Equipped with BlueMotion technology, it results in economical fuel consumption that guarantees good gas mileage.

The 2021 Santana is a good choice for Filipino drivers who like to be safe. It has one of the longest wheelbases in its class for a stable ride and enhanced comfort. Automatic headlights with Leaving Home and Coming Home function, front fog lamps, intermittent control wipers with rain sensors, and a sunroof are also available for the 2021 Santana SE.

I liked the renewed interiors of the 2021 Santana, where I felt relaxed as I drove.  These included leather and fabric seat material, a front center armrest with height adjustment, front- and rear-door pockets with bottle holders, front and rear reading lights, and a multifunction steering wheel with cruise control. Not to mention the SE’s touchscreen infotainment system with radio, USB, Bluetooth, and six speakers.

Apart from having dual front airbags, ESP with Brake Assist, ABS, and ASR standard in the 2021 Santana 180 MPI AT S, additional features are also equipped in the SE variant, including driver and front passenger side airbags and rear parking distance control.

Combine these safety features with a comprehensive three-year or 100,000-km warranty coverage (whichever comes first), yearly preventive maintenance service or every 10,000 kilometers (whichever comes first) and 24/7 Emergency Roadside Assistance.

I was told that the Santana comes in three body colors: Polar White, Reflex Silver, and Deep Black, at P755,000 for the 2021 Santana 180 MPI AT S, and P898,000 for the 2021 Santana 180 MPI AT SE.

I am almost certain that your first Volkswagen will truly make your driving experience memorable — for the Santana is built for our roads with its tough body and cool comfort. And, in these trying times, that makes all the difference.

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