The thing that makes cross-country road trips such a blessing is the variety of experiences you’ll encounter as you cross the wide Canadian country. Unfortunately, that same thing can also make them a curse. Cars designed to efficiently handle orderly Toronto streets might pant their way across the Okanagan, Canada’s only desert, while sturdy vehicles built to handle the rough roads outside Calgary make navigating the compact, hilly streets of Montreal cumbersome. The truth is that most cars are designed with an ideal environment in mind, and come equipped with a suite of features that engineers think will best suit a specific scenario. That is, until now. The good news is that with some light prep and a Volkswagen with 4MOTION® All-Wheel Drive, there’s no reason a cross-country cruise should be anything but comfortable—no matter what the great north throws your way.
4MOTION® All-Wheel Drive, available on Volkswagen models like the Tiguan, Atlas, and Golf, differs from other all-wheel drive systems in a few notable ways. For one, most all-wheel drive systems are limited to large SUVs, whereas 4MOTION® is available on compact Golf models. In addition, 4MOTION® is always on, which means you don’t have to worry about turning it on and off—because what use is any all-wheel drive if you don’t remember to use it? Instead, the Volkswagen will intelligently adjust the response of the all-wheel drive system, depending on whether or not it’s needed.
More radically, though, 4MOTION® All-Wheel Drive responds intelligently to road conditions. For example, when cruising the calm plains of Alberta, Volkswagen models with 4MOTION® will run as traditional front-wheel drive, which helps conserve fuel. When you hit the drizzly slopes of British Columbia, a more traditional all-wheel drive setup might kick in to give you better control of the road. And then, as you turn windy roads, a Volkswagen will intelligently read the road and redistribute torque to the wheels which have the tightest grip. So, if the car begins to hydroplane, the engine will direct its energy the most stable wheels while killing power to the wheels that have poor grip, allowing you to regain control—or even refrain from losing it to begin with.
This intelligently designed system makes 4MOTION® -equipped Volkswagen models the perfect vehicles for handling the variety of terrains Canada has on offer. With that in mind, here are five destinations to get you started planning your trip.
- Kelowna wine country
Though not often brought up alongside Tuscany and Sonoma to the south, Canada has recently made a name for itself as a producer of fine wines. Kelowna, located about halfway between Vancouver and Calgary, is the premier western region. Rolling hills and steep cliffs leading off into scenic lakes and rivers are no match for vehicles originally designed to glide through Europe’s own hills and valleys with ease.
- Okanagan Desert
Canada’s only desert, Okanagan is located in the south of British Columbia, near the Washington state border. With only 50 square kilometers of antelope-brush terrain remaining—less than nine percent its original size—the hottest place is Canada is also under threat. The Volkswagen e-Golf is the perfect vehicle for getting you around such harsh and delicate terrain, as the electric vehicle is equipped with intelligent all-wheel drive, all on a 201km range.
- Lake Louise
Located high up in the Rockies, 1,600 meters above sea level, Lake Louise in Banff National Park requires some care to get to. Winding roads can be slippery in the rainy spring months and, in winter, packed with snow and ice. 4MOTION® all-wheel drive will tackle these slopes with ease, even on a smaller-sized vehicle like the Golf.
- Riding Mountain National Park
Located atop the Manitoba Escarpment, Riding Mountain is a forested plateau perched above expansive prairies. Highway 10—the only road in—is typically calm, but can see harsh weather in the winter. 4MOTION® will have to equipped to handle sudden changes in conditions.
- Niagara Falls
No trip across Canada would be complete without a stop at Niagara Falls, the largest falls in North America. The roads in and around are mostly urban and suburban highways prone to heavy traffic year-round and lake-effect show in the winter—no challenge for a Volkswagen optimized for both fuel efficiency and inclement weather.
At 9,306 kilometers wide, Canada offers much to see during a cross-country road trip, and that’s without even looking very far north. But you can rest assured that in a 4MOTION® equipped Volkswagen, you’ll be prepared for whatever the great north brings your way.