Thursday, December 13, 2018

48 Hours with a Mercedes Benz, and Why Car-Ed Made Me Do It!

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with A Girls Guide to Cars, and Car-Ed. I was tasked (okay, honored) to a full day of driving the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet from Palm Springs to Los Angeles, where I spent another night and morning scouting locations, shooting, and filming. There will be a full gallery and video coming soon - this post will be updated with more about my drive experience. For now, I want to introduce you to Car-Ed.

Meet the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

Enjoying the view with the 2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

YES, I drove a 2019 Mercedes and YES, she became my new best friend ever on 4 wheels. But who knew we'd hit it off so well? Car-Ed knew.

We even wore matching colors for a night on the town! Photo credit: Kymri Wilt

Full credit (or blame, if you ask my husband) goes to Car-Ed. Thanks to them, I've been inspired to test drive some dream cars, and to give some serious thought to brands I hadn't considered before. While I'm not in the market for a new car, I was glad to learn that when my family and I are ready, Car-Ed is a great starting point.

And so began our morning in Greater Palm Springs! Photo credit Kymri Wilt

What exactly is Car-Ed?

Car-Ed is an online resource to help consumers discover what cars might best match their everyday routines, behaviors, and needs. Searching online brand websites almost always demands that you enter your personal information - so your local dealer can pester you follow up. Walking on to a new car dealership lot, you meet a total stranger who tries to convince you why you might need a particular model. This is both intimidating and a waste of time. With Car-Ed, you can quickly and easily narrow down your search and save valuable time.

Can you answer 12 Questions?

If you say yes, that's one down. Now just 11 questions remain between you and your best matches for your next set of wheels. Go ahead, take the quiz. I'll wait.

Would my Family's Results Match?

I have a pretty good idea of what cars I would want to test drive. But my husband? His approach is to look for the deals, then think about test-driving the car. We do manage to meet somewhere in the middle about every 10 years. Now, we have a newly-licensed 16-year-old daughter. She will be ready for a new car within a couple of years, and has already eyed a few. I got to wondering if we might all find some middle ground before shopping for our next car. So I sent them both to Car-Ed to take the quiz, and asked them to screenshot and send me their top results. I did the same for myself. Here are our best matches according to Car-Ed.

My Results

What I drive: 2016 Prius 4 (Premium/Touring), sometimes 2002 VW Passat (Turbo) wagon.

I found my top choices to be pretty close. I wasn't at all surprised that luxury class vehicles made a strong showing, and popped up first. A few Mercedes Benz in the mix. I had to scroll down to find the more mainstream matches. No surprise, most were hybrid, electric, or highly fuel-efficient. I drive a Prius, but not a single Prius showed up in my top results, so they missed the mark on that.

First page (Luxury) matches
Mainstream matches

My Teenager's Results

What she drives: 2006 Prius, sometimes 2002 VW Passat (Turbo) wagon.

My daughter sent her results first, by text. Also, strong showing for luxury, with a few Mercedes Benz in the mix. Her text message read: "These were my top matches. The cars it gave me are really ugly. I only like the Audi." Oh such a picky teen! She drives an unpretentious older Prius, by choice, and no Prius showed up in her mainstream results either.

First Page (Luxury) matches
Mainstream matches

My Husband's Results

What he drives: a bike; sometimes the 2006 Prius.

Here came the real test, my husband's results. Let it be known, this is the guy who refuses to upgrade from the perfectly functional iphone 4 (thus the tiny screen shots). He commutes by bike to/from work, and isn't a big fan of freeway driving and traffic. Predictably, his first screens showed almost all hybrid and electric mainstream options. Then, below the fold, the luxury brands, including Mercedes Benz. So in his case, the environmentally-friendly options were spot on, but still, no Prius in the top matches.

First page top (Mainstream)
Luxury matches top

First page bottom (Mainstream)
Luxury matches bottom

So the most glaring common thread for all of us is that we need to look beyond our Prius-vision realm. And clearly, we need to consider more Mercedes Benz models!

Top down on a beautiful sunny Los Angeles day!

Loading the boards is easy with the top down.

Ready to hit the waves with my brother!

Watch for this post to be updated soon, with a video edit from the full 48 hours of driving and shooting the Mercedes Benz E53 Cabriolet!

2019 Mercedes-AMG E53 Cabriolet

To be honest, Car-Ed shares credit (or blame) with my parents, who taught me to drive in a Mercedes-Benz. I actually took and passed my first driver's test in a 1970 MB 280 SEL. Oh, but that's ancient history, and many years have passed since I've sat behind the wheel of a Mercedes-Benz. I'm well overdue, and thanks to Car-Ed, I'm looking....

Looking good in every light!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Win a Palm Springs Race & Relax Getaway at the Miramonte Resort & Spa!

Enjoying the scenic overlook at dusk on the "Pines to Palms Highway" to Palm Springs. Photo by Kiera Reilly

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post in partnership with A Girls Guide to Cars, Visit Greater Palm Springs, the BMW Performance Center West, and Miramonte Resort & Spa. While most of my experience was hosted, my opinion is my own.

Why do I need a getaway?

I know what you’re thinking - why would someone who already lives in the “paradise” that is San Diego need a getaway? Well, let’s face it, even San Diego can get cold and dreary this time of year. The ocean temperatures drop, and the winds whip up the waves as storms roll in from the Pacific. The rains bring the freeways to a crawl, and flooding to the streets. Nothing sounds more appealing than a short getaway to somewhere warm, dry, and relaxing! If you’re dreaming of such a getaway, be sure to enter the Giveaway posted at the end!

Over the Passes and through the Trees

A Palm Springs getaway from San Diego begins with the drive. While there’s always the option to take the freeway the whole way, it’s not always the fastest, and it’s certainly not the most interesting. Instead, weather conditions permitting, exit the 15 in Temecula, and head east on 371, through rural farmlands and vineyards. You’ll run right into scenic Highway 74, aptly named the “Pines to Palms Highway,” which will take you up in elevation through the Santa Rosa Mountains. As you descend down the switchbacks into the Palm Springs Valley, watch for the scenic overlooks - they are not to be overlooked!

Mid-day view from Vista Point, where road winds down into Palm Springs. Photo by Kymri Wilt.

Speaking of Driving

Behind the wheel at the BMW Performance Center West. Photo by Sonia Smith-Kang.

I love driving. But I never realized just how much I love driving, and driving FAST, until I experienced the tracks at the BMW Performance Center West in Thermal. I can’t recommend this experience enough for anyone who feels a need… a need for speed! (I’m looking at you, Tom Cruise).
I’ve always been fascinated by physics, so when the drive instructor casually mentioned “G-Force” at the start of the classroom lesson, I was full in. While fueling up on coffee, I learned so much about positioning, steering, accelerating and braking, in a way that I hadn’t been taught before. I was raring and ready to go.

Now, I’ve never been a speed demon behind the wheel (granny alert), so I was certain I’d hold everyone up on the M track, I knew my limits. Ahem. Turns out I was way wrong about myself. I floored it every chance I could. I proudly clocked 132 mph as the instructor remote-radio’d “good job, see, nothing to it.” I pushed my limits, trusting the instructor and the car to have my back. They did, and I sped right on past my previous self. It felt good, it felt real good.

The biggest trust issue I had was braking. But these performance cars are built to drive fast and stop on a dime. They did so without fail. Once I felt it for myself, I forgave all the tail-gating BMW drivers that annoy me so much on the freeways. I realized why they drive like they do. Because in a BMW…you CAN. Stop. On. A. Dime.

So, going to the BMW Performance Center was a BIG thrill, and I don’t think I stopped smiling the rest of the day.

The Miramonte Resort & Spa - my own desert oasis

While there are plenty of resorts to choose from, I spent my last two Palm Springs getaways at the Miramonte Resort & Spa in Indian Wells. You can link to read about my first impression “A Palm Springs Resort for all the Senses” on A Girls Guide to Cars. Continue reading here to learn what warranted a deeper dive at the Miramonte, namely, the pools and spa.

After our #Drive2Learn Conference finished, I stayed on another night and day to unwind and decompress. I slept deeply and soundly. I dedicated the next morning to me, my health, and my well-being. I enjoyed a tasty and nourishing breakfast at Citrus & Palm. Then I turned off the phone, changed into my swimsuit, and disappeared from the grid in an effort to revitalize my mind, body and soul. Sometimes, you just have to take care of you, right?

I was dehydrated, and (physically) felt like a strip of jerky. I headed to the main pool, and had it all to myself at that time of morning. I plunged in. Instantly, I was back in my element, and already feeling better.  The sun warmed my skin as I air-dried on a chaise-lounge. Within moments, I was as close to my happy place as I can be away from the ocean. I thought I was good, then I ventured into the Well Spa (my time on my dime).

Did I mention Spa? 

Once through the doors of the Well Spa, I was given a tour of the facilities, then directed to the women’s changing room where a locker awaited with robe and slippers. I immediately regretted not having shown up first thing, there was much to experience. My highlight? Definitely the Eucalyptus-infused Steam Room. Trust me, it’s just the BEST THING EVER.

Coming in at a distant second, the River Benches, where private nooks with waterfalls washed away the tension in my neck and shoulders.

Back inside the Relaxation Lounge where I awaited my treatment, I almost got annoyed by three chatty women who wouldn’t shut up.  Rather than let my irritation build, I realized they were on their own girlfriend’s getaway, and I asked the occasion… a birthday!  Before I knew it they handed me a phone and I was staging a photo of them in robes with roses and champagne glasses and a sparkling tiara on the birthday girl! How FUN for them, and their happy spirit was contagious. I was honored to capture the occasion for them.

Now, because I am nothing if not honest, I was somewhat disappointed with the massage treatment itself. She skimped on the "Rain" of oils which my skin so badly needed. Rather than let me relax and drift off, she made comments about my dry skin and suggested products I should use. The tactic of up-selling is common on cruiseships, but please, I’m trying to relax here!  I have read great reviews, and I’ve talked to personal friends whose opinions I value about their experience at the Well Spa, so take mine with a grain of salt and try it for yourself. Even a day pass just to experience the Eucaplytus Steam is worth it!

My Top 3 Picks for Dining (beyond the Miramonte)


Feeding the mind body and soul is one thing, but feeding the appetite of an ever-hungry vegetarian like myself takes more effort. Let it be known that, regardless of dietary preferences, Greater Palm Springs does not disappoint!

Not far from the Miramonte Resort is the infamous El Paseo Shopping district. So many dining options are here, and I can personally recommend two of them:

Veggie Tacos at Tommy Bahama's on El Paseo. Photo courtesy of Penny Giakos-Garduno.

Tommy Bahamas: Sure, I already knew the beach-style clothing brand and chain, but here I discovered they also serve beach-style food to match. The dining staff are friendly and accommodating, and the food presentation was impressive. I opted for Veggie Tacos, and WOW, they did not disappoint! I was served a plate of 3 soft tacos, accompanied by plantains and a creamy coconut-yogurt dip. These were not your standard veggie tacos overloaded with greasy onions and peppers. Far from it. The veggies were fresh, flavorful, and healthy! Each bite treated me to a different one: Roasted carrots, cauliflower, marinated mushrooms, tomatoes, roasted corn salsa throughout, and the most delightful Wasabi-Avocado Creme to tie it all together. Chipotle Aioli and fresh cilantro added to the flavor; slaw and crispy tortilla strips added to the texture.  When it comes to the ultimate in Veggie Tacos, Tommy Bahamas nailed it. As for dessert, options are dazzling, but best to go simple, Key Lime Pie.

Thai Smile (My choice on my dime): I will never pass up an opportunity for Thai food, especially when I spot a one-off (not a chain).  Thai Smile of Rancho Mirage, re-located to El Paseo, was everything I expect from a quality Thai restaurant, with fresh ingredients and flavors galore.  I had a $12.95 lunch special of Panang Curry (with tofu), served with choice of soup or salad (or both for $1.50). Their Thai Iced Tea hit the spot.

Saving the best for last, it wasn't until my last day on our way out that I discovered possibly my all-time favorite healthy organic spot anywhere east of the 5. Before hitting the road, we hit...

Asian Tofu Wrap and Ginger Hopper at Lucious Lorraine's in Palm Springs. Photo by Kymri Wilt

Lucious Lorraine's: Can I just tell you something? Coming from an organic-leaning vegetarian of over 25 years, it really doesn't get much better than this. I took one look at the chalkboard menus on the walls and had to pinch myself  - I couldn't believe that an unpretentious place like this really exists, and the prices were actually reasonable!  A far cry from anyplace boasting organic in my home town of Cardiff/Encinitas.  Lucious Lorraine's Organic Juice & Eatery menu is extensive, but I settled on the Asian Tofu Wrap ($7) and splurged on a fresh juice blend, the Ginger Hopper ($8.50 - sounds expensive but that's completely in line with going prices on raw organic juices). I'm so glad I took a photo first because once I took a bite....I could do little else but savor every texture and flavor with a resounding "ahhhh" or "yummmm". I especially loved the roasted almonds and peanut sauce. The Ginger Hopper perfectly complimented the wrap, which I couldn't even finish in one sitting! Finally, I grabbed a snack to go (we were heading out on a road trip, after all) from the counter. I chose a "Molly Bar" and, at just the right time, while my partner was busy driving, I took a bite and decided right then and there, this is TOO GOOD TO SHARE. Seriously, don't even think about splitting one even with your bestiest bestie.

Your Turn! Enter to Win Your Own Race & Relax Getaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Contest rules: Entries must be completed by 11:59PM Pacific December 31st, 2018. No purchase necessary; contest open only to US residents 18 years old or older and subject to the laws of the state of California. Winner will be chosen by random drawing from qualified entires and verified by A Girls Guide to Cars; winner will be notified by email no later than January 7th, 2019. Prize will be delivered by USPS to a valid US address; prizes cannot be shipped to a P.O. box. Winners may be asked to provide identification to receive their prize. Prize valued at $1,200, not exchangeable for cash or other items. Prize is limited to one (1) night accommodations at Miramonte Resort, Indian Wells, CA with date of accommodation subject to approval by Miramonte management; one (1) breakfast for two at Miramonte Resort; one (1) half day driving instruction and hot lap package for one person at BMW Performance Center West, Thermal, CA. Travel and additional accommodations are the responsibility of the winner. Contest is administered by and prizes awarded by A Girls Guide to Cars, which assumes no liability for the administration of this contest. Miramonte Indian Wells Resort, BMW Performance Center, Visit Greater Palm Springs Area, and all other event partners assume no responsibility or liability for the administration of this contest. A total of 1 grand prize will be awarded.

Saturday, December 01, 2018

Why the 2018 VW Tiguan 2.0T SEL is my TOP PICK for Today's Surfers

Kymri and 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan SEL Premium - Top Pick for Surfers. Photo by envious surfer dude.

Disclosure: Volkswagen provided me with the 2018 Tiguan SEL for a week for drive-review purposes. I drove it round-trip Cardiff (San Diego) to Los Angeles, and one morning to La Jolla Shores when I got home. For 4 days in between, the Tiguan was shared - driven, fondled, put to the test, folded, unfolded, and dare I say, fan-girled over by 30 other women journalists, bloggers, and influencers at the first ever #Drive2Learn conference with A Girls Guide to Cars, sponsored in part by Volkswagen. You can find links to their VW Tiguan reviews at the end. My review here is my honest, candid opinion in my voice alone.

Prelude: The VW Already in our Driveway


Just months after moving into our first home in Santa Barbara, we learned I was pregnant. We needed a new car. We wanted the best safety features, plus plenty of space for dogs, luggage, groceries, and the visiting in-laws. We went in to test-drive a used Jetta, but we drove home in a brand-spanking new 2002 Volkswagen Passat GLS wagon (TURBO, of course). We justified the splurge - we were about to become parents, we would be carrying precious cargo, and the minivans du jour were definitely NOT our style or speed. The VW paint color sealed the deal: Blue Anthracite Pearl. When our baby girl was born, we could only describe her eye color as “blue anthracite” since they matched the Passat exactly. It was clearly meant to be our first family car.

We still own our 2002 VW Passat, and we still drive it. While it’s not our day-to-day car, it remains our go-to car for family road trips with the dogs, and for camping. Admittedly, I'm the more regular driver with a very specific use - to stash my 9 ft. longboard and head to the beach when the waves are less than pumping.  Of course, there are roof racks, and I can certainly pile up several boards on top; but when it’s only me,  I’m lazy. I just want to get to the beach while the coffee in my thermos is still piping hot.

Although VW no longer produces the Passat wagon, my recent experience driving the 2018 VW Tiguan 2.0T SEL Premium quickly convinced me that this SUV would be today’s equivalent (in Silk Metallic Blue). I’ll show and tell you why in just a bit, but first, a short history lesson.


So You Think You Can Surf Safari? VW or Bust, Baby

There’s no denying VW is the iconic brand favorite amongst southern Californians and surfers everywhere. Think about the classic convertible Beetle, the Westfalia camper, the Bus/Vanagon, the 2002 Passat Wagon (ahem)…you get the picture. I honestly don’t know which came first - Volkswagen automobiles or surf safari road trips. Both have evolved and intertwined for decades, with no end in sight. This is your prompt to bookmark this space because I can’t wait to tell you what’s coming next from VW in 2019! But first….


Meet the 2018 VW Tiguan SEL Premium

Always a great view with the Tiguan's panoramic sunroof! Photo by Kymri Wilt

Before I met the Tiguan, I would never have thought it a fit for my little family of 3. I passed it off as yet another SUV designed for soccer-moms and dance-dads to chauffeur their various kids to their various schools, sporting events, rehearsals, recitals - that whole scene - a supersize SUV for a supersize family. I wasn't wrong - it IS, IT IS ALL THAT - a worthy and desirable set of wheels for such a family.  But would it work for us? More specifically, ME?


Family First

Let's talk family.  I can easily imagine giving the Tiguan serious consideration if we had 2, 3, 4, even 5 kids! That's right, you can load up to 5 kids in the back, safely and securely, when you add the 3rd row Seating Package ($500).  I place the emphasis on "kids" for that third row, it's a bit tight for full-sized people.  But in my case, my family is small - 2 adults and a teenager. That spacious interior real-estate better serves us with both sides of the 3rd row folded flat, maximizing the cargo space while still accommodating up to 5 people in spacious comfort. Even with 2 dogs factored in, still plenty of room for everything else.

Cargo bay with cargo cover, tons of room for luggage and gear. Photo credit: Kymri Wilt


The Transition: Time to Step Up


I was hesitant at first, stepping up into this giant version of a VW SUV (classed as small) with a higher profile than my all-too-familiar 2002 Passat. I sat in the driver's seat and scanned for all the important stuff I need to locate before I drive. Pretty much all of it was in the same place as it's predecessor of 16 years. Nice, I'd be ready to roll as if I'd been driving the Tiguan all those years!

But of course, there were brand new things - USB ports, a digital dash cockpit (dashboard/monitor), safety features and technology that had evolved leaps and bounds since 2002.  Given that I've been attending auto shows, media drive events, and assigned fleet loans to review and write about for the past 5+ years, I was no stranger to the latest in automotive tech. That said, Volkswagen couldn't have made it easier.


User-Friendly Tech Interface

"The 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan has the most seamless and user-friendly hands-free tech interface I've ever experienced, and that speaks volumes."
- Kymri Wilt (go ahead, quote me on this)
I turned on the power.  My phone was detected and popped up on the monitor - the Tiguan asked if I wanted to sync it. I answered yes, and boom, it was done.  I literally did nothing.  She asked a few straight-forward questions, I answered. She listened to my responses and handled it, start to finish.  The phone was still in my bag (note: blue-tooth setting was on).

I'm embarrassed to say I had grossly underestimated something. As has been my experience with automotive voice command, I first responded loudly and slowly in the direction of where I thought the mic might be. Oops, my bad. She told me to speak quietly, she could hear me. Hesitantly, I refrained from projecting my stern command voice, and responded in a casual conversational tone, fully prepared to have to repeat myself. She got it. Not once did she ask anything twice. I spoke normally, she listened and acted, each and every time. I finally completely relaxed and wept tears (of joy). At last, someone who totally gets me in under a minute...and she's a car. She earned my trust and won my complete confidence. It simply doesn't get any more user-friendly than that. I'd hire a whole team of Tiguans to handle customer care. (Cable/phone and insurance companies...take note!)

My only complaint, if forced to name a negative: The Tiguan stopped short of offering to serve me coffee. I still had to bring my own.


Let's Roll


Forgetting that I wasn't in my 2002 VW, I could definitely feel the extra weight when I first drove the Tiguan. How heavy is this thing? It felt chunky, like a tank, and was roaring loud, like a truck. I pulled over and gave everything another check. Sure enough, the mode dial I toyed with earlier was set to off-road. I turned it to on-road, and drove away smoothly, quietly, and fuel-efficiently, just like my old familiar happy place in the 2002 VW. The TURBO (let's face it, I LOVE me some good acceleration) kicked in when I needed - like entering the 405 from those notoriously short on-ramps, for starters.  I proudly watched my fuel efficiency monitor reach up to 31 MPG highway (my smaller 2002 Passat topped out at 34 MPG). I was more than impressed, I'd even done better than the sticker (21 city, 27 highway, 23 combined MPG). Yep, I could totally rock this SUV, girlfriend! We both brought out the best in one another, and had each other's backs.  Much like today's surfers.


Who Are Today's Surfers?


We are women. We are moms. We surf. We drive cars. Photo by Kymri Wilt

Today's surfers are not limited to dudes with gnarly hair and punks on skateboards. We are more. We are women. We are moms. We are business owners, teachers, cancer-survivors, dancers, yogis, first responders, college students, caregivers, lesbians, mothers-to-be, world travelers. That's just a sampling of the female contingent you'll find in the water on any given morning at La Jolla Shores. The men? They're cool, too. They love us, we love them. It's all good. But, the boys could never proclaim "I surf like a girl" with ego intact. Just sayin'. 

La Jolla Surf Moms at La Jolla Shores. Photo by Robert Metzgus

 Do You Drive Like A Girl?

I surf like a girl and I own it. I also DRIVE like a girl, and I own it. You've probably heard or seen "Get in, sit down, shut up and hang on!" Just throw in a "buckle up" and that's me, along with many of the girl/mom drivers I know.  We don't lose our sense of adventure in motherhood, we gain the perspective of being responsible role-models, raising our kids to be confident, bold, AND sensible.

The VW Tiguan center drive console: a place for everything. Photo by Kymri Wilt

Spaced Out in The Tiguan


Let's get back to filling that spacious interior, and examine how spaced out it really is.

It was my last morning with the Tiguan. I'd spent a week driving between wildfires burning in LA and the dry deserts of Greater Palm Springs. I'd been working round the clock, I was dehydrated, and just needed nothing more than a refreshing paddle-out and waves in my beloved ocean to bring me home.

First, I folded down the third row. The second row offered a 40/20/40 split, so I folded down the middle, then slipped my 9 ft. longboard straight down the center. Would there still be room to accommodate additional boards, 4 full sized surfers, gear, and a dog or two? Yes.

Meanwhile, my dog Java was whining to jump in the back (her usual game when I'm loading up to surf), so I obliged. She hopped right in, circled twice, then sat facing back as I tethered her in. She proceeded to beckon all the dogs in the neighborhood to come check out the new surf safari/dog mobile (such a show off). I took some quick video and stills, then sent her back in the house so I could get to the beach before my coffee grew cold.

I pulled into the parking lot at the Shores, suited up, waxed up, and paddled out. I didn't care that the waves were ankle slappers - the water was crystal clear and I could see the schools of silver grunion darting about, the rays on the sandy bottom, the (harmless) leopard sharks who aggregate here this time of year, a few other random fishes, some curious harbor seals, and my sea-lion buddy "Carlyle" who moves through the boards in the line up and pops up to say hello. I see dolphins playing further out, and migrating whale spouts just beyond....ahhhh, I'm home again. Surf, surf, surf.

Back ashore, I opened up the back of the Tiguan, hung my wetsuit in the sun, turned on some tunes, took a few more pics and video, talked about the car with friends and curious strangers alike, loaded back up, and reluctantly drove back home to turn over the keys.

The 2018 VW Tiguan SEL Had Won Me Over


Before I met the VW Tiguan, I never imagined we'd click, one on one, her and me. It was a magical week for us! We hit it off right away. I introduced her to the family, particularly keen for my big brother to meet her. We spent a few days working our respective jobs at the Miramonte Resort, winking to one another as we passed. We re-united again for a slow drive back in rush hour traffic, and she clocked it for us: 100 miles, 3 hours 1 minute, average speed 33 mph. Then we both had a good night's sleep and squeezed in a morning of beach, surf and BFF selfies before parting ways.

Well there you have it.  The 2018 VW Tiguan 2.0T SEL easily knocked out every other contender to become this year's TOP PICK model for today's surfers. It ticks every box, and is especially suited for a surf safari road trip with any combination of girls, guys, kids, dogs. Now, as we roll to a stop, please enjoy the photos, watch the video(s), and link through to see what other women have to say!

Don't just take my word for it! 


From fun-loving busy mother of two boys, Kendra Pierson:
5 Reasons to Immediately Love the 2018 Volkswagen Tiguan

From the automotive expert herself, Scotty Reiss:
2018 VW Tiguan: This Compact Three Row SUV Is Bigger and Better Than Ever