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With decades-worth of owning a slew of different cars, including a number of Volkswagens, the love of cars certainly runs deeply in the Changaroth family.

14 Apr 2022

For some people, a car is simply a mode of transport - four wheels and a roof to get from one place to the next. But for others, it's so much more than that. Deep passion, overflowing love, occasional heartache, and ultimately a real way of life.

To understand more about what drives this car-loving passion, we reached out to Mr. Shreejit Changaroth, an engineer by trade and someone who also reviews cars on his free time. He is a long-time car lover and Volkswagen owner who was more than happy to share his Volkswagen journey.

It's no surprise that the GTI-loving Mr. Changaroth has customised his radio stations to display each iteration of the model
SGCM: I think it's safe to say that you have a car-mad family. How did that all come about? What made you fall in love with cars?

SC: My interest in cars goes as far back as my memory takes me. I only wanted Dinky, Corgi or Matchbox cars as toys, so I guess four-wheelers have always appealed to me. I guess the environment at home made my kids (even my daughters) sort of car-centric as well.

SGCM: VW has been a part of your car ownership journey for a long time. Can you talk us through some models you've owned? What was the first VW you ever owned?

SC: My father had a Beetle 1300 in the 70s and it was the first car I drove legally. I know these air-cooled cars rather well. So when my son, Avenash found one five years ago, and persuaded me with regards to owning it, I was all ready. Now, we have a 1973 VW 1303S. It's a lovely car. Before that I owned a 1982 VW Scirocco GTI.

At home sits a 1973 Beetle alongside the Mk 7.5 Golf GTI 
My first Golf GTI was a 2008 Mk 5, which I kept for 9.5 years from new. It was a fuss-free car, and only required a new water pump, air-con compressor and fuel pump. Everything else was pure routine. Honestly, I still regret selling it. My boys, too, so they actually went out and got me another Mk 5, a used one that we kept until the Mk 7.5 came along in 2018. That is my daily drive now. I drive almost every new car on the market and nothing satisfies me overall like my Golf!

SGCM: What is it about the VW brand that makes you come back to it over and over again? And perhaps more specifically, what is it about the Golf that makes it so appealing to you?

SC: For some reason, I have always been fascinated by Ferdinand Porsche and VW's history. I used to read lots about Porsche and VW, and even have VW 411, K70 and air-cooled Beetle catalogues in my collection today. VW cars may not the most premium out there but they are nonetheless built with quality.

In his view, the Golf GTI's breadth of ability is still second to none, eight whole generations on
The Golf is likely the best designed hatchback in its class. I've desired a GTI ever since they launched the Mk 1 in 1977. Having driven every GTI generation since, its breadth of abilities in terms of performance, handling, comfort and reliability is second to none till today. Yes, there are faster hatchbacks that handle just as well, but would either cost lots more or simply wouldn't last as long.

SGCM: I know that you own a number of cars from different manufacturers. What do you think it is about VW that makes it different, and somehow always part of your car stable?

SC: Dependability!

While electrification is inevitable, Mr. Changaroth hopes that greener fuels will allow ICE cars to still endure 
SGCM: As a self-professed car lover, what do you make of the changes that are happening within the industry? For example, the latest Mk 8 Golf uses mild-hybrid technology.

SC: While I understand the need to reduce emissions and the new eTSI engine manages to do that, I believe it is likely just a stop-gap at VW. I'm actually hoping to see a full hybrid Golf soon. But more than that, I can't wait to get my hands on the ID. series of electric models, including the all-electric ID.3, because that's definitely an exciting car. 

SGCM: Perhaps more so than others, you've intimately felt and experience the changes that occur in cars from each generation to the next. Where have you seen the most significant changes, and what changes do you want to see next?

With the borders opened, the GTI (and this car-mad family) is surely headed up North!
SC: Well, its all going electric as you no doubt know. Yes, batteries will get smaller, full-range will get longer and charging times will get shorter, and those are definitely developments that are neccessary moving forward. But, I also believe the ICEs will be around for several decades more, and the possibility of perhaps greener fuels is one way that I hope to see their existence extended. 

SGCM: This must have been a tough two years for you and your family, cooped up in Singapore unable to go for long drives or to the track. Now that our borders are finally opening up, what's first on your driving agenda?

SC: Malaysia, here we come! I drive to Malaysia quite a bit, and one of my most memorable drives was up along the East Coast of Malaysia to Kuantan. The roads after Kota Tinggi all the way to Pekan are especially entertaining when driving a Golf GTI. My Mk 5 was a gem on those winding roads - impeccable handling and great punch when overtaking. In fact, there were a few cars (no names mentioned) struggling to get away from me.

Yet another fun drive I did with my Mk 5 was up the hill after Bayan Lepas to Batu Ferringgi in Penang. Even more twisty than the East Coast ones, these roads are perfect for driving enjoyment. DSG, turbo 2.0-litre and sure-footed road manners - what a great combination. I've yet to try these roads with my Mk 7.5 mainly because we (the world) kinda lost 2.5 years. Can't wait.

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volkswagen  vw  golf  gti  scirocco  beetle  golf gti