Not even Volkswagen engineers can get around the laws of physics. But I find they strike reasonable compromises. If it costs a lot of money to fix you need a better mechanic. I know I am that better mechanic. 20 mpg and a curb weight of over 5000 lbs is unheard of, my van does not even have the 102 load index tires yet (there 94 not stiff enough side wall, more rolling resistance ya know). I expect to pick up another 2 mpg from that change alone. The brake pads don't last long if you don't use stab breaking technique. The 5 speed is the only way to go in my opinion. I've heard 17 sec. 0to60, I cant get it to accelerate that slow even if I try. You can't get a better passenger van for camping hands down.
On-Board Diagnostics laptop computer based/VAG COM.You can get a factory manual on a DVD-ROM. Lying in the back on a 90 deg. day pushing the remote start button and firing up its dual air conditioners after a long day of fishing!!!