An Atlas Cross Sport driving in the Arizona desert

Inside the Merciless Arizona Proving Grounds

Inside the Merciless Arizona Proving Grounds

June 12, 2020

We pride ourselves in providing drivers with quality vehicles that perform in even the harshest of conditions. But achieving peak durability doesn’t happen overnight. It takes months of pushing our vehicles to the absolute limit with the most gruelling and punishing tests imaginable.

Welcome to the VW Arizona Proving Grounds

Covering 1,600 acres, the Arizona Proving Grounds (APG) are where we test all new VW prototypes. Here, our cars are put through extreme tests of durability, corrosion, weathering, exposure, and more — so our engineers can observe and refine as needed.

To do so, we put our cars in special chambers designed to imitate a multitude of harsh conditions, including chambers that replicate severe Canadian winters, and chambers that expose cars to the equivalent of 12 years of corrosion in as little as 90 days. 

We also test-drive our vehicles on different types of road conditions — tackling ragged roads, gravel and dirt paths, and more. These tests aren’t your typical Sunday drive — they often reach speeds of over 300 km/h under the scorching Arizona sun.

As we tweak and refine our prototypes, we want to ensure we can conduct our tests without the interference of prying eyes, so we can continue to surprise the world with our new vehicles. That’s why everything in the APG is conducted with the utmost secrecy. Our prototypes are camouflaged so only APG personnel know which cars they are testing. We also have 24-hour security to look out for drones and to commandeer any computers, phones, and cameras brought onto the site. All so we can discreetly test our new vehicles and introduce them to the world only when they’re ready.

In the end, our intense testing helps ensure that every VW being sold is designed for peak performance and durability, even during the harshest of Canadian winters. So every driver can feel assured that when they’re driving a Volkswagen, they’re driving German-engineered excellence.

Disclaimers by Volkswagen

  • All prices are MSRP in Canadian dollars. MSRP is the Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price and excludes taxes, freight and PDI (for 2021 models: $1,750 (Jetta, Jetta GLI, Golf, Golf GTI), $1,850 (Passat, Arteon) and $1,950 (Tiguan, Taos, Cross Sport, Atlas, ID.4). Amounts vary for 2020 models), levies, fees, optional equipment, license, insurance, registration, and any dealer or other charges, where applicable. Environmental or related levies and taxes may vary by jurisdiction. Dealer may sell for less. European or American models may be shown. Specifications, equipment, options and prices are subject to change without notice. Although we endeavour to ensure that the information contained on the website is accurate, as errors may occur from time to time, customers should contact their local Volkswagen dealer for details. Photos for illustration purposes only. Some items, such as wheels, may be unavailable on some trim levels when vehicle is built or may not be available in Canada.

    Fuel consumption ratings are estimates based on Natural Resources Canada’s (NRCan) fuel consumption criteria and testing methods for 2020 and 2021 model year vehicles and are provided for comparison purposes only. Please note that comparisons to seemingly similar vehicles pre-2015 model year will show discrepancies due to the difference in NRCan approved calculation methods for 2014 model year and older vehicles. Please refer to NRCan’s Fuel Consumption Guide 2020 and 2021 for estimated fuel consumption figures. Actual fuel consumption will vary based on driving conditions, driver habits and the vehicle’s condition, weight carried and additional equipment. Tires are supplied and warranted by their manufacturer. Most vehicles are sold equipped with four all-season tires. For vehicles sold equipped with summer performance tires, note that appropriate all-season or winter weather tires are required for driving during cold, snowy or icy weather conditions. Please remember that the use of winter tires may be mandatory in your province or territory. Airbags are supplemental restraints only and will not deploy under all accident scenarios. Always use safety belts and seat children only in the rear seats, using restraint systems appropriate for their size and age. The navigation system depends upon signals from the GPS network and is designed to provide you with suggested routes only. Discrepancies may occur between the mapping and the actual location due to changes in street names, construction or other road system changes which are beyond the control of Volkswagen Canada. Please rely on your individual judgment in determining whether or not to follow a suggested navigation route.