A faster, more efficient, more fun Bug.
The Volkswagen Beetle is based on the Golf, a car that offers a superb balance of comfort and superior driving dynamics. However, the base Beetle has been stripped of its multilink rear suspension and electric power steering. Instead, it has a less sophisticated torsion-beam setup in the rear and overboosted hydraulic power steering. Power for the base car comes from the 170-hp five-cylinder that is peppy but somewhat gravelly at high rpm. Fortunately, there are better options. The diesel four-cylinder is capable of returning up to 41 mpg on the highway. The Beetle Turbo is as poised and engaging as the GTI that inspired it. Its steering weight is superb, the suspension is firmer without being jarring, and prodigious power comes from the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The base Beetle uses a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic; the Turbo and the TDI raise the engagement factor with a six-speed manual or a six-speed dual-clutch automatic that delivers crisp, speedy shifts. The Beetle’s interior features slick body-color accents and the simple, intuitive controls that Volkswagen is known for. There’s enough headroom for six-footers in the rear but only enough legroom for small children. If you’re a sucker for style, the Beetle is a smart small car with substance beneath the surface.
new for 2013
The third-generation Beetle debuted for 2012 with a more muscular stance and a retro design. New this year are a diesel-powered Beetle TDI and a convertible model available with the same three engines as the coupe. The new Fender Edition features a Fender premium audio system, a sunburst-style dashboard, Fender logos, special seat stitching, brushed chrome mirror caps, xenon headlamps, and eighteen-inch wheels.
Standard are ABS; front, side, and side curtain air bags; tire-pressure monitoring; and traction and stability control. The Intelligent Crash Response System turns off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and activates the hazard lights in the event of a severe collision.
Scant rear legroom
Not as sophisticated as a Golf
Loose steering in base model
Base Price Range: $20,590–$26,000 (est.)
TRIM LEVELS: Beetle, Turbo, TDI
BODY STYLES: Coupe, convertible, 4-passenger
ENGINES: 2.0L turbo-diesel I-4, 140 hp, 236 lb-ft
2.0L turbo I-4, 200 hp, 207 lb-ft
2.5L I-5, 170 hp, 177 lb-ft
TRANSMISSIONS: 5- or 6-speed manual, 6-speed automatic, 6-speed dual-clutch automatic
PASSENGER VOLUME: (coupe) 85.1 cu ft
CARGO SPACE: (coupe, rear seats up/down) 15.4/29.9 cu ft