Volkswagen’s iconic Beetle has evolved into a sportier car than ever before.
Volkswagen has a car for everyone. For those that desire practicality there’s the Golf, for those wanting something a little racy there is the Scirocco and now for those who want something retro…. There’s the Beetle. Unlike its predecessor this one harks back to the style of the original 21 million unit selling ‘People’s Car’. The retro design continues inside with a flat face dash however the sporty steering wheel and logical controls add a modern touch. There are quite few storage places but the door bins are quite narrow.
In terms of equipment, all cars get six airbags, anti-skid control (ESP), air conditioning and DAB radio. In terms of options, you can get a Fender sound system with which, as part of a package, you get mood lighting and some extra speakers.
The Beetle comes with manual or automatic gearboxes; personally I prefer the manual; and the smaller 1.2 or 1.4 TSi petrol engines are gems and surprisingly sprightly. The engines are economical (with claimed 47mpg) and very smooth. This combined with excellent all round visibility makes a very easy to drive town car. Out on the open road it may not be quite as agile as a Mini but the steering is accurate, with a weighty feel, it corners flat and has masses of grip.
Overall it’s good fun to drive. However, while it may be based on the Golf, all but the range topping 2.0-litre model has slightly more crude rear suspension, which although comfortable, skips over bumps a little. At speeds over 60mph there is some wind noise. The interior materials do not quite feel up to the quality of the Polo.
Rear legroom and headroom are compromised and sloping tailgate limits practicality. The rear seats fold, but not to form a completely flat load area. However, if you want a van, we can sell you a Caddy.
But let’s face it; you do not buy a car like this to be a removals van or as a taxi. You buy it to look cool. It manages to do this, like a Mini or a Fiat 500, with fewer compromises.
Distinctive looks, upmarket interior, decent handling