The Volkswagen Beetle has always been seen as a chick car. The next generation Beetle is going to address this issue with more muscular curves, and a shape to follow more closely to the original Beetle. However, a final verdict of a Beetle must be given before the new - new Beetle arrives.
Performance: There's only one engine available for the Beetle. It's a 2.5-liter five-cylinder with 150hp. It's peppy and offers decent pace in town and on the highway. Fuel economy is decent, but the five-cylinder has a droan that is only heard when revved hard. It's not intrusive, but can make long journeys tiresome.
Ride & Handling: The Beetle's handling isn't the best, its chassis is based on the pervious generation Golf. So there really isn't distinct handling here. It's comfortable and competent, and the steering feel is merely okay.
Refinement: Wind and road noise is well supressed. You'll drive around in the Beetle with comfort and ease. The major controls have a substaintial feel to them, but the engine droan will spoil things a bit.
Behind the wheel: The curvy roof makes things a little bit weird in the interior. You'll feel like you're sitting miles away from the windscreen. Visibility is poor, and the driving position isn't great, even if the steering wheel adjusts for reach and height. You'll like the single stylish fascia and instrument pod.
Space & Practicality: In theory the Beetle is a four-seater, in reality it's only a two-seater. The roofline means the rear is only for kids. The boot is tiny, so you'll have to fold the rear seats down to carry bigger and longer items.
Equipment: All Beetles come with alloy wheels, remote central locking, power windows and a Cd-player. There aren't many options available, as most features that you'll want are already standard. Leather seats, and other goodies are optional.
Buying & Owning: The Beetle's resale value is good. You'll recoup more than 40% of the list price after three years and 36,000 miles. Servicing costs will be a bit of a worry. Fuel economy is decent and emissions are pretty good.
Quality & Reliability: The interior feels well put together. Many plastics feel sturdy and long lasting. It's no surprise that the Beetle lives up to Volkswagen standards. Although the Beetle has respectable scores in JD Power customer satisfaction surveys. Reliablity is still a worry after the warranty expires.
Safety & Security: High crash safety scores, and a long list of safety features help keep the Beetle at the top of its game. There's plenty of security back-up. An immobiliser and deadlocks are fitted as standard, as well as an alarm.
Likes: Iconic design, offers decent pace and decent fuel economy, well equipped and fun to own.
Dislikes: Style over practicality, more of a two-seater with a tiny boot, long-term reliability a bit of a worry.
The Beetle will be replaced by a newer more masculine shaped variant. There will be more power, and more appeal to a broader audience. However, the retro fitted styling and curvy chick design still remains desirable. There's not many cars out there that can age gracefully, and still have a fan base with more than 15 million cars sold worldwide. The Beetle is iconic and still worthy of a test drive, even with the newer variant coming next year.