The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most iconic models out there. Launched back in 2003, the car has been a popular choice since then for its signature drop-top appearance. Unfortunately the recent models have done little to maintain its appeal to the current market. It still relies too heavily on the nostalgic feel a specific market is after with the Beetle. The question lies in how far this appeal can go in delivering ride, performance, and handling.
The latest, all-new Beetle combines original elements from the iconic original with modern, update elements. This generation features bigger space, more contemporary elements, larger dimensions, and a redesigned interior. The interior also sports elements from the classic design, such as a traditional look for the glovebox compartment and the not so typical high dashboard.
Engine choices for the British Beetles include the 1.4-litre petrol TSI or the Twincharger. The entry-level offers the 1.2-litre TSI in the different VAG group superminis, packing in 104bhp, 137g/km emission, and 47.9 mpg. You can reduce your emission at 42.8 mpg and the efficiency at 153g/km by using the supercharger at 158bhp and a turbo engine. The Twincharger is your best bet with its fuel efficiency; economy, and a progressive 6000rpm redline that reaches 62mph in just 8.3 seconds. The 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is just as good, packing in 138bhp.
Safety systems are placed to guarantee driver and passenger security. There are two extendable hoops behind the rear bench seat, allowing airbags to be triggered once the car rolls over the hoops. More security is guaranteed via the fixed A-pillars of the system, which protect all four passengers on each seat.
Unfortunately the Beetle fails to maintain the Volkswagen’s signature ride quality. The Beetle fails to maintain proper composure through a variety of surfaces, particularly in the more urban roads. Otherwise the car performs well on the usual motorway and B-road areas. Expect the ride to be a bit bumpy and firm as you go through these roads. Steering is another weakness of the new Beetle, as it becomes heavy against the usual hatchbacks. As a result, you feel disappointed by the riding and handling performance of the Beetle.
The boot has a limited capacity of 310-litres and its square shape doesn’t allow for extra space. But you can add a little more space via a 50/50 split rear bench, which can be folded when not used. You could have some trouble, however, fitting anything larger than the average size. Expect to squeeze in larger than usual packages.
Overall the Beetle offers several improvements from its previous life. But it could still be a better finish in terms of performance, handling, and ride. However if you could make do with the vehicle despite its setbacks, the Beetle offers practicality and efficiency in the long run. There are also equipment upgrade offers for certain models, depending on your preference. The default set of equipment is an Electronic Stabilisation Programme or ESP that includes airbags, brake assist, and hill hold features. You can also upgrade into other features such as iPod connectivity. 17-inch alloys, Bluetooth connection, CD radio, etc.
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