2013 Beetle: A Highly Practical Convertible

By Durhl Caussey Created: December 16, 2012 Last Updated: December 16, 2012
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2013 Volkswagen Beetle (Courtesy of VW)

2013 Volkswagen Beetle (Courtesy of VW)

The 2013 Beetle is one super fuel efficient convertible on the highway. EPA estimates highway fuel economy of 41 mpg.

Between 2003 and 2010, the Beetle Convertible achieved total sales of 117,000 units. The Beetle also made up to 7 percent of the Volkswagen brand sales in 2012. Officials feel that this percentage will increase with the 2013 convertible, and new customers will be brought to the Volkswagen brand.

The new Beetle is longer, wider, and sportier than the previous Beetle convertibles.

This classic convertible 4-seater goes on sale this month, priced from $24,995.

There are three engine options: a 2.5-L NA 5-cylinder with good torque; a 2.0-L TDI turbo diesel for frugal fuel economy; and a 2.0-L TSI turbo for power. Six-speed automatic is standard on the 2.5.

The fast acting soft top opens in 9.5 seconds, and can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph. A split-folding rear seat makes this highly practical convertible convenient for everyone.

Standard safety features include Automatic Rollover Support system. Available options include Fender Audio System, keyless access/push button start, and leather seating surfaces and navigation.

The new 2013 Beetle is longer, wider, and sportier than the previous Beetle convertibles. It is equipped with standard strut-type front suspension with a multi-link rear suspension.

Just like the Beetle Coupe, the Convertible resembles the original with a flatter roofline and more upright windshield, harking back to the 1949 Type 15.

The wider track and longer wheelbase make the Beetle sportier and more masculine looking. Even the standard tail spoiler adds to the sporty look.

More Roomy than Competitors

Compared to its key competitors, the Beetle Convertible is less expensive and has a roomy interior with more leg- and head-room than the Mini Cooper Convertible and Ford Mustang Convertible. It also has lots of trunk space.

The interior of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle (Courtesy of VW)

The interior of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle (Courtesy of VW)

The 2013 Beetle is structurally sound, having a 20 percent stiffer build than the previous generation vehicle, with a torsional rigidity of 17.8 Hz.

The new Beetle’s rollover system is worth a mention. The Automatic Rollover Support System consists of two steel beams concealed underneath the head restraints in the back seat.

The roll-over bars are pneumatically deployed by the computer that also inflates the airbags. These roll-over bars are made from high-strength steel and aluminum. Their compact design allows for a sizable pass-through area from the trunk.

The soft top is designed to incorporate a heatable glass rear window. The top shell and insulation are made from three layers. Two electronic motors lower the top in 9.5 seconds and raise it in 11.0 seconds. The top is latched automatically.

The Beetle has an integrated, folding wind-blocking system that is available as a genuine Volkswagen accessory. It is housed in the trunk under the folding top area when stowed, but does not take away available trunk space. The wind blocker is of lightweight design that clips into place above the rear seats.

Exhilarating Test Drive

Volkswagen launched the 2013 Beetle Convertible at the LA Auto Show in the latter part of November. Journalists from Europe and the Americas were brought in to view and drive the vehicle over several days.

The California Coast highway north of Los Angeles was my driving route. Early morning clouds and light rain meant the top had to stay up for a while.

But after lunch the sun came out, accompanied by a mild ocean breeze. I drove up into the coastal hills that displayed a multitude of beautiful ocean view homes. My VW and I chased the fog from the summit of the hilltops. There I marveled at the panoramic view of the ocean, fueled by the coastline and rugged canyons below.

With the top down I drove alongside the sandy beach, all the while breathing the light salted fragrance of the ocean and watching the activity of the children as they made sand castles and threw frisbees near the exploding surf. This was truly an exhilarating experience.

Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or

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