The Beetle was reintroduced in 1997 after years of slumber, and then redesigned in 2012. German engineering kept the Beetle personality, but lowered the roof some, making it sleeker and sportier, yet still soft and sweet in disposition. They plugged in a turbocharged engine to make it go fast. You still have the good looks, but a reinvented Beetle.
I test drove the TDI version, and the Beetle handled and performed well using the 2.0L 140 hp 236 lb.-ft. inline-4 TDI Clean Diesel engine. This turbo diesel engine is engineered with the idea of “more is less,” and has a lower CO2 emission (emits 32 grams of CO2 per mile) compared to 85 percent of other vehicles.
If you are interested in CO2 emissions and our planet’s health, let me encourage you to read a book I just finished titled “The Sixth Extinction” by Elizabeth Kolbert. This book will make you even more concerned about our world and what may lie ahead for us. The planet is being damaged and we should hold industries accountable for producing environmentally friendly products. Way to go VW!
The TDI engine was engineered to really “Go the distance.” In fact, an impressive 594 miles per tank full. Fuel economy 28/37 city/highway. I averaged 35 mpg during my week of driving.
The interior cabin took me back to my 1960s college days, but added some additional kicks. Leatherette seating surfaces, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth mobile, A/C, cruise, power windows, heated exterior mirrors, and heated front seats—amenities never imagined in that era, but proclaimed necessities today.
The feature that I enjoyed best was the power convertible roof that could be raised or lowered in 10 seconds. For an old guy like me, this was the perfect time to go topless. There was also the Active Roll-Over Protection System that instantly deploys spring-loaded rollover bars from behind the backseat if a possible rollover or collision is detected. The power activated soft top has a simple step procedure. You can even get the convertible top to operate using the remote. Remember, “Press button!” to feel the sunlight embrace the interior as your spirit is lifted skyward.
Even though the Beetle musters forth images of having fun, there are numerous safety features: tire pressure monitor, seven active stability enhancing systems, adaptive airbags, safety case frame, and an intelligent crash response system. Oh yes, this automatic rollover response system is standard as well.
The suggested retail price of my test vehicle is $30,795. But a more basic Convertible model starts at about $25,000. You keep the Beetle personality at a more practical price. Maintenance is covered for the first two years or 24,000 miles and 24 hour road assistance is covered for three years.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org.