Design and Engineering

Design and Engineering

Good The original 'Beetle' or 'The Volkswagen' as it was known back then made its debut in 1938. 75 years on and 22.5 million models sold, the Beetle is looking better than ever.

Arriving down under in February 2013, the new Volkswagen Beetle has shed some of its bubbly shape in favour of a more masculine and dynamic design.

The Beetle is now longer (4,278mm), wider (1,808mm) and lower (1,477mm) than the previous model.

A longer bonnet and steeper repositioned windscreen, make the latest Volkswagen Beetle more akin to the 1938 original - which isn't a bad thing.

From the front the Volkswagen Beetle features a slim-lined lower front grille that pulls it inline with the rest of the VW family.

Side on the Volkswagen Beetle features a side skirt lip and a pair of massively flared wheel arches that add to the overall sporty design.

The rear is possible the sexiest part of this compact hatchback, from the rear the Volkswagen Beetle looks as though it took some design cues from the more expensive Porsche Cayman. The Volkswagen Beetle features compact tail lights that are set into the rear fender and wheel arch, while the stubby rear spoiler protrudes out from the base of the rear window.
Not so good Previously the Beetle featured a bubbly and very feminine design that captured a predominantly female audience. This new sharper, masculine and dynamic design is set to change this. But, has Volkswagen done enough to shake the predominantly female audience in the hope to snag a larger portion of male buyers? Time will tell.
Interior and Styling

Interior and Styling

Good Almost as distinctive an interior as the concept car like exterior. We like the cool looking three spoke steering wheel that adjusts for both reach and rake, the large, supportive, comfortably firm front seats which feature height adjustment and thanks to a flip and slide mechanism, entry to the rear is easy (for a two door anyway). Storage is decent with a good sized 'retro' glove box (illuminated too), front centre armrest with an integrated storage compartment, front door storage nets (but with a narrow opening) and backrest storage pockets. All instruments are clearly laid out and easy to use and read. The dash and other surfaces are covered in soft touch materials that give the cabin a premium look and feel.
Not so good The oversized windscreen pillars obstruct vision (causing an unfortunate blindspot) and the falling away nose creates difficulty when trying to park in tight spots (as you can’t really tell where the front of the car is). There are only two rear seats, the backrest is too vertical (so it’s not very comfortable) and headroom is limited due to the sloping rear hatch design. Customers who choose a bright exterior colour have to live with the same colour on the inside as the Beetle comes with matching interior highlights.
Performance

Performance

Good The new Beetle comes with the choice of one engine, Volkswagen's 118 TSI. The 118 TSI is a 1.4-litre twincharged petrol engine that manages 118kW of power and 240Nm of torque when mated to a 6-speed manual transmission or the optional 7-speed DSG dual clutch automatic transmission.

The twincharged unit matched to the 7-speed DSG dual clutch automatic transmission is very zippy. There is no occasion that the 1.4-litre TSI isn't ready to boogie - hills, no problem, powering out of corners, yep, taking off at the lights, you got it. There is plenty of power and torque on offer.
Not so good The downside to having a smaller engine is that you have to push it harder to get the most benefit out of it, this leads to less than impressive fuel economy figures. We're also surprised there is no turbo diesel option avialable.
Ride and Handling

Ride and Handling

Good On the road, the new Beetle feels dynamic and solid on the road. A very lightweight strut type set-up at the front is completed by a semi-independent rear suspension. The ride remains comfortable on all roads with the exception of rougher surfaces; the steering is well weighted and the handling is quite impressive for its target market.
Not so good Over rough surfaces the rear end of the car starts to jump around a bit, this is especially noticeable when cornering hard and you hit a mid corner bump that unsettles the ride.
Buying and Owning

Buying and Owning

Good Standard safety features include six airbags and Anti-lock brakes (ABS) as standard. If it's fun and quirky you're after then the VW Beetle might just have what you're looking for.
Not so good Thank the motoring gods that Volkswagen threw away the flower vase.