Attention to Details - 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test

2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Attention to Details

March 22, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Car salesmen say, "The feel of the wheel will seal the deal" meaning that the test-drive will sell the car. With this 2012 Volkswagen Beetle it is the feel of the wheel, and many other little details, that convinces you it is a cut above the competition.

When you get in and out of a lot of different cars, you develop a sense of which ones were cheaped out and which ones were designed with a sense of fun and imagination. To prove my point, I'm going to mention two details that are representative of the level of care found throughout the cabin.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

It's hard to see, but there are very comfortable thumb notches in the steering wheel. And that's not all. As your thumbs rest securely in the notches, your fingers are touching the paddle shifters. And they aren't just any paddle shifters either. They are, for some reason, slightly ribbed. This provides a nice tactile sensation as you bump it down into a lower gear or come out of a curve and reach for a higher gear.

Now, here's my point. Some designer, somewhere thought of adding those ribs, then had to justify the extra expense to his cost-cutting colleagues. Here's a message to that designer, and designers everywhere: We noticed. We like it. Sometimes, it's the little touches that set cars apart. As they say, "God is in the details."

Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 15,991 miles


  • Agreed Phil! i was at a recent Auto show and the wheel is a huge factor in the overall feeling of a car. For instance, i wasnt impressed at all with the dated wheel in the BMW X5, but the new Audi S5 wheel is AMAZING. totally changes the feel of the car.

  • stovt001_ stovt001_ Posts:

    VW has the best wheels in their class. Cost cutters justify their cuts saying no one will notice if this is gone. No one will notice if that is gone. Individually they won't, but when it all comes together correctly you either feel the quality or it isn't there.

  • darthbimmer darthbimmer Posts:

    The 5th generation Jetta was like that. My wife bought one, though she was initially very skeptical of its $5k premium over the competition. Then she sat in the car and test-drove it. "Then I realized the extra money was worth it," she said. It seems from your reviews that with the 6th gen Jetta (introduced a few years ago) VW's cost cutters had their way, cheapening the car so it'd compete directly on price with the main market. Did the Beetle avoid the same fate?

  • cekizian cekizian Posts:

    I own a 2012 turbo and there are a lot of nice, quality touches..but on the flip side, the manual HVAC controls feel extremely junky and they don't fit in with the rest of the car. I hope they fix that in the next refresh

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