March 22, 2013
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.
March 20, 2013
I've never trusted those shallow dashboard storage bins. Even despite the tacky rubber liners, I feel I'll wind up wearing whatever I put in there. But Apple fans will be pleased to know that the new iPad Mini fits in there snugly. How appropriate that the famously elegant Apple is on the same wavelength as the newly redesigned Beetle.
Philip Reed, Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 15,950 miles
March 11, 2013
Even though our time with the VW Beetle's is nearing its end, I hadn't driven it yet. I wanted to live with it for a couple of days to see how it compares to my daily driver, a 10-year-old Civic coupe. I like the looks of the Beetle and have wondered if it belonged on my consideration list for our next family car. Yeah, I said "family car."
While we have a more kid-friendly compact crossover for the majority of our child-ferrying needs, I have to drop off or pick up both of my kids (a lightweight 7-year-old and a middleweight 2-year-old) at their respective schools in the coupe on occasion.
February 19, 2013
If you're buying a small coupe such as the Volkswagen Beetle, chances are you're not overly concerned about rear seat space. But having sat in the back of our 2012 long-term Beetle, I can say it's actually a decent place to be.
A severe lack of rear headroom was a major fault of the old "New Beetle." But here with the new generation car you have a much more usable amount of headroom for adults. I'm 5-foot 10-inches tall and my head is still about 1 inch below the Beetle's headliner when I'm sitting in back. There's also enough room for my legs and feet if the driver seat is positioned for me. The rear seat also has decent contouring to it, furthering comfort.
January 1, 2013
There's just enough room in the backseat. And even then, only for short folk. I volunteered to do some Christmas Day shuttling up to a family gathering. Three adults and the Kid in a booster seat in the rear seat. We all fit, but only because none of us are taller than 5'9". Any taller in the backseat and you might be pushing it. The Beetle is definitely no Golf behind the front seats.
A couple of days before, I drove a buddy to the airport. He's six foot, and with his passenger seat slid back to a comfortable position, only the thinnest legs could have tolerated much distance back there.
"I thought you said they redesigned this with dudes in mind," he said. Good point. VW certainly wanted more masculine appeal on the outside. But inside, you're still looking at a car suited more for a quartet of smaller ladies out on the road and up to no good.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 12,600 miles
November 16, 2012
The other day I couldn't figure out why the Beetle's air conditioning seemed so underpowered. I mean, I'm turning it up to 3 and yet I was still hardly getting any cool air on my face.
Could the system really be that weak?
Nope. It just took me awhile to realize that the vent was scrolling back skyward after I'd position it directly at me. So it was blowing the air over my head.
It's annoying, but not the end of the world because there's another vent on the left side of the dash. We should get it looked at next time the car goes in for service.
I guess I notice the lack of air more than others on staff because I like it nice and cool inside.
Maybe I should be living somewhere like Alaska and not California...
Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 9,711 miles.
November 05, 2012
Full disclosure: I've almost gotten to the point of disqualifying myself from evaluating seat comfort. Advancing age and dwindling time in the weightroom have left my glutes incapable of withstanding far too many average-quality driver seats -- without complaint, that is -- on typical 3-to-4-hour drives.
Over a period of 62 hours, I logged nearly 30 hours in the Beetle's driver seat (plus another 4 hours in the car I drove while in Santa Fe). Aside from the fairly generous bolsters on the seat-back cushion, the base cloth seat doesn't look particularly special. But the seat-bottom cushion is long enough to provide good thigh support, and the cushioning is firm enough that I could go 6-8 hours before I'd get all whiny. And even then, since I was alone in the car, nobody had to listen to me.
Based on this experience, I give the Beetle's driver seat a passing mark. If you're shopping for a small car, and seat comfort is a priority for you, and you're too late to get a Volvo C30, the new-new Beetle is worth considering.
Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,112 miles
October 18, 2012
The Volkswagen Beetle's seats seemed just fine to me until I spent a few days in our 2013 Subaru BRZ Limited. The BRZ's sports seats are firm and extremely comfortable, with excellent lumbar support and some serious bolsters.
By contrast, the Beetle's seats now feel flat and as hard as a board. As you can see, there's a curve in the lumbar vicinity, but it's so slight that it might as well not be there.
I know the BRZ's seats are designed to support spirited driving, but I wouldn't mind having a little more of that feeling the more mild-mannered Beetle.
Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @6,394 miles
May 29, 2012
I didn't really get to do anything fun with our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle considering it was a long, glorious holiday weekend. No beachside cruising or mountain touring. But even then, for just driving through holiday traffic and running errands around town, I enjoyed my stint behind its wheel.
Lots of smooth power, zippy handling and it makes me smile whenever I walk up to it sitting there waiting for me. It's a great motivator for getting off the couch. "Sure, I'll go and grab you a sandwich, friendo." "You want to meet clear across the other side of town for brunch? OK!"
And since it was an especially hot one this weekend, I really appreciated how efficiently the climate controls cooled down the cabin. Sure, the sunroof has an interior sliding cover made out of mesh but even with sunlight shining through that didn't seem to heat up the cabin too much.
So far I like this car a lot.
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 1,689 miles
May 21, 2012
I'd always been reluctant to drive a VW Beetle, mostly because of its previous incarnation with bud vase. I had a neighbor who decorated her red one with black dots to make it look like a lady bug. Yes, really. Cringe.
But the new manned-up Beetle is fun. Guys dig it. I see them looking. And I've had a few ask me about it.
It has a spunky turbo engine, makes a pleasing sound, has a comfortable interior, solid steering and feels secure through turns. I like a car that can handle a curve. And it's in an accessible price range.
Have you driven the new 2012 Beetle?
Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor