2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test - Interior
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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test

Interior

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Love the LATCH Anchors

April 15, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

This is the way to do lower LATCH anchors for installing a baby seat or child's car seat.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Iconic

March 25, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle:

Maybe the typeface would've been too small, or maybe VW designers decided icons were a better call for functions like load, eject and equalizer. It's kinda cool that the stereo's tone controls are indicated by eighth notes, even if it's not obvious at first. I read something about how music producer Daniel Lanois often draws icons on the mixing console to represent the instruments he's recording, instead of simply writing "guitar 1", "guitar 2," etc.

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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.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: A Perfect Fit

March 20, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

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

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Finally, a Use for Those Silly Door Straps

March 14, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

I use door pockets a lot. As I prefer to leave the console compartments and/or cupholders for road snacks (power bars, sliced apples), my key cards and the phone, the door pockets typically hold the wallet, the wet naps and the various papers and brochures that seem to come out of nowhere.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Two Kids in a Coupe

March 11, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

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.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: High-Mounted Controls

February 26, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

High-mounted controls were a Volkswagen staple for a very long time. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, the Golf and Jetta cousins in particular placed the primary audio and HVAC controls within easy reach high up on the dash.

The Mark IV Golf/Jetta changed all this, putting everything down low. This obviously pulled your eyes away from the road, but it reduced the dash's visual mass and created a more expansive view out front. It's a view I enjoyed for seven years in a Jetta VR6.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: The Fender Edition

February 25, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

I am not a fan of wood trim. Actually, I'm not a fan of wood trim in cars not hailing from Great Britain. That being said, there's something about the Beetle Turbo Fender Edition I spotted at the Chicago Auto Show that is very cool.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Top Five Qualities

February 20, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

I've spent a fair amount of time with our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo. I drove it for about two weeks in June of last year and then another extended duration this month. This seat time has allowed me to come up with what I think are our car's top five qualities.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Rear Seat Comfort

February 19, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

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.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Fun To Own

February 15, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

You hear a lot about cars that are "fun to drive." I'd say our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle partially qualifies for that statement, largely because of its turbocharged engine. But unquestionable in my mind is this: it'd be fun to own.

The Beetle provides a sense of flair that you just don't get with many cars these days. Of course, there's the iconic styling that's obviously Beetle but nicely modernized for today's world. But there are little touches, too, including the thin-rimmed steering wheel, the upright windscreen, the double glove boxes and the ability to customize through different wheels and graphics. Drive it and you know you're not in a car that's only about getting from point A to point B.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Slippery Sills

February 13, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Unlike those of the New Beetle (capital N), the door sills in the new Beetle (lowercase n) are not painted the exterior color. I think this is disappointing from a design stand point, but the gloss black sills that seem to be in every Beetle are still a nice bit of flair.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: And Room for Baby

January 16, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

On Saturday I took a visiting friend and her unbelievably cute bebe out for an excursion in our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. I was a little concerned that the baby's seat wouldn't fit in the backseat, especially with the buckets but my friend assured me it would be fine.

And wouldn't you know it, not only did the seat fit but she even had enough room to stand in the backseat footwell while buckling in her tyke. She didn't have much room for her legs in the front passenger seat, though, as her knees ended up grazing the glovebox. But everyone seemed comfortable.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 13,641 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Limited Rear Visibility

January 4, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

It is not easy backing out of a parking spot in the new Volkswagen Beetle. Not only is the C pillar very thick, but the rear head rest is enormous. The latter might be nice for your rare passenger, but not so good when trying to avoid backing into something or someone. A different design would be wise. Also not helping is our Beetle's lack of a rear-view camera. For $28,000 it should have one.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 13,343 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Useless Sunvisor

January 3, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

What's that you say? The sun is beating down on the side of your face in the Volkswagen Beetle? Ah, well, do you drive with your chest imbedded in the steering wheel? No, well, the sunvisors aren't going to be much help I'm afraid. May I suggest one of those thingies horses wear to prevent them from getting spooked?

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 13,343 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Central Coast Road Trip

January 2, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

I've been meaning to drive our long-term Volkswagen Beetle Turbo on a road trip for quite a while. Though I'm not particularly a fan of it around town due to the steering, stiff-legged ride and delayed powertrain responses, I also know that Volkswagens usually come into their own on longer journeys.

With such a longer journey on the docket for the New Years long weekend, I finally got my chance. Very much mimicking our trip in the Mustang last year, Senora Riswick and I would take the 101 up the coast to Atascadero and Paso Robles for a little scenery, a little food and some post-drive wine tasting. Unlike last year, though, we would be detouring over to the Pacific Coast Highway for a visit to Hearst Castle.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Just Enough Room

January 1, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

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

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Midrange Sauce

December 28, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

"You're driving that piece of crap tonight?" asked one of my colleagues.

It wasn't a totally fair assessment, but that's how it goes round here. Through collective experience, we eventually reduce each car in the fleet to snap judgments. It's a sort of Darwinian method of ranking the garage. But, as I told my colleague, I like the Beetle. I don't think it's a piece of crap. Maybe when you throw it hard into corners, rampage on the throttle and try to get it to change directions like an Elise it comes up crappy, but I'm not driving it that hard on my cross-county commutes.

And in theory, our Turbo shouldn't handle as crappily as, say, the base model. Ours has a thicker front sway bar and a multilink rear suspension (base and TDI models get torsion beam rear). But that's not the point of the Beetle anyway. It's simply just a comfortable and stylish set of wheels. Nice interior, nice controls layout. Cool thin-diameter steering wheel. Easy touchscreen media interface. More than that, the turbo 2.0-liter starts unloading its 207 lb-ft of torque from 1,700 rpm.

It's got sauce, plenty in fact for highway overtaking and breaking out from the pack. That part never gets old. And even though it's got shift paddles on the wheel, I find it more fun to push and pull the shifter from the DSG's manual gate.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 12,600 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Cool and Unnecessary

December 26, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

This is really an oversized fuel gauge. You'd have to be a champion dimwit to miss this thing descending toward empty. It's needlessly big, it consumes otherwise useful space in the gauge cluster, it's analog, and personally, I think it's cool as ice. It's a small detail very much in line with some historical notion of Beetle-ness.

That's a convoluted way of saying that the Beetle, for whatever its merits and deficiencies as an automobile, has never lacked style. Some of this style was readily apparent when Beetles came off the line, and some of it we're only now appreciating in retrospect.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ around 11,700 miles.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Drive with Impunity

December 06, 2012

VW Beetle Speedo.jpg
I have a friend who says you can "drive with impunity" as long as you don't exceed the speed limit by more than 10 mph. It's all about even numbers and benchmarks. So if the limit is 70 I'll do 77 mph but never 80 or above. On my way back from Las Vegas I selected the digital speedometer in the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle so I could dial the speed in accurately. Then I set the cruise control.

No speeding tickets.

But while I'm on the subject, I don't like the cruise controls for the VW. On the next page is a picture of what I mean.


Most cars have levers that you nudge up or down to adjust your speed. The Beetle has this silly little switch at the end of the stalk. Also, the on/off switch is finicky and hard to select when you're keeping your eyes on the road.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 11,490 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Just One Question

November 23, 2012

Beetle no ESC button.jpg

Where's the damn ESC-off button? 

On the VW Beetle, even this Turbo model, it's nowhere to be found. In fact, you can't even turn off the traction control. Of course this bothers me, especially for testing purposes when we're running numbers.

But with most VWs we've tested recently, even if they have a "stability control-off" button, the system still isn't fully defeatable anyway. 

So does it really matter? 

Utilizing a response that I usually can't stand: Yes and no.

Yes it's a problem when you exit turns aggressively, because as soon as the front tires spin up at all, the traction control system starts cutting power. This is where a traction control-off button would come in handy.

No, it's not that big of a deal because a) it's a Beetle, it's not like we're talking about a performance machine here, and b) the stability control system has pretty high limits, especially with the new Continental ContiProContact tires we have on it now. You have to be seriously charging hard to get the system to freak out on corner entry.

So while I'm always a little miffed when the stability system can't be defeated...in this case, honestly, not that big of a deal.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 9,772 miles. 

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Don't Ever Change

November 22, 2012

Beetle seatback knob.jpg

This is something that I hope VW keeps doing: The seatback adjuster knob. Meaning, not a lever. Those two levers you're looking at, by the way, are for lumbar and seat height.

But the beauty of a round knob, such as this, is that it's infinitely adjustable, whereas levers usually have set points that they adjust to. And quite often, none of those points are exactly where you want the seatback to be. 

So VW, please don't take away the knob, okay?

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 9,772 miles.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Wheels. All Of Them

November 12, 2012

Beetle steering wheel.jpg

I imagine Volkswagen is trying to be a bit retro with the Beetle's thin-rim steering wheel. 

It's got to be the thinnest of any steering wheel I've used in recent memory. Which is odd at a time when most wheels seem to be getting nicer. And by nicer, I mean thicker and with better quality materials. 

I'm not saying the Beetle's wheel should be as thick as a BMW M wheel (which are always awesome), but retro or not, it would be nice to have a little something more to hold onto than this. Especially since this is the Turbo model. 

As for the Beetle's other wheels

My personal opinion is that these new disc wheels we recently put on the car are pretty hideous. Your opinions may differ. And that's okay.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 9,441 miles.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Buttons

November 08, 2012

beetle_buttons-2.jpg

After 1,881 miles, I feel qualified to reflect on the usability of the steering wheel buttons in our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo. In general, I like having the volume adjustment on the left-hand side of the steering wheel and I used it 95 percent of the time (versus the main volume knob on the head unit).

In general, it was easy to adjust the volume without looking down at the buttons, but it's a little crowded there on the left-hand steering wheel spoke, and twice during my trip when trying to lower the volume, I hit the voice control button below it instead. Both times, I got all befuddled and couldn't immediately figure out how to cancel voice control... saying "cancel" doesn't do it; you've got to hit the button again. But two times over that many miles isn't bad, so this is a pretty good design.

You'll notice the cruise control stalk behind the spoke also looks a little crowded, especially since it's a combo stalk that also controls the turn signals. But, it, too, was straightforward to use. I didn't find the toggle button on the end of the stalk that helpful for fine-tuning the set speed, though, so I'd usually end up cancelling cruise and resetting the speed with my right foot.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,121 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Instead of a Door Bin

November 07, 2012

beetle_door-band.jpg

I was skeptical about the real-world utility of the "door bins" in our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo before my New Mexico road trip.

They're not bins at all, but relatively shallow and narrow trays with a wide elastic/spandexy strap to hold stuff in. During 1,800+ miles, I only found a couple uses for them: (1) They're good for holding folded pieces of paper -- maps, printed trip itineraries, stuff like that. (2) They're good for holding my pump-style bottle of hand sanitizer*, which I can then dispense into my hand without removing it from the "bin."

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,121 miles

*Am I a germ freak? Absolutely. And on a long road trip, this stuff is a sanity saver when you're repeatedly pumping gas and visiting rest stops that don't provide soap.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Board Game

October 18, 2012

2012_volkswagen_beetle_int_lt_502123_717.jpg
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

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Thunk King

September 17, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

If you were shopping for a car in the old days -- when you just walked onto the car lot without a plan, drawn by a glimpse of the latest shiny vehicular object -- a sales guy would at some point open the door of the car that had ensorcelled you and then slam it shut. The sound was meant to tell you that this was a solid, well-made vehicle that you should buy forthwith.

Our Beetle has those very doors. They close with a thunk, not a plink. And you (OK, I) have to use a little muscle to push them open. They're a manifestation of the Beetle's transformation from girly car to manmobile.

Do you test the sound of the metal when you're car shopping? Or is that as old-fashioned as tire-kicking?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @5,685 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Flat Wheels

September 6, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Flat-bottomed steering wheels are like profanity to me. Used in the right setting, it's poignantly perfect. In the wrong setting, well, it's just plain stupid.

Volkswagen and Audi seem to be the worst offenders when it comes to flat-bottomed wheels. At least for me, the whole purpose of flattening the wheel is to permit enough room for a racer's thighs. Did you catch that? A racer. As in, a racer in a race car.

Most race cars have quick steering ratios that never require a racer to turn the wheel much past 90 degrees in either direction. Go past that point, as you regularly do in a road car, and that flat bottom interrupts the normal flow of rotation.

On the bright side, I am quite a fan of the function and feel of Audi/VW wheels. But let's leave the flatness to race cars, mmkay? Plus, in keeping with the retro styling of the Beetle, a round wheel seems more appropriate, wouldn't you agree?

Mark Takahashi, Automotive Editor @ 5,175 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Seat Fabric

August 17, 2012

beetle_fabric_1600.jpg

Although I think it looks good, I'm not a big fan of our Beetle's seat fabric. It's wooly-scratchy, and everything sticks to it.

I'd prefer a smooth microfiber instead.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Redline-ish

August 10, 2012

vw_beetle_redline.jpg

Here is the tachometer in the 2012 VW Beetle. It features a fading redline. It's not very specific. So, what exactly is the redline in the Beetle?

The answer: 6,500

Artsy or Annoying?

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Poltergeist Protection?

August 04, 2012

PinchProtect.jpg

I'm experiencing an intermittent auto-up window pinch-protection malfunction. Occasionally, it believes there's something impeding the window and backs it off. The trouble with this is that after two tries, it then locks out auto-up/down and it will only motor the window either way with the partial pull/push on the button. Luckily, shutting the car off resets the system. I checked the window track for any crud, and there is none. Does anybody else have this problem?

There's a video after the jump if this doesn't make sense to you...

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: My What a Big Fuel Gauge You Have

August 02, 2012

vw-bug-ip1.jpg

Yes, that's the first thing that struck me when I got in our Beetle for the first time. No idea why really, it's just huge. Big as the tach in fact, not sure I've ever seen that before.

That oddity aside, I was reminded how awesome VW's 2.0-liter turbo engine is once again. We had essentially the same engine in our Audi A4 Avant awhile back and it was great in that car, too. Not much has changed. It's smooth, has plenty of power and doesn't sound half bad for a four-cylinder. The mileage figures haven't been great overall, but that should improve as the mileage piles up. Too bad the new Passat doesn't offer the same engine, that would be a nice combo.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: What's Missing

August 02, 2012

vw_beetle_blanks.jpg

Apparently our longterm 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is missing a few features. At least four, by my count of the blanking plates on its center console. These things drive some people crazy, but I don't really mind them.

What's your take on them -- constant reminder of options gone un-ticked, laziness on behalf of the manufacturer, or don't care one way or the other?

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Airspace

August 01, 2012

vw_beetle_sunshade.jpg

I share Mr. Roman's viewpoint regarding our longterm 2012 Volkswagen Beetle's sunroof shade, and probably a more vociferous one regarding such sillyroofs in general.

But at least one of their downsides is a non-issue as installed in this Beetle.

And that is there is just a ridiculous amount of headroom in this car. Even with the dumbroof taking up precious inches, I -- a six-foot, one-inch guy that's all torso -- have inches of empty space above (and perhaps in) my head. Vast headroom seems to be a VW thing, as I recall our GTI having a similarly tall-dude-friendly nature.

That's one less thing to gripe about with these unnecessary affectations. Now if they could just do something about the added mass at the worst possible location, the negligee-like sunray-blocking ability, the general uselessness, the way it degrades chassis stiffness...

Jason Kavanagh, Engineering Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Manual Lights

July 26, 2012

vw_beetle_lights_1.jpg

Oh no, I had to turn the lights on and off in the 2012 VW Beetle by hand!

But seriously, our Beetle has this very simple dial that turns the lights on and off. And when you forget and try to exit the car with the lights still on, it plays a steady musical note, just like in cars from the 1990s. In this modern world of automatic lights, it is very easy to forget, so the chime is appreciated.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 3,888 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Door Bondage

July 23, 2012

vw beetle door.jpg

Our Beetle comes with a rather stern-looking strap that can be used to keep items securely placed in its shallow door bin. It's broad and black and clearly means business.

Each Edmunds long-term test car gets a logbook that allows us to record and monitor fuel economy, and the strap keeps the Beetle's logbook firmly in its place. The strap is also tight enough to keep wider items -- like a water bottle -- held in a close embrace.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor @ 3,803 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Throw Me a Curve

July 12, 2012

vw_beetle_badge.jpg

I like a car that feels confident going round a curve. For me the joy of driving comes in the twisties.

I'm very pleased when I drive our 2012 Beetle. It can really handle a bend in the road. Its low and wide stance keep it stable. Its Independent MacPherson struts and rear independent 4-link suspension help her stand up even in the tightest turns.

Combine that with a turbocharged 200-horsepower engine and 207 lb-ft of torque at only 1,700 rpm and you're laughing.

I know many people don't like the flat-bottom steering wheel but I think it adds to my enjoyment. And you can still get a Beetle with a manual transmission.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: A Most Manly Color

July 10, 2012

vw beetle red.jpg

Red. I'd never considered it a particularly soothing color choice as far as cabin illumination is concerned, but for some reason, within our Beetle's interior, it comes across as being very easy on the eyes when the sun goes down.

When combined with our car's all-black interior color scheme, the red illumination also makes the VW's cockpit feel very masculine. And I guess that's the point. The Beetle has long been popular with the ladies, but with this redesign, VW's aim was to get more guys behind the wheel.

The bold red lighting nicely supports the car's tougher, less cutesy sheet metal. It all comes together to give this Beetle an assertiveness that should work well to broaden its audience.

Warren Clarke, Automotive Content Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Fender Flair

July 09, 2012

FenderVW_Screen.jpg

I was a little skeptical about Fender supplying (or at least lending their name) premium audio in Volkswagen vehicles. After all, they're not known for audiophile-grade components, they're known for kickass guitars and helping to push rock n' roll to new heights.

After a little listening session, though, I can say it's a pretty decent system.

It's not going to knock your socks off or really make anyone say, "wow, this sounds amazing," but it certainly won't cause much regret having it bundled with the sunroof and navigation package. It produces moderately clear highs and a decent punch down low. Really, the only detractor to the system doesn't have to do with the system at all. It's the amount of road noise that intrudes into the cabin.

But what I find really impressive is the special edition Fender Beetle that comes with the brown sunburst Stratocaster dash trim. That. Is. Awesome.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: I Like It, But It Doesn't Really Suit My Lifestyle

July 05, 2012

beetle_jetta.jpg

I enjoy driving our long-term Beetle. Highlights for me include the heritage-based exterior styling, the quick acceleration from the turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, the distinctive interior design and the expansive amount of customization available. It's a cheerful small car.

However, as I'm a parent with two young children, it probably won't come as a surprise to hear me say that our long-term Beetle doesn't really fit my lifestyle.

By this I mean on a theoretical daily use and practicality standpoint. Mostly, it comes down to the hassle of dealing with kid shuttling duty (lugging my one-year-old in and out of his rear-facing safety seat was particularly not fun) and the Beetle's petite luggage area.

For me, I'd end up getting a four-door GTI or a GLI if I were buying off a VW lot. I'd lose a lot of personality, but that's the trade-off. Still, I think it's cool VW decided to keep going with the (new) Beetle, as it puts most of the Golf and Jetta's appealing qualities into a much more stylish package for those who want it.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @3,210 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: The Sunroof Screen

July 02, 2012

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If you ordered your car with a sunroof, you probably like the idea of seeing the sun. And in that case, the Beetle's sunroof shade will appeal to you. Like some other long-term cars we've had over the years, it has a screen-style shades for the sunroof. Even when closed, you can still see that there's a big shining light up there.

Personally, I'm not fond of this style of shade. If I'm closing it, it's because I don't want to have the sun showing in the cabin -- at all. I much prefer a solid shade. But as screen shades go, the Beetle's shade does a decent job of reducing light. We've certainly encountered worse.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor @ 2,771 miles

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2012 VW Beetle: Great Steering Wheel

June 20, 2012

VW Beetle Wheel in action.jpg

Volkswagen Group knows how to make a steering wheel. The one in our Beetle is just another example of this knack. The wheel looks vaguely retro inspired, and its rather thin rim speaks to that. However, that rim is also sculpted so that when you turn it shuffle-style, it's contoured to fit your hand. The spokes at 3 and 9 are indented to fit the meaty base of your thumb. The flat-bottomed wheel, while a drawback to some, is a boon to those with long legs. You know, those like me.

So, kudos to the wheel. Pity about the steering it's connected to.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,338 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Mood Light Options

May 30, 2012

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Most people don't care about mood lighting in a car but I like it. It's silly, fun and I like having options. In our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, the mood lighting switch is located to the left of the steering wheel and it's paired with the dimmer so you can go as conservative or crazy as you want.

Now, if you have more moods than angry, sad and calm, you're out of luck as there are only three color options (red, blue, white) to match the door panels and door speakers to your mood (or outfit). And if you want no part of it, there's always the shut-off option.

Personally I like the red lighting the best.

Now, prepare to have your mind blown. Heh.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Still Fun Doing the Mundane

May 29, 2012

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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

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Hello, Back There

May 22, 2012

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I really have to reach far back to grab the driver's seat belt in the VW Beetle. It's way in the back. If my legs were longer and my seat back farther, yes it would be somewhat closer. But it would still be really far back there.

I mean I'm short, but I'm not Tyrion Lannister short.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Wolfsburg Panzer

May 15, 2012

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An amazing transformation of the Volkswagen Beetle. A stretched nose and a chopped turret-style top have made this into a big serious car instead of a small cheerful one.

With this car's glossy black paint, dark windows, zippy wheels and an interior overlaid with chrome accents and faux carbon-fiber trim, this is the most thoroughly stylized car in the Volkswagen portfolio, a kind of Wolfsburg panzer.

Assuming of course that a Beetle made into a panzer is what you want.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 727 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: The Dash Manned Up

May 10, 2012

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There's lots of talk about the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle being all butched up with its sportier exterior. But the real indication that it's not meant to be a chick car anymore? No flower vase for your Gerbera daisy. Instead you get this built-in tray on the dash for storing your manly smartphone, Costanza wallet and other manly paraphernalia. In all honesty though, I'm really digging the dash layout of this Beetle compared to, say, the 2006 New Beetle we tested.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Interior Video Tour

May 10, 2012

Take a look inside our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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