2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test

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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: Down in Brown

April 5, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Unlike matte black, brown is a color that any car can pull off. (By the way, a murdered-out Prius is a sure sign the trend has jumped the shark so give it up, people.)

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Protecting the Trunk

March 29, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

I wanted to replace the winter wreath on my front door with a new bright spring one. It's artificial so it has a fighting chance.

But as usual when I go to Armstrong, I get captivated by all the pretty flowers. I ended up coming home with a hanging basket and three pots of spectacular blooms.

Now, if you're a long-time reader of our long-term updates, you know that I don't have any luck with green things and probably shouldn't be anywhere near them. But it's been three days so far and I'm happy to report all the pretty flowers are still alive.

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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: I want TDI, not TSI

March 12, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Variety is one of the better aspects of the current generation Volkswagen Beetle. You can order it as a coupe or convertible. Next you have the choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter five-cylinder, a 2.0-liter Turbo like our long-term car, and a 2.0-liter Turbo Diesel. If it were my money, I'd choose the Beetle TDI. Here's why.

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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: 15,000 Miles Cleared

February 27, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

While motoring along California's I-5 and up and over the Tejon Pass (near Frazier Park) our Beetle hit 15,000 miles. That puts us three-quarters of the way toward our typical goal of 20,000 miles.

Other than doing routine maintenance, we've only had one issue with the car so far: the failed auto-window operation, which was fixed under warranty.

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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: The Nostalgia Is Still There

February 22, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

A few days ago my mother-in-law came to visit. I had to run some errands, so I took her along in Edmunds' long-term Volkswagen Beetle. She was pretty excited about it and even made a joke about whether we'd have enough room under the "hood" for the stuff we were picking up. Apparently, she and my father-in-law owned an original Beetle back in the early 1970s. Of our car, she said it's still cute and that it certainly rides a lot better than she remembered her old Bug.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Typically Costs More Than The Competition

February 21, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

As you can see from the photo, our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo had an MSRP (before destination and a couple option adjustments) of $27,495. I don't think that's an unreasonable price given what you get from the car. But I will say for price-sensitive shoppers, it could be an issue.

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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: Special Editions

February 12, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Is the regular Volkswagen Beetle too boring? Well, VW's has a couple of special editions that will likely catch your eye. Already out is the 2013 Fender Edition. Now VW has announced it will also offer a special Beetle GSR for 2014.

The Fender builds on the theme presented by the car's optional Fender-branded sound system. Here you get a specially colored dash panel that's been inspired by the look of Fender's iconic guitars and, yes, some special Fender badges. Hey, Jimi Hendrix used one, right?

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Re-upping

February 6, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Among the modern new car features that I can't live without, satellite radio ranks high on the list. I love all kinds of music and hate commercials and yammering, self-absorbed DJs, so satellite radio is up there with heated seats and Bluetooth in my book. Such is my disdain for standard radio that when I drive my personal car ('98 Mustang Cobra) the stock system is usually rocking a CD (remember those?)

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2012 VW Beetle: Not Girly Anymore

January 24, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

In the 1960s and '70s people who drove VW Beetles were generally too stoned to care that they were driving one of the very worst cars on the planet. Yes, they were durable and cheap to fix. And a good Bug beat walking. But that's about the nicest thing I can say about the original Beetle. Although building a Baja Bug and doing the 1000 old school is appealing.

Then we got the New Beetle back in the '90s and VW created the ultimate girlymobile. Driving one wasn't an unpleasant experience, but it was the automotive equivalent of a mani pedi.

And now we have the new New Beetle, which is a different animal all together. Not only is it a great drive, it no longer comes standard with an honorary membership to a sorority of your choice. VW has manned it up. Not a ton, but just enough.

Our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is a butch as they come with its black paint and turbo engine, and I like driving it. But more importantly I don't emerge from the car with an unexplainable desire to watch the Lifetime channel and follow Ryan Seacrest on Twitter.

The VW Beetle isn't girly anymore. Mostly.

Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 13,994 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Frost Warning

January 17, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

If you don't live in Southern California but have friends who do, you no doubt have had your Facebook newsfeed bombarded by status updates complaining about how collllld it is here lately. East Coasters may make fun of us for not being able to handle anything below 70 degrees but here's photographic proof that it is unusually chilly here.

Driving home in our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle last night, I heard a gentle warning chime. Immediately I looked at the dash for any warning lights. The temperature gauge was flashing and the "39F" had a little snowflake next to it. Don't know if Hollywood was in any danger of frost but it was good to know that even the Beetle thought it was too cold out.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor @ 13,687 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: November Auto Sales

December 04, 2012

beetle-action_1600.jpgThe cars have been counted, and November sales at Volkswagen rose 29 percent.

"Significantly, the brand is now more than 100,000 units ahead of where we were this time last year," said Jonathan Browning, Volkswagen Group of America CEO, in a statement.

Click here to see how other automakers fared last month.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Little Changes, Big Difference

December 03, 2012

VW Rear.jpg
The looks of the earlier Beetle left me cold. Now, I love the way the 2012 Beetle looks – and I can't say exactly why. I'm amazed at how the effect is so different by redrawing a few lines.
I thought that taking this picture would help me understand what the designers did that changed it so much. But at least in this picture, the differences don't seem dramatic.

So I took a second picture from the front and the differences are more apparent.

The elongated hood and the lowered roofline are pretty clear in this picture.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Consumer Advice Editor @ 12,333 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Big Time Nostalgia

December 01, 2012

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I've owned two bugs and a bus so I'm a sucker for the way VW keeps harking back to earlier decades. I liked those decades. And I liked those cars too, maybe because I could work on them with a screwdriver and a pair of pliers. 

All this nostalgia is hitting me because I saw this 2013 Beetle Convertible at the Los Angeles Auto Show. And now I'm lucky enough to be driving our 2012 long termer for a road trip for the next few days. 

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @12,260 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Eco-cool

November 25, 2012

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So we're leaving this fancy place in Yountville that is the Disneyland Hotel of the Napa wine country, the happiest place on earth for people that like hanging around wineries.

And the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo is looking like it belongs here, especially with its newly installed retro-style wheels.

As it turns out, the Beetle expresses all the reasons that people come to the Bardessono. It has the sound, restrained values for which plenty of people are looking, yet it's done with the style and personality that you'd find in Porsche, not a transportation pod.

It's easy look a bit sideways at a hotel like this, which grows its own vegetables, gives you carbon-fiber bicycles to ride, and cleans and recycles its water, but these are all really good things. And it makes sense to build a car for the slice of the automotive market that might like transportation with the same kind of personality.

I sometimes get the feeling that there are people who would really like to make the Beetle a kind of hot hatch. But that's the mission statement of the GTI and the Golf R, and the Beetle doesn't really measure up, even with a turbocharged engine.

Instead maybe we should think of the Beetle as a carbon-fiber bicycle. It can be trick and it can go fast, but it should always remember that it's a bicycle at heart.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 10,426 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: 10,000 Miles

November 21, 2012

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So I'm headed to Northern California and it's clear that 10,000 miles is going to come up on the odometer pretty soon.  As a matter of fact, I'm on Interstate 405 in the middle of the San Fernando Valley when it's apparent that the magic number is about to appear.

So I'm thinking about where to pose the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo -- someplace that would be interesting. But of course I'm in the middle of the San Fernando Valley, so there is a desperate shortage of interesting places. 

But it comes to me that I'm surprisingly close to Ed Pink Racing Engines in glorious Panorama City. And sure enough, I pull off the freeway and onto Sepulveda Boulevard (the longest street in L.A., which runs from one side of the county to the other), and sure enough enough the odometer turned over practically at the front door.

This was the center of the drag racing universe in the 1960s when Ed Pink tuned the Mopar engines for Don Prudhomme and Shirley Muldowney. The big GM plant that built Camaros was about three miles away, while nearby Galpin Ford sold Mustangs to everyone who didn't work for GM.

Ed Pink even has a link to Porsche, as Jim Busby -- a former dragracer turned Porsche 935 driver -- turned to Pink to build his Porsche engines. Later the shop built engines for Porsche 962s as well.

So there's a little something going on with the idea of posing the Beetle Turbo next to this engine shop next to the railroad tracks in an obscure part of Los Angeles. the picture isn't so great, but at least you can't see the strip club that's on the other side of the property.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor, Edmunds.com @ 10,000 miles     

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: New Recall

November 20, 2012

2012_volkswagen_beetle_f34_lt_5021212_1600.jpg A new recall was announced today for the 2012-'13 VW Beetle. 

Seems some cars might not be able to recognize if a child safety seat is installed in the front passenger seat, and therefore won't disable the airbag, leaving the child at risk of an airbag impact.

As the early report says cars with leather seats are especially susceptible to the issue, it's unlikely our Turbo is included.

Read the full recall story here.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Wheels, Part II

November 14, 2012

Beetle beauty wheels.jpg

So the other day I might have mentioned that I wasn't a big fan of our swap to the disc wheels on our long-term Beetle Turbo. I might have even called them hideous, but I can't recall.

Yesterday we took the Beetle back to the track to re-test it with its new wheels and Continental ContiProContact tires (numbers coming soon).

While checking to make sure all the lug nuts were tight, we had to take off those disc hubcaps.

Here's what we found: 

Hello, there's your good-looking wheels, hoss!

Can't tell you how close we were to NOT putting those things back on.

Mike Monticello, Road Test Editor @ 9,664 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: Never Enough Time on Road Trips

November 02, 2012

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My one frustration with long road trips is that I never have enough time to go everywhere I want. I left Santa Fe around 2 on Tuesday afternoon, and after stopping for tamales in Albuquerque, and then, ice to keep the tamales fresh all the way back to California, I didn't make it to Petrified Forest National Park before nightfall. Darn. When will I get to come back here and see this natural wonder... next year, five years from now?

But I had to press on, as my plan was to stay overnight in Flagstaff. And thank you, deagle13 for suggesting Black Bart's. I would never have noticed this restaurant, because it's in an RV park as you say, but the food is good and the casual dinner theater vibe, complete with a pianist and a wait staff singing Broadway tunes, is just cool. Some of the waiters must be music majors, as they sound like they could belt out an opera.

And the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo is better than I expected. Not that I thought it would be not good for road trip, but I'd gotten into the habit of seeing it as a stylized, less practical version of the GTI in my personal driveway. But there's more to this package to that, and if I didn't need the GTI's rear legroom, I could see myself wanting a Beetle for general commuting and road-tripping.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 8,784 miles

P.S. The pork tamales from El Modelo in Albuquerque survived the trip and rank among the tastiest tamales I've ever eaten. The Sportage pulled up while I was taking the photo, and the driver told me the Beetle looked cool.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Super Beetle Mania at SEMA

October 30, 2012

super_beetle_1600.jpgThere's a 500-horsepower 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo on the floor at the 2012 SEMA Show. I'm guessing it would beat the pants off of our car.

Formally named the VWvortex Super Beetle Project, the one-off show car honors the approaching 75th anniversary of the Beetle.

Read more about the Super Beetle, and all of our SEMA show coverage, here.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: New Wheels

October 29, 2012

2012_Volkswagen_Beetle_Turbo_tires_new_floor.jpg 

Scott wasn't a big fan of the so-called "Twister" 18-inch wheels that came on our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo. A few others in the office have been luke warm on them, too.

They're supposed to resemble the Porsche 914 5-lug wheel conversion that was popular back in the day on early Beetles, but with their extra long spokes and flat profile you have to squint real hard to see them that way.

So we asked VW if we could try out a set of the 18-inch "Disc" wheels shown above, which have a more obvious -- by still stylized -- vintage look. That old-school chrome disc is in reality an oversized plastic center cap that snaps onto 8-spoke alloy wheels. The wheels come on the Beetle 2.5SL, but only when you get the loaded version with the "Sunroof, Sound and Navigation" package.

We didn't want to go all the way to the more accurate vintage look of the "Heritage" wheels, though, because our plan was to swap the Turbo's P235/45R18 tires straight across onto the new wheels, and the Heritage wheels measure just 17-inches in diameter.  

When the wheels arrived, however, we discovered they came with new TPMS sensors and tires already mounted and balanced. This is going to be a very simple swap indeed.

The new rubber is the same size (P235/45R18), has the same load & speed rating (94H) and is still rated for all-season duty. But these wheels came with Continental ContiProContact all-season tires instead of the Hankook Optimo H426 tires we had before. Apparently this is a second OE fitment in the same size, a common practice employed by carmakers to guard against natural disasters or strikes at tire supplier plants. 

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 6,766 miles 

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Road Trip to Santa Fe

October 27, 2012

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Tomorrow our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo and I will set out for Santa Fe, New Mexico. It's a work-related adventure, so I'll leave in the wee hours of the morning with the goal of making a meeting scheduled for dinnertime. That's 860 miles, give or take, plus a switch to Mountain Time.

The drive back to Southern California will be slightly more relaxed, so I'm taking suggestions for cool roads or restaurants to try along the route. Or, more to the point of this entry, if you have specific questions about what it's like to road-trip a Beetle, post those here and I'll try to field them all.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 6,760 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Mystery Spot

October 26, 2012

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Noticed this mysterious worn spot on our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle's passenger side door handle. An odd place for it considering it's not an area that naturally falls under one's hand when opening the door. I have to go out of my way to put my thumb there when grabbing the handle. The paint is worn down and it doesn't look like a scuff mark. Any theories as to what could have caused this? Editors with sandpaper thumbs?

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Drop-top Preview

October 8, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

As we've reported, Volkswagen will be formally unveiling the 2013 Beetle convertible at the upcoming L.A. Auto Show. But if you can't wait until then, Vee Dub has released official photos of the new Beetle drop top. Unlike with previous versions, the new convertible will be available with any of the coupe's engines, including the 200-horsepower turbo gas, the 41 highway mpg turbodiesel (TDI) and the base inline five. 

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor 

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Knock Knock

October 1, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Who's there?

Orange.

Orange who?

Orange you glad we didn't put eyelashes on our Beetle.

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Aura Argument

September 14, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

The flight from San Francisco was supposed to land at 8:30 last night. Then it was 9:20, 9:30 and finally, 9:55. I had timed my arrival at LAX for my passenger pick-up as closely as I could to match the delays, but I still had to do the ritual once-around. Traffic teemed, made that much worse by a terminal construction project.

The Beetle is a maneuverable little critter, which helps in situations like this. But I also think that people cut it slack that they don't extend to other marques. The car radiates humility and kindness, and while the parting of traffic waters fell short of biblical proportions, I got more breaks than I would have had in a BMW (for example). Either that, or those turn-signal thingies really do work.

Do you accord certain brands more courtesy than others? And is it the car -- or the driver?


Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @5,496 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: The Sedan Version

September 5, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

I was driving the 2012 VW GLI this weekend and although it was previously just the sedan version of the GTI, that isn't the case any longer. Just as the Jetta moved away from the Golf, so too the GLI. The dash may be padded, but the rest of the interior has the Jetta's cheaper, harder plastics (especially on the doors) along with missing extras like the adjustable front armrest and rear air vents.

So what does this have to do with der Beetle besides the common badge? Well, I thought the GLI felt more like our Beetle Turbo to drive than the GTI. This is especially true of the steering, as both have a big old numb spot on center and an equally Novocaine-tastic turn-in response. In my recollection, the GTI just feels sharper. The infuriating throttle response when DSG is in Drive is the same too, along with the odd off-throttle slowing and hyper downshifts in Sport. Using the paddles is a must. (To be fair, I haven't sampled the GTI with DSG so I can only imagine that aspect is the same).

When I checked our testing numbers of the three cars, guess what? Equipped with the same tires, the GTI circled the skidpad with more grip (.90 vs .84) and went through the slalom 1 mph quicker. Our Beetle Turbo (with different tires) had the same skidpad number and was 2 mph slower. Acceleration is essentially the same across the board even with the GTI in question featuring the manual.

James Riswick, Automotive Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Make Mine a Manual

September 4, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

After a long weekend of driving our Beetle around town and on the freeway, it's clear that there a lot of things to like about it. It feels solid, capable and practical without losing its sense of fun. It handles well, and the turbo gives it a nice pop. It cools off nicely on hot days. Its hatch is big enough for everyday hauling. It makes the boys look twice, which is a nice perk.

What I miss is a manual transmission. I know that we've got the DSG automated manual transmission and those tinier-than-a-bee's-wing paddle shifters. But in my mind, it's not a proper Beetle without a real manual transmission and a clutch pedal.

If I were buying this car, I'd go for the 2.0T Turbo model with the six-speed manual transmission. The sunroof/sound package is nice -- I'd keep that. I'd give serious consideration to the Plantinum Gray Metal color you see above. But honestly, the black lends the Beetle even more machismo to the redesign. "It's a Stink Bug," a friend said this weekend. She's right, and so black remains my first choice.


Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @5,101 miles 

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Cousins Concourse

September 3, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

There's a 2009 Porsche 911 in our house, but with divergent work schedules, it hadn't met its Volkswagen Beetle cousin. We got them together for a tete a tete yesterday. See any family resemblance?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @ 5,071 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Appeals to Everyone

August 27, 2012

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I enjoy driving our VW Beetle Turbo very much. I like its size, the way it handles, its peppy engine, the new look, the price.

The other day, I was talking to one of my neighbors about it. He is thinking of downsizing from his SUV into the new Beetle. He called it the Bug.

The Beetle/Bug has been around for a long time appealing to many generations. What other car has a road trip game about it? Punch Buggy black!

Donna DeRosa, Managing Editor @ 4,876 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: "It's Ugly, but It Gets You There"

August 27, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Back in 1969, Volkswagen ran a print ad with the tag line, "It's Ugly, but It Gets You There." However, instead of displaying an image of its Volkswagen Beetle it featured the U.S. Lunar Module, the first of many lunar excursion modules to land on the Moon. Clever considering the ad used one of the greatest feats in human history and one of the most watched events -- Astronaut Neil Armstrong walking on the moon!! -- to catch consumers' eyes but also came across as so honest as at that time Volkswagens were considered eyesores.

But looking at our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle AND the Mars Rover Curiosity, that tag line wouldn't work as well today. Talk about gorgeous machines. We've certainly come a lonnng way.

Here's to risk takers and adventurers constantly taking us outside our comfort zone. RIP Neil Armstrong.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Cruising With the Sharks

August 21, 2012

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A VW Beetle, of sorts, recently guest starred on the Discovery channel's Shark Week. After fashioning a skeletal Beetle, the lads took it underwater and played chicken with the sharks. Not recommended. The amphibious bug might look like a diving cage, but the large roof and windshield openings look big enough for "Jaws" and his mates to grab a quick snack if the mood strikes.

Still, this is an impressive feat of engineering, and some of the details (such as having headlights/taillights and the "floating" VW emblems) are clever too. Of course, I'd still rather have Bond's submersible Lotus Esprit -- it looks cooler, packs missiles and wouldn't require a dive suit...

John DiPietro, Automotive Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Dash Art

August 16, 2012

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I came back from the ATM to find my kid using the VW Beetle's passenger side dash as an easel of sorts for the waxy Wikki Stix she got from a restaurant.

Normally, I would've been ticked at her gumption, but something about the little display seemed almost appropriate in the Beetle.

Lucky for her, it cleaned up easily with this photo as the only remaining evidence.

Kelly Toepke, News Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: I'm Just Not a Beetle Guy

August 07, 2012

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The title says it all. Beetles of any vintage never did anything for me. Maybe they're too "cute" or quirky for my tastes. What I do like, however, are Karman Ghias. Perhaps this has to do with me being a Get Smart fan as a kid, but really, I've always been drawn to that particular design. So have you guessed where I'm headed with this? Click through to see.

I put this together in a bit of a rush, so it's not quite up to my standards. That said, I think it gets my point across. If I had a whole day to fiddle with this, I'm sure I'd be a lot happier (on a lot of levels).

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: The Schmoo Collector

August 06, 2012

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Besides being a very reflective badge on the front of the Beetle Turbo, it also has an uncanny ability to collect all manner of grime and debris: Bugs, what looks like paper towel bits, and wax/polish that hides in the nooks and crannies. I'm certain this has been a nagging problem since the people's car was introduced, so what's the solution?

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 4,169 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Kumbaya!

August 03, 2012

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Spotted another Beetle... and it had a tail light out... Does that count as a Padiddle? Does anybody know what I'm talking about? Padiddle?

Chief Road Test Editor, Chris Walton @ 3,943 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Tween Dream

July 10, 2012

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When she was seven-years-old, my daughter informed me that she'd be driving a green VW New Beetle when she turned 16. I didn't find her choice at seven to be all that surprising, but what is unusual is that despite the number of different cars I bring home and all that she's been exposed to, nearly five years later she still has her sights set on the VW. (Hope she's been saving her pennies).

Last week I learned that a friend bought his almost-16-year-old daughter a 1962 Beetle as her first car. She hasn't yet learned to master its manual tranny. Neither has his wife.

While I love classic cars, I would never put my new driver behind the wheel of anything less than the most modern vehicle with the largest arsenal of safety equipment.

Would you?

Kelly Toepke, News Editor @ 3,406 miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: People Like The Way It Looks

July 01, 2012

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I've been driving the Beetle for about a week now and so far everybody who has commented on it has had favorable things to say. My daughter's 24-year old babysitter said "It's cute! But not bubbly cute like the old one." A guy friend of mine said he thought it looked "sleeker and more classic." An older guy outside the gym I go to said he liked the wheels and black paint. My wife thinks it looks pretty cool, too.

So heritage-based styling that still looks fresh and unique. I think this demonstrates one of the new Beetle's most appealing aspects.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: No Need To Hide My Face

June 22, 2012

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"It's not a girl's car. It's not a girl's car ..." Mike Magrath wrote in our long-term intro to describe his thoughts as he drove it for the first time. And based on commentary I've read, it seems this topic is on a lot of readers' minds. Given that VW made a point to man-up its new Beetle, it's a fair discussion point.

I've only been driving our Beetle for a couple days, but here's my two cents: So far I'm enjoying it. I don't feel like I'm driving a "girl's car." Rather, it just seems more like a Golf/Jetta/GTI with cooler styling. And I'm pretty happy with that.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Making Retro Look Good

June 05, 2012

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This weekend on my many travels around town, I encountered a Platinum Gray Metallic 2012 Volkswagen Beetle wearing Heritage wheels. (The configurator on VW.com unfortunately doesn't post the Heritage wheel as an option when building your Beetle.) I have to say that the retro wheels with updated Beetle looked really sharp! I may have even drooled a little.

For the 2012 Beetle, Volkswagen is offering the Heritage Wheel with a chrome center and ring as a dealer-sourced accessory. Yup, you can get these wheels as well as other accessories like vehicle and key fob skins, pedal caps, etc. at VW dealerships. And obviously instead of steel, the Heritage is made of alloy. Found more photos of the Heritage wheel here.

Anyway, I'm surprised I haven't seen more of this style of wheel around. Figured with the Beetle's long history there would be plenty of retro geeks wanting to fly their heritage freak flag, said affectionately.

But then again, I haven't seen that many 2012 Beetles out and about yet.

Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Next Project Car?

June 05, 2012

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Should we convert our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo to a 3-wheeler? Ever since I stumbled upon this guy in the Home Depot parking lot I've been searching for the 2012 conversion kit. Dan, are you ready for another DIY? I'll bring the sawzall.

Take the jump for more...

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: You Write The Insult

June 03, 2012

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Our masochistic 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is literally begging for punishment, particularly the brakes.

"You call yourself a brake pedal? More like a dimmer switch."

"You'll never amount to anything. All you do is impede progress."

"Why can't you be more like the throttle?"

"Here, let me wipe my shoes on you."

"Get a job."

Any others? Let's here your best denigration. Put the Beetle's brake pedal in its place.

This is going to be so cathartic.

Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ What's the point in going on? miles

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Kissing Bumpers

June 01, 2012

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This is not what the owner of a new car wants to see: a scratched-up car parked a finger-width away from your (nearly) shiny bumper. OK, so I'm not really the owner of our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, and the offending vehicle isn't even touching our car, but still. This is why we can't have nice things in the city.

I do have to say, though, that I've found the Beetle's curvature does make it a bit of a challenge to parallel-park. From the driver seat it's difficult to tell where its bumper ends so I'm always compelled to get out of the car to check how far I am from the other car.

Maybe that was the above Impala's issue with our car as well. Of course, this probably wouldn't be a problem for an actual VW Beetle owner who would grow accustomed to its dimensions.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Cultural History

May 24, 2012

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I've been reading Paul Ingrassia's excellent "Engines of Change: A History of the American Dream in Fifteen Cars," which includes a chapter on the Beetle, "from Hitler to the hippies," as the author puts it.

Everyone knows that the car was Adolf Hitler's pet project, meant to be affordable, practical transport for Germans, just as Henry Ford's Model T had been for Americans. What I didn't know (though I'm sure Beetles fans did), but learned from Ingrassia's book, is that the car's original name was "Kraft durch Freude Wagen," or "Strength Through Joy Car."

Or that first reference to the car's appearance surfaced in a New York Times article in 1938, describing Hitler's vision of "great sweeps of smooth motor highways with thousands and thousands of shiny little beetles purring along..."

I also didn't know that for years, German execs hated the nickname (the car was to be called the "Volkswagen Sedan") and refused to use it until the early 1970s.

In high school, I very badly wanted a Beetle to call my own. I had one surfer-girl friend who drove a bright yellow Beetle and another who had a baby blue Microbus. And one day, my dad announced. "I got you a Beetle." I was flabbergasted. Thrilled. Over the moon. I was expecting him to give me keys, but this is what he put in my hand instead.

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Separated in the Mesozoic Era

May 17, 2012

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Yet, they have the same hips.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor

(Porsche photo: Kurt Niebuhr, VW photo: Scott Jacobs)

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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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The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2012 Volkswagen Beetle in VA is:

$140 per month*
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