2012 Volkswagen Beetle 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4-cyl. Turbo 6-speed Automated Manual w/Sunroof, Sound)
Ratings SummaryThis rating has been carried forward from a prior year because the newer model has no substantial differences.
The Beetle Turbo is a funky coupe with lots of style. It's reasonably comfortable and the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder should be powerful enough for most folks. Front head room is excellent and cargo space benefits from the hatchback design. But it's more expensive and makes rear-seat sacrifices compared to some hatchbacks.
PerformanceAverage performance is not a bad thing. The Beetle never feels underpowered during normal driving. Available paddle shifters and a Sport mode add fun and are useful during passing situations.
The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder in the Beetle has some zip, hitting 60 mph in just 6.6 seconds. But we found it to be pretty lazy off the line in normal driving.
The Beetle stopped from 60 mph in 123 feet, average for the segment. Using engine braking to help slow the Beetle revealed some lurching downshifts from the twin-clutch gearbox.
The steering has good weighting, erring on the heavy side at speed although it's light during low-speed maneuvering. Which is good.
While the Beetle's handling was merely average at the test track in terms of slalom and skidpad numbers, it's plenty capable around town and always feels planted and secure.
The Beetle does most things right and is an easy-to-drive little car. There can be a bit of turbo lag, and occasionally the transmission serves up jerky manual downshifts.
ComfortSeat comfort was fine over long distances. Ride quality can get busy at times. A fair amount of road and engine noise creep into the cabin.
The front seats were acceptably comfortable over long distances. The modest seat bolstering accommodates most hips and torsos. Manual lumbar support offered lower back relief.
The suspension struggles to counter high-frequency road imperfections, and the cabin can get buzzy. But larger hits are absorbed well.
Road and tire noise can be invasive to the degree that the radio needs to be turned up a notch to neutralize. But the levels are within the acceptable range for this price class.
InteriorExtensive glass and a high roofline make the Beetle feel spacious up front, but less so in the rear seat. The hatchback design and folding rear seats improve practicality. Controls are easy to learn.
Vital controls are placed logically and within reach of the driver. Knobs simplify the climate control system. The media interface is a combination of touchscreen and hard buttons.
Large doors make entry easy. But the doors are heavy and can't open fully in tight parking lot situations.
The bubble-shaped roofline creates a spacious cabin feel. Plenty of headroom up front, though adults will brush elbows. Rear seats are comfortable but head and legroom are minimal.
A considerable amount of glass is great for forward visibility. Large rear headrests obscure the rearward view considerably, however. Our test car did not have a rearview camera.
The small center armrest and elastic front door pockets are only somewhat useful. A cavernous bin below the center stack is nice for small items. Hatchback versatility is a plus.
ValueWith a low starting price and extras like roadside assistance and free scheduled maintenance, the Beetle presents a reasonably decent value argument.
Build Quality (vs. $)
We did not find any build quality issues of note on our test vehicle. Some of the interior plastics are hard and cheap-feeling, but that's fairly typical at this price point.
The $3,000 Sunroof and Sound package was the only notable option on our Beetle Turbo, which wore an MSRP of $28,385.
Considering the strong turbo engine and the high-tech twin-clutch gearbox, there's some good car here for the money.
The EPA rates the Beetle Turbo at 22 city/30 highway/25 mpg combined. We averaged 24.3 mpg. If you have a heavy right foot and a turbo, your mileage will suffer.
The basic warranty covers the Beetle for 3 years/36,000 miles. The drivetrain is covered for 5 years/60,000 miles.
Volkswagen's Carefree Maintenance program covers the Beetle for 3 years/36,000 miles. But it's not as comprehensive as other programs. Roadside assistance for 3 years/36,000 miles.
Fun To DriveThe turbo engine and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters add some fun to what is otherwise an ordinary drive. Although it's certainly not ordinary to look at.
Personality isn't everything. The Beetle Turbo can be fun to drive, but you'll never call it an exciting sports machine.
The classic roofline and overall shape scream personality, and it earns more style points than most cars.
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Edmunds Insurance Estimator
The Edmunds TCO® estimated monthly insurance payment for a 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback in VA is:
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