May 2, 2013
We drove the VW Beetle over 1,200 miles in the month of April. A large portion of the miles fell during a short vacation to the San Francisco Bay area. As luck would have it, this was probably the last long trip we'll take in the Beetle before it's year with us concludes.
April 29, 2013
Yesterday I tried to fuel our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo and noticed that the cable attaching the fuel cap to the door was broken. It is a minor issue. Still it is something we'll have looked at next time the VW goes to the dealer.
April 15, 2013
This is the way to do lower LATCH anchors for installing a baby seat or child's car seat.
April 11, 2013
As the long-term clock on our VW Beetle winds down, we need to mount the original tires and wheels back on the car. Rather than wait for the car at Stoke's, our local tire shop, Magrath and I decided to do it ourselves at our own shop.
April 10, 2013
Magrath was in the process of figuring out the logistics of getting the original tires put back on our long-term Porsche 911. It was a little more complicated than usual since the wheels and tires wouldn't fit in the car. In a flash of brilliance, we decided to swap the tires ourselves in our shop and take care of the Beetle's tires at the same time. Its time with us is drawing near and we needed to return it in original spec.
April 8, 2013
I'm conflicted about driving cars in Sport mode for two reasons. First, holding the shift to a higher RPM and downshifting sooner isn't great for fuel economy. And with premium gas as the fuel of choice in this Beetle, it gets pricey.
April 5, 2013
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.)
April 4, 2013
Back in the day, I owned three V-dubs: '65 and '70 bugs and a '68 microbus. I liked them all except for one thing. With an air-cooled, 50-horsepower engine in my '65 bug, it was the ultimate "couldn't get out of its own way" car. I had to drive it with my foot on the floor. And even that wasn't enough. To make matters worse, I lived in Denver at the time where the thin air robbed the engine of oxygen.
April 3, 2013
Another month and another fuel economy update for our boosted 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. The month of March saw us wind nearly 1,000 miles onto the odometer as well as up the lifetime average from 23.9 to 24.2 miles per gallon.
March 29, 2013
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.
March 27, 2013
Earlier this week, my spouse and I drove different cars to the same destination resulting in the scene above. The GTI is his, while I had our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle for the night. The lighting was poor obviously, but when the cars are side by side like this, the Beetle's extra width is striking. It's 1.2 inches wider overall with a 1.4-inch wider rear track, and it looks it.
I enjoyed what our modern Bug had to offer when I drove it to Albuquerque and back last year, but forced to choose, I'd end up with the GTI. Its bigger backseat and plaid upholstery tip the scales in its favor.
Yet, the thing that I enjoy most about both cars, and the one thing that makes them really great for me, is the 2.0 TSI engine they share.
March 25, 2013
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.
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 14, 2012
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.
March 12, 2013
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.
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.
March 8, 2013
As Scott said recently, Bluetooth pairing is a piece of cake in our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.
One thing Scott didn't mention, though, is that in our version of the car (which has the RCD 510, Premium 8 radio, without navigation), you have to handle all phone call operations via voice commands. That's assuming you're not looking down at your smartphone, which you shouldn't do if you're driving. The voice-command control shown in the picture above is on the left side of the multi-function steering wheel.
March 4, 2013
We spun our feisty Beetle Turbo's odometer nearly 1,200 additional miles during February, a month which also saw a couple of milestones. One was expected, as we hit the 15,000-mile mark. The other was a pleasant surprise.
February 28, 2013
Back in June of last year I wrote a post about whether I'd pick the six-speed manual transmission or six-speed automated manual (VW's "DSG") if I were buying a Beetle. In the end, I concluded I'd get the manual.
Having spent more time with our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo recently, I can tell you that the DSG's quirks (laggardly responses from a stop and uneven engine braking when slowing) are still there and are still annoying. Actually, they get on my nerves the more I drive. So, still thumbs up for the manual, right?
Well, sort of.
February 27, 2013
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.
February 26, 2013
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.
February 25, 2013
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.
February 22, 2013
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.
February 21, 2013
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.
February 20, 2013
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.
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.
February 15, 2013
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.
February 13, 2013
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.
February 12, 2013
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?
February 11, 2013
I really love the get up and go of our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. I know I'm not being environmentally sensitive when I say this, but one of my favorite things to do is stomp on the accelerator as soon as the light turns green at a stoplight and I'm at the line. It's got turbo, it's got torque. Wheeeee!
Caroline Pardilla, Deputy Managing Editor
February 7, 2013
There's quite a bit of road noise that makes its way into our Beetle's cabin. It's a low boomy rumble. Normally, road noise doesn't bother me, but this was so intrusive I had to turn up the volume on the stereo to try to drown it out. And even that didn't do the job to my satisfaction.
February 6, 2013
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?)
February 4, 2013
We drove our VW Beetle Turbo just 617 miles this month. That's off-pace for us, but this is also coming after a three-month spell during which we covered some ground. From October to December, we racked up 6,300 miles. So the Beetle earned a bit of a rest this month.
Our best MPG this month was 30.7, which is just shy of our best overall MPG in our time with the car (30.9). Over the course of 617 miles this month, including a road trip up the central California coast, driving around with a bambino in the backseat, and a 10,000-mile oil change and service, we averaged 23.2 miles per gallon of 91 octane, pretty close to the Beetle's 25 mpg combined EPA rating.
Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 14,148 miles
Worst Fill MPG: 15.8
Best Fill MPG: 30.9
Average Lifetime MPG: 23.8
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway/Combined): 22 city/30 highway/25 combined
Best Range: 423.5
Current Odometer: 14,148
January 30, 2013
Over the years I've paired my iPhone to the Bluetooth of hundreds of cars, from entry level models to exotics that cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Last night, however, was my first time Bluetoothing in our long-term 2012 VW Beetle Turbo. It could not have been easier.
In fact, it may have been the best Bluetooth experience of my life. While most cars have you changing screens and digging into menus, the Beetle found my phone before I had even asked it too. I put in the four digit code and the phone and car were paired within a couple of seconds. It was so quick and effortless I thought I had forgotten to do something. I hadn't.
In the past, phone pairing in Volkswagens was like the U.S. Senate, completely frustrating and rarely successful. But no longer. Telematics are only going to get more important as we move down the road, and now VW leads the way.
Scott Oldham, Editor in Chief @ 14,001 miles
January 24, 2013
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
January 18, 2013
When the odometer turned 10,000 miles we knew it was time to get our 2012 Volkswagen Beetle to the dealer for routine maintenance. The Beetle requests routine service at 10,000-mile intervals. And thanks to Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance, it doesn't cost a thing.
We were late on this one. But because of our preemptive, and out-of-pocket, oil change at 3,000 miles, the dealer counted this as our 10k and no monetary penalty was applied.
Since we arrived late in the day without an appointment, we weren't surprised when the dealer asked to keep our car overnight. Our phone rang first thing the next morning to inform us the car was ready. This visit was simple and straightforward, how we like it.
Mike Schmidt, Vehicle Testing Manager @ 13,700 miles