2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Two Kids in a Coupe
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.
Since the 2-year-old has been forward-facing and able to at least climb into his convertible seat on his own for a bit now, the back-breaking in the Civic has been kept to a minimum. And thanks to my boyish frame and the Civic's flat floor in the rear footwell, I can half-crouch between the two seats and cinch him into his seat pretty easily. The 7-year-old can mostly buckle her own seatbelt in her booster now, too.
Caroline already showed us how the Beetle does with a rear-facing infant seat installed using the seatbelt (without the base). Sounded like getting the baby in isn't too hard, as long as you don't have another kid in a car seat taking up the other outboard rear seat, but front passenger legroom was an issue. Not a shock. Living full time with a rear-facing kid and another kid in a forward-facing car seat in any compact coupe is a (relative) nightmare. But how is the VW with two forward-facing munchkins?
Verdict: Not bad, actually. I wasn't surprised that the Beetle bested my old Civic in the interior height category. The VW felt much airier when I was scrunching myself back there to strap our little guy in and the numbers back my feelings up; the Beetle has almost 2 inches more headroom than my beloved beater. But 1.5 inches less legroom in the VW made it even easier for the boy to enjoy his favorite drive-time activity: kicking the back of the passenger seat. Eh. You win some, you lose some. For the way I'd be using this car (occasional shuttling to school with no front passenger, and the blind hope that someday he'll stop kicking the back of the seat), it'd be just fine.
Bryn MacKinnon, Senior Editor @ 15,259 miles