Volkswagen Beetle TSI 2013 Review

Volkswagen Beetle TSI 2013 Review

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This third generation Beetle replaces the aging second generation which started out as cute and appealing, but simply became less cool and too ubiquitous, never quite capturing the allure of the first generation Beetle.

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The Beetle has grown up a bit more. It’s seems to have achieved a good balance between paying homage to its grandfather, yet striking out with a funky hairdo, hipster trousers and some flash shoes.

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The flash shoes are the 18-inch alloys wrapped in 235/45R18 tyres. There’s a trend for ever wider wheels because the ever-more chunky cars being produced make narrow tyres look like you’ve

put a digestive biscuit on each corner.

vw-beetle-f-interiorThe Beetle is based on the Golf, like before, but dimensions have changed (it’s longer and feels quite a lot bigger), so this Beetle isn’t quite as rounded as before and appears slightly squashed from above like it’s had a very mild roof chop and you’re heading to a hot rod show. The smooth, flowing curve that starts at the top of the A-pillar is broken by a spoiler of fairly daring proportions.

vw-beetle-compartmentsInside there are still elements carried across from the original Beetle such as the colour-coded dashboard and the secondary glovebox. The remainder of the dashboard area doesn’t match the interest generated by the colour detail.

There is a basic screen which displays media functions and a graphical representation of the front and rear parking sensors, but the graphics are now looking dated and the buttons and switches don’t feel special as they are basic VW parts bin items. This is the only aspect of the car which lets it down.

The inside is still more interesting than a standard small hatchback, and certainly less frustrating and over-designed than something equivalently nouveau-retro, like a Mini.

vw-beetle-boot-2Power is smooth from the 118kW, 1400cc TSI motor. The fuel economy from this engine is extremely impressive, even for something that’ll get you to 100kph in 8.3 seconds. Volkswagen claims 6.2l/100km combined. I regularly saw economy in the high 4l/100km range with motorway cruising. The seven-speed DSG gearbox is, as always, brilliant.

Of course, you get a EuroNCAP 5-star safety rating, Electronic Stabilisation Program (ESP) including ABS, Electronic Diff Lock (EDL) and Anti-Skid Regulation (ASR). The parking sensors are almost a necessity as the bodywork curves out of view making it difficult to judge where the corners are during parking.

Along with the extra length there’s extra boot space, along with convenient bag hooks either side. The rear seats are split fold and can make a fairly sizeable cargo space if needed.

The Beetle is a car that feels solid and well-made. It’s going to appeal to a certain market segment, however, time will tell whether this Beetle maintains its coolness longer than the previous one.

Price: $46,500

Pros

  • Rides well
  • Excellent fuel economy
  • Less gimmicky than version 2

Cons

  • Instrumentation and switches don’t feel up to the price
  • Still a little gimmicky

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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