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Volkswagen Beetle 2013 review: snapshot

EXPERT RATING
7

Volkswagen has decided to have another crack at the iconic Beetle with a newer version of what came to be known as the "new" Beetle from about a decade ago.

It's a bit confusing but all you need to know is the latest version is a totally new car - from the wheels up. Oh, and it's much better than the previous Beetle - in every respect.

DESIGN

A much more ‘grown up’ design, the latest bug has a flatter roofline and more assertive face and variant rear end. It looks more substantial than its predecessor.

Where the previous model had a slightly kooky look to it with round bug-eye headlights and tail lights, this one is athletic and even sleek from some angles. Optional curving LED daytime running lights are striking.

INSIDE

The interior is a better rendition too with its ‘50s style painted dash that looks really cool. No flower though... thank goodness.

Beetle is up against the Mini (possibly other prestige light/small cars including the Hyundai Veloster Turbo) and both have quite narrow appeal due to their retro looks. You either like them or not.

When compared with the Mini, the Beetle is much better value especially with its 118kW/240Nm four pot petrol engine. It also costs about $1600 less than the Mini Cooper.

ENGINE

It's a high tech, direct injection, 1.4-litre device with a turbo and a supercharger helping efficiency. The numbers aren't impressive on paper but the car has plenty of pep - believe me.

That's because it starts pumping hard from as low as 1500rpm translating into impressive throttle response if not rapid 0-100kmh times. It's rated at 8.3 seconds for the sprint.

Any potential lag in acceleration is neatly dealt with by the complex but efficient twin charge system. Recommended fuel is 95RON Premium.

EMISSIONS

More important is the EU5 emissions rating and relatively low 6.4-litres/100km fuel efficiency in the seven-speed DSG manumatic model we drove. It's an extra $2500 on the six speed manual's $29,990 price and well worth the money.

EQUIPMENT

There's only one model available - generously equipped and with a couple of option packs - the right way to sell a car.

Standard kit includes Bluetooth phone and audio, multi-function wheel, media device interface, dual zone climate control, cruise, remote access auto wipers and front and rear park assist. Standard wheels are 17-inch alloys with 18s and 19s available.

We really like the look of the bug which is practical despite being a two door. Access to the rear pews is easy and the four seats comfortable. The interior is user friendly and spacious offering plenty of head and legroom along with a pleasing ambience.

DRIVING

Built on the just superseded Golf 6 platform, the Beetle has its own distinctive feel to go with the new looks. The drive feel is sporty heightened by powerful brakes, diff lock, a firmish ride and direct steering. The DSG also adds an element of engagement you don't get with the manual but paddles are optional.

It sounds pretty good with the characteristic VW exhaust pop on up changes. Out of VW's Mexico factory, the Beetle feels solid as a rock on the road and has the usual quality VW feel and look. The boot is a reasonable size.

VERDICT

Like it a lot. Good value, plenty of technology, toned down styling is welcome change. Shop it every day against Mini.

Pricing Guides

$19,888
Based on 9 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$14,913
Highest Price
$26,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $14,913 – 15,950 2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2013 (base) Pricing and Specs
Fender Edition 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $17,999 – 26,990 2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2013 Fender Edition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7