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Volkswagen Beetle 2014 Review

EXPERT RATING
7
Confession time. I've always loved Beetles. Learned to drive in one and lavished thousands of dollars trying to turn one into a Porsche.

Confession time. I've always loved Beetles. Learned to drive in one and lavished thousands of dollars trying to turn one into a Porsche. Thought the "New Beetle" was a lovely homage to the original car, with so many little touches that showed the designers really knew their subject.

The flower pot and sun flower were let's face it a little dicky but the real problem lay in the fact it was just not very good to drive. That's not the case with the latest Beetle and the Fender edition is something really special.

VALUE

The newest Beetle is priced from $29,990, $32,490 with the optional 7-speed auto or $34,490 for the you beaut Fender edition that includes the auto. Standard kit includes a multifunction leather wheel, MDI (Media Device Interface), Bluetooth, colour co-ordinated dash and door panels, dual zone climate control air, parking sensors and power windows. It also comes with self-levelling, bi-xenon lights, LED daytime driving lights and an LED rear number plate light.

TECHNOLOGY

Because it is built on the previous generation Golf platform this one still qualifies for VW's brilliant twin-charged 1.4-litre engine, the one one with a turbo as well as a supercharger. The four cylinder engine develops a healthy 118kW of power and 240Nm of torque and in our test car was hooked up to the optional 7-speed DSG transmission. Fuel consumption is rated at 6.4 litres/100km.

DESIGN

The designers have returned to the original model for their inspiration. With a longer bonnet and steeper windscreen moved back, the latest model takes its cues from the 1938 original along with the fabulous Ragster concept shown in Detroit in 1995. It's longer, wider and lower than before with a more purposeful look that will appeal to blokes.

The flower has thankfully been shown the door and the second glovebox has been integrated into the facia with an upward folding lid. The dash itself is finished in Sunburst design, with Sioux Brown decorative stitching for the leather wheel, handbrake lever and gearshift knob. The sport cloth-leatherette seats and floor mats are trimmed with the same decorative stitching, with lumbar adjustment for the front seats.

FENDER SYSTEM

The highlight of this particular model is of course the Fender sound system, with 400 watts of power. It comes with a 10-channel digital amplifier, along with 8 speakers and a separate subwoofer - all with Fender logo. Good sound can really transorm a car and this is one of the better systems that we have tested.

Past experience has shown Moby's Play album to be a good test of any system, with some of the lowest notes going. The fourth track, positively rumbles -- leaving many systems flapping uselessly in the breeze. Not so with this Fender kit.

SAFETY

It comes with four airbags and a full suite of safety systems that earn it a five star crash rating.

DRIVING

The Beetle still seats four, with a split-fold rear seat for added versatility. Boot space is up from 209 to a practical 310 litres, compared with the miniscule luggage area of the 1998 model. The black paint job, chromed mirrors and eyecatching "Disc" 18 inch alloys really make this car, giving it a hot-rod look that turns heads and makes it standout in traffic.

The twin-charged 1.4-litre is a terrific little engine, and combined with the lower ride height and reworked suspension give it a sporty, responsive satisfying drive. Gear changes are sharp and it only misses out on change paddles to make the job complete. It was also a pleasant surprise to find a much bigger boot under the tailgate, replacing the tiny luggage space of the previous model.

VERDICT

A much better effort than the previous model. The Beetle has been transformed into a sporty, two-door coupe finally worthy of consideration.

VW Beetle Fender
Price: $34,490
Warranty: 3 years/unlimited
Capped price servicing: 3 year/45,000km free (before August 31)
Resale: new model
Service Interval: 12 months/15,000km
Safety rating: 5 stars (est)
Engine: 1.4-litre 4-cyl super- and turbo-charged, 118kW/240Nm
Transmission: 7-speed twin-clutch auto; FWD
Thirst: 6.4L/100km
Dimensions: 4.3m (L), 1.8 (W); 1.4 (H)
Weight: 1306kg
Spare: none

Pricing Guides

$20,490
Based on 6 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$19,990
Highest Price
$26,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(base) 1.4L, PULP, 6 SP MAN $18,880 – 26,990 2014 Volkswagen Beetle 2014 (base) Pricing and Specs
Fender Edition 1.4L, PULP, 7 SP AUTO $12,650 – 16,830 2014 Volkswagen Beetle 2014 Fender Edition Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7