Volkswagen Beetle

Cabriolet

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, profile
 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, interior
 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, dashboard
 Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, action
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, rear
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, profile

IT'S hard to think of car with a more iconic image than the Volkswagen Beetle

Since the end of the Second World War they have been produced in their millions and exported all over the globe.

They have even taken the title role in more than one box office success story.

But the Cabriolet version has always had a special place in the hearts of enthusiasts, enhanced by its carefree image from the days of flower power in California when it would be a regular on the beach scene.

But that was the original Beetle and the latest is two generations on.

Thankfully, however, Volkswagen has managed to produce a car with all the hi-tech technology demanded by today's motorists while at the same time retaining the character of the car everyone loves.

It might be longer, wider and lower but features like the characteristically distinctive round headlights prominent wheel arches and distinctive bonnet ensure it will be recognised everywhere.

In fact the latest version bears a stronger resemblance to the original model than to the first 'New' Beetle created a few years ago.

And while there are a whole host of luxury touches to the interior - leather upholstery to match the exterior colour and heated front seats - the body-coloured dashboard has been retained as has the iconic high level metal passenger glovebox, although a more modern one now lies below it.

On the move the car, with its 1.2-litre TSI petrol engine mated to a superb seamless seven-speed DSG gearbox, was impressively quiet. Despite a relatively small engine performance is surprisingly brisk and can be livened up even more by slipping the gear shift from drive to sport.

The new Cabriolet is definitely one of those cars that grows on you. It offers easy driving yet it delivers in every respect. The more you drive it the more you like it.

A multilayered hood ensures that you are well protected from the weather as well as extraneous noises. And with a feature which allows you to raise the hood - in just 11 seconds - while on the move at up to 31 miles per hour there should be no excuse for getting caught out in a sudden shower.

But while the Beetle is great fun to drive with the hood down it's not the most wind free convertible around, certainly without a wind deflector. You wouldn't want to collect your wife from the hairdressers with the hood down - unless you want trouble.

Front seat travellers will enjoy plenty of leg and head room, but leg room is more restricted in the rear. And while the boot at 225 litres is adequate and is larger than that of its immediate predecessor the opening is relatively narrow, making it awkward for loading large items.

With VW Golf underpinnings the Beetle was always going to offer a good ride and impressive road holding and it does. There is little body roll and the car has the ability to soak up the worst of British roads.

But driving a convertible is all about image. And if you drive a Beetle Cabriolet you will find you get a lot of smiles from a lot of people. It's probably something to do with the Herbie legacy.

FAST FACTS

Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet

Price: £22,580

Mechanical: 105bhp, 1,197cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 111mph

0-62mph: 11.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 47.9

Insurance Group: 15

C02 emissions: 139g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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