Volkswagen Beetle

Design 1.4 TSI

Volkswagen Beetle, front
Volkswagen Beetle, rear
Volkswagen Beetle, rear
Volkswagen Beetle, side
Volkswagen Beetle, interior

SOME cars just ooze character and personality and no matter how many times they are reinvented the appeal just keeps on growing.

Take, for example, the iconic MINI that has evolved over the years or the mighty Land Rover Series and Defender models, or even the fabulous sporty two-seater Mazda MX-5 - they all have that instant wow factor appeal.

Another car that is bubbling over with charisma is the Volkswagen Beetle and although it has undergone many transformations over the decades, it still screams fun, fun, fun at you.

The sunflower adorning the dashboard is long gone, but there are plenty of charming Beetle traits to be explored.

The car looks fabulous from any angle thanks to its 17-inch alloys with distinctive VW hubs, rear tailgate spoiler, body-coloured door protectors with chrome inserts, body-coloured door handles, front fog lights and the stand-out dome-like styling, albeit a lot more streamlined than in former generations.

Move inside and the car is modern, elegant, stylish and packed with techno treats. The test car had a shiny red dashboard and door inserts which contrasted neatly with the red stitching on the cloth seats. In fairness, it looked fabulous and had a truly premium feel to it.

There were a number of optional extras fitted that bumped up the asking price from £20,705 to £23,495 and these included an upgraded sat nav system with 6.5-inch touchscreen and eight speaker Fender sound pack, plus MirrorLink which connects all your smartphone information and apps to the car, a winter pack that introduced heated front seats along with a light and sight pack which added an automatic dimming rearview mirror, rain sensors, automatic headlights and a follow-me-home function.

And when it comes to performance the Beetle still has plenty of gusto too.

The 1.4-litre petrol engine delivers ample bite as it accelerates through the six-speed manual gearbox.

It may not be the fastest out of the starting blocks, but it can reach 62mph from a standing start in a creditable 9.1 seconds and tops out at 124mph.

According to official figures, combined fuel economy is 47.1mpg with carbon emissions of 138g/km.

The all-round visibility is great and the Beetle is just as happy tootling around town as it is out on the faster motorways and country lanes where the sure-footed road-holding is very reassuring when taking tight bends at pace.

The cabin is generally nicely hushed although you can expect to hear a little wind noise on motorways. You can also expect other Beetle drivers to flash their headlights and wave at you as you are now part of an elite club.

Comfort levels are good and up front the driver and passenger have bags of space to stretch out, but legroom is a little limited in the back.

The boot has a capacity of 310 litres which is increased to 905 litres with the 50:50 split-folding rear seats dropped flat. Elsewhere there is a double glovebox, cup holders, handy trays and door pockets with elasticated straps to keep items secure.

Safety specifications on the Beetle are comprehensive too and include anti-lock brakes with hydraulic brake assist, stability control, numerous airbags and an immobiliser and alarm to keep any uninvited visitors at bay.


Volkswagen Beetle Design 1.4 TSI


Mechanical:150ps, 1,390cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:124mph

0-62mph:9.1 seconds

Combined MPG:47.1

Insurance Group: 23

C02 emissions:138g/km

Bik rating:22%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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