Most reviews of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle have focused to some extent on whether the Beetle is masculine enough for a self-respecting he-guy to drive. This one won’t, because everyone either believes the Beetle is no longer the girl’s car the New Beetle was—or is so girly-girl that even if the front end were protected not by a bra but an athletic supporter, the All-American guy wouldn’t slip behind the steering wheel and would have doubts about a passenger seat.
So that aside, what is there to the Volkswagen Beetle that sets it apart from other cars. Well, how about its Beetlesque design? The new Volkswagen Beetle, as opposed to the Volkswagen New Beetle, has a flatter roof and a longer hood, and in profile looks more like the original Type 1 Beetle. The new Beetle is lower than the New Beetle but gains on rear headroom while the front seat loses the ability to seat Abe Lincoln wearing this stovepipe hat. The new Beetle bests the old New Beetle in width by 3.3 inches and in length by 7.4 inches.
Right now there are two versions of the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, the standard Beetle and the Beetle Turbo, but a diesel-powered Beetle is due in short order from date of publication, and a Beetle Cabriolet/convertible and the Beetle Turbo-eating Beetle R are all on their way. A review of the Beetle Turbo is available on CarBuzzard, and this follow-up is on the standard model.
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle, like the VW Golf it’s based on, is powered by the 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that’s the base powerplant for most of the VW line. It’s a sturdy engine with a broad torque range, though its fuel economy has been boosted by about ten percent. A six-speed manual is standard though our test model was equipped with the six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Our tester was also came with the Sunroof, Sound and Navigation package, which is exactly what it says it is. It also raises the bottom significantly over the base $19,795 starting price. Adding just the sunroof brings the price to $22,295. The Fender audio combined with the in-dash nav system raises the total to $24,095.
The tilt/slide panoramic sunroof of the new Beetle almost doubles the size of the New Beetle’s, and black tinted with black surround gives the Beetle a custom look and accentuates the new car’s lower roofline. The dark tint also blocks 99 percent of UV radiation and 92 percent of heat energy. It’s possible to leave the sunroof open even on sunny days without wearing a hat. The high roofline, however, means that the sun visor isn’t very effective blocking low sun from the side.
Volkswagen brings part retro and part personality inside by adding large body-color panels around the interior and even to the spokes of the steering wheel. It’s funky and attractive and brightens up the interior of our Tornado Red Beetle.