The third generation Beetle adopts the classic styling cues of the original icon forged with Volkswagen modern build quality. it is a combination of style, personality and fun.
Depending on what trim line you opt for when purchasing your Beetle, your engine choice will be determined, or vice versa. The entry level trim is available with a choice of a 1.2TSI petrol with 105bhp mated to a 6-speed manual gearbox or a 2.0TDI diesel with 110bhp mated to a 5-speed manual. The Beetle Design adds the option of a 7-speed DSG automatic to those engine choices. The Beetle Sport however offers a 1.4TSI with 150bhp with a choice of 6-speed manual or a 7-speed DSG. The diesel option is another 2.0 litre with 150bhp mated to the 6-speed manual or a 6-speed DSG.
The Beetle unfortunately does not benefit from being built on Volkswagen's latest MQB platform. It is however based on the last generation Mark 6 Golf. Naturally it still drives well, provides a comfortable drive, has well weighted steering, is decent in the corners and provides good grip. If you opt for the Beetle Sport, you do get a slightly stiffer setup to improve handling and the turbocharged 1.4TSI is very responsive. If you want a combination of power and economy from your beetle, the 2.0TDI 150bhp might be the option.
As mentioned above, the Volkswagen Beetle comes with a choice of three trim levels. These are Beetle, Design and Sport. The entry level Beetle trim line comes with a decent level of specification including electric windows, air-conditioning, 5.8 inch infotainment touch screen with Bluetooth connectivity and cruise control. Higher spec models bring climate control, colour coded mirrors and side mouldings. It also gains a rear spoiler and bigger 18 inch alloy wheels.
While the exterior may have gained some of the older styling cues with a modern aggressive twist, the interior is a perfect modern nod to the Beetle interior of old. First impressions are of the usual Volkswagen upmarket feel with the use of soft-touch materials and solid overall build quality. The dashboard is a very simple streamlined design with contrast piano black inserts and a lovely feeling 3-spoke multi-function steering wheel. The seats are comfortable and cosseting, while the driving position gives you a decent view out of the Beetle’s old school, small flat windscreen.
The Beetle is another very safe Volkswagen model scoring the full five stars in Euro NCAP crash testing. It comes with a very generous level of standard safety kit that includes anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, cruise control, hill assist, ISO-FIX and a full set of airbags. You can also tick the options list for additional items like lane assist parking sensors and adaptive cruise control.
While the Beetle does feel spacious, it is only available with two doors. Possibly more suited to that of a young couple rather than young family, it still outperforms direct rivals like the Mini in areas like boot space that includes two glovebox compartments for storage, large door pockets and a central cubby. Access for rear passengers is not the easiest but not bad, but head and legroom is on the tight side. It does get a decent 310 litre boot however and a rear bench that folds in a 60:40 split to open up the full back of the cabin to 905 litres.