This week, editors Katie, Rachel and Liz spent a few hours driving the redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle at a VW press event. Here’s our take on the redesigned Beetle.
Katie LaBarre says: I spend most of my time covering large SUVs and pickup trucks, so I was excited to test the new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. While the base Beetle was a pleasant change from the behemoths I usually drive, it wasn’t as sporty as I expected. When accelerating to pass another car on the highway or trying to get up a big hill, I found myself flooring it and still wanting a few more ponies at my disposal.
That changed when I took a quick spin in the Beetle Turbo. It adds only 30 horsepower, but the difference was far more obvious than I expected. Acceleration at all speeds was markedly improved, and on steep uphill climbs, I never found myself thinking of “The Little Engine That Could.”
Though opting for the Turbo trim will add $3,600 to the 2012 Beetle’s price tag, I wouldn’t think twice about ponying up the extra cash for the Turbo. Admittedly, I’m the kind of person who tends to be won over more by horsepower and chirping tires than by value and price, but it seems to me like the Beetle Turbo is a great combination of both.
Rachel Smith says: While I agree with Katie that the 2012 Beetle Turbo has an engine many affordable small car owners wish their cars had, my mind wandered back to Volkswagen’s masculine depiction of the new Beetle. To make the Beetle manly, VW nixed the flower vase, elongated the roofline and made its exterior wider and lower.
To me, the new Beetle is a little more masculine than its predecessor, but even with a turbo option and a new look, I can’t see a dude driving this car. Even with loads of customization options, I don’t think a redesign can erase decades of a chicks-only stereotype.
In TrueCar’s 2010 study that examined gender differences in car buying, they found that 60.6 percent of New Beetle buyers were women. Despite the Beetle’s 2012 revamp, I doubt that number will drop below 50 percent. If guys want a manly European car, I bet they’ll go for the Volkswagen GTI or Golf R.
Liz Opsitnik says: Overall, I like the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle and Beetle Turbo. Both cars handle well, provide sufficient engine power and have a sporty, well-designed interior. What I fell in love with was its optional Fender audio system. In such a small car, the sound doesn’t have a lot of room to spread out. But the sound quality was incredible.
I tested several different types of music through the VW Beetle’s satellite radio. Classic rock, 90s rap, pop and country music all played during our hour-long drive in the 2012 Beetle. I optimized the equalizer and pushed the system to its limits. The bass wasn’t overpowering thanks to a subwoofer tucked neatly into the side-wall of the trunk, which doesn’t compromise cargo space. Eight Panasonic speakers, a subwoofer and 400 watts of power made any type of music we blared sound crystal-clear, even with the volume unnecessarily loud. If you’re a car audio snob like me, it’s definitely worth it to upgrade to the Fender audio system in the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle or any other 2012 Volkswagen model that offers it.