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7.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.0
Performance: 8.0
Interior: 7.0
Total Cost of Ownership: 9.0
Safety: 9.3
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Review

The redesigned 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has an eye-catching design, but critics said many rival small cars deliver more driving excitement and a more spacious interior.

Pros & Cons

  • Fun-to-drive Turbo model
  • Limited cargo space
  • Low fuel economy for the class

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Overview

Some reviewers said the base 2012 Volkswagen Beetle's five-cylinder engine has plenty of power for most driving but doesn't deliver brisk acceleration. Many critics had more favorable opinions of the Beetle Turbo, which features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine shared with the Volkswagen GTI hatchback. Regardless of engine, a manual transmission is available. An automatic transmission is offered with the five-cylinder engine, while an automated manual transmission is available on the Turbo model. A five-cylinder Beetle achieves up to 22/31 mpg city/highway, which isn’t particularly good for the class. The Beetle Turbo manages nearly the same ratings, at up to 22/30 mpg. Generally, critics agreed that the base Beetle isn't especially nimble but has a composed ride. Many added that the Turbo is much more agile through fast corners than the base model. Still, some mentioned that while the Beetle Turbo is sportier than the base model, GTI is still a better choice for those seeking thrilling performance.

Reviewers said the 2012 Beetle’s interior has a tasteful design, high-quality materials and large, modern gauge cluster. The Beetle seats four, though some noticed that taller passengers may not have sufficient headroom in the rear seats. Base models are equipped with cloth seats. Leatherette and leather seats are available, and the Beetle Turbo comes with sport seats with cloth upholstery. Standard features include an eight-speaker stereo and Bluetooth. Additional features include a Fender stereo, navigation, a power sunroof, heated seats, an iPod interface and satellite radio. The Beetle has up to 29.9 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats folded, which is fairly low for the class.

See the full 2012 Volkswagen Beetle specs »

Other Cars to Consider

The 2012 Volkswagen Golf offers a bit more interior space than the Beetle, with seats for five and more cargo room. The 2012 Golf is also available with Volkswagen’s well-liked diesel engine, which isn’t available on the 2012 Beetle.

Reviewers liked the 2012 Ford Fiesta, noting that it is practical, fun to drive and has a high-quality interior. The Fiesta has slightly less cargo space than the Beetle, but its available five-door hatchback body style may make it more useful for some.

Compare the Beetle, Golf and Fiesta »

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