2012 Volkswagen Beetle Review
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle emerges from a complete redesign with a Turbo model, a more masculine exterior and better fuel economy ratings than the 2010 Volkswagen New Beetle.
The Volkswagen Beetle is an icon in the automotive industry. VW produced the first generation in 1938 and rekindled production in 1998 with the Volkswagen New Beetle, which was loved for its cute exterior styling that was an adaptation of Volkswagen’s original model. About 13 years have passed, and VW has redesigned its popular classic once more and unveiled it as the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle.
The 2012 Beetle strives to be less feminine than the 2010 Volkswagen New Beetle. The exterior is elongated in the front and rear, it doesn’t have a flower vase and there’s a Turbo Beetle trim with a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and a spoiler. Most reviewers are glad the 2012 Beetle is more masculine (though some call it gender-neutral), and appreciate the Turbo model that makes the Beetle super fun to drive, even though fuel economy suffers.
Essentially, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is still a Beetle, it just received updates that make it competitive for the 21st century. Test drivers aren’t worried about whether or not the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle will be a market hit. They’re just curious about whether or not the Beetle can increase its male following.
Other Cars to Consider
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is a retro car, and competes with the Mini Cooper and the FIAT 500, which are also iconic small cars. Of the three, the Beetle makes the most horsepower at 170. By comparison, the base Mini Cooper makes 121 horsepower, and the FIAT 500 makes 101. While their engines aren’t as powerful, the Cooper and the FIAT 500 have much higher fuel economy ratings. These models with a manual transmission average up to 29/37 mpg city/highway and 30/38, respectively.
None of these retro cars will let you store much stuff because their trunks are too small. If you want more space, good fuel economy and good performance, consider the Honda Fit. It starts at about $15,200, and its cargo area can hold up to 57.3 cubic feet of stuff. The Fit also has a handy Magic Seat with four different modes (people, long, tall and utility) that lets you store a variety of items.
Details: Volkswagen Beetle
Volkswagen redesigned the Beetle for the 2012 model year, and has focused on increasing the model’s male following. To do that, VW got rid of the flower vase and replaced it with gender-neutral features like an optional Fender premium sound system, a sunroof that’s 80 percent bigger than the one it replaces and a traditional Kaeferfach (“Beetle bin”) glove box.
The Beetle is available in two trims: 2.5L and Turbo. The base model can be upgraded to include a sunroof, navigation and Fender sound system, but every 2.5L model will have a 170-horsepower five-cylinder engine. The Turbo Beetle has a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine that produces 200 horsepower.
The Beetle starts at about $20,000.
- "It’s difficult to redesign a car based on a classic. That’s probably why it’s taken Volkswagen more than a decade to update the New Beetle. The 2012 Beetle is new from the ground up, but it’s plain to see the design is evolutionary, with the trademark fender bulges and bug-eyed headlights still intact." -- Cars.com
- "After more than a decade of production, the New Beetle's grown mighty stale and, more importantly, effeminate. The all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle ditches the flowers for more power, bringing design and engineering back into this century with a masculine look decidedly planted in the last one." -- Jalopnik
- "If you can look past the mileage, you may find the Beetle to be a very satisfying commuter car. It’s interesting both inside and out, the sunroof and painted interior trim are extremely pleasant, and what little wind noise there is can be easily drowned out by the excellent audio systems." -- Left Lane News
- "Overall, this Beetle is nobly getting back on the right track, though we think VW could have pushed the envelope further without risking a thing." -- Autoblog
- "But really, it isn’t much of a departure from its predecessor, and after the hype-heavy buildup that started last year, the new car is a letdown." -- The Wall Street Journal
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