Volkswagen Beetle (2011-2019) review - Interior, design and technology
More aggressively styled and more premium – the Beetle has upped its game
It's easy to trace the Volkswagen Beetle’s looks back to the rear-engined original. Despite this, it's undergone numerous styling changes to help it compete with modern, premium rivals such as the MINI. In particular the Mk2 is 84mm wider, 12mm lower and 152mm longer than its immediate predecessor the New Beetle, which has helped to give the latest generation car a much more aggressive, muscular look.
The curves of the old car have also been replaced by a flatter bonnet and sharper roofline, although in spite of the changes you could never mistake the latest Beetle for any other car on the road.
The pumped-up Beetle Dune adds 10mm to the ride height, as well as sporty-looking sills and a spoiler on the back. There's no extra off-road ability, but the styling changes will be enough for most - it looks different, distinctive and characterful. We doubt that it will be to all tastes, though.
Inside, the cabin now has more of an upmarket feel, with high-grade materials and excellent build quality, although the latest MK7 Golf has since upped the standard again – the Beetle is based on the previous generation Golf. In typical VW fashion it's not as quirky or stylish as rivals, but it gets the job done well.
The Beetle is available in three primary specifications - Beetle, Design and R-Line. Entry-level versions do without alloy wheels, but the range-topping R-Line model gets two-tone 18-inch rims, a body-coloured rear spoiler and tinted rear windows which add a dash of pizazz.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The Beetle is available with a 5-inch touchscreen situated in the middle of the dashboard as part of a navigation/audio system that includes a CD player and an SD card slot. An optional Multi Device Interface allows you to hardwire your MP3 player, iPod or USB stick to the car, and DAB digital radio and Bluetooth connectivity for your phone are also available.
Audiophiles will enjoy the 400 Watt, eight-speaker Fender sound pack complete with sub-woofer.
In this review
- 1Volkswagen Beetle reviewVolkswagen's iconic Beetle has traded cuteness for a sporty feel. But it can't match the MINI for driving fun
- 2Engines, performance and driveLively engines and a competent chassis mean the Beetle drives well – but it’s not as much fun as a MINI
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsDecent ecnomy from the strong engine range should keep the running costs down
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingMore aggressively styled and more premium – the Beetle has upped its game
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceA ‘regular’ hatchback is more practical, but the Beetle is certainly not a lost cause
- 6Reliability and SafetySharing a previous generation Golf platform leaves the Beetle slightly behind the curve