In-depth reviews

Volkswagen Beetle (2011-2019) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space

A ‘regular’ hatchback is more practical, but the Beetle is certainly not a lost cause

The Volkswagen Beetle will never be as practical as traditional family hatchbacks, but it does a good job of out-performing rivals such as the MINI in this area, which is where it matters. The interior boasts plenty of stowage areas, including centre console cup holders, two glove compartments and deep door bins.

It’s comfortable up front too, with supportive seats and a plenty of adjustment so all sizes should be able to find a suitable driving position. The pedals and steering wheel are all evenly weighted, and visibility is good in all directions.

The controls are presented simply and the layout will be familiar to anyone used to other models in the VW range. The only real issues are a shortage of headroom due to that aggressive roofline, and body curves that mean close-quarter parking manoeuvres occasionally require an element of guesswork.

Size

At 4,278mm long, the Beetle is a little longer than a three-door Golf which measures up at 4,255mm. It’s also wider - 1,808mm versus 1,790mm.

The MINI three-door is quite a lot smaller at 3,822mm long and 1,727mm wide.

Leg room, head room & passenger space

If it wasn’t for the drastically sloping roofline adults might have half a chance of getting comfortable in the back of a Beetle. As it is, unless you’re ferrying kids about – Isofix child seat mounts are standard in the back and optional on the front passenger seat - the rear bench is best saved for your shopping. Access to the rear isn’t brilliant either, thanks to the three-door format – so in spite of its hatchback rear end it’s probably best to think of the Beetle as a lifestyle coupe, with occasional ‘plus-2’ seating.

Those after a Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet should bear in mind that the back-seat passengers get even less space.

Boot

The Beetle offers 310 litres of boot space, which is 50 litres more than the latest MINI. The back seats are capable of splitting 50:50, and when they're folded, boot space is extended to 905 litres. Sadly though, the seats don’t fold entirely flat which makes the space less useful than it might otherwise be. There's a space-saver spare wheel rather than just a repair kit, which is a definite bonus.

Most Popular

Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review
Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge
Car group tests

Cupra Born vs Mercedes EQA vs Volvo C40 Recharge: 2021 group test review

The all-electric Volvo C40 Recharge meets another premium wannabe in the Cupra Born. But can they beat the super-posh new Mercedes EQA?
19 Oct 2021
New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review
Ford Mustang Mach-E GT - front
Ford Mustang Mach-E

New Ford Mustang Mach-E GT 2021 review

With 480bhp and a 310-mile range, does the new Ford Mustang Mach-E GT offers the perfect blend of performance and practicality? We find out...
19 Oct 2021
Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911
Porsche 911
Porsche 911 Coupe

Friends reunited: buying back a Porsche 911

How perfect timing led a Porsche 911 fanatic to buy back his old car
14 Oct 2021