Over the years, the original Volkswagen Beetle provided simple inexpensive transportation for many people. As a matter of fact, Volkswagen literally means ‘people’s car.’
In 1998 the new Beetle was released as a modern retro of the original. The engine was moved from the rear up to the front. It was built on the Golf’s front-wheel drive platform. With its flower vase on the inside, the car was a solid hit with female drivers but had limited male appeal.
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is the first total redesign of the new Beetle. It is longer, wider and a bit lower than the last model.
So what does the second-generation (of the new car) two-door five-passenger front-wheel drive Beetle have to offer?
The base engine is a 2.5-liter inline four-cylinder providing 170 hp and 177 ft. lb. of torque. In addition, a 2.0-liter turbo in-line four cylinder is available providing 200 hp and 210 ft. lb. of torque.
The transmission is a six-speed manual gearbox or a six-speed DSG automatic with manual shifts from the console lever. The Beetle’s 0-60 mph time is in 8.9 seconds with the base engine and 6.5 seconds with the turbo engine.
At the front the new Beetle has a clean cut downward sloping hood flanked by two round headlights. Below the bumper is a full width blacked out air intake.
The car’s side profile presents with flared front and rear fenders and a small running board at the bottom. The roof is flatter than the previous model which gives this Beetle a more aggressive ready to run look.
At the rear the wide glass and rear hatch slop down and provide a large opening to accept cargo. The large taillights are integrated into the rear fenders. The lower blacked out insert ads some sharp looking contrast.
The interior of this Beetle is roomier than the last model. The leather-wrapped three-spoke steering wheel is flat at the bottom. The gauge cluster includes a large easy to read center speedometer flanked by smaller tachometer and fuel gauges. The front bucket seats are comfortable and supportive sport units. The heating and air conditioning controls are straightforward rotary dials. In the upper dash there is a 6.5-inch screen. As in the first (original) Beetles, the center of the dash is the same color as the car’s exterior color. The gauge cluster, center screen/vents and console are black.
At the rear this Beetle is comfortable for two adults. The rear seat is split and folds down to increase the cargo area. There is 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seat up and 29.9 cubic feet with the seat down.
The brakes are vented discs measuring 11.3 inches at the front and 10.7 inches at the rear. The Beetle’s 60-0 mph stopping distance is in 124 feet. The tires are 215 55 17 inch. Additionally, 18 or 19 inch tires are also available.
The suspension at the front includes MacPherson struts, coil springs, gas shock absorbers, and a stabilizer bar. At the rear the suspension setup includes a torsion beam, coil springs, gas shock absorbers, and a stabilizer bar.
Standard features on this Volkswagen include tilt and telescoping steering wheel, electronic speed-proportional steering, intermittent wipers, rear window defogger, air conditioning, power windows, door locks and mirrors (heated), multifunction steering wheel controls, front reading lights, fog lights, cruise control, 12 volt power outlets, 8-speaker AM/FM in-dash single CD player with MP3 playback stereo, auxiliary MP3 audio input, first aid kit and more.
Standard safety features include ABS brakes, dual front side mounted air bags, front and rear head air bags, passenger sensor deactivation, child seat anchors, daytime running lights, engine immobilizer, post-collision safety system, stability and traction control, electronic brake force distribution, tire pressure monitoring and more.
The fuel rating for the 2012 Beetle is 22 city and 31 mpg highway.
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle’s price starts at $18,995 and the Turbo starts at 23,395. At first glance, the price might seem a bit expensive, however, this Beetle is all grown up as it offers practicality, style and performance. Actually, it offers quite a bit of German car for the money.
If you want a vehicle that stands out from the others, give the new Beetle a test drive. You will likely be pleasantly surprised indeed!
Visit the slideshow to see the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle inside and out!
Kyle Busch is the author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money.” His auto site: drivethebestbook.com includes an exclusive article just for you, additional car articles, information about Kyle Busch and his 510,000 mile car, and you can even submit your automotive questions and get expert answers. Follow Kyle on Facebook and Twitter.