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3/4 Front Glamour 2013 Volkswagen Beetle

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Expert's Rating

3.9Good

MPG 22 City / 31 Highway
Pros
  • Nicely updated styling
  • Strong acceleration with turbocharged motor
  • Exceptional fuel economy with diesel engine
  • Available convertible model
Cons
  • Stylish lines limit cargo space
  • Unimpressive fuel economy with gas engines
, Automotive Editor -
The Volkswagen Beetle finally has the muscle and agility befitting of it's iconic exterior, but doesn't neglect those who pine for a fuel-efficient yet fun-to-drive vehicle.

Introduction

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle is a great choice for the buyer that's looking for a fun, stylish car with a wide variety of engines and trim levels to choose from.

With the optional 2.0L, 200-hp Turbo and the TDI diesel delivering up to 41 mpg highway, there's something for everyone from the performance enthusiast to the most penny-pinching hyper-miler. If you go anywhere in the world you're likely to see someone driving an old Beetle. Not only someone, but anyone. That's because the old Beetle appealed to many different types of people for many different reasons.

The outgoing New Beetle, first introduced in 1998, failed to live up to the same levels of mass appeal. It was cute, had a soft, bubbly exterior and, of course, the infamous flower vase (which was standard). Despite it's appearance, it was still a lot of fun to drive, reliable and reasonably efficient. With the many redesigns found in the 2013 Beetle,

Volkswagen has sought to win back some of the mass appeal that made the original the icon that it is. The differences are easy to spot, even at first glance. The 2013 Beetle shares it's platform with the new Golf. The wheelbase is now both longer and wider, giving the Beetle a more aggressive, planted stance than it's predecessor. Really, it could be said that, for the most part, the Beetle is a Golf that has been reshaped and formed to fit a more stylish ride. To power the newest new Beetle, a 2.5L, 170hp engine comes as standard. This is an increase in displacement over the 1.8L that came in the previous Beetle.

The power band is smooth and, while not world-beating, is a hoot to drive for only being a standard offering. Being that it is a Golf at heart, the Beetle handles well thanks to the sport-tuned suspension and the electromechanical steering that also comes as standard, keeping with the current trend of electrically-aided power steering systems. As per usual with these systems, there does seem to be a little bit of a loss of "road feel" in the steering wheel with the addition of the electric steering, but not so bad as to be terribly noticeable unless you were looking to find it. All in all, the 2013 Beetle is a very fun car worthy of the admiration of someone, everywhere, which would make it's ancestor very proud.

Which Style To Buy?

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T

Recommended for: Those who want all the performance while paying the lowest price

The 2.0T turbocharged engine in the 2013 Beetle produces 200 horsepower, up from 170 in the stock 2.5L engine. The spring to sixty takes 6.8 seconds, a very respectable time in this class. The sporty suspension, brakes and electric-assisted steering make for a joy of a drive, no matter what class or size you compare it to.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L Fender Edition

Recommended for: The music-lover that wants a great sound system and cool Fender appointments

The 2.5L Fender Edition may be powered by the stock 170hp motor, but the sound system has been upgraded to a 400-watt offering from Fender. Also standard in this trim is Bluetooth call connectivity, a very handy feature in this day and age of cell phone laws. The dashboard has been trimmed,by Fender, with a quilted 3-tone sunburst. This dash screams cool and is a very classy looking addition to the car. The Fender edition shares some of the same touches as some of the other special models, like the chrome side mirror caps and the 18-inch wheels from the 70's Edition. Starting at $24,440, this may be the best bang for the buck of all the packages.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T 60s Edition

Recommended for: Those who want vintage styling to go along with all that performance

At $32,295, the 2.0T 60's Edition Beetle is the most expensive package available. Oh, but what a nice one! With its Denim Blue paint scheme with matching painted dash, two-tone sport seats and 18-inch twister wheels as well, the 60's Edition is almost as much fun to look at it is to drive. The addition of the 2.0T turbocharged engine is, of course, a bonus that no one will deny t least considering when deciding on what package to choose when buying a Beetle.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T Fender Edition

Recommended for: Someone who wants all the trimming from the 2.5L Fender Edition and more power to go along with it

The standard 2.5L Fender Edition comes with Fender badging, an upgraded sound system, and a Fender 3-tone sunburst dashboard. But one thing it doesn't come with is a turbo. To get that, you'll have to shell out the extra cash for the 2.0T turbocharged Fender Edition. The thirty horsepower increase from 170 to 200 is very noticeable both on the page and in the real world. If you can afford, spring for this one if you want the Fender package.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0T Turbo

Recommended for: The driving enthusiast whom regards performance more than anything else

The 2.0T turbocharged engine powering the Beetle Turbo produces an even 200 hp and 207 lb/ft. of torque and flings the car from 0-60 in a sprightly 6.8 seconds. All the while, achieving 21 city/30 highway, which leaves myself to wonder why you wouldn't just go ahead and splurge for this over the 2.5L were you financially able. Plus, performance gauges are optional and always make you feel like that much more of a racing driver. Not to mention the spoiler! The Beetle, like the Golf, gives you the classic, back-in-the-seat acceleration sensation that Volkswagen seems to be especially good at, but with less torque steer than in previous years. A brilliant-driving car that could be a quirkier alternative to a Golf.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.0L TDI

Recommended for: The most frugal of Beetle buyers

When someone is in the market for a diesel, a TDI is always in the race. This model is no exception, delivering 28 city/41 highway with 140 hp and 236 lb/ft. of torque. The 8.5 second sprint to sixty isn't anything to write home about, but it's also not half bad for a diesel. It's sleek looks are also a big plus, as it can be very difficult to find an attractive, diesel-powered car in the North American market. It may be the best looking diesel offering in this price point.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L

Recommended for: The buyer that wants the most affordable 2013 Beetle available

While the base model 2.5L trim may not have as many bells and whistles as some of it's siblings, with the price point starting at $19,795, opting for this model wouldn't be a bad choice. Especially, if you don't really care all that much for gizmos and fancy wheels. The engine achieves 22 city/31 highway, which is pretty good. With its sport-tuned suspension, this car still has many qualities that sometimes make it as fun to drive as its turbocharged kin...sometimes.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L 50s Edition

Recommended for: The buyer that wants the most traditional-looking convertible Beetle

Starting at $26,095, the 2.5L Beetle Convertible 50's Edition is a style package offered by Volkswagen to allow buyers to experience a modern interpretation of the most traditional Beetle color combination: a black exterior with a tan interior. To add an even more authenticating touch, the 17-inch Heritage alloy wheels are a direct link to the classic bubble hub-cap that came on the old Beetles. Subtle touches like chrome side mirror caps and sporty leather seats help to make the 50's edition a worthwhile step-up for someone who wanted something a little more than what was offered in the standard convertible package. The standard 2.5L powers this one, as well.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle
Starting price
$11,980

2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L 70s Edition

Recommended for: The buyer that wants sleek, funky styling and more options than the 50's model

The 2.5L 70's Edition Convertible Beetle is another package offering. This one comes trimmed in a very elegant Toffee Brown Metallic paint and the roof is held down with a beige boot cover that matches the leather interior. Other upgrades include a touchscreen navigation system which, while admittedly small, is perfectly useable and would only be turned down by the most scrupulous techies. Also included in the 70's Edition are 18-inch disc wheels that add a funky flair to a classy looking trim. At $28, 595, the price is starting to climb somewhat, but for the extra goodies that you get it's worth it.

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