As the first all-new version in more than a decade, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle earns a below-average Total Car Score.
While this new Beetle lost both its cuteness and its “New Beetle” handle in the process of the remake, reviewers found it gained a number of positives, including a refreshingly modern version of the car’s iconic rounded profile. Topping the list of high points is the Turbo model’s more powerful engine and its sport-tuned suspension that delivers an ideal balance between solid handling and ride comfort. The interior’s handsome design and top-quality materials also received several thumbs-up.
The Beetle’s shortcomings are largely limited to the base model’s somewhat lackluster engine and suspension tuning. While the rear seat is marginally larger than the outgoing model, some reviewers noted the interior still isn’t as roomy as some of its competitors.
Since the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is an all-new model, don’t expect any significant updates for the next couple of years.
The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is a compact hatchback with seating for four. It’s offered in three trim levels, base, 2.5L and Turbo.
Entry-level and 2.5L models are powered by a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque. Transmission choices with this motor include a standard five-speed manual and an optional six-speed automatic. The Beetle Turbo gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 200 hp and 207 lb-ft. A six-speed manual transmission is standard here and a six-speed DSG automated-manual gearbox is also available.
Standard features on base models include 17-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery and a CD stereo with eight speakers. The 2.5L trim level adds “leatherette” vinyl upholstery, heated front seats, floor mats, Bluetooth and iPod connectivity. Turbo models get 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, a rear spoiler and front sport seats with distinctive cloth upholstery. Major options, which are grouped into several packages, include 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, a panoramic sunroof, keyless entry/starting, leather upholstery, a touch-screen navigation system and a 400-watt Fender premium audio system. A sport suspension package is also available on Turbo models.
Equipped with the 2.5-liter engine, the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle’s EPA fuel economy estimates are 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 25 combined with the manual transmission, and 22/30/25 with the automatic. With the turbocharged 2.0-liter those numbers drop just a bit, to 22/29/25 with the manual gearbox and 21/30/24 with the DSG automatic.
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