road test graphic v5 8 123 VIDEO: 2012 VW Beetle Redesigned With Men In Mind

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

This is it! The first major redesign of the new Beetle in 10 years. But Volkswagen isn’t calling it the New Beetle anymore.

And they don’t want us to think of it as a ladies’ car. A good chunk of former new Beetle buyers were women. Volkswagen is hoping that men will think this new generation Beetle is more, macho. That’s probably why they ditched the flower holder on the dash.

The sound system is designed by Fender, you know, the guitar people. The sunroof is a lot larger and you get a real glove box with another little compartment on top. They also fixed the long expanse of the dash. The new Beetle has a more traditional and I think comfortable interior. It looks, well, more like the rest of the VW line, namely the Jetta, because that’s what you’re driving. A Jetta with a bug body and that’s a good thing. A drop top is on it’s way too.

The driving experience of this Mexican made Beetle is very pleasing indeed. Steering is light, without being floaty. For a more spirited driving experience, the turbo version is the version of choice. Everything is well put together. The materials are first rate. The interior is solid. The seats are well supported. And I love the feeling of the steering wheel, including the easy-to-use buttons on the wheel itself. There are four airbags including side curtain protection. There’s an iPod cable, Bluetooth and customizable interior lighting, similar to the Ford Mustang.

I tested the non-turbo 2.5-liter version. The engine makes 170 horsepower, which felt very adequate for everyday driving. The turbo version makes 200 horsepower. The combined mileage is around 25 miles per gallon for both. Not great compared to other cars in this class.

Over half a century, VW has sold over 20 million units. It’s the only good idea that the Der Fuehrer ever had. This isn’t an evolutionary car. I mean, come on, what a big task for the designers to freshen up an iconic car without losing the original spirit. When you see the Beetle on the road, you can’t help smiling. If you’re behind the wheel of the people’s car, you’ll smile too, even without the flower vase.


Mike West has been on the air in Seattle for more than 30 years as part of Seattle’s best morning show teams. He also did mornings on KLOS Los Angeles for a little over a year before returning to Seattle. He currently hosts Breakfast With The Beatles every Sunday morning on CBS Seattle station KZOK, 102.5 FM.


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