2015 Volkswagen Beetle | Road Test

Posted on Dec 11, 2014 by
2015 Volkswagen Beetle
  • Editor Rating

  • Rated 3.5 stars
  • Very Good
AEDAED 130,000
  • 0/5 Avg. User Rating

  • Rated 0 stars
  • 0 No reviews yet!

  • Reviewed by:
  • Published on:
  • Last modified: December 11, 2014
  • Exterior
    Editor: 80%
  • Interior
    Editor: 80%
  • Quality
    Editor: 60%
  • Features
    Editor: 70%
  • Performance
    Editor: 70%
  • Value for money
    Editor: 70%

Review Summary:

Winning hearts since 1938, the Beetle has earned its title "Car of the People" and although its newest iteration comes seven decades after the first model, it retains the classic elements that made the Beetle, a Beetle.

Pros

* Once the turbo gets up to speed, the Beetle becomes a joy to drive, delivering phenomenal levels of grip and a smile to your face.
* Retention of classic design cues make the Beetle truly iconic.

Cons

* Abundance of plastic around the cabin is by far the biggest let down.
* Cruise control switches could easily be located on the steering itself, as opposed to the indicator stalk.

Introduction & Summary

1938 – a year that not many will remember, but a year that encompassed a series of great events. While Frances Moulton got elected as the first woman president of a US national bank and Austria became a state of Germany, little did the individuals at Volkswagen know the vehicles they were working on, were set to go down in the history books, as the first batch of Beetles were brought to life.

2014 Volkswagen Beetle front

Fast forward 76 years later and while making an appearance in several Hollywood flicks along the way, the Volkswagen Beetle has re-entered the Middle Eastern market, something that seems to have brought as much joy to consumers, as Herbie brought to the screens in 1969.

Styling & Design

Paying homage to its ancestors, the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle retains a few classic characteristics, such as rounded headlamps, flared wings, and a downward sloping hood, but keeping up with the times, it’s grown both, its size, and its style quotient. Incorporating LED’s around the central projector beams, and welcoming a panoramic roof and large 19 inch alloys, the 84 mm wider, 12 mm lower, and 152 mm longer Beetle is now something men can drive too, without having to bow their heads in shame.

2014 Volkswagen Beetle front top

Inside, body coloured door and dashboard panels do a great job of breaking the monotony of the predominantly dark cabin, and while split glove boxes and elastic storage compartments are reminiscent of the good ol’ Bug, the Beetle’s obsession with plastic has now soared to unhealthy levels. Pleasant to look at, but not very pleasant to touch, the designers’ have splashed grain plastic over the entire cabin, (bar the seats and arm rests) dashboard, door panels, centre console, A, B, and C pillars included! Something quite shocking from a brand who seem to have their interiors on point otherwise.

Features

Creature comforts are a plenty in the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle, with some being arguably more useful than others. Catered to the hip and trendy crowd, there’s ambient lighting rings which embellish the perimeter of the Fender speakers (in either red, white, or blue), a total of eight, which, when paired with a woofer, produce a good 400 Watts  of thump!

2014 Volkswagen Beetle interior

On the other hand, there’s a voice control system, which after two individuals and twelve different accents attempting to make it work, we narrowed it down to the fact that it was utterly pointless. Additionally, there are also heated seats, a feature which in this part of the world, is as redundant as cool boxes are in Greenland. And finally, even in its finest livery, the engineers have excluded a reverse camera, something that could have easily been made available, as a bulk of the technology is already available in the car (infotainment screen) or in the brand’s line-up.

Performance, Ride & Handling

Sending 210 horsepower and 280 Nm of torque to the front wheels, the 2.0 litre turbo stratified injection engine suffers from a split-personality disorder. Up until you’ve got the RPM needle encroaching into the 2,000’s territory, the Beetle feels lethargic and drags its feet, making you well aware of its 1,810 kg weight. Allow for some air to be injected into the fuel lines by the turbo, however, and the Bug springs to life, transforming into a peppy little motor which sprints from 0 – 100 km/h in 7.3 seconds and on to its 227 km/h top speed.

2014 Volkswagen Beetle interior

Mated to a 6 speed DSG gearbox which shuffles cogs in the blink of an eye and allows for a manual override either through the gear shifter, or the steering wheel paddles, the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle offers an enthralling ride once up to speed, which is complimented by astounding levels of grip. Doing justice to the red brake calipers, flat-bottomed steering wheel, spoiler, and other bits of sporting pretence, is a factory fitted XDS differential lock, sports tuned suspension, and wheels that have been bumped to the extremities to improve handling and keep the Beetle planted even when taking corners at three digit speeds.

2014 Volkswagen Beetle front

Where it isn’t all well, unfortunately, is in the steering and braking departments. Although the sluggish steering, which provides inadequate feedback can be forgiven, the mushy brakes and elevated placement of the pedal are a lot harder to get over. Continually having you to physically lift your leg off the accelerator and relocate it to the brake pedal, an effortless glide from one to the other is out of the question. More importantly, when the time to finally deploy the anchors arrives, you’re left feeling like you’ve dipped your foot in a concoction of chewing gum and freshly made moist dough; worse still, is the time it takes for the pedal to waltz back to its original, elevated position.

Comfort & Practicality

With Vienna leather wrapped seats pulled out of the Volkswagen Scirocco and placed in the Beetle, they’re undoubtedly comfortable. Providing lumbar support and brilliant lateral support, the driver and front seat passenger will have no complaints whatsoever. Hop in the back , however, and while leg room and head room are both adequate to accommodate adults, the lack of rear A/C vents will allow those in the back to involuntarily experience a sauna on wheels for seven months of the year, in this part of the world at least.

2014 Volkswagen Beetle interior

From a practicality point of view, the Beetle brings a few surprises with it. The arrangement of the armrest and cup holders is such that they are mutually exclusive. You’re left having to choose between which is more important at that point in time, the cup holders, or the armrest, since you are unable to use both together. The boot space is also a bit of a shocker, measuring 310 litres, it’s quite restricted, both, horizontally and vertically due to the rear glass. Finally, the only saving grace comes in the form of fuel efficiency; sipping an average of 7 litres for every 100 kilometres, the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle proves it can be an efficient urban runner without drilling a hole through your wallet.

Price & Verdict

The Volkswagen Beetle is an icon; an icon that even after 76 years, remains instantly recognisable. Sharing its underpinnings with the Golf, the Beetle brings years, and years of heritage for the younger generation to enjoy, and although it may not be at the most justified price, it still carries that hip and trendy image effortlessly. In a way, I guess you could call it the Jennifer Aniston of the automotive world, for it’s still got all the young chaps drooling.

2014 Volkswagen Beetle rear

Wearing a price tag of AED 130,000, the top of the line Beetle is bound to make you stand out in your little group of friends, and while it’s likely to be seen in the garages of those who place appearance over ability, we’re glad Volkswagen has brought the Bug back.

May the legend live on…

Post Review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *