2013 Volkswagen
Beetle

MSRP:
$19,765 Manual
MPG:
22 city / 29 hwy
Engine:
2.5L, 5-cylinder, 170 hp

Forget “Flower Power”, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle strives to be more masculine and sporty, and loses its bud vase in the process.


By Tara Weingarten

THE BIG PICTURE

Herbie the Love Bug made the Volkswagen Beetle famous, with its scrappy personality and can-do attitude. The new four-seater retains a lot of that youthful spirit but gains a robust engine to match its spunk.

To me, the 2013 VW Beetle is a breath of fresh air. As some cars get too serious, the Bug says, “Hey, wanna have fun?” I say “absolutely”. This new generation half-dome offers major headroom for even tall drivers and passengers. And because the windshield is pushed far forward, the sense of roominess in the cabin is magnificent – feeling far more spacious than the Beetle’s size would suggest looking at it from the outside.

AN INSIDE JOB

The first thing I notice is the painted dashboard. It’s glossy and matches the car’s exterior paint color. I notice it immediately because when I was very young, my mom drove a putty-colored Bug. Inside, the dashboard was painted metal, to match the car’s exterior. I remember thinking it was cool that the car looked the same inside and out.

VW has brought back that look, which stands in contrast to contemporary styling and favor in other cars of glossy woods and cool, brushed aluminums. Here, the paint treatment is where it was when I was a kid: on the doors, glove box and dashboard. It’s even on the steering wheel, which is new. Fun!

The 2013 VW Beetle has a start button, so the key fob can stay in your purse. Great, as long as you’re not handing over your car to a valet (which, here in Los Angeles, happens a lot) and might forget to give him the key. This is my gripe about keyless cars. But push-button start is on most cars today, not just VWs, and that rant is for another day.

There’s a useful storage tray, lined with grippy rubber, which sits atop the dash. It’s large enough to hold a smart phone, change, parking tickets, or a pad and paper.

Climate controls are super simple, so there’s no need to take your eyes off the road to change the temperature. Love that. And a five-inch touch screen for the audio system and (optional) navigation is animated and attractive.

The VW Beetle trunk is enormous. Certainly spacious enough for a run to Costco, or to accommodate enough bags for a week’s getaway. The backseats split 50/50, allowing you to haul long things, and still have a passenger in the rear.

The (optional) panoramic moonroof is, as its descriptive suggests, huge, and opens up the cockpit to vast sky above. Absolutely delightful.

GIZMOS AND TECH

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle isn’t the tech-iest vehicle on the market. But honestly, how much tech do you need while driving? Truth be told, the Germans – they who drive on the Autobahn – think we’re nuts for all the technology we demand in today’s cars. Still, the Bug has all the necessary perks.

A three-color ambient lighting package comes standard on all models. Think of it as the automotive equivalent of a mood ring, putting the Bug’s cabin in a groovy state of mind. Options include Bluetooth, a stopwatch and oil temperature gauge. Not sure why you’d need a stopwatch, but if you do, you can pay extra for it. And for the first time, the Beetle has (optional) Bi-xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights.

The 400-watt Fender Premium Audio system, with sub-woofer, is good but not amazing for the money. I would skip it and keep the standard sound system.

The 2013 VW Beetle comes with a no-charge maintenance program covering scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. Also, the Bug uses synthetic oil, eliminating the need for a 5,000-mile oil change and allows the car to drive longer between oil changes.

SAFETY

Front airbags are standard, as side curtain airbags both upfront and in the rear. An Intelligent Crash Response System reacts to certain types of accidents by shutting off the fuel pump, unlocking the doors and turning on the hazard lights. Electronic Stability Control is also included, which keeps the car on track, should you loose traction and start to skid.

HOW DOES IT DRIVE?

It’s a blast. It’s quick off the line, so you can merge into traffic no problem. The brakes are fast to respond, and the steering is exact, with good road feel.

I took my 2013 Volkswagen Beetle test car on twisty Mulholland Drive and found the car hugged corners as well as its drivers once hugged trees. The Bug felt stable and I felt safe.

Pricing and Trim Levels

2013 Volkswagen Beetle


There are four trim levels of the 2.5-liter model: Beetle ($19,765); 2.5 Beetle; 2.5 Beetle with sunroof; and 2.5 Beetle with sunroof, sound, and Nav. The Turbo is available as: Turbo ($24,165); Turbo with sunroof; and Turbo with sunroof, sound, and Nav.

Final Thoughts

This upgrade in style and substance gives the Beetle more dash with the flash. For a fun ride it's got just the right amount of muscle.

The iconic design lives

Fun to drive and zippy

The Fender audio system is lackluster

Iconic
Roomy
Clever

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4 Responses to “Volkswagen Beetle”

  1. Melvin Fields says:

    I usually hate stereotypes, but this one seems to hold true, women just aren’t into sound quality. As long as they can hear their favorite song, fidelity does not matter. I have to assume this is true based on the following statement –

    “The 400-watt Fender Premium Audio system, with sub-woofer, is good but not amazing for the money. I would skip it and keep the standard sound system.”

    I have the Fender sound system in my Turbo Fender Beetle and it is the best automobile sound system I have ever heard!

    • Sorry, but your “stereotype” comment is exactly that. And we respectfully disagree with you about the Fender system. The women at VroomGirls DO appreciate sound quality. And the Fender system was found to be wanting.

      • Sarah in Pacific Northwest says:

        Woman reporting in; the fender edition sound system is incredible. Friends riding in my car have all agreed this is the best sound system they’ve heard. Not sure what you could possibly want more of! Maybe you needed to spend a little extra time fine tuning the settings. I like this system more than my boyfriend’s Bose audio. It just rocks.

  2. Sue in Atlanta says:

    My 2013 VW convertible is my fifth Beetle. I loved my 2006 so much that” I bought it twice” I bought the exact same color combo. Preferred the 2006 way more then my new one. The visibility on the 2013 is very flawed. Too small of a back window and too big head rests. It is very cute and I get tons of compliments on it….even men love it. But I want a car that is reliable and I hate to say I am so disappointed that this one is not. First it was delivered with the entire car scratched by a bad polish job.. Circular marks everywhere. Had to have that re-done. Then after a week the top was vandalized and they did a terrible job putting on new canvas, it had to be done twice. But the worst is three times now the car will not start. You get in and after putting your foot on the brake nothing happens when you press the starter button and it gets stuck in park unable to move. It’s going in for service tomorrow but they have already told me they have never heard of an issue like this….Well, it’s probably electrical or a bad ignition switch to cause total lack of power. I’m preparing myself to be treated like I’m an idiot because that is just how car dealers treat women. Expecting issues I did call VW of America customer care and they took a report and they will work with the dealer to see what the problem is. They are suppose to call me tomorrow after they talk with the dealer….Hoping I’m not just brushed off…..

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