Friday, January 25, 2013

This one gets my vote as Best Beetle Ever

Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews also can be seen on the business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website – via the “GALLERY: Reviews of new cars” link at

Sacramento, California – The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Turbo (60s Edition) was the best Beetle I’ve ever driven, and let me tell you, I have driven quite a few VW Beetles over the years.

What’s to like?  A whole lot.

It’s nicely rounded and smooth from the outside, unmistakably a Beetle at first glance but modern enough to make you feel good about your contemporary choice.

Inside, the 60s Edition was just what I was hoping for -- a throwback beauty.  On the tester, I loved the light-blue colored metal backdrop to the dash controls.  Compact car buffs will undoubtedly say it looks a lot like what you get in the Fiat 500.

To which I say, so what?  If it looks good, go with it.

Those aforementioned dash controls and gauges are easy to read and use.  Mastering the interior devices was a five-minute task, about one-sixth of my standard time these days.  Didn’t see a bud vase.  Another good thing.  Boys like this Beetle too.

And wow, the 2-liter, four-cylinder, 200-horsepower turbocharged engine was quite the beast in this weight class.  Combined with instantly responsive steering, I found myself running this Beetle through traffic like a Bowie knife through whipped cream.  Yeah, it felt good, and that’s the primary reason that this particular Beetle went to the top of my all-time Bug List.

For a zippy turbo, fuel mileage of 21 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway actually was a little better than I expected.

Warning: Expect a fair amount of exterior noise to find its way into the convertible’s cabin.

And Beetle devotees, take note: There are now ELEVEN trim levels in the kingdom of Beetledom, so there should be no problem finding the one of your dreams.  However, if you figured my droptop, turbocharged, retro ride was going to cost you just a shade over $20,000, think again.  That starting fare is about $32,400.

Welcome to the 21st century folks.  I’m betting that more than a few baby boomers expect to get a Beetle for a super-low price, because hey, wasn’t that how the Beetle got started in America in the first place?

Yes, it is, but the current price is about right for our times.  Similarly equipped – and lesser quality – cars are going for the same price.

So, if you want a high-end Beetle, be prepared to pay the price.  And prepare to enjoy.

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