Our 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo convertible definitely stands out in a crowd, thanks to its tornado red paint and quintessential rounded shape. Of late, the car has been attracting a lot of attention when editors get behind the wheel.
Just ask associate editor David Zenlea. "I figured the Beetle wouldn't attract much notice more than a decade after the launch of the New Beetle, but I was wrong," he wrote in our logbook. While driving the Beetle one day, Zenlea stopped to help a pedestrian who had fallen. The Beetle clearly made an impression on her. "She thanked me and then, still bleeding from her lip, took the time to say, 'Nice car!'"
Volkswagen's attempt to butch up the Beetle's image doesn't seem to be successful in everyone's eyes, however. As Zenlea noted: "Some teenage boys riding in a Mercury Mountaineer were less complimentary. 'Hey, how much horsepower you got under the hood?' one asked amidst laughter from his friends."
Like Zenlea, managing editor of digital platforms Jennifer Misaros was somewhat surprised by the way the Beetle elicited comments. She drove it to a party and remarked that it "collected more compliments than any car in recent memory." However, as much as the Beetle's styling was praised, it didn't convey how well it performs. Most people were surprised to hear that the Beetle comes in a Turbo model. On the other hand, they thought that it cost more than it's $29,990 list price. Perhaps the styling is sending out more of an upscale message than a sporty one.
One thing that's definitely not upscale is the Beetle's ongoing problem with rattles. Many editors complained about noises coming from the passenger's-side door, and some noticed that the passenger's-side window felt loose in its track. When we took the Beetle in for service in June to correct a similar problem, the dealer found that a nut had worked its way loose inside the doorframe, causing the window to fall off its track. We'll be taking the car back soon for another unscheduled service to see if the dealer can find the source of this latest rattle.
This has not deterred our enthusiasm for the Beetle thus far, though, as the car racked up the miles -- 13,238 of them -- at a faster rate than nearly anything else in our Four Seasons fleet this summer, save for the road-trip ready Mercedes-Benz GL450 SUV. Check back next month to see if dropping temperatures affect the number of miles we put on the Beetle this fall.