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1312 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible Heading West
four seasons long-term tests

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible - Heading West

Miles to Date: 21,000

WINTER
2013 Volkswagen Beetle reviews to date
This trip itself would show any flaws in any car, and it didn’t take down the Beetle.

The cold Michigan winter was taking its toll on our sun-loving Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible. It wasn’t receiving nearly as much love as it had in the warmer months, and often sat in our parking lot buried under a blanket of snow. After one cold, unpleasant night in the Beetle, copy editor Rusty Blackwell said, “Getting this car out of Michigan seems like a fantastic idea right about now.” So that’s what we did.

Road test editor Chris Nelson took our Beetle Convertible on its longest road trip yet: 2500 miles out to sunny Los Angeles, California. There it will stay with west coast editor Michael Jordan for a few months to soak up some rays before making a return trip to Michigan in time for spring.

Here are the highlights of Nelson’s journey west:

Leg 1: Ann Arbor-St. Louis

The Volkswagen Beetle Turbo left snowy Michigan on a Friday at lunchtime. With three long days of driving ahead, we outfitted the car with a Passport radar detector, which we affixed to the car’s trio of auxiliary gauges in the center of the dashboard. Since the Beetle was journeying to warmer climes, the car was still riding on all-season tires, and Nelson was worried about running into winter weather on the way.

Sure enough, in Indiana, the snow started to fall. “The Beetle isn’t a very communicative car to begin with, and its floatiness was amplified because of the slick roads,” Nelson said. “It wasn’t to a dangerous degree, though. The car tracked pretty well, and the main problem was that the dim headlights made it hard to see at night.” After two hours of blizzard-like conditions, he finally made it to the Illinois border, at which point the weather cleared up and he continued on to St. Louis, Missouri, where he was staying for the night.

Leg 2: St. Louis-Albuquerque

The next morning found the Beetle Convertible covered in 2 inches of snow. Cleaning off the car, Nelson again began to worry about the Beetle on its all-season tires, and whether they would make it out of the city given the slick roads. Once again, the Beetle pulled through and assuaged Nelson’s worries; he even expressed his appreciation for the Volkswagen’s blisteringly hot and fast-acting seat heaters.

Once out on the open road, he made quick progress into Oklahoma, where sensory deprivation set in. “Driving across Oklahoma was quite possibly the most boring drive in the history of the world,” Nelson said. “This is when I started to regret taking the Beetle. The first day was pretty harmless because the stereo was good and I had just started to get back in touch with the car. But on day two, when you know you still have a long way to go, the drive was sobering. I began to notice things that I despise about the Beetle.”

“First: the seats. They’re pretty comfortable at first sit, if a little springy. It’s like a friend’s couch that you pass out on when you’re drunk. At first it feels great because it’s so soft. Then you get up in the morning and you ache. I found myself having to lift one leg and put it under the other to help stretch out my quads. Second: I really hated not having navigation. I was using my phone, and unlike many other systems, the voice activated navigation commands from an app on my phone wouldn’t play over the speakers when the phone was connected to Bluetooth.”

After a nerve-wracking search for premium gas in the middle of nowhere, Nelson ran the Beetle near empty and eventually filled it with 13.35 gallons, our second biggest fill-up recorded so far throughout eight months with the car. As the long day of driving continued through Oklahoma, Texas, and New Mexico, Nelson’s sanity started to go: “I was talking to myself and doing anything to avoid going crazy, but I just kept driving and driving and driving. I finally made it to Albuquerque after midnight and went straight to bed.”

Leg 3: Albuquerque-Los Angeles

After his marathon second leg, though, Nelson awoke in Albuquerque the next morning in a more stable mental state. “I wasn’t happy, but I was well-rested and not as pissed off at the Beetle,” he said.

Somewhere near the Arizona-New Mexico border, he got off the highway to take a few photos of the Beetle amidst the distinctive desert scenery and inadvertently got the scare of his life. “I saw a dirt road with no markings, so I went ahead. As I was snapping some photos, an old Ford F-100 came barreling down the road,” Nelson recalled. “A woman with a mullet and lipstick on her teeth got out, and she had a gun. I immediately knew it was her property. She said, ‘I can shoot because you’re on my property.’ She came up to me and grabbed my arm, and I started apologizing profusely. I couldn’t even hear what she was saying because I was too busy staring at the gun. I got in the car and drove off as fast as I could. After that I decided I wasn’t going to stop for a while.”

After he recovered from welcome to Arizona, he stopped for lunch in Flagstaff, and decided that it was finally time to put the top down. Once he did, the last leg of his trip took a decidedly upward turn.

“With the top down, I immediately felt much better about the car. The noise was better, the visuals were better, the whole experience was better,” self-identified convertible lover Nelson gushed. “That’s the magic of convertibles”

Now in much higher spirits, Nelson made it to the California border in no time. “As the sun started to set, it got cold again. But I decided I’d leave the top down and turn the heater full blast, and I kept chugging along.”

After more than 2500 miles on the open road, the Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible finally rolled into Los Angeles, and Nelson reflected on his trip. “The car didn’t hiccup once, it never left me stranded, never threw a code, and never did anything wrong.”

“It wasn’t the ideal road trip car, but the minute I was able to put the top down I could look past some of its flaws. With the top up, it’s just a Beetle, which is not a very compelling car. But a Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Convertible has an effect on your senses. That’s something that not many cars do.”

Check back soon for an update on how things are going with our Volkswagen Beetle’s new life in California so far.

2013 Volkswagen Beetle Specs
  • Overview
  • powertrain
  • chassis
  • measurements
  • equipment
  • options
Body style 2-door convertible
Accommodation 4-passenger
Construction Steel unibody
Base price (with dest.)$28,590
As tested $29,990
Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
Displacement 2.0 liters (121 cu in)
Power 200 hp @ 5100 rpm
Torque 207 lb-ft @ 1700 rpm
Transmission 6-speed manual
Drive Four-wheel
EPA Fuel Economy 21/30/24 (city/hwy/combined)
Steering Electrically assisted
Lock-to-lock 3.0 turns
Turning circle 35.4 ft
Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
Brakes F/R Vented discs/discs
Wheels 18-inch aluminum
Tires Hankook Optimo H426
Tire size 235/45R-18 94H
Headroom F/R 39.3/37.6 in
Legroom F/R 41.3/31.4 in
Shoulder room F/R 55.3/43.1 in
Wheelbase 100.0 in
Track F/R 62.1/61.2 in
L x W x H 168.4 x 71.2 x 58.0 in
Passenger capacity 81.4 cu ft
Cargo capacity 7.1/29.9 cu ft
Weight 3230 lb
Weight dist. F/R xx/xx%
Fuel capacity 14.5 gal
Est. fuel range 350 miles
Fuel grade 91 octane (premium)
  • Standard Equipment
    • Power convertible roof
    • Sport suspension
    • Fog lights
    • Adjustable interior-ambient lighting
    • 8-speaker audio system
    • Auxiliary audio jack
    • Height-adjustable front seats
    • Heated washer nozzles
    • 50/50-split folding rear seats
    • Cruise control
    • Tilt-and-telescopic steering column
    • Bluetooth
    • Air conditioning
    • Heated front seats
  • Packages & Options
    • Sound package
    • $1,4090
    • 9-speaker Fender audio system Keyless entry and ignition SiriusXM satellite radio w/3-month trial subscription Leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel
    John Hart
       Hey Mr. Capparella:Why didn't you finesse the Granny Garbanzo with the gun with your Automobile camera and credentials and have her pose on the Beetle...sounds like Barbie is sick of LA drugies and is living the high life in a trailer trash pickup with a blingy new toy gun out in the deep South west?    Then again, if you don't tell your competitive journalists, one of them might onw day try that "meke em starstruck" line by saying they work for Motortrend, but she's a bit hard of hearing and thinks it was "Motorhead", and 'pop pop pop'!!!!! I figure she might then walk off, mutterin'"never could stand that polysubstance bassist Lemmy!!:    It actually might be safer next time if you go to CA from MI via Mexico (they got "Shorty"...Wack A Mole crime might not be quite closed down, though!    Some trip...I assume this makes the convertible Mini a slightly better car?
    Indamud
    Over the years, I've owned 6 VWs, four of them bought new.I've never experienced any major problems with any of them.For Yuval Ariav, OK, so they aren't made in Asia... does't make them bad!I was gullible enough to buy a new Kia when they came out; looked good on paper. Had that bought back through the Lemon Law.A 2007 Chevy Avalanche was so problematic, I knew the name of every mechanic at the dealership.A Toyota Rav 4 didn't make it far before plastic bits fell off, and the dealership couldn't determine which color of White to order...Cars are made from tons of parts (literally!), and some parts may fail for any brand, from any country.The reviewer states: "After a nerve-wracking search for premium gas". This guy seriously reviews cars? Does he know about ethanol vs non-ethanol gas? Personally I've run tanks full of regular in an R32, and trust me, the white knuckle, screaming co-pilots couldn't tell the difference.The article was a poor review.If you are in the market, try the new diesel Beetle convertible; my friend consistently gets over 50mpg, and no battery pack.
    Lalit Tata
    I love car
    loopless55
    If private property is not fenced and not posted no-one has any right to stick a gun in your face or physically man-handle you. Should have called the cops. It could have escalated into you dead by the side of the road.
    Yuval Ariav
    One more lemons from the House of VW
    Sagar S. Shinde
    !!!शिवाजी महाराज !!! हे नाव जरी ऐकले तरी आपल्या शरीरावर शारे येतात आणि आपली छाती अभिमानाने फुलती कारण आपल्या राजांचे कार्यच तसे होते ज्या वेळेस सर्व शाह्या मोघल , आदिलशाही ह्यांच्या हुजरिपणा करण्यास मग्न होत्या , ज्यांच्या कडे अस करण्याशिवाय पर्यायच नव्हता ह्या शाह्या जेव्हा गरीब जनतेची पिळवणूक करत होते , बेशुमार कतली करत होते , ज्यावेळेस जनतेने सुद्धा आस सोडली होती, आम्हीच ह्यांचे गुलाम आयुष्यभर राहू असा मनात विश्वास निर्माण झाला होता त्याच वेळेस त्या विधात्याला गोर -गरिबांचे दुख पाहवले नाही आणि त्यांनी ह्या लांडग्या आणि कोल्ह्यांच्या जाती मध्ये एक सिंह पाठवला ज्याचे नाव होते "शिवाजी महाराज" महाराजांनी आपल्या फक्त ५२ वयामध्ये जे करून दाखवले ते बघून आज पण सर्व हतबल आहे कि राजांनी हे केले तरी कसे . शिवाजी महाराजांनी माणसाला माणूस समजल जात वैगेरे कधी मानलीच नाही सर्वाना ते आपल मानत होते आणि आज ४५० वर्ष नंतर आपण आजून पण जातीवादी म्हणून जगात आहे माणुसकीच हि मोठी जात असते हेच विसरलो आहे . शिवाजी महाराजांनी त्या वेळेस सर्व शाहीना पाणी पाजले . गोर गरिबांची हत्या करणारा अमानुष अश्या महाकाय राक्षस अफजल्याचा खोठदा बाहेर काढला . आदिलशाही ची कंबर मोडून काढली . मोघल साम्राज्याला चाप (वचक ) लावली , तिकडे इंग्रज ,डच ,फ्रांसीसी ह्यांच्या धोरणांना आळा घातला . एवढे सर्व काम एकट्या राज्याने करून दाखवले . ज्या शाह्यांना जमल नाही एवढे भले मोठे आरमार राजांनी उभे केले . माणसाला माणूस म्हणून जगायला शिकवले . आणि ज्यांच्या मुळे स्वराज्य निर्माण होवू शकले तसेच खरा महाराष्ट्र घडला म्हणून तर आम्ही महाराष्ट्रीयन अस बोलतो कि ३५ कोटी देवांचे मंदिर आहे पण अख्या जगाच्या लोकांवर राज करणारा पण तरी एक हि मंदिर नसणार देव म्हणजे आमचे लाडके शिवाजी महाराज…. अश्या थोर नेत्यास त्यांच्या जन्मदिनी कोटी कोटी प्रणाम … आणि काही पंक्त्या जय जय महाराष्ट्र माझा, गर्जा महाराष्ट्र माझा रेवा वरदा, कृष्ण कोयना, भद्रा गोदावरी एकपणाचे भरती पाणी मातीच्या घागरी भीमथडीच्या तट्टांना या यमुनेचे पाणी पाजा जय जय महाराष्ट्र माझा ... भीती न आम्हा तुझी मुळी ही गडगडणार्या नभा अस्मानाच्या सुलतानीला जवाब देती जीभा सह्याद्रीचा सिंह गर्जतो, शिवशंभू राजा दरीदरीतून नाद गुंजला महाराष्ट्र माझा काळ्या छातीवरी कोरली अभिमानाची लेणी पोलादी मनगटे खेळती खेळ जीवघेणी दारिद्र्याच्या उन्हात शिजला, निढ़ळाच्या घामाने भिजला देशगौरवासाठी झिजला दिल्लीचेही तख्त राखितो, महाराष्ट्र माझा

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