ALL IN THE BACK SWING
VW had another go at retro, fitting a sleeker Beetle body to the tried and true Golf chassis
THERE’S no disputing the original Beetle’s place in history — it’s a much-loved classic, especially so with VW enthusiasts. However, as found out when it built retro Beetle, reviving past glories often means risking failure.
launched the new Beetle in 2000 amid much hype. To be fair, it was never intended to a mainstream model — but it’s also fair to say that it didn’t live up the hype.
Undeterred, VW decided go again in 2013 with another “new” Beetle, based on then current Golf platform.
It looked similar to the previous model but with new and sleeker lines it still stood out from regular crowd.
was a two-door hatch, which limited its appeal. It was fine for young singles, couples without kids and older types unburdened by children wanting to indulge themselves. For anyone else it was impractical.
Once you were aboard the cabin roomy for four with decent head and legroom but rear access awkward, even with the wide doors.
The sole variant came a host of standard features including Bluetooth, multifunction steering wheel, dualzone climate-control aircon, cruise control, front and rear park sensors, auto wipers remote access.
This Beetle also benefited from the step-up in technology since first iteration 2000.
Power came a 1.4-litre four-cylinder with supercharger to boost low-end performance and turbocharger take over as the revs climbed.
Peak outputs were 118kW/ 240Nm so it had plenty of grunt all the way through rev range. Based was on Golf the Beetle steered, braked and handled well, as you would expect.
Most buyers went for the seven-speed dual-clutch auto option but if insisted could have a six-speed manual.
Owners of the first-edition new Beetle had lots to complain about, particularly build quality problems and reliability issues.
But those who bought the more recent version tell a different much happier tale.
They like performance and fuel economy of 1.4-litre twin-charge engine and praise the ride handling.
Importantly they don’t report any problems with the seven-speed DSG transmission, which was a common issue for owners of earlier cars.
Before handing over your cash for Beetle DSG, it’s wise to thoroughly test drive it and put it through its paces. watching for shuddering, hesitant shifting or anything that seems odd.
Working as should the gearbox take off without hesitation and shift smoothly. If you’re not sure about what to watch for, have it driven by a mechanic who is familiar with the gearbox.
Regular maintenance vital to good ongoing health all cars, and Beetle no exception. Check the service record make sure previous owners haven’t skimped on maintenance.
The factory says should be serviced every 15,000km.
VW engines commonly use oil, some more than others. It’s not necessarily a problem but it’s good idea to regularly check the oil level and top it up
as needed. If it seems to use a lot of oil, get checked.
Rex Robinson We have a 2014 Beetle and all is going well. The 1.4-litre goes like crazy, the seven-speed DSG smooth,
the fuel economy great. As we are only couple it has plenty of room for our needs. My only complaint is servicing cost. Nick Adams wife and I have done 100,000km in Beetle and to date it has been utterly reliable. It drives well, handles nicely is quiet on the road. Owen Wilson I was sceptical at first but sold moment I test drove Beetle. It’s a great car. The build quality is excellent, handling exceptional and the ride smooth.
A lot to love if retro is your thing — but check DSG thoroughly.