2014 Volkswagen Beetle Review

March 14, 2014
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An iconic small car is what the Volkswagen Beetle has always been. But for 2014 model year, the German automaker continues to show consumers and enthusiasts that the Beetle would never be outdated. Check out the modern Beetle and the wide range of engine choices—and driving experiences, in effect—it offers.

NEW FOR THE 2014 BEETLE

  • limited-edition Beetle GSR coupe
  • more powerful engine for Beetle R-Line (previously Beetle Turbo)
  • Volkswagen Car-Net (telematics system)
  • discontinuation of the Fender edition
  • new 1.8-liter turbo engine later in the year
  • rearview camera

UNDER THE HOOD

A 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with 170 horsepower and 177 pound-feet of torque powers the 2014 Beetle.  This will be replaced later in the model year with a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. The 2.5L engine works with front-wheel drive system and a five-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic.

The Beetle R-Line and limited-edition GSR models have a 2.0-liter four that puts out a 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. The Beetle TDI gets a 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine that produces 140 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque.  These models can be equipped with either a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automated manual called the DSG.

The EPA gave the following fuel economy ratings to the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle:

City Highway
2.5L 5 cyl, 5-spd manual 22 mpg 31 mpg
2.5L 5 cyl, 6-spd automatic 22 mpg 29 mpg
1.8L 4 cyl, 5-spd manual 24 mpg 33 mpg
1.8L 4 cyl, 6-spd automatic (coupe) 25 mpg 33 mpg
1.8L 4 cyl, 6-spd automatic (convertible) 24 mpg 32 mpg
2.0L 4 cyl, 6-spd manual 23 mpg 31 mpg
2.0L 4 cyl, DSG 24 mpg 30 mpg
2.0L TDI, 6-spd manual 28 mpg 41 mpg
2.0L TDI, DSG 29 mpg 39 mpg

ON THE ROAD

With the wide range of configuration and engine choices for the 2014 Beetle, the performance of the coupe or the convertible varies depending on which engine and transmission you pick. The five-cylinder engine gives the Beetle adequate power but many reviewers are disappointed by its fuel economy. The 1.8-liter four that will replace the current base engine delivers better fuel economy and would no doubt be smoother.

The R-Line and GSR models have more power with 2.0L turbocharged engines. As expected, the diesel engine has the best fuel economy in the lineup.

As for ride comfort, the Beetle can smother road bumps effectively without letting occupants feel any harshness. It can indeed be your best road trip buddy.

INSIDE THE 2014 BEETLE

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There’s a tasteful blend of modern and vintage appeals inside the new VW Beetle. The controls are not confusing. Some reviewers noted that the navigation system is easy to use but the small screen limits its usefulness.

The Beetle is surprisingly roomy despite its sloping roofline. Tall drivers and passengers won’t find the headroom lacking and can stay comfortable even in long trips. The cargo space is a generous 15.4-cubic-foot. It expands to nearly 30 cubic feet when the rear seat is folded down.

KEY FEATURES

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The 2014 Beetle 2.5L is automatically equipped with automatic illumination, daytime running lights, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated windshield washer nozzles, manual single-zone climate control with pollen filter, multifunction trip computer, 2 remote key fobs, cruise control, leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, heated manually adjustable front seats, leatherette seating surfaces, 8-speaker MP3/WMA/CD/AM/FM audio system, VW Car-Net, Bluetooth, media device interface with iPod cable, auxiliary jack, and power soft top and a rear spoiler for convertibles.

Beetles with diesel engines get keyless ignition with push-button start, satellite radio, upgraded audio system (with SD card reader, touchscreen display, 6-disc CD changer and HD radio), electromechanical power steering, and leather-wrapped shift knob.

The top-of-the-line Beetle R-Line boasts of carbon-fiber dash trim, R-Line badges, sport suspension, red brake calipers, rear spoiler for coupes, 18-inch alloy wheels, fog lights, R-Line-specific exterior details, and sport seats for coupes.

Noteworthy options would be Fender premium audio system, navigation system with 5-inch color touchscreen, sport leather seats, and 19-inch alloy wheels.

Photo credit: vw.com

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