The Volkswagen Beetle convertible possesses one of the most iconic shapes of all time. So when VW recently restyled the roofline to be flatter than in variations past some Beetle enthusiasts were left scratching their heads. In particularly, my mother, who has owned a few Beetles back in the late 1970s and early 1980s and is the current owner of a 2007 convertible model, wasn't sold at first. She recently flew into town for the week but it only took a few rides down Pacific Coast Highway in the 2014 VW Beetle Convertible R-Line before her opinion changed about Volkswagen's latest effort.
Right off the bat, a major upgrade from the previous generation Beetle convertible is the operation of the cloth roof. The old model had a plastic handle that had to be released before the power roof could retract. Volkswagen did away with the handle for the latest Beetle and replaced it with a switch that sits between the header-mounted cabin lights. You can also control all four windows with this same button. Hold it down, wait for the roof to go down, and the windows follow suit. Same goes for when you reverse the process--the roof stretches out overhead and all four windows go up at once.
Throwback feel inside
The interior on this latest Beetle has been reskinned and has a functional gauge cluster that includes an oil temperature gauge, clock, and turbo boost gauge. The cluster sits atop the center console giving the Beetle a throwback look. As part of the $34,615 price tag, the Beetle convertible R-Line model features the aforementioned power convertible roof, touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth, leather-wrapped steering wheel, shift knob, and brake lever, and heated leather seats. Outside, exterior details include fog lights, bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights, and a rear spoiler. Volkswagen's New Vehicle Limited Warranty (3 years/36,000 miles), Powertrain Limited Warranty (5 years/60,000 miles), Limited Warranty against Corrosion Perforation (12 years/unlimited miles), and 24-hour roadside assistance are all included as well. To top it off, the 2014 Beetle convertible also comes with the Volkswagen Carefree Maintenance package which lasts for 2 years or 24,000 miles, whatever comes first.
Underneath the hood, a 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 cylinder engine, rated at 210 horsepower, finds the proper balance between fuel efficiency and fun. The EPA rates the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle convertible R-Line at 23 city/31 highway/26 mpg combined. A 6-speed manual transmission pairs with this engine and the clutch is, without question, one of the easiest to engage out of any vehicle readily available today. So easy in fact that it's ideal for novice manual transmission drivers. This clutch is a nice reprieve even for the most seasoned manual drivers as well, especially those who are stuck in Los Angeles traffic.
File the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle convertible under "Pleasant Surprises" for the year so far thanks to its restyled looks both inside and out. Couple that with the buttery smooth clutch and the Beetle convertible is one fun ride.
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