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2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Overview
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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 7.4

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is not the kind of car you buy because you need it, but because you absolutely want it. Its competitors are found in the "boutique" category – cars that deliver heavily on style, image, emotional appeal and ownership that transcends mere transportation. That group could reasonably include the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, Ford Mustang, Hyundai Veloster, even the sibling VW GTI and a few others. Yet, the 2012 Beetle is an attractive selection in its own right, with all the mechanical, technological and feature benefits you would expect from Volkswagen, powered by a selection of engines that includes a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder, a 2.0-liter turbo powerhouse, and a 2.0-liter turbodiesel, all wrapped in the most familiar shape on the road.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you're attracted to the striking shape – as we certainly are – you can't help but like the 2012 VW Beetle. Inside and out, it's a constant reminder that you're making an unmistakable style statement.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your goal is to have an economical 2-door with plenty of room for four occupants and all their stuff, there are better choices than the 2012 Beetle. The back seat is a little cramped, the low roof line detracts from interior room, the sleek shape cuts into trunk capacity, and there are certainly less-expensive alternatives.

What's Significant About This Car?

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle is as all-new as a car can be.

Driving the Beetle

Driving Impressions Our driving experience with the 2012 Beetle was pleasure with a bit of puzzlement. Pleasure, because it does everything well: The steering is direct and responsive, and the overall behavior...

is completely stable, predictable and even refined. Puzzlement, because we had hoped for this newest iteration of VW's Beetle to have the quick reflexes and enjoyable dynamics of one of our all-time favorites, the Volkswagen GTI. But the Beetle seems tuned for a more comfortable ride and less aggressive handling. Unless you're a very enthusiastic driver you likely won't notice the difference. The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder base engine is perfectly adequate, but we much prefer the available 2.0-liter turbo, which delivers impressive performance with essentially a non-noticeable penalty in fuel economy. All the control functions feel linear and direct, and the 2012 VW Beetle feels like one solid piece whether you're going down the road or carving up mountain passes.

INTERIOR LAYOUT
Too often, efforts to evoke the past in modern incarnations work out less than satisfactorily, both for the past and the present. But the 2012 VW Beetle's interior layout and instrument panel perfectly remembers the original Beetle while offering an arrangement that is both highly attractive and accommodatingly functional.

POWERTRAIN CHOICES
The 2012 Beetle's base 2.5-liter 5-cylinder is completely satisfactory, but the 2.0-liter turbo is a real stormer throughout its rev range, and our choice. For the truly economy-minded, there's the 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel with its exceptional fuel economy and impressive low-speed torque.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Details
2012 Volkswagen Beetle photo Interior

Drivers and passengers will get into the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle and face one of the handsomest instrument panels on the market. Intended to evoke the feel and theme of the original Beetle, with rounded edges and curving shapes, it's a testament to the fundamentals of clean and simple design, and shows the sort of classical timelessness exemplified by, say, a 1929 Barcelona chair or a custom-made shotgun. And not only is it pleasing in appearance, it leads to a layout that's high on function, with all the necessary controls and information displays arranged for easy operation and monitoring.

Exterior
2012 Volkswagen Beetle photo

The 2012 VW Beetle tends to look bigger in the metal than it does in photos, and first observers seem to expect something more compact. The overall form owes more to the original Beetle than to the "New Beetle" of the last several years. Where the New Beetle was very rounded, the 2012 version is lower, certainly more aggressive looking and has a stronger family resemblance to its earlier ancestors, particularly in the side profile and window treatments. We think this is a good thing, as the overall image is more assertive and looks more snugged down into the road.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Standard fare on the base 2.5L model is 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, leatherette seating, and Electronic Stabilization Control. Moving up to the 2.5L w/Sunroof adds a panoramic sunroof, Satellite Radio, Touchscreen Premium VIII sound, keyless entry, and a leather-wrapped, multifunction steering wheel. Adding the Sound & Navigation package brings 18-inch alloy wheels, a Fender Premium Audio System, a multifunction trip computer, and navigation with touchscreen. Going to the Turbo model adds a rear spoiler, brushed-aluminum pedal covers, sport seats and the handling enhancement of VW's "Cross Differential System." The Turbo with Sunroof, Sound & Navigation package nets leather as well.

Optional Equipment

Since the most of the add-on Beetle goodies are grouped into packages associated with the trim levels, the only additional features tend to be minor items having to do with vehicle protection, floormats and graphics treatments. But one item worth considering is the terrific Fender Audio System. It's easy to operate and delivers great sound – if you're an audiophile, you need to check this out.

Under the Hood

The base engine in the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L is a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder available with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5L is rated at 170 horsepower and delivers perfectly acceptable, if not exactly soul-stirring, performance. There are two commendable optional engines. The 2.0-liter Turbo, a favorite of ours in numerous other VW products, makes 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Fitted with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG automatic, this inline-4 delivers performance that is more than just spirited. The Beetle TDI's 2.0-liter turbodiesel merits 140 horsepower and a very impressive 236 lb-ft of torque, and is matched with either the 6-speed manual or the 6-speed Tiptronic automatic. The TDI offers remarkable around-town get-up-and-go and extremely thrifty fuel economy.


Beetle 2.5L
2.5-liter inline-5
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (manual), 22/29 mpg (automatic)

Beetle 2.0 Turbo
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
200 horsepower @ 5,100-6,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30 mpg (manual), 22/30 mpg (automatic)

Beetle TDI
2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
City/highway fuel economy (estimated): 29/39 mpg

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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
7.7
Out of 10

Based on 52 Ratings for the 2012 - 2015 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    7.5/10
    Quality
    8.0/10
  • Reliability
    8.4/10
    Performance
    7.9/10
  • Comfort
    7.7/10
    Styling
    8.1/10

Fast and fun

By on Thursday, May 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 34,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Lots of character. Comfortable and quiet interior."

Cons: "not enamoured with cloth interior"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"Excellent power and handling. Great modern body style with hints of Porsche Boxster and Audi TT heritage. Superb audio with Fender designed speakers,"

comfortable and economical convertible

By on Monday, February 02, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,500

10 6.0
overall rating 6 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
6/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
5/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Fun to drive"

Cons: "Electronics.....Maybe"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 7

"So far so good Puts you in a good mood when driving. Concerned about power window issues but none yet."

35 people out of 69 found this review helpful

A Classic in Style and Performance

By on Thursday, January 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Fantastic and fun to drive."

Cons: "Well it doesn't have a V-10 and won't seat eight ."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

The view you see on the freeway

"Having owned a Porsche 911 ST the Volkswagen 5 cylinder is an excellent alternative to spending a small fortune on a car that still has four wheels and handles like a dream. Comfort an control and awesome ride with power sufficient to cruising from Eugene to San Francisco on I-5 or a more mellow ride down the beautiful scenic Highway 101 Coastal scenic byway. I owned a '59 XK 120 and found out the hard way that only seven bolts hold the frontend on. The Beetle handles as well and is easier on the pocketbook when it comes to service which is an uncommon event compared to either the Porsche or the Jaguar. Like I said a classic car in the making."

20 people out of 28 found this review helpful

The view you see on the freeway

This is my 10th VW and I have always been thrilled

By on Thursday, January 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 40

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Reliability, value, fun to drive and curbs well."

Cons: "None."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"This week, I purchased my 10th VW. It's my 7th Beetle--3 were convertibles. The other 3 were Jettas. I have never been disappointed. After owning many other makes, I always come back to VW because of the reliability, value and joy to drive. Several of my Beetles had over 138K miles and still ran great. I've never had a problem with any and hope my luck continues."

21 people out of 36 found this review helpful

Reliable, fun to drive!

By on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 10,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Handles road well and very well build!"

Cons: "Hard to get into back seat."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I have owned many VW's in my lifetime. They are not only reliable, but attractive and fun to drive. They handle the roads well. The VW Beetle seems particularly good in the snow."

3 people out of 4 found this review helpful

An excellent ride and beauty.

By on Wednesday, January 14, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
8/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "smooth ride, comfortable ride, beautiful, cheap."

Cons: "small, but fun, no other problems"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"The vehicle that i have is denim blue in color. it has an amazingly smooth ride. it is in very good condition and it has never caused any problems for me. if you like small comfortable cars, this is the car for you."

1 person out of 4 found this review helpful

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