Used Volkswagen Beetle Dune Coupe (2016 - 2018) Comfort

Review by Christofer Lloyd on
2.5
The standard Volkswagen Beetle is a car that prioritises design over practicality. The Dune version, however, ups the ante, boasting suspension that has been raised by 10mm plus chunky unpainted plastic body mouldings and silver skid plates at both ends – all in the name of style.

3.5 out of 5

Comfort

Though firm, we found the suspension more than comfortable enough in the Beetle Dune, smoothing out the worst of the road surface – impressively so, considering how well the car handles.

More of a limiting factor is the shapeless driver’s seat, which doesn’t offer much back or side support. The seat base also feels very long, meaning that some drivers may not be able to find a comfortable driving position. We found it difficult to operate the clutch smoothly with the seat in what felt like the most natural position.

As a result, potential buyers should take a long test drive to make sure that they can get comfy. Alternatively, the DSG automatic gearbox is very slick and makes driving the Dune a much more relaxing experience.

Other irritations come in the form of a particularly stiff handbrake – unusual itself for being a manual handbrake rather than an electric button-operated version – and the high levels of tyre noise thrown up by the overly wide wheels. On the positive side, the petrol engine is very quiet even when worked hard and little wind noise is audible.

2.5 out of 5

Practicality

One of the Dune’s main selling points – its unique curvy styling – may make it stand out, but it also limits practicality somewhat, as does the three-door-only body. As a result, neither the rear seats nor the boot compare well against rivals.

With no five-door option, rear passengers have to clamber their way into the back of the Beetle and, when in, head and leg-room is limited. There’s only space for two passengers, too. Even those under six-feet tall may find their heads resting on the roof, and the story doesn’t get that much better in the boot.

Volume isn’t bad at 310 litres with the rear seats up, rising to 905 litres if you drop the seats, though the Dune’s most obvious rivals all best these figures by around 10-20%. It’s not the most usefully shaped boot, either, due to the car’s sloping silhouette – meaning that fitting in larger items might be tricky.

Fitting smaller items into the Dune can be challenging as well – the front door bins are useless, consisting of fabric straps, while passengers in the rear have a tiny cupholder to fight over, plus minute trays at the side of the cabin. Adding to storage, there are two much more useful large cupholders behind the gearstick.

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3.3 out of 5

Behind the wheel

Volkswagen is renowned for making high-quality, well designed interiors. However, the Beetle Dune feels like it has traded some of that quality for garish colours and cheaper materials.

Our test car came in lurid Sandstorm Yellow and plenty of this gold hue was slathered across the dashboard, doors and seats – very much an acquired taste. While the similarly priced Volkswagen Golf feels very stylish and plush inside, the Beetle somehow loses this sense, with hard, cheap-feeling plastic scattered around the cabin.

What does set it apart, however, is the fact that the seats are mounted quite low in the car, which adds to the sporty feel.

The basic air-conditioning controls are perfectly usable but don’t feel like they belong in such a pricey car. Meanwhile, the optional sat-nav system in our test car isn’t the easiest to use or the slickest, with a relatively small, unresponsive screen lost in quite a large bezel. The menus are not as up to date as many other Volkswagens, either. Simply entering an address is a more convoluted process than it should be too.

This jacked-up Beetle also gains a turbo-boost gauge, clock and temperature readout sprouting from the top of the dashboard – which true to the Dune recipe revolve more around form than function. It’s the same story with the upward-opening top glovebox, which offers just enough space for a few pens or maybe a phone or two, but not much else – though there is at least a conventional glovebox below.

Our test car had an armrest that could have come in handy, but we couldn’t get it to stand up by itself.