Used Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback (2012 - 2018) Comfort

Review by Lewis Kingston on
Last Updated: 22 Oct 2012
3.5
Following on from the successful Scirocco is another retro-inspired Volkswagen, the Beetle. Almost 22 million original Beetles were built, making it one of the most successful cars of all time.

3.5 out of 5

Comfort

Despite lowering the profile of the car to bring the shape closer to that of the original, Volkswagen has managed to increase interior space compared to the previous generation. Inside there’s room for four adults and rear passengers benefit from improved head and legroom. This means that the Beetle could make a suitable, and interesting, alternative for small families - but taller rear passengers may not want to endure longer trips.

The cabin is comfortable and refined but the steep front windscreen leads to some notable wind noise at motorway speeds. One interesting point is that even with the larger alloys, and wider tyres, road noise is low.

3.5 out of 5

Practicality

One of the criticisms of the previous generation was a severe lack of practicality. A small and hard-to-access boot made carrying larger objects difficult. Volkswagen has addressed this by increasing the available boot space by 44%, to 310 litres, up from the 209 litres found in the previous Beetle. This means that it now has a boot that’s just 40 litres smaller than the Golf yet bigger than competition like Citroen’s DS3.

The rear seats fold down, increasing load space to 905 litres. The new boot also has a much wider opening making it easier to lift luggage in and out. Inside the car there’s a multitude of useful features like elasticated front door pockets that stretch to hold oversized items, a 12v charging socket, a small glove box in the top of the dash, a larger glove box underneath and two cup holders.

Owners also get a small recessed tray in front of the gear-lever for storing mobile phones or change. Models without the additional gauges also get a tray on top of the dashboard for holding loose items. Enthusiasts, however, may be disappointed to find that the Beetle is no longer available with the vase on the dashboard – not even as an option.

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How does the boot space compare?

Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback (12-18)
310 litres
309 litres
285 litres
160 litres
4 out of 5

Behind the wheel

You’ll immediately feel comfortable behind the wheel of the new Beetle, with the ever-familiar Volkswagen switchgear and intuitive control layout. To distinguish it from the conventional models it gets its own unique dash that includes a pair of glove boxes, echoing the original Beetle, elasticated door pockets and drop-down grab handles for the rear passengers.

A large central speedo dominates the instrument cluster, with a smaller rev counter on the left and a fuel gauge on the right. These little details add interest that makes the cabin stand out from the norm. The seats are comfortable, even with the stiff suspension, and a range of adjustments are available. The steering wheel also adjusts for tilt and reach.

Build quality is generally excellent, although there are a few flimsy-feeling plastics, and the interior feels like it will be suitably hard wearing. Forward visibility is very good but the rear corner views have large blind spots as a result of the rear end design and narrow side windows.