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Reviewed: Bitten by the VW Beetle Bug

It has been a while since I have driven a Volkswagen, considering that I used to own a Golf Mk6 1.4 TSI, the moment I got into the Beetle, I felt a wave of familiarity come over. First thing I missed was the smoothness of the DSG gearbox. Say what you want against the DSG gearbox but it shifts as smoothly as butter.

The Volkswagen Beetle that I got is powered by a 1.2-litre TSI engine producing 105ps and 175Nm of torque. What does that mean? It means I get the mild acceleration needed to overtake cars in the city and highways but tend to run out of breath at higher speeds. In the city, it’s just perfect as I drove it around through the packed streets of PJ and KL. Yes, I would love to have more power out of it but that would mean paying more for the car.

The drive was smooth thanks to the quick shifting 7-speed DSG gearbox and overall the car trundles along the roads ever so smoothly. Go over some bumps and potholes and you would notice that there is a firm but soft compromise to the suspension in order to absorb the rigours of daily driving. Still, the Beetle is no go-kart because the car feels like a compromise all over. Compromises isn’t a bad thing because overall you get a better pleasant experience driving about in the city instead of worrying about rough rides.

Take the car towards winding roads and that is where you feel that the suspension gets a little soft. There is a hint of a body roll the moment I tried pushing it a little harder. Its no Golf GTI for sure but the Beetle is meant to be something else. Of course, things are made fun with the use of paddle shifters which allows me to control the DSG manually.

On the inside, running the car through the various personas, a single college kid driving the Beetle would be the perfect combination. Take a group of fat guys including myself and you get 3 men squashed inside. Here was the scenario, me and my two friends, one who is six feet tall and another who is 5 feet 5 joined me in a short ride to the market to grab some ice and soft drinks. In order for one of my friends to get behind was a task because of the small space behind. I had to push my chair all the way to the front where my knees were touching the front which made it uncomfortable to drive.

Yes, it isn’t easy getting people behind and when I had my family with me. I had to tell my son sorry for not being able to ferry him around because I couldn’t fit the baby seat behind which had the ISOFIX points. I guess the baby seat which I had was fairly large and getting it to the back was quite difficult. My arms were crying for me to give up after struggling for 15 minutes.

What I do like very much is the feel of the steering wheel buttons on the VW Beetle. The buttons are responsive and have a nice tactile feel to them. That paired with a 6.5″ screen which has AppConnect (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink), the entertainment system provides adequate functionality and technology one could need. Storage wise, there isn’t much in the car, the side compartments are just basically held by a rubber strap and the glovebox can only fit in small items such as a smart tag.

But not everyone needs these sort of requirements. I figure that people who would absolutely enjoy the Volkswagen Beetle would be folks who fell in love with the bug and in truth, it has looks which kinda sticks on you. It is for folks who love to be seen in it, get them anywhere they want and to enjoy the thrill of driving the bug. I can’t put my finger on it but I just sort of, kind of, like it very much.

If I could own one, it would definitely be when my son is old enough not to require a baby seat. I guess Volkswagen Beetles have always had a sentimental place in my heart, heck, even my wedding car was a red Volkswagen Beetle.