Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Review: 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Club Edition


Only a handful of car companies could definitely say that their history is closely linked with a particular model. In the case of Volkswagen, it goes a step further: it’s in their very name. Meaning “People’s Car” in German, the very first Volkswagen was the Type 1; though the world knows it best as the “Beetle”. First launched in 1938, it enjoyed a long 65-year production run producing some 21 million examples as a result. Though Volkswagen has long since moved on from the Beetle, producing the likes of the Polo and Golf, it re-imagined the Beetle once more.

Known as the “21st Century Beetle”, this current model dates back to 2011. Originally reviewed back in 2014, Volkswagen Philippines has come up with a kitted version of their iconic retro mobile. Named the Beetle Club Edition, it comes with aesthetic changes to further make it a standout.





It’s surprising how the Beetle has managed to keep itself looking young. Perhaps it’s because of its retro vibe, but it’s definitely working well for what’s basically a 6-year old design. Building on the regular Comfortline model, the Club Edition receives spiffy new Hyper Black alloy wheels. Having the same size and design as before, the wheels do impart a sportier and manlier appearance to the otherwise cutesy and feminine Beetle. Matching the alloy wheels are black body graphics including the words, “Club” on the doors.

Ingress and egress in the Beetle is quite easy despite its two-door configuration. Though the doors look freakishly big for the body size, they’re cleverly designed to open in tight spaces making it easy to get in and out for everyone. Once inside, the Beetle is spacious—more spacious in fact than any other 2+2 coupe in this price range. Granted, the roofline already contributes to generous headroom, but add to that a high-set dashboard and you get all the front legroom you’ll ever need. At the back, the knee room is decisively tighter, but still enough for adults. The trunk, at 310 liters, is enough for the usual grocery run, but fold the rear seats (sadly, it’s not flat), and it can accommodate large stuff such as an assortment of car parts including a set of 16-inch alloy wheels, exhaust, and spoiler.





Like its shape, Volkswagen is largely going for a retro vibe with the Beetle’s interior. The color-coordinated upper dash panel is a nice touch (the bud vase is largely unnecessary). What’s good though is that VW has managed to integrate nifty storage solutions such as an upper lid glove box and a respectably sized bin in front of the shifter. The ergonomics, surprisingly, remains solid though the choice of materials is starting to feel dated. Compared to newer VW offerings, the Beetle is filled with hard plastics.

The new Club Edition has tried upping the luxury factor by adding two new features: a respectable stereo system and leather seats. Sadly, the execution feels half-baked. The touchscreen audio system is horridly buggy plagued with problems such as the sound only coming out of right set of speakers most of the time. Meanwhile, the leather seats don’t feel as plush and premium as the cowhide on the steering wheel and shifter.





Mechanically, the Volkswagen Beetle Club Edition remains unchanged. Under the hood is an older version (especially compared to the Tiguan’s) of VW’s 1.4-liter TSI engine. Despite being a generation behind in terms of tech, the Twincharger technology still results in instantaneous power. Combining a supercharger and a turbocharger, it delivers credible punch at all but quick throttle jabs (there’s some noticeable lag). The 7-speed DSG gearbox also feels rougher and harder to manage than the newer 6-speed units (jerkiness is fairly common especially first and second gear), but it still produces a surprising level of directness to the Beetle’s straight-line performance.

Though visibility is largely great all around, the Beetle’s hefty steering reduces its nimble feel, especially in confined spaces. The low speed ride also feels unsorted; feeling a tad too firm for Metro Manila’s countless potholes. As speeds build up, the steering balances itself nicely, only for the suspension to start giving in, struggling through mid-corner bumps complete with the stability control kicking in just to maintain composure. As a result, the Beetle is best experienced as a long-distance driving companion, preferring to tour and cruise as opposed to blasting through canyons.





With the exception to its shape, the new Beetle shares nothing in common with its crude, no nonsense ancestor. Underneath that retro-inspired body work is a truly modern hatchback with commendable performance. But, at this price, it’s also not anymore the people’s car it once was. For its price, the Beetle is perhaps reserved as Volkswagen’s pat on the back. It’s positioning in VW’s line-up now is to fill in a niche, best reserved for those who may want to relive their hippie lifestyle long associated with the “Bug”. For the rest, there’s the Golf GTS.

2017 Volkswagen Beetle Club Edition
Ownership 2017 Volkswagen Beetle 1.4 TSI Club Edition
Year Introduced 2014 (Refreshed: 2017)
Vehicle Classification Sports Car
The Basics
Body Type 3-door Hatchback
Seating 2+2
Engine / Drive F/F
Under the Hood
Displacement (liters) 1.4
Aspiration Supercharged + Turbocharged
Fuel Delivery EFI
Layout / # of Cylinders I4
BHP @ rpm 160 @ 5,800
Nm @ rpm 240 @ 1,500-4,500
Fuel / Min. Octane Gasoline / 95~
Transmission 7 DCT
Cruise Control Yes
Fuel Economy @ Ave. Speed 6.94 km/L @ 12 km/h
Dimensions and Weights
Length (mm) 4,278
Width (mm) 1,808
Height (mm) 1,486
Wheelbase (mm) 2,537
Curb Weight (kg) 1,359
Suspension and Tires
Front Suspension Independent, MacPherson Strut
Rear Suspension Torsion Beam with 4-Link
Front Brakes Vented Disc
Rear Brakes Disc
Tires Hankook Optimo K415
215/55 R 17 V (f & r)
Wheels Alloy
Safety Features
Airbags 6
Anti-Lock Brakes (ABS) Yes, with EBD
Traction / Stability Control Yes
Parking Sensors Front and Rear
Other Safety Features Hill Hold Assist
Exterior Features
Headlights HID
Fog Lamps Yes, Front
Auto Lights Yes
Rain-sensing Wipers Yes
Interior Features
Steering Wheel Adjust Tilt/Telescopic
Steering Wheel Material Leather
Seating Adjustment Manual
Seating Surface Leather
Folding Rear Seat Yes, 50/50
On-Board Computer Yes
Convenience Features
Power Steering Yes
Power Door Locks Yes
Power Windows Yes
Power Mirrors Yes
Climate Control Manual
Audio System Stereo
CD
Aux
USB
Bluetooth
SD Card
GPS
Mirror Link
# of Speakers 8
Steering Controls Yes

5 comments:

  1. Please do the new Jetta when it comes out. Thaaanks.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Nice car but out of reach of its target market

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  3. I agree, it is quite pricey for a compact. But if you are patient enough, these units are going to be discounted. Saw a red Beetle with a heavily discounted SRP of P1.1M. A few more months if still no takers, I will not be surprised if 950K na. News around the industry is that the Beetle will cease production after 2019. So for collectors, the time to own one is now.

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  4. Nice car but does not live up to the beetle legacy. No offense sa third sex, para kasing...ano pag lalaki ang ddrive..may chance...

    ReplyDelete

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