Quick spin: Volkswagen Beetle 1.2 TSI Design
The Volkswagen Beetle comes from simple beginnings, an idea to transport people with no fuss and at affordable prices. This is where the Beetle is always at its best, rather than trying to be something fancier. This is why the new Beetle in 1.2-litre form has great appeal.
Admittedly, you can get the Beetle in an even simpler form than the Design model we’re trying here, but there is sanity to our picking this pricier model. The method to our madness in spending £19,030 for the Beetle Design 1.2 TSI over the £16,600 standard Beetle is you get a lot more useful kit without appearing to have gone overboard on the specification. Even with a car as simple as the Beetle, it still costs a few quid extra to make things simpler.
One of the other benefits of choosing the Design model are the 17-inch Orbit alloy wheels that come as standard. They look like the simple, and there’s that word again, original steel wheels of an original Beetle and they just suit the new car to a tee.
You can keep it even more plain and easy by sticking with the white or red paint that comes at no extra cost with the Design model. However, we’re suckers for the Denim Blue you see on the car we tried, which will add £250 to the total bill, but that’s the only additional spend we’d make on the Beetle Design.
With the standard black cloth interior coupled to the painted dash and door cappings of the Design, the Beetle’s interior is a stylish, comfortable place to be, even if the rear seats are cramped. The driver is well looked after for space and seat and steering wheel adjustment, while the dash looks great and Design trim includes the Multifunction Device Interface to connect to external music players.
Also included with the Design model is air conditioning, touchscreen digital radio with six-disc CD autochanger, leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, and carpet mats. Also part of the Design package is Tixo fabric for the upholstery that has a more classic Beetle look that, again, piques our interest.
So, with all of the retro boxes ticked on the looks front, the Beetle Design still keeps it simple on the technical front. There’s no sports suspension to scupper the ride, so this Beetle copes reasonably with Britain’s broken black top. It’s still quite firm compared to a VW Golf, but the Beetle handles nimbly. The only real niggle we have is the steering feels a touch too heavy and inert at town driving speeds, though it’s fine on faster roads where refinement is also good.
Star of the driving show is the 1.2-litre TSI engine. It may only have 104bhp to play with, but there are seven speeds in its double-clutch gearbox to make the most of every last drop of power. Granted, 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and a 111mph top end are not going to trouble any heart rate monitors, but there’s a pleasing easygoing nature to this engine and transmission combo that suits the Beetle.
The dual-clutch ’box works smooth and sweet to shift from one gear to the next, and it helps this Beetle offer 47.9mpg average economy and 137g/km carbon dioxide emissions. Neither figure is class-leading, but nor are they going to hurt your pocket excessively.
Coming back to the idea of keeping it straightforward, uncomplicated and in line with the basic nature of the original Beetle, the Design 1.2 TSI model is a favourite of ours. It’s not a try hard, look-at-me machine, it’s just good fun and easy to rub along with: everything a Beetle should be.
Words: Alisdair Suttie
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