Thursday, October 27, 2016

2016 VW Beetle Dune: A Brawnier And Bolder Looking 'Bug'

Highlight: For the 2016 model year, a new S trim has been added to the line up, which lowers the starting price of the Beetle.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $25,065 (base model $20,415)

Seating Capacity: 4 (rear seating are for small kids)

Standard Safety Features: airbags; daytime running lights; an electronic stability control system; and an automatic post collision braking system

Standard Equipment: 16-inch wheels; a 6-speed automatic transmission; automatic headlights; front center console with armrest; heated front seats; cloth manually adjustable (front) seats; a manual operated tilt/telescopic steering wheel; a rear spoiler; an automatic dimming mirror; and a split folding rear seat

Beetle Dune Standard Features: a 170-horsepower turbocharged engine; 18-inch wheels; large rear spoiler; black cladding; running boards; a rear spoiler; a raised comfort suspension; two-tone cloth seats with a leather-like surfaces; a leather wrapped steering wheel; a touchscreen AM/FM/HD/CD audio system; Apple Connect smartphone integration; a park distance control feature; a rearview camera; and an automatic dimming rearview mirror

Options: a special paint color

Other Trim Level:

Wolfsburg Edition

Standard Audio On Test Vehicle: an 8-speaker audio system AM/FM/CD

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

USB Connectivity: Yes

Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 3 years or 36,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: 1.8-liter, 4-cylinder/170-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 25-city/34-hwy

What’s New: The folks at VW have managed to keep the iconic ‘Bug’ fresh by adding a new infotainment system, with the latest connectivity. From a USB outlet to Apple CarPlay to Android Auto to a new touchscreen infotainment system, the Beetle is well connected.

In addition to some trim changes, the all-new eye-popping and brawnier looking Dune joins the line up.

Why: The iconic Beetle has been a staple in both the VW family and the automotive community for over 60 years.  Since reviving and updating the retro coupe and convertible several years ago, the VW Beetle has continued to attract a cult-like following. The Beetle continues to be available in a variety of trims, with either an automatic or a manual transmission. 

Unlike the Beetles of yesteryear, today’s vehicle offers premium features, a car-like ride, roomy and supportive seats, a user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system, and a high quality audio system.

New for this model year the Dune joins the line up. This new ‘Bug’ not only caters to women, but to men too. Upon first glance, this vehicle immediately reminds us that the car might be more suited for the beach or possibly off- roading. However, that’s not the case. This special edition Bug has been slightly modified. It offers an extremely comfortable revised raised suspension system, signature bumpers, air intakes and a few interior enhancements. In fact, the vibrant exterior color of our review vehicle was draped in the hot looking Sandstone yellow metallic paint. With the 18-inch alloy wheels, the vehicle known for its eye-popping headlights, is definitely a head-turner. 

Moreover, the Beetle, which is available in a variety of trims, can be outfitted with such high tech safety features as a blind spot monitoring system to a rear traffic alert system to an all-new standard post collision braking system. In fact, the post collision braking system helps reduces accidents by applying the brakes, when a primary collision is detected.

In addition to the aforementioned safety systems, every Beetle also includes a VW’s Intelligent Crash Response System, too. This safety crash system shuts off the fuel pump, switches on the hazard lights and unlocks the doors, when it senses the vehicle is involved in a certain type of collision.

Furthermore, the ‘Bug’ can be powered by either a 1.8-liter turbo or a 2.0-liter turbo. We found the 1.8-liter turbo in the Dune we spent time with to be quite peppy and more than capable for this compact vehicle.

And to top off the option list, the iconic vehicle is also available with a sunroof, a keyless ignition starter and 19-inch wheels, too.

But: The oval design does not offer much room to carry rear passenger. It’s a squeeze just to fit kids in the rear.  Moreover, the oval design lends to the heavy trunk, too. Unfortunately, it does not automatically release and partially open with the remote.

And we hated that our bold looking Beetle required us to pay an additional $1,700 for a keyless ignition starter, which was bundled in a tech package. The optional tech package also consisted of a dual zone climate control system, a premium audio system, keyless access to the doors and a tilt and slide sunroof.

Verdict: The fun-to-drive quirky looking Beetle, with loads of personality, continues to remain a staple in the automotive community. Despite the vehicle being around for over six decades, its iconic styling has managed to last the test of time. It’s not only roomy, but this affordable compact contains many of the latest gadgets to attract both Baby Boomers and millennials alike.

Also this vehicle is from the same family as Audi and Porsche. So, in our opinion, it’s the economical alternative to many of the higher priced vehicles in their line up. As a side note, the mainstream brand share similar powertrains and other amenities with its luxury siblings.  

Competition: Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper

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