There probably isn’t another vehicle in the world that’s more recognizable than the Volkswagen Beetle.
It’s one of the few cars that’s kept its original form. And yet, over the 66-year history of the popular VW here in the States, the vehicle has taken on a variety of different personalities from the ’60s love bug to the second coming of the car known as the “New Beetle” after nearly a 20-year- hiatus. One of the latest additions to the lineup is the 2016 Beetle Dune, which we had a chance to test in and around Las Vegas.
Ideally, we would’ve preferred blasting across the desert in a more true-to-spirit modified version of the Baja-inspired Bug. But the time spent wheeling the new Beetle in Sin City proved that there’s more to appreciate about the car than dreaming of roaring it across the sand dunes.
1. Great Face
Given the VW Beetle’s history for staying true to its original design, it’s kind of tough selling the masses on a different look without taking away from the car’s core appeal. But the Dune manages to pull it off with exterior design features like the new bumper with honey comb vents, a massive rear spoiler and 18-inch Canyon aluminum-alloy wheels.
2. Topless Option
Let us be clear upfront, we’d certainly opt for the coupe over the convertible. In our opinion, the hard top is a lot more aggressive than the fabric top. There are also unique color options including Sandstorm Yellow, Pure White and Deep Black Pearl.
3. Heavy On the Tech
Short of practically driving itself, the VW Beetle Dune is packed with cool technology. Some of the most notable include a park assist feature, a 6.3-inch display infotainment system with two phone pairing capability and App-Connect with Apple CarPlay. The Dune also features an HD Radio Fender premium audio system.
4. Doable Power
Under the hood, the Beetle Dune features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine putting out 170 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. The overall drive isn’t as exhilarating as the idea of blowing across sand dunes in a real Baja Bug. But the new Dune is still pretty fun on the road especially considering that it’s a front-wheel-drive.
5. Priced Right
One of the most appealing things about the Dune is the price. While you quickly get the sense that the new VW Beetle could command a price close to $30,000, it actually starts at around $24,000. Even if you opted for its all-out special tech package, you’d only add $1,695 to the price tag.