2014 VW Beetle TDI Eric Peters Autos — 2014 Volkswagen The Beetle

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2014 Volkswagen The Beetle

by eric • September 23, • 23 Comments

In some the current Beetle is nothing the original whose spirit it to conjure:

It’s a much – and much heavier – car, for

1,500 pounds heavier, at Almost a foot longer,

It is also, let’s face it, a nicer car – as far removed from the ’73 Beetle I once drove as a dollar is from a slip of Funny Money.

But one thing the same – though not in the same

The 2014 Beetle TDI will you a lot less to drive than like my old ’73 Super Beetle. The was cheap to buy . true – but its best-case was only 28 MPG on the highway.

The ’14 Beetle TDI you 41 MPG.

Plus some things, too.

The Beetle – “Beetle” now, no more New – is the retro-reincarnation of the classic vee-dub of drivers owned once a time – and which many have a soft spot in hearts for.

The modern is neither air-cooled nor rear-engined – but it doesn’t leak like a gets to 60 about three as quickly (really) and has available seats in addition to a working

It’s available with two gas and one (TDI) engine, the latter the subject of this review.

price for the ’14 TDI coupe is$24,195 – as with $19,995 for the base gas-engined Beetle.

A convertible TDI starts at $28,495.

Because of its status, the Beetle hasn’t got any direct competition – at least, not in the way that a Corolla, say, against a Civic.

A somewhat alternative to a Beetle might be a 500 – but it’s considerably smaller and out. The Mini Cooper is retro-cute possibility. Neither of two, however, offer the of a high-efficiency (and high-powered) engine.

Which puts the TDI in a class by itself.

You can get both a Beetle and a convertible diesel-engined now. And if you’re an audiophile, a signature package is available includes dash/door appliques to those used on the company’s guitars – plus a top-of-the-line with a subwoofer.

The nostalgia factor – without the Beetle’s realities .

Diesel is and fuel-efficient.   and it’s available either an automatic or a manual

No urea injection!

Beetle is Now men can own one, too – instead of buying one for the


TDI engine a moment to “spool up” before motion commences.

TDI’s is very good, but gas engines are to be almost as good – and they a lot less to buy.

Optional GPS map is on the small side – and a bit dated-looking.

“trunk” is shoebox tiny.


The subject of this is the Beetle’s optional 2.0 liter direct-injected (TDI) diesel

It is rated at 140 hp and 236 ft-lbs. of torque and you can it with either a conventional manual with your foot operating the clutch – or, Direct Shift Gearbox a six-speed automated manual a computer and actuators handling the

The obvious bennie of the diesel the Beetle’s two other gas engines the competition’s gas engines) is fuel The TDI rates 28 city, 41 manual the six-speed manual) and a near-600 range on the highway with a tank.

The Beetle’s other two are about 10 MPG less fuel-efficient – out at 31 highway for the base 2.5 liter gas with manual transmission.

the good news.

The bad news VW) is that some of the Beetle’s competition matches (or nearly the diesel Beetle’s economy – the diesel’s higher up-front The Fiat 500, for example, with a 31 highway, 40 MPG ranking – is actually slightly better the TDI Beetle – at a starting price of $16,100. There is also the Cooper, which rates 29 and 37 highway – and which starts at (A new, updated Mini is on for 2014; stats were not at the time this review was in late fall 2013.)

the Mini and the 500 are both smaller – much smaller, in the case of the

They are also both slower – especially when with their available transmissions, chiefly because gas engines produce very torque, and whatever torque do produce is only produced the engine is spun to fairly RPMs.

The 500′s 1.4 liter gas engine, for produces just 98 ft-lbs. of – less than half the TDI Beetle’s engine makes – and it makes it once the engine 4,000 RPM – vs 1,750 RPM for the TDI VW.

Similarly the Its 1.6 liter engine produces 114 of torque – once again, than half the torque of the TDI diesel – and it’s only once the engine has achieved RPM.

These torque-light do ok when paired with a transmission – because you can rev the engine up to the available torque (which is gets a car moving). But when with an automatic . acceleration suffers. The manual-equipped Mini, for gets to 60 in 8.3 seconds, which is for a small, economy-minded car. But the car with the optional automatic closer to 10 seconds. Cars in bracket struggle to merge, limited ability to pass – and so, are often unpleasant to drive.

dynamic is even more with the 500. The manual-equipped is already on the gimpy side – seconds to 60. But the same car with the automatic is downright palsied: seconds to 60. That number is not too far off the of a classic (air-cooled) ’73 Beetle.

And the TDI Beetle?

It hustles to 60 in about 8 flat. And the auto-manual (DSG) isn’t appreciably slower the TDI engine produces ample – its 236 ft.-lbs. being comparable to a aspirated 3-liter-ish V-6 – just off speed.

So, you get the economy – without performance.

There is one hair in the though. I’ll get into now.

The TDI engine is heavily Look up and right at the accessory cluster that sits on top of the The third gauge to your It registers 35 PSI – and the stock TDI engine huffs that high. is how VW instills excellent performance – to go the excellent economy.

But, is noticeable turbo lag coming off the – with the DSG transmission, at any rate. If you it, there’s a moment of nothing-happening the turbo builds up a head of (The Catch-22 with is they are driven by exhaust gas but exhaust gas pressure only as engine speed increases, so the can’t build full before the engine begins to Hence the dreaded off-idle spot” often complained with turbocharged engines.)

But then – a sudden and very rush forward. The turbo may take a moment to gather its but once it does, forward is plenty speedy. Roll-on is actually pretty impressive. Hit it at about 5 or so MPH coming off the line and the tires will break and skitter a bit as the boost needle all the way over – with the DSG gearbox off one perfectly timed upshift the next. With the manual, got to be careful about too much since it’s possible to the thing by bringing up the revs, dumping the clutch while the gas pedal. It’s very to “get a wheel” in second trust me.

But the point to take from all this is you can go either way – six-speed or auto-manual DSG – and not lose seconds to 60, as you will in either the 500 or Mini Cooper.

And once achieved 60, the diesel has another over its gas-engined rivals: It relaxation like a cat stretched out on a carpet in front of the fireplace. a diesel, it burbles along at high speeds at very low In sixth at 75, just over – considerably less than the that you’d see on the tachometer of similar gas-engined cars.

But the TDI is capable of fairly high RPM too. The redline is 5,000 – is only about 500-1,000 RPM than many gas engines’ In the bad old days, diesels were done by as little as 4,000 RPM – and gave them operating suitable for trucks and farm but less than ideal for highway running.

A caveat: VW limits (electronically) the TDI’s top to around 114 MPH. If true, it is because of the OE tires, which may not be rated for faster travel. The limiter can probably be dealt via a reflash/reprogramming of the car’s computer; be sure you shoe your with the appropriate speed-rated

I wrote a review of the current butched-up bodywork about a ago, lamenting the passing of the New Beetle’s closer-to-the-original “happy looks.

But, I understand why VW did it did.

Men are half the potential pool. Though the classic-era Beetle was equally beloved by men and the retro-themed New Beetle was mostly by women – and little favored by Changing times, whatever – the was that the New Beetle was a chick’s This Beetle – just once again – has been to appeal more to the masculine (hopefully) alienating the feminine.

2014 Volkswagen The Beetle

it is working. VW reports strong of the new (but not “New”) Beetle – to sexes.

It probably also that the latest Beetle is .

Let’s compare some key

The 2014 Beetle is 7.3 inches overall than the previous New (168.4 inches vs. 161. and 3.3 inches wider (71.2 vs. 67.9). The wheelbase has been by about 1.1 inches, too – from in the New Beetle to 99.9 in the ’14.

in turn allowed VW to carve out front seat leg and shoulder which now stand at 41.3 and 55.3 inches, respectively – vs. inches and 52.8 inches in the New Beetle. Read that number one more time. 2.5 inches more elbow in the latest Beetle vs. the previous

That, to conjure my Paris voice, is huge .

Interestingly, the illusion of a lower/sportier roofline of the butching-up), the current Beetle has more headroom up front the New Beetle did: 39.4 vs. 38.2 in the old car.

In fact, is only measure of interior estate that finds the Beetle somewhat lacking – legroom. There is a meager inches – vs. 33.5 in the previous I had my wife try to sit back there and the way she could do it – without either the or the front seat passenger their seats forward to the – was by stretching out sideways.

In sum, the Beetle is much more feeling up front – but its back are actually less passenger-viable the old (and smaller overall) New

On the other hand, the Beetle almost limo-like when with the Fiat 500 – which has a 49.4 inches of front shoulder room (that’s 5.9 less space between you and sitting next to you) and seats that force normal-sized adult to duck – just 35.6 inches of vs. 37.1 for the VW.

The Mini has very front seat legroom inches) but shoulder room is much less than in the – just 50.3 inches. And the seats are unusable for humans – if aren’t amputees: 29.9 of legroom.

Forget about it.

My car was a convertible – beautifully fitted and automatic. No latches to deal just depress a button to – and close. The only downside – and a downside common to convertibles – is you trunk space. That top and all its take up space – especially folded. Thus, the Beetle very respectable 15.4 foot trunk – which is par for sedans – drops by nearly that in the convertible to just 7.1 feet. You do have those seats, though. And there is a pass-through to maximize the available estate.

I should also that the Fiat 500 coupe’s area is just 9.5 cubic

The Mini’s, an extremely mini 5.7 feet.

Like all-too-many-convertibles new/late-model cars in general) the convertible has some wicked spots and limited outward If you come to a T intersection, for instance, and to turn left, it can be difficult to what’s coming at you from the – at least, without craning neck forward or creeping the car (or backward). In order to meet the federal roof-crush requirements, car have beefed up – and thickened-up the “B” and “C” which has had the unintended side-effect of visibility. The upside – in the convertible TDI – is you can the top and immediately improve your of sight (there are pop-up to protect you if the car turns turtle).

I was by the slick appearance of the Fender interior enhancements. Also the of the Fender audio system. the coin on either count – and you get both . it’s a deal.

I much impressed by the relatively LCD display for the optional GPS system with the Fender package). In to being diminutive, the display dated – compared with the stuff, some of which you a 3D bird’s eye view, or even a topographical map display.

I loved that the TDI engine not require urea injection – as new diesel-powered passenger cars do. eliminates an expense – and a hassle . is a particulate filter, but so long as the car is regularly – which allows the to get hot enough to burn off accumulated – you will probably never to worry about it.

It’s unfortunate that diesel costs, on average, about 40 more per gallon than regular. This really into the economic case for any car.

Especially given how gas-engined cars are becoming.


My ’73 Super Beetle, isn’t. But that has its pros as as its cons.

The same goes for Beetle vs. the recently retired New It may no longer be as cute as it was before, but only take you so far.

with the guys.

Throw it in the

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2014 Volkswagen The Beetle
2014 Volkswagen The Beetle
2014 Volkswagen The Beetle
2014 Volkswagen The Beetle


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