The Beetle, Volkswagen’s most iconic ride, certainly has its way about it.
My test drive of the 2016 Beetle Convertible Dune in Boulder, Colorado, home of the University of Colorado, during the week the football team advanced to the Pac-12 Football Championship Game, turned out to be a timely vote of confidence. The Sandstorm Yellow Metallic color exterior with black accents closely matches the university’s colors – black and gold – making this ride a magnet for attention and a much grandiose gesture of team spirit from this alumna than a school hat or t-shirt.
Championing a winning spirit, I zipped and zoomed with the top down of course, in this 1.8 turbocharged engine with front wheel drive, 170 horsepower and 184 feet of torque. While this Dune is an ode to the 60s Baja Bug, sand dunes, beaches and open deserts, it really is a city bug with an aggressive stance.
Taller and wider than your average Beetle, this four-seater is accented with 18-inch Canyon alloy wheels, all-season tires, and automatic headlights with daytime running lights, front fog lights and cornering lamps. It’s stable on quick turns and swerves. Also available in hardtop, this Dune features unique front and rear bumpers, a large duck tail rear spoiler, silver mirror caps, black wheel arches and running boards.
It begged to be in scenic views overlooking Boulder and the Flatirons.
Safety wise I was impressed with the heavy doors, featuring anti-intrusion side door beams in the case of any side impact. The rear logo-integrated hatch handle automatically opens up to let the rear view camera go to work.
The exterior design captured my attention and the interior kept it entertained for the entire test drive. First, I had not truly driven a Beetle before and was intrigued with the function of the designs. Second, former Beetle owners had a good time showing me how to change the color of the outline of the speakers so they glowed in different colors at night. They addressed the two glove boxes – the Kaeferfach, aka the Beetle box, and the other more utilitarian glove box. I learned how the wind deflector and the convertible cover are stored in the cargo space.
The designers did not cease with the cool factor, including vintage slim steering wheel, front sports seats with contrasting color, a flexible armrest, a 6.3 inch touchscreen infotainment center that was very easy to navigate. This helped me to keep my eyes on the road while sampling the music and adjusting the sound. With the convertible top up and insulated windows, noise was not an issue. In fact it amplified the sound system. Add the extremely comfortable front seat with a lot of leg room, and I admit I took the long way everywhere during this test drive. And I welcomed rush hour to sit and soak it all in.
At one point the all-season convertible took on some light snow and low temperatures. This extreme sounded an unexpected beep after I was about 30 seconds on the road. It flashed the temperature at 39 degrees just in case I didn’t know I was about to freeze my butt off if I didn’t quickly turn on the heat. I guess the Baja DNA kicked in. I obeyed the prompt and turned the heat on. The beeping and flashing stopped. Good lookin’ out.
I knew I was having fun on this test drive, but when friends laughed themselves silly trying to uncomfortably squeeze into the backseat it really kicked in that the Beetle just has its way about it.
My fun meter has gone up. Call me Team Beetle.
The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T Dune MSRP: $24,815. Combined city/highway MPG: 28. Learn more at Volkswagen.