Volkswagen hopes the 2012 Beetle will sell in big numbers, thanks to its retro-inspired styling, but buyers shouldn’t go on looks alone when deciding which model to go for.
Which engine should you go for?
If you are buying a Beetle for its looks, alone, then the 1.2-litre TSI petrol is the all-round pick of the range in our view.
It is small, but nippy, with a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds in manual and automatic gearbox guises. It's not the most economical in the range, but it still manages a respectable 137g/km of CO2 and average economy of 47.9mpg.
The larger petrols give more in the way of performance; the 1.4 TSI gets from 0-62mph in 8.3 seconds, while the 2.0 is approaching hot-hatch pace at 7.5 seconds.
However, if you want economy, or to keep tax bills down, then the 1.6-litre diesel will be your best bet, with CO2 emissions of 113g/km and average economy of 65.7mpg.
Entry-level trim brings steel wheels like the ones pictured
Which trim should you choose?
The entry-level 'Beetle' trim comes with enough equipment to ensure it doesn’t feel like a compromise.
Entry-level 'Beetle' trim includes air-conditioning, electric windows, DAB, remote central locking, stability control and heated mirrors. Alloy wheels aren't supplied, but the standard steel rims aren't unattractive.
Design trim adds kit such as an iPod and USB connection, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, touch-screen display, and leather-trimmed steering wheel. It also adds almost £2500 to the price, so it is worth looking at whether you really need the additional kit.
Go for the Sport model and the upgrades are not just visual. Pick this trim, combined with the 2.0 TSI engine, and you also get stiffer suspension. This engine and trim combo brings red brake callipers and a body-coloured rear diffuser.
The Beetle's cabin is well equipped across the range
The Sports trim also adds sports seats, aluminium-look pedals, dual-zone air-con and cruise control.
Turbo Black and Turbo Silver models are also available, but they merely add a selection of visual enhancements.
Which options should you choose?
If the standard steel wheels on the basic Beetle aren't for you, then adding a set of alloys will cost just £375.
Given that the Beetle is predominantly about looks, metallic paint is a must-have option at £495.
You can get sports suspension for just £190, but we'd avoid it because the standard set-up is already firm at lower speeds.
The only option pack on offer is the Winter Pack, which adds heated front seats and windscreen washer jets for £240.
Volkswagen Beetle 1.2 TSI £15,195
Metallic paint £450
Total Price £15,645
How to haggle for a Volkswagen Beetle
Bargains are always harder to come by at the start of a car’ life, but we are already seeing discounts of £1000+ across all models, even those with the 1.2-litre TSI engine.
Use the What Car? Target Price as your starting point and savings will be there to be had.
By Tom Webster
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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