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Some hits, a few misses

Volkswagen Beetle: The iconic car’s compact dimensions yet surprisingly roomy cabin make it perfect for the city. But the slow-shifting gearbox and lack of engine power don’t quite justify the premium you pay for it

autos Updated: May 19, 2010 14:55 IST
Hindustan Times

The iconic car’s compact dimensions yet surprisingly roomy cabin make it perfect for the city. But the slow-shifting gearbox and lack of engine power don’t quite justify the premium you pay for it

Volkswagen Beetle
Price: Rs 25.84 lakh (on-road, Mumbai)
Length: 4,129 mm
Width: 1,721 mm
Height: 1,498 mm
Wheelbase: 2,515 mm
Ground clearance: 120 mm
Kerb weight: 1280 kg
Engine: 4-cyls inline, 1984 cc, petrol
Installation: Front, transverse, FWD
Power: 115 bhp at 5400 rpm
Torque: 17.5 kgm at 3200 rpm
Gearbox: 6-speed auto
Fuel tank: 55 litres
Brakes (f/ r): Ventilated discs/ solid discs
Tyre size (f/r): 195/65 R15

Occupation: Corporate trainer
Age: 27 years
Drives: Honda Civic/Mercedes Benz C-class
Uses car for: Driving in the city

Anisha says,“My grandfather used to own the original Beetle so this car is of great nostalgic value to me. I like the cute exterior styling. It’s so true to the original Beetle. The front end looks cute and the muscular sides look great too.

It looks so much better in metal than the photographs I’ve seen — it’s features are just simply stunning. The interiors are surprisingly roomy. However, the drive is a little disappointing as power isn’t in abundant supply throughout. The Beetle is definitely expensive, but that’s the price you pay for exclusivity.

Occupation: Senior executive, MNC
Age: 37 years
Drives: Honda Civic
Uses car for: Office commute

Arijit says, “I love the iconic styling of the car. It’s very well made, especially the bulges around the fenders. And I also love the attention you get from other motorists while driving the car.

The cabin is also pretty roomy especially when you consider the compact exterior dimensions. But the sloping roof limits rear headroom. I’m surprised that for such an expensive car there is no climate control.

Also, the stereo is very ordinary. The automatic gearbox is simply too lethargic for an enthusiast to enjoy driving this car. At this price, I’d rather upgrade to an Accord V6 or an Audi A4, which will offer more power.”

Occupation: Managing director (India), Vitkovice Machinery Group
Age: 25 years
Drives: Skoda Superb
Needs car for: City travel

Robin says, “This car wins hands down in the looks department. The compact proportions are great for city driving and finding parking shouldn’t be tough. The front seats and cabin are pretty roomy. But thanks to the two-door design, you need to work out how to get into the rear seats without a major fuss.

The engine is a disappointment and is not aided by the slow-shifting gearbox. The steering is slow to respond to feedback, too, and body roll is pronounced as well. It’s expensive and doesn’t really come loaded with features, so I’d rather get a Fiat 500 for its iconic styling.”

Occupation: MBA graduate
Age: 27 years
Drives: Mahindra Scorpio/Hyundai Elantra
Uses car for: City travel, highway trips

Vidyun says, “The good part about owning the Beetle is that no one on the road will mistake it for any other car. I’ve been a big Beetle fan for ages and I’m glad that VW has finally got it here. I am actually impressed with the roomy cabin — it’s fairly big, especially considering the compact dimensions from the outside. The boot is really big — it has enough space for a golf kit.

The light controls are also very good for city driving. The price seems reasonable to me. I can get a BMW 3-series for the same money, but no Bimmer can get me the same attention or exclusivity that this car can.”

Occupation: Executive, pharmaceutical company
Age: 37 years
Drives: Toyota Camry
Uses car for: Office commute

Vinod says, “It looks expensive, and I am a big fan of these round headlamps. I simply love the clean, uncluttered lines and the muscular side profile.

It’s a very exclusive design and I loved the attention you get while driving this on the road — it makes you feel like a complete superstar. The two-door design means that getting into the rear seats isn’t that easy. The interiors are pretty roomy but the headroom in the rear is limited thanks to the sloping roof.

I am a bit disappointed with the drive though. It feels underpowered, the steering isn’t crisp at all. The automatic gear, too, takes its own sweet time to downshift.

First Published: May 19, 2010 12:51 IST