2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible
by John Davis
After what has been a very long winter for most of the country, warm weather is finally here. Around MotorWeek, that means it’s high time for a little open air motoring. One instantly recognizable cure for this year’s winter blues is the all-new and affordable Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.
The new Beetle Convertible follows last year’s introduction of a more masculine Beetle Coupe. But even after the manly makeover, the Beetle remains what it has always been; a cute, classic little car that turns heads wherever it goes.
All of the Coupe’s powertrains are available in the ragtop model. We ended up testing the very desirable TDI Clean Diesel which is rated at 140-horsepower. It’s not the fastest Beetle available, but with a 41 mpg highway government fuel economy rating, it does have the longest range.
Indeed, the new Beetle drop-top is more for cruising than back road dicing as the handling is clearly on the soft side. Still, when driven at a moderate clip, it is quite entertaining. Despite a lot of body stiffening, curb weight is up only about 120 pounds over the Coupe, and it feels German solid over rough pavement.
The interior of the Beetle convertible is also familiar with the same wide dash and good fit-and-finish as the hardtop. The front seats are comfortable and the Beetle feels more spacious than expected. Rear seats are surprisingly easy to get into, although once there, you’ll find legroom at a premium. Trunk space is the same whether the top is up or down, and actually rates good for a compact drop top. In addition, the rear seatbacks fold for even more practicality.
As for the power top, one touch operation is smooth, quiet, and quick -- taking about 10 seconds. You can raise and lower it while still driving at speeds up to 30 miles-per-hour. Plus, when that top is stored, it does so more compactly than before, increasing rear visibility and giving this bug a trimmed down look.
The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible offers more than just retro style. It packs good comfort, decent practicality, and everyday livability into an enjoyable, fun-looking package that is guaranteed to put a smile on your face every time you get behind the wheel.
For a complete sunny road test of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible, be sure to catch our MotorWeek convertible special on episode #3237, which begins airing on May 18, 2013. For a complete listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings on the Velocity cable channel.