Volkswagen Beetle
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There are far more practical ways of getting around than in a Beetle, but that’s really not the point here, is it. There’s nothing old about this blast from the past, though, as it’s based on the Golf platform; coupe and convertible body styles, too.


Base five-cylinder engine gets replaced by a turbocharged four-cylinder part way through the model year with both making 170 horsepower; optional 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline and diesel engines return.

The second-generation Beetle has received newfound respect since it arrived for the 2012 model year. For 2014, VW’s focus is on improving its fuel economy. By early calendar 2014, the existing 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine will be replaced by a brand new 1.8-liter four-cylinder. It will match the five-cylinder’s 170 horsepower, although the 184 pound-feet torque rating is a bit higher than the five-cylinder’s 177-pound-feet rating. More importantly, VW claims that the new turbo achieves a significant improvement in overall fuel economy, taking it to 24 mpg in the city and 35 on the highway (up from 22/31). Returning for 2014 is the 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine that gains 10 more horsepower (now 210) along with a turbo-diesel engine of the same displacement that’s worth 140 horsepower, but more importantly 236 pound-feet of torque. For Beetle fans, or fans of any other VW passenger car for that matter, it’s the go-to engine for exemplary fuel economy (28/41 in the Beetle). A five-speed manual transmission and optional six-speed automatic are offered in base Bugs, while a six-speed manual or an available six-speed paddle-shifted manual (called the DSG) can be had with either the TDI or 2.0-liter turbo gasoline editions. Entry-level Beetles showcase numerous power-operated accessories plus air conditioning, cloth-covered seats and an eight-speaker stereo. Among the variety of options is a panoramic sunroof, 400-watt Fender-brand audio package with ambient lighting (around the door-speaker grilles, for example), pushbutton start, extra-bright bi-xenon (high- and low-beam) headlights and a navigation system. The Convertible’s power-operated soft-top can be raised or lowered in about 10 seconds and features an Automatic Rollover Safety Support System that instantly deploys twin roll bars from behind the back seat, if needed. For 2014, a limited run of 3,500 GSR models will be shipped to the United States, kitted out with special yellow and black paint, large rear spoiler and 19-inch wheels. Matching yellow and black leather-covered seats will also be part of the package.

Base price (incl. destination): $20,800 (coupe); $25,800 (convertible)
Type: Two-door hatchback; two-door convertible
Base engines (hp): 2.5-liter DOHC I5 (170); 1.8-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (170)
Optional engines (hp): 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbocharged (210); 2.0-liter DOHC I4, turbo-diesel (140)
Layout: Front-engine, front-wheel-drive
Transmissions: Five-speed manual (std. on 2.5, 1.8); six-speed manual (TDI and 2.0); six-speed automatic (opt.); six-speed automated manual (opt. on TDI and 2.0)
MPG (city/hwy): 24/35 (1.8, MT); 28/41 (TDI)
Safety: Front airbags; side-impact airbags; side-curtain airbags; anti-lock brakes; traction control; stability control
Weight (lb.): 2,950