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Despite updated styling, Consumer Reports claims the 2012 VW Beetle "falls short"

The consumer review site took issue with the Beetle's poor handling and prevalent road noise.


Expectations are high for the all-new 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. That said, it appears that the vehicle did not meet the high standards of Consumer Reports. While the consumer review site does concede that the new Beetle touts a more practical and masculine style, but cites that it “falls short of its potential” in the end.

Although the new Beetle may not have satisfied all of Consumer Reports specifications, the site did have several positive things to say about the vehicle. First off, Consumer Reports praised the Beetle for its five-cylinder engine and five-speed manual transmission. While the VW’s five-cylinder engine may be lackluster when it comes to its other models, Consumer Reports states that it’s “punchy” when it comes to the Beetle. Furthermore, the Beetle’s other powertrains, like the 2.0T turbocharged four-cylinder and TDI diesel offer excellent fuel economy.

While the engine may have some pep, Consumer Reports feels that the vehicle cannot handle it. “While the new car may look sportier, its sloppy at-the-limit handling doesn't live up to the reputation of VW's other sporty compacts,” said Consumer Reports. Not to mention, wind noise is “predominant” and the vehicle suffers from “overt cost-cutting measures.”

Aside from performance, the new Beetle has enhanced interior space, such as elbow room for front passengers and increased room for rear passengers. As for the interior’s appearance, Consumer Reports commends the Beetle for its less is more approach. Though the retro-styling appealed to the experts at Consumer Reports, its reviewers did not like the wide center consol, which hinders the driving position.

Consumer Reports’ mixed opinion appears right in line with the consensus reviews on U.S. News Rankings and Reviews. In fact, the 2012 Beetle ranks 30 out of 41 on U.S. News’ list of Affordable Small Cars. The Beetle earned a tepid overall score of 7.6 out of 10, based on 16 published reviews and test-drives. Unlike Consumer Reports, multiple reviewers included on U.S. News actually enjoyed the Beetle’s handling, calling it “fun to drive.” On the negative side the majority of U.S. News’ reviews found stated that the 2012 Beetle has sub-par fuel economy, tight rear sear and is too expensive compared to its competitors.

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle has a base MSRP of $18,995 and goes up to $29,095 for the higher end model.

Source: Consumer Reports


Anonymous (not verified)    July 10, 2012 - 2:59AM

I almost bought one at the dealership, but when the window switch failed and dropped the window off is arm and into the door!!! This car was BRAND NEW!!!!!!!!

God bless those Mexican workers at vw,

I walked out of the dealer ship.