First Drive: Volkswagen Beetle


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  • Car Tested: Volkswagen Beetle
  • Variant: 2.0 Liter
  • Transmission: 6 Speed Tip-Tronic (Automatic)
  • Fuel Type: Petrol
  • India Price: Rs.20.45 Lakhs
  • Launched On (India): 4th December 2009
  • Press Release: Click Here!
  • Official Website: Click Here!
About Volkswagen

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Founded by Ferdinand Porsche and Robert Ley on 28th May 1937, Volkswagen Aktiengesellschaft or Volkswagen is a complete subsidiary of popular automobile makers like Audi AG, Skoda Auto, Buggati Automobiles, Scania etc.

"Volkswagen" stands for - "People's Car" in German Language and they popularly use the slogan as "Das Auto" meaning "The Car".

Its not much time Volkswagen has made their entry in Indian Market but their action with full spirit can be already noticed, The car maker first launched the Passat saloon followed by the smaller sibling, The Jetta. Since last month Volkswagen has gained a lot of popularity in Indian Market due to those full page Advertisements on famous Newspapers and Television Channels.

Recently on 4th December 2009, Volkswagen Auto finally introduced the much hyped and awaited product- The Beetle. Also officially launched the Touareg SUV which was however overshadowed by this small bug.


The Beetle, Volkswagen Beetle :smile:


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Volkswagen Type-1 Or Käfer, This is what the Beetle was known as during initial days in year 1938. The car used rear engine rear wheel drive layout and is the most longest-running model (Yes, More than our Maruti 800:biggrin:)

Type-1 was one of the most popular and successful model in US. Years Later, Volkswagen Auto itself started calling Käfer as Beetle officially.
In 2003, VW launched an updated version of the car which bear major cosmetic changes but the bug-like design still remained, This time the car was re-badged as "New Beetle".

Now, Beetle is available across the world in different variants like Cabriolet, Coupe etc and is still successful in winning the hearts of people. Like rest of the world, Indians too wanted the taste of this popular bug, So VW Auto launched it here after the hype. The car is imported as Completely Built Unit (CBU) from Volkswagen's Mexico facility hence costs a bomb on wallet due to high pricing of Rs.20.45 Lakhs! So it won't be in reach in a common man in India, Nor the car maker wants it to be because the Beetle is going to be a more brand building technique rather than a mass-seller.

The Automotive India Team took this bug out from Yard to find out whether is it a right move by VW and how successful will it be to build this new Brand called "Volkswagen" in India.


How It Looks?

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Love at first sight is what we call the Volkswagen Beetle to be, Look the car and it will take you back to those World War II Period when the cars were curvy and designed as Egg shaped, Added the wheels of a bike.

From Front, Beetle mesmerizes everyone with cute looks, The circular Head lamps, Mesh Grille job on bumper and the heavy Wheel Arches around add the bulkiness to this small hatchback. Bumpers are fully integrated to the body and the indicators looks like a steal from Scooters but we like it this way.

Just Recall the NECC logo, This is how the side profile of car. You got it what we say! Basic design of Beetle is still based on the previous generation models. Compared to the total size, The bonnet of the car is slightly long and those bulky wheel arches provided the much needed heavy looks but makes an impression of wheels to be small.

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Outside Rear View Mirror has an integrated turn indicators which have become trend since Mercedes Benz first used them. Beetle is a dual door hatchback resulting in side profile to be small and giving looks of a coupe but once you peep into windows you get to know it has additional rear benches as well.

Move to the rear which is a replica of front, All different it makes is the red tail lamps and and short boot. Apart from these its difficult to find the difference at first observation.

Fuel Filling Lid of Bug is Ambassador like located on upper rear side quarter panel, So it may make fuel station boys to search for it first time.

The Reflectors and European style single Reverse lamp found the way right below on the rear bumper, Also you get a high mounted LED brake lights to tackle the foggy days and below it sits a Volkswagen Logo to fill the remaining gap.

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Thread Starter #2
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What's Inside?

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You might have got impressed with outlooks of this bug but Let's get inside and see how far it copes up with the external design.

Open the door, We found the interiors to be like a luxury sedan, Not the Soft and delicate ones like the competitor Fiat 500. Though we would have loved to see similar style here.

Beetle's cabin is wide and airy and the wind shield is large enough to provide you the clear scene of front but dashboard reflects on it and may become quite trouble in sunny days. The Dashboard of the vehicle is one of the longest in class which has its own advantage as well dis-advantage. This affects the corner road visibility and you can't see the left edge or front of the car even at maximum height of riding position, Overall plastic quality is good and solid.

The level of Chrome inserts are limited which makes beetle stand out from the crowd. The Handle Bars on the doors are made of excellent griping material, Neatly Integrated arm rest on the doors is again a nice touch but the net Door pockets is not something which we expected from Volkswagen, Those pockets can't hold more than a dear diary and your pen. One touch roll down buttons are really sensitive which often operates at light touch of your finger. Complete cabin comes with a Triple tone Beige, Grey & Black treatment all over. The front seats are comfy, but bit hard to sit for longer time.

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Three Spoke leather wrapped steering wheel resembles to its other Volkswagen siblings, No steering mounted controls for audio system is something what we highly missed. Behind Steering, A huge round speedo console contains Tachometer as well as Odometer under single box.

The digital information system gives you info of only Kilometers Traveled and Trip meters, So don't expect a futuristic or gadgetry console. The Bug comes loaded with Gamma Music system, which sounds brilliant even at peak volume. The center console is pretty simple with circular A/C vents and rotatory control knobs, Cup/bottle holders are big, but almost hidden under dash which makes the use bit tough.

All the controls are in reach of hands and well placed, The leather wrapped automatic throttle is placed well in front which is easy to use. Handbrakes are also in your reach, Though the arm rests are too small and you really have to push back if you feel need to use one.

The OVRMs are big and electrically adjustable for which the controls are placed in RHS door. One of the unique touches we discovered in beetle was the Fuel Lid & Boot Door Release buttons, They are placed just in the mid of the doors which makes it the perfect location rather than to get in & search for the buttons.

Glove box is illuminated & comes with tray to keep your frequently used items.

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The cabin is well lighten at night time, Thanks to those four reading lamps on roof. Seat height adjusters & roll down controls are also manual which is a turn down for car of this segment and price.

Now, Speaking about the 2nd row of the car which is a surprise for almost everyone who sees the car from outside. Getting in the rear seat is not so easy task, You need to push the seats manually to the front & roll down the seats again to jump into the rear. Full size adults will find it much hard so we recommend it to remain the kids area or place for your shopping bags.

Though beetle looks small, Space management of car is cleverly done, The shoulder room & head room is sufficient enough for front but small for rear and rear legroom is very little compared to many other budget hatchbacks around, Tall 6 Footers will find this car to be messy.

Rear bench is not reclined well which makes the traveling comfort levels down plus lack of center armrest is another downturn. However VW offers a cup holder and Cigarette lighter at back.

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How It Moves?

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Powered by a 2.0-liter Petrol Engine, Beetle is a smooth, Quiet and a refined car, It boasts 116bhp @ 5400rpm which feels quite sluggish at the initial ratios. 172 Nm Torque @ 3200 rpm gives unmatched city ride and It delivers good power in city even at low RPMs.

Torque from the 2.0-liter engine comes at relatively low revs and makes the car feel sprightly. Extracting just 116 horsepower from a 2.0-liter engine is not among the fastests cars sold today. It takes about 10.2 seconds to accelerate from NIL to 100 kmph, According to Volkswagen. We call beetle to be a lethargic performer when the size & power ratio is compared.

Six speed Auto Tip-tronic does duty in beetle, Gears shifts are silky smooth helping to provide a comfortable drive.

How It Performs?

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The Volkswagen New Beetle is real fun to drive, The steering felt to be tight which makes city driving un-comfortable but still its quick and direct. If you plan to perform a drag race, Then "Please stay away from me" is what beetle told us when we tried to push it hard. Handling around corners is excellent and all around disc brakes perform the job well. Beetle takes up any good city roads & speed breakers easily, Also it rides well on bumpy roads too. But avoid the potholed roads due to the low ground clearance of 120mm, There are all possibilities to get this Bug hurt. The tyres of beetle gives great ride comfort around corners and 195/65 R15 Pirelli is a nice select.
 
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How Much it Returns?

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Due to few restrictions, We couldn't measure exact fuel efficiency of Beetle but the estimated mileage of this Volkswagen is said to be 9 Kpl in Cities and 13 Kpl on Highways, Proves this bug is a total drinker and would like to frequently visit the fuel stations.

How Safe is it?

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Speaking on the safety part, New beetle comes loaded with all around disc brakes, Also 4 Air-bags and 3-point inertia reel seat belt system at front and rear ensure the safety while on move. The car is available with ABS and ESP as standard which provides great control over the vehicle.

Note: Passanger side airbag can be turned off separately.

What We Liked In Beetle? [thumbsup]


  • Curvy and Cute Looks & Design
  • Solid Built
  • Small flower vase on Dashboard!
  • Sun glass holder on roof
  • Great Handling & Grip around corners.
  • Gamma Audio system with 6 speakers & CD Changers

What We Dis-Liked In Beetle? [thumbsdown]

  • Missing Front Fog lamps
  • Cramped Rear seats
  • No Steering mounted controls
  • Low Ground clearance
  • Plain and Simple Dashboard
  • Manual Seat Adjustments & Roll downs

The Automotive India Star Ratings


Design & Quality - (5/5)
Comfort Levels - (3.5/5)
Performance - (4/5)
Ride Quality - (4/5)
Handling - (3.5/5)
Fuel Efficiency - (4/5)
Safety - (4.5/5)
After Sales Service - (3/5)
Value For Money - (3/5)
 
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Thread Starter #5
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The Automotive India's Verdict

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Cute - This is what we like Volkswagen Beetle to be called, This is the car which every one falls in love at first sight. The Bug gives a direct competition to the FIAT 500 which is priced slightly below it. The car feels tight and responsive with a good match of smooth and sporty ride, The standard 2.0-liter engine is smooth and quiet. Handling and braking are excellent. Beetle is perfect as a 2nd car and suitable for those who prefer show and don't care much for go,Though the Enthusiastic drivers will find beetle to be a lethargic performer.


Variants & Pricing


2.0 Liter - Rs. 20.45 Lakhs

Color Choices

  • Salsa Red
  • Deep Black
  • Candy White
  • Sunflower Yellow
  • Reflex Silver
  • Laser Blue
  • Gecko Green
Quick Tec. Summary

Engine :
2.0 Liter

No. Of Cylinders:
4

Displacement:
1984 cc

Power:
115 BHP @ 5400 rpm

Torque:
172NM @ 3200RPM.

Transmission :
6 Speed Tip-Tronic

Brakes :

Front
Discs

Rear
Discs

Wheels & Tyres :
195/65 15" Pirelli Tyres, Houston Alloy Wheels

Dimensions :
Length - 4129 mm
Width - 1721 mm
Height - 1498 mm
Wheel Base - 2502 mm
Ground Clearance - 120mm
Boot Space - 214 Litres


From Where To Bring Home a Volkswagen Beetle?

New Delhi:
DD Auto World
34, Lajpat Nagar-IV, Ring Road, New Delhi 110 024
Phone: +91 11 4666 4666
Fax: +91 11 4666 4694

Mumbai:

Sumer Apartments,
Shankar Ghanekar Marg,
Prabhadevi,
Mumbai - 400 025
Tel - 022- 66044444

Kolkata:
Budge Budge Trunk Road,
Sarkarpool P.O., Gopalpur,
Opposite Childrens Foundation School, Kolkata 700 143
Phone(Showroom) - 033-24014470/ 24014471

Chennai:

RAIS TOWER, Plot No.: 2054-B,
2nd Avenue, Anna Nagar, Chennai 600 040


Living in some other location? Contact Us and our team will help you to locate a dealer or take advice to choose a right car for yourself! Also, When enquiring from a dealer, Please mention "www.The Automotive India.com" and help us to spread the word!


Once you've bought the car, We're still here to assist you. Post your queries in our forums and many members out there will be happy to help you!


Credits:
Road Test & Photography : Adam Aniz (Zinam)
Text & Format : Vibhor Tyagi (350Z)

2008-2010, The Automotive India(www.theautomotiveindia.com), All Rights Reserved. Don't copy this article without owner's written permission.
 

350Z

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Report Added.

This is the 1st Road Test Report of Indian Spec. Volkswagen Beetle On Internet. Let's know your frank views on the car as well as report. Enjoy. :smile:

Note: Date on which the Beetle tested was 10th December 2009.

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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Let me be the first to congratulate you both Zinam and 350Z. Just excellent report.

Sad to see this doesn't have fog lamp and very common dash. Rear seat cramped is expected, as it is not meant for family car.

How is it compared to Fiat 500??
 
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Excellent work, Zinam and Vibhor.No words just WOW![clap]

the car is cool but lack some basic features which cant be compromised after paying such a high price.
* Missing Front Fog lamps
Cramped Rear seats
No Steering mounted controls
Low Ground clearance
Plain and Simple Dashboard
Manual Seat Adjustments & Roll downs
9 Kpl in Cities and 13 Kpl on Highways

Overally its a cute car[:)],lacking some basic features and overprized for India.
 
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napster

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WOW WOW WOW, I was not expecting this at ALL, This is just beautiful, Another beautiful and a detailed review there zinam, Keep up the good work.
Though i don't like the car's looks, I like the 2.0 enine which powers the car. I personally prefer Fiat 500 to beetle.
 
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i am not impressed particularly by the interior looks and the engine specs. expected much more from a 2.0 liter engine!
i would prefer fiat 500 any day over this which comes with steering mounted audio controls, blue n me etc and has loads of customization options an last but not the least comes at 5L cheaper!
 
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First of all, a huge round of applause for the TAI team to manage and get Beetle. The review is neat and professional. @zinam, your reviews just gets better and better. The pictures are very cool. Really unexpected review.

The interior is too simple, no steering mounted controls, only 4 airbags(for the price), thirsty petrol(no diesel?), overall VW could have done better. IMO this will make Fiat 500, a bit reasonably priced and a better buy.
 
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what a Price!Isn't the price anything above 8-10lakhs justified for this car?even if it's legendary lineage also considered.I know it is a import(CKD or CBU?) Still . .
 
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Zinam and 350Z, you guys are the heroes! Just another excellent report. Kudos to you guys. Keep going on. [thumbsup]

Regarding the car, I like Beetle for sure. However, IMO this is not worth for 20 lakhs! I mean, look at what you are getting for 20 lakhs ? A so called 'icon' which is a basic car (with air bags of course) !!!! I agree that there will be a very small percentage of buyers in this segment. However WV doesn't deserves any appreciation here as it has launched a basic car for 20 lakhs (just like 500 I would say). IMO 500's interior is much more attractive. I would say that right price for both the cars will be between 7 to 10 lakhs. Nothing more than that.[;)]
 
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good report but bad car!
i never liked this car and after this will continue to hate it!
VW is going ahead very strongly but little things like not equipping the Beetle is wrong!
 

350Z

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Hello All,
As I always say, Its all your support where we've reached today and this time I would specially like to Thank our man - Zinam who made First Drive of Beetle Possible.

RSM said:
Rear seat cramped is expected, as it is not meant for family car.
How is it compared to Fiat 500??
Definitely Not. Cars like Beetle and Cinquecentto aren't meant as daily purpose hatchbacks but can surely prove to be the head turner on those parties and special occasions. If you compare it with the 500, We won't really call this one to be the most Value For Money and some valid points are given below your post by fellow members. For Eg; FIAT 500 comes with more customization options and those small yet significant features at cheaper price.

biker said:
I know it is a import(CKD or CBU?) Still .
Beetle is imported as a (CBU) Completely Built Unit and that too attracts heavy import duty of 110%! :eek: So, The actual cost of Beetle is no more than Rs.8-9 Lakhs, Also the car is not serving the purpose for what it was really meant to be when it was designed, An Affordable People's car. Volkswagen now uses it as Fashion statement.

There are many people curious for a Comparision between Beetle and 500, We will put up the specs of both in sometime. Till then enjoy these interiors pictures of both where 500 Scores more. But note that these are also the ones in class which easily gets dirty!




PS: Please do vote the thread if you like it. :smile:

Drive Safe,
350Z
 
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