Cute Bug
Richard Augustin 
Although the new Beetle comes with sleeker lines and modern functions in the cabin, it still banks very much on nostalgia

Few models hold their appeal as well as the Volkswagen Beetle. It is a model with a nameplate that has stood the test of time, much like the MINI. Despite riding on the coattail of nostalgia, the current Beetle is still a fashionable attraction in the competitive motoring market. This was proven during the recent 12/12 Lazada campaign late last year.

In a specially coordinated marketing initiative orchestrated by Volkswagen Passenger Cars Malaysia (VPCM) and e-commerce Lazada Malaysia, 12 limited edition Beetles were made available for an exclusive online sale.

Priced enticingly at RM112,112 each, the three models bearing the ‘Herbie 53’ design motif in Pure White and White Silver as well as red ‘Hot Bug’ edition were snapped up in just 20 minutes!

Although the price and the limited edition tag may have helped persuade consumers to click on the ‘buy’ button, there is no denying that a large part of the success was down to the charm and allure of the Beetle itself. Here are the reasons why.


Fun design

With a noticeable bulbous design, the Beetle cuts a more masculine silhouette compared to its predecessors. The latest incarnation of the beloved bug is bigger and sportier in appearance, and exudes a premium supermini feel. Its most recent update affords the car more kit in the form of a redesigned bumper and tinted rear LED lights with standard features such as electronic folding heated wing mirrors, fog lamps with LED daytime running lights and 16-inch alloys. Colour options include Blue Silk, Habanero Orange, White Silver, Tornado Red, Dark Bronze, Pure White, White Silver Metallic and Bottle Green Metallic.


Cosy cabin

The retro appearance continues inside the cabin with a dashboard that incorporates a few throwback motifs inspired by the iconic 1960s model, such as the glove box and body-coloured interior trim. Up-to-date features include a 6.5-inch touchscreen head unit with USB, Bluetooth as well as eight speakers and two-zone climate control. Plush leather seats and a leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel complete the comfortable and cosy cabin.

In terms of space, the Beetle seats four comfortably but the limited space in the rear will prove challenging for passengers on long-distance drives. Luggage space is also limited with just a little over 300 litres on offer, although it can be expanded to 900 litres with the back bench folded down.

The car is priced from RM136,888 (OTR without insurance)

The little engine

Under its hood is a 1.2-litre turbocharged TSI engine with an output of 105 PS. Together with a seven-speed automatic transmission DSG powering a maximum torque of 175 Nm, owners are ensured of a decently powered ride. Slipping the transmission into Sport provides an additional burst of power for more excitement but driven conservatively, the Beetle should prove more than enjoyable on the regular day-to-day commute. Fuel consumption is also impressive with a combined cycle of 5.5L per 100km. In terms of handling, the Beetle is adequate enough.


A pure lifestyle vehicle

The Beetle has grown up, but it remains pretty much a car that is viewed by most as cute and fun. This is predominantly why the model seems to hold a higher appeal with the fairer sex. However, that is not to say that the Beetle is just pretty to look at. It drives well and can be fun on the open road. It also comes with four airbags, Electronic Stability Control (ESC), Hill-Hold Control and sporty features such as Park Distance Control (PDC), which helps a great deal in parking. A five-year manufacturer warranty and five-year roadside assistance are icing on the proverbial cake.

Overall, the Beetle is a lifestyle vehicle, catered specifically to those who want something unique as part of their daily drive. If you want to stand out from the crowd, then this iconic ride is your best bet. Yes, it is extremely compact and comes at a price that could get you a proper sedan or even an SUV. But it wouldn’t be as much fun, would it?

This article first appeared in Focus Malaysia Issue 271.