2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI First Impressions
by Michel Deslauriers / Auto123.com
What a surprise: Since the Jetta, the Golf, the Passat, and the Touareg all offer diesel powertrains, it was only a matter of time before Volkswagen dropped the 2.0L TDI engine into the Beetle.
And why not? The TDI serves up plenty of low-rpm torque and is highly fuel efficient, making the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle even more interesting for those seeking a distinct, compact coupe (and soon, convertible).
At $25,575 for the base Comfortline TDI with the 6-speed DSG automated gearbox, it’s also two grand more expensive than the 2.5L inline-5 equipped model. However, you don’t lose much performance while gaining more than 2L/100km, as the TDI’s city/highway ratings are 7.0/5.0L/100km.
Muscle for takeoff
As in other VW products, the 2.0L TDI develops 140 hp as well as a healthy 236 lb-ft of torque. With the DSG transmission, which bangs off quick gear changes, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI scoots to 100 km/h in 9.3 seconds.
All that torque makes the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI amusing to drive, which quickly rushes up to normal driving speeds before the power band starts tapering off. The 200-hp 2.0 TSI engine is obviously the unit of choice for sporty driving, but I prefer the TDI over the base 2.5L five.
On the road, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI feels composed and offers a dynamic driving experience, despite not being a sports car. The McPherson struts up front and torsion beam at the rear do a good job of soaking up bumps while enticing you to take that curve a little faster than you normally would -- you know, just for kicks. The hydraulic power steering provides just the right amount of assist at any given speed.
Comfortline and Highline versions of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI get a colour-coordinated dash surface and steering wheel trim that are obviously striking in a red-painted car; the Sportline trim gets imitation carbon fibre trim.
There’s not much else to distinguish the Beetle’s cabin from the rest of VW’s lineup of cars. On the other hand, its layout is simple and straightforward. You get firm yet supportive seats, while climbing in back is relatively easy. As for cargo space, the trunk’s volume in the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI is rated at 436 litres, bigger than in the Honda Civic Coupe, the Hyundai Elantra Coupe and even VW’s own Golf hatchback.
Standard features include 16” alloy wheels, fog lamps, heated front seats, leather-wrapped wheel and shift knob, Bluetooth connectivity and a height-adjustable driver’s seat, while USB/iPod integration and power sunroof are optional. The equipment list is shorter than some of its competitors, such as the Hyundai.
With a lower roofline and less cartoonish proportions, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle TDI should please a greater number of dudes. However, it remains (in my humble opinion) a ladies’ car.
Yet guys and girls have something to love in the Beetle TDI, fun to drive and delivering excellent fuel economy just like VW’s other diesel-powered cars.