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Roseville, Calif. – Although certainly not for everyone, this is a car with both style and personality. Already a winner in the hearts of many, the new Volkswagen Beetle Dune should attract even more converts to this somewhat quirky car.

The 2016 Beetle Dune convertible coupe that was test-driven here was a brightly colored metallic yellow, an unabashed attempt by Volkswagen to say “look at me.” And many people did. Curious folks (mostly women) were giving the Dune a good once over at stoplights or in parking lots.


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No question, the yellow Dune certainly has eye appeal. The other factory-color options have it as well – VW refers to them as pure white and deep black pearl. The yellow Dune also has yellow accents inside the cabin. Note that the Dune convertible has a power-operated folding fabric top. The Dune is also offered as a hard-top hatchback.

Unlike the old model VW “bugs,” the modern version has a lot more appealing qualities. The 2016 Beetle Dune comes loaded with high-tech features, and two very peppy turbocharged engines. It’s only rivals are the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500.

Volkswagen is bringing back the Dune name and awakening memories of its old Dune Buggy, a 1960s roadster that could effectively be driven on sand. That’s not the case with the 2016 Beetle Dune, which features the distinctive bug-like face, honeycomb grille and black stripes on the doors and side mirrors. It’s a little taller and wider than the regular Beetle.

Driving the Beetle is more compelling than ever thanks to its turbo engines. The base model is a turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. It travels 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds and the gas mileage ranges from 25-34 mpg.

The engine option for the Beetle R-Line is the turbo 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that generates 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. This version is a little quicker, but not quite as good on gas (23-31 mpg). Both engines offer the option of a manual (6-speed on R-Line, 5-speed on 1.8T) or automatic transmission.

2016 Beetle Dune

  • Performance: turbocharged 1.8-liter, four-cylinder, 170 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 210 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 25-34 mpg; 23-31 mpg
  • Estimated price: $19,595 to $34,950
  • Warranty: 3 years/36,000 miles; drivetrain: 5 years/60,000 miles; roadside assistance: 12 years/unlimited; corrosion: 6 years/36,000

While the Beetle is sporty and fun to drive, there are complaints with the responsiveness of the steering. Still, the Beetle is quite enjoyable on drives around town and the overall handling is fine for a compact vehicle.

The Beetle Dune offers a basic interior design that’s smartly put together. Volkswagen has a multimedia system that is pretty intuitive and features a responsive 6.3 inch touchscreen with knobs located a convenient distance from the driver. The interior includes multiple storage bins and a center console.

Front seat folks will enjoy comfortable seating and solid leg and head room, despite the low roof line. However, as always with a coupe, squeezing into the back seat is unpleasant and both head and leg room is not good for adults. The Beetle provides 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space, and with rear seats folded down there’s quite a bit of storage room.

The iconic Volkswagen Beetle Dune will attract its share of car buyers with its cute appeal and fun-to-drive appeal. It’s offered at a fairly reasonable price and gas mileage is another plus.

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