What's Wrong With This Picture: The Evolving Beetle Edition

Edward Niedermeyer
by Edward Niedermeyer
what s wrong with this picture the evolving beetle edition

Once upon a time, there was a Volkswagen executive who couldn’t figure out how to get American consumers emotionally invested in his brand. Then one day it hit him: why not re-skin the Golf as a Beetle? It could be less practical and efficient than its donor car, but baby boomers would buy it in Costco volumes anyway, for the sheer gauzy nostalgia of it. After flogging that Beetle for 12 years, through two successive updates to the car it was based on, it was time to update the old classic. But how?

Luckily history had an answer. Following the example of Beetle tuner/modders at the end of the original Beetle’s lifespan, VW apparently chopped the roof, exaggerated the fenders and called it good. Perhaps with the goal of making for a more “original” feel, the windscreen appears to have been moved back as well. Unfortunately tough, the change simply emphasizes the front-engine proportions, making the end result more reminiscent of a Morris Minor than the ur-Käfer. But, as the Volkswagen executive had learned by now, Americans don’t notice that stuff. The only remaining problem: how to avoid calling it “The new New Beetle.”

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  • Dr Lemming Dr Lemming on Oct 08, 2010

    The extreme roof and windshield curvature of the current model gives the illusion of small size. Alas, by flattening the roofline and puffing out the fenders the Beetle 3 looks like a bloated caricature of the original -- particularly in comparison to the Mini and Fiat 500.

  • 1600 MKII 1600 MKII on Oct 12, 2010

    It looks like a reasonable evolution and, for me, more attractive...now a 2.0T and stiffer suspension?

  • Tassos ask me if I care.
  • ToolGuy • Nice vehicle, reasonable price, good writeup. I like your ALL CAPS. 🙂"my mid-trim EX tester is saddled with dummy buttons for a function that’s not there"• If you press the Dummy button, does a narcissist show up spouting grandiose comments? Lol.
  • MaintenanceCosts These are everywhere around here. I'm not sure the extra power over a CR-V hybrid is worth the fragile interior materials and the Kia dealership experience.
  • MaintenanceCosts It's such a shame about the unusable ergonomics. I kind of like the looks of this Camaro and by all accounts it's the best-driving of the current generation of ponycars. A manual 2SS would be a really fun toy if only I could see out of it enough to drive safely.
  • ToolGuy Gut feel: It won't sell all that well as a new vehicle, but will be wildly popular in the used market 12.5 years from now.(See FJ Cruiser)