For baja bug owners, it may seem like a bit of a stretch to give this beetle a similar name, and similar style, but going too extreme may have ostracized the buyers looking for the history, but not so much the extreme personality. The interior gets a shouty yellow trim, with black and grey cloth seats. It’s a cool place to be, and matches the exterior well with a few fun accents and unique trimming.
Straightforward and Simple
We won’t be shouting on the hilltops singing praise of Volkswagen’s electronics. The updated 6.3-inch touchscreen system works well enough when you figure everything out. It’s clean, has Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and puts to use a number of easy-to-find features on the home screen.
True To Its Roots?
Driving the Beetle Dune feels like, well, just driving an ordinary Beetle. The ancient 1.8-liter turbocharged engine is peppy enough with 170 horsepower on tap, but doesn’t hold speed very well. At 65 mph, you still have to keep your foot pressed heartily into the gas pedal, otherwise it feels like it wants to just give up.
Steering is tight, and even in some tough mountainous stuff it refuses to show everyone that it’s actually a front-wheel-drive car. Which brings us to our next point…
Yes, the Beetle Dune is still front-wheel-drive. Before we get a hoard of angry emails: we fully understand that not even most classic Baja Bugs were converted to all-wheel-drive. Even then, it seems like something buyers really would have enjoyed, given the naming and all. Even more disparaging, it doesn’t come with a manual gearbox. Nonetheless, it’s a Beetle, and it drives like a Beetle. That’s not a bad thing.
It’s not the most exciting car on the planet, nor the best driving. But there’s something to like about the Beetle Dune. Aside from its thrifty, middle-of-the-range pricing ($23,995), it’s a sign that Volkswagen still actually cares about the enthusiast.
With the rest of the VW range leaning more towards vanilla, the Beetle Dune adds a swirl of fun that not even the most hardcore gearhead can resist. It’s quirky, it looks cool, and it’s a pretty good deal. We wouldn’t turn it away if it had nowhere to go.
Engine: 1.8-liter Turbo
Torque: 184 lb-ft
Comfortable on long trips
Lack of all-wheel-drive
Plain driving dynamics
Photo Credit: Jeff Perez for BoldRide