Lest you think time has run out on retro-styled cars, think again: Volkswagen's Beetle Coupe is back for 2018 with a handful of updates aimed at keeping this kitschy car relevant, including a new 2.0L turbocharged engine, standard heated seats and windshield washer nozzles and a Coast Edition version that can ordered in a new trim-specific paint colour called Deep Sea Teal.
Gone is the Beetle Classic trim that played up the retro feel with its slick chrome wheels. Volkswagen has also discontinued the Beetle's manual transmission, so that all trims are now standard with a six-speed automatic.
The 2.0L brings a modest boost of just seven hp, but adds a little punch of torque to improve the car's already decent driveability. We're a little sad about the loss of the stickshift, but at least the automatic is a smooth, responsive piece of machinery that works well with VW's turbocharged engines.
We still like the look of this car, which benefited nicely from a restyling effort a few years ago that added some sharp edges to its rounded roofline and fenders. Certainly, some will still unfairly label this a "girl car," whatever that even means, but to us it's simply a well-executed styling exercise that gives Volkswagen a stylish small car to offer buyers who want to stand out on a reasonable budget.
Entry-level Trendline models add those heated seats and washer nozzles to a list of standard features the same as last year's, including 16-inch steel wheels with full covers, eight-way manual front seats, backup camera, Bluetooth, five-inch infotainment touchscreen, air conditioning, power locks and windows and heated side mirrors with turn signal repeaters.
The Coast Edition model replaces the Classic trim, adding to the Trendline's kit 17-inch heritage wheels (in black, white or red), power sunroof, passive keyless entry, blind spot detection with rear traffic alert, automatic headlights, rain-sensing wipers, beige cloth seats, "surfwood" dashboard surface, auto-dimming rearview mirror, cruise control, smartphone integration and satellite radio. A style package brings bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, automatic climate control, Fender stereo system, fog lights and LED taillights.
Unchanged from last year is the Beetle Dune, with its lifted suspension, unique 18-inch wheels, stiffer front stabilizer bar and trim-specific cosmetic touches.
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