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2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo Fashionistas Approved>

For years, the VW Beetle was known for that little flower bud vase. You could change flowers to suit your mood or outfit. It was perfect for fashionistas that loved to accessorize their wares. No other car had a tiny flower vase on the dash. Why would Volkswagen take away such a cute and unique feature? They decided to make some changes to the 2012 Beetle to make it more man-friendly. So they tossed the flower vase, reshaped the car and offered an optional Fender premium sound system. Oooh, manly!

The 2012 Beetle Turbo’s (the one we test drove) new shape includes a flatter top and a flatter, longer hood. We’re talking 7.3 inches longer, 1.1. inches between the wheels and 3.3 inches wider. These dimensions provide a fatter stance. The sunroof is bigger, too. It’s looking more like a retro version of Herbie the Love Bug than the previous bubble-shaped model.

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When Volkswagen flattened the top, some rear headroom was lost. You could put some pretty tall people in the back seat in the previous model. Now, it can easily seat 4 average sized people (or 3 people two dogs). Maybe the 6’ 3” and under would be comfortable with the 37.1” of rear headroom space, event a 6′ surf board and gear fit easily. Getting in and out of the back seat would seem cumbersome, but the front seats lift up and forward to help the situation a bit makes it easy for the dogs to jump out on their own after being buckled up for safe travels to the beach.

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There’s 3 cubic feet more storage in the trunk than last year. Now you can haul 15 cubic feet of groceries. When you fold down the 50/50 split seats the cargo space doubles to 30 cubic feet. You may not be able to take home that desk from IKEA, but you can do some damage at Costo and get everything you need for your dinner party.

Two trim levels give you two engine choices: 2.5-liter with a five-speed transmission or optional six-speed automatic and a 2.0-liter TSI turbocharged four-cylinder six speed manual or optional DSG six-speed dual-clutch automatic. Horsepower? The 2.5L has 170hp at 5700 rpm and the 2.0L turbo produces 30 more hp.

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The cheapest Beetle starts with an MSRP of $19,765. You’ll get the 2.5L five-speed stick shift, one-touch power windows, cruise control, cloth seats and an 8-speaker stereo with an auxiliary input for your iPod. Options to upgrade the base model include leatherette that heating front seats, sunroof, Bluetooth, USB port, navigation and Fender sound system. Top end price for the 2.5L: $25,965.

Turbo is going to start at $24,165 and comes with 18-inch wheels, fog lights, gloss-black mirror housings, a rear spoiler, sporty upholstery, leather treatments on the shifter and handbrake and aluminum pedals. Upgrade options: sunroof, audio controls on the leather-wrapped steering wheel, keyless entry and starting, touch screen radio with Fender audio system. Top of the line turbocharged Beetle will cost you $28,765.

Fuel economy: 22/29 mpg highway/city for the base model and 22/30 for the turbo.

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Overall the Beetle is still a Beetle.  I’m sad the flower vase is gone. Do all these changes make the car more of a man-magnet? Would “Tim the Toolman” Taylor give the Beetle his signature grunt over this New Beetle? I’m pretty sure he would after driving the Turbo model.

Test Driven and Photographed by Christina Selter