Episode 165. Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet. BP03 URK. (Part 5).

It's been good, and although I wasn't ready to sell this, our time in the sun together has come to an end.

I've been wondering if I'd actually had enough time with the Beetle, and if I have experienced it enough? To be honest, almost definately not. I am convinced that I have not had my fill of it yet, but I had done a deal with one of my friends before the Summer holidays started that I would have it for the first half, and then she could buy it. So by the middle of the fourth week of the holidays it was her new toy, and I was on the lookout for something new. (Incase you're wondering, yes, I've found something else!)

And away it goes, off to start its new life about half a mile from me across the town! To say that my friend was delighted with her new purchase would be quite an understatement, she was litterally jumping for joy when I told her she could come and get it!

But what did I think of it? Well, lets start with the bad, of which there really is very little to be fair. Infact, I can only really think of one thing that I thought was irritatingly bad and that was the boot...

Or to be more precise, the size of the hole to get into the boot. I realise that this is a consequence of being a convertible, but honestly, thats rediculous! When I do my grocery shopping, because I'm such a tight-ass I don't splurge 10p on a carrier bag, but I usually snag a couple of boxes from the fruit and veg isle to put my shopping in. The first time I did it I carried my boxes of shopping out to the car, popped the boot open, and pretty quickly realised that there was no way I was getting one of those boxes through that little hole, let alone the two boxes of shopping I was carrying! So as I was on my own they both went on the front passenger seat. Which of course meant that the Beetle thought it had someone sat there, so kept beeping at me until I plugged in the seatbelt! 

But apart from the size of the boot, I really didn't have anything to complain about, and to be honest, is a car like this really designed with practicality in mind? Probably not. It's all about having a little fun in the sun, and at that, it was brilliant!

I guess if I was really nit-picking, then perhaps the interior was a bit drab and un-inspiring. But it was practical, seated the four of us in comfort, when the roof was up it was warm, dry, and quite qiuet. Even with the roof down it was not too bad, it was a little bit blustery at speed for sure, but rolling the side windows up took a lot of that turbulance out of the cockpit, even for our two little Monsters in the back. Roof down and windows down, my two little Monsters looked like two miniature Cousin Its from the Addams family. Roof down and windows rolled up their hair really wasn't getting blown about all that much at all, and I could see their pretty little faces in the rear view mirror again.

One thing that I never did come to terms with was how far away from me the windscreen is. I mean from the drivers seat I couldn't touch the windscreen with my hand, I reckon at arms length my hand was probably a good foot from the glass! I found this to be odd, and hard to come to terms with, especially when I was trying to clean the inside of the windscreen. I pretty much had to drop the roof down and stand outside the car to clean it! Looking down across that dashboard its about two feet to the windscreen, and that always felt a bit odd to me, and as I said for some reason I just can't get used to it. But my feeling is that this is due to the Bettles Golf origins, and probably a good fifty percent of the Beetles dashboard would probably be the bonnet of the Golf. It is a quirky feature for sure, but it wouldn't put me off from buying another one.

Apart from these minor niggles I really couldn't fault it. I realise that no doubt it drives in exactly the same manner as a similar aged Golf, but it has all the benefits from not looking like a Golf, and that for me is what makes it appealing. I'll admit that my experience with the Golf is pretty limited, but this is because I've never been able to see what all the fuss is about. I mean, I get that they're well engineered et cetera, but to me, they just look so damn mundane, infact I'd go as far to say that for me at least I find the Golf to be a pretty boring looking car. Whereas the Beetle is like the Golfs prettier Sister, wearing a pretty party frock? Same great personality, just in a prettier package, what's not to like? I'm sure that there's people who know far more than me about the differences between the Golf and Beetle, and could explain to me why the Golf would be the better option, but my feeling is that even then I would still pick the Beetle.

Another thing I will say is that I don't feel as surprised with it as I was with my original air cooled Beetle. I guess in part this is because deep down I expected it to be good, and it is good, and so it should be. I mean it's 35 years younger than my first Beetle cabriolet so it would be pretty bad if it wasn't better. Whereas I think with my orignal air cooled Beetle cabriolet I expected it to be awful, and it really wasn't, that too was really rather good too, and that really surprised me. When I bought my original Beetle Cabriolet many moons ago I really didn't get the Beetle thing. But I have to say that I really liked that car, and by the time I sold that little car I completely understood why people like them, and how they get under your skin. After I had sold it, I thought to myself that at some point I needed to have a new Beetle Cabriolet, and it also needed to be red, and I am really glad that I had this one. Like my original one, I can see how they get under your skin. It's not a serious car, it's a fun little car for fun times and in all honsesty it excels at that. I think that pretty much every time I took it out, no matter if the roof was up or down it still managed to put a smile on my face. It is, unsurprisingly, infinately better than the Aixam that it replaced, but I also think that its probably far better than the Mini (Bini) before that. I liked the Mini a lot, but this just has something that the Mini didn't have. Perhaps it's just a bit better looking, or that it's a convertible, or maybe just because it's slightly bigger inside, I dunno, but I do know that I would pick the Beetle over the Mini any day of the week! But what about the Focus?

Well the Focus really is the fly in the Beetles ointment. My feeling is still that its a pretty close thing, but the Beetle isn't quite as good as the Focus. I think that the Focus looks really good, it's a great looking cabriolet, but the Beetle is a far better looking, and prettier car. But that being said, if I could only keep one, it would be the Focus that I would keep, simply because its got a bit more get up and go, it drives marginally better, it's more comfortable, and its slightly bigger. But in all honesty there really is very little in it, and to choose between the two it's almost at a point where I would flip a coin to decide! I think that my head would certainly pick the Focus, but my heart would definately have the Beetle.

The big question I guess is would I have another one? Yep, for sure. I'm nowhere near done enjoying this Beetle, and even as it drove away I was missing it. I think there's almost certainly room for another one in my automotive back catalogue at some point. I don't know if the next one will be a cabriolet though as I'm quite tempted to have the hatchback to see what they're all about. So I'll probably keep an eye out for a cheap one of those to try. My feeling is that I probably won't enjoy that as much as the cabriolet, but time will tell and we'll see. I know for sure that I would quite like a later Beetle hatchback, the 2011–2019 the PQ35 (A5) platform model. I like the squarer, lower profile looks of these ones with their slightly more aggressive appearance although still clearly keeping the stylistic aspects reminiscent of the Type 1 of which they were originally inspired by. I feel that they somehow just look a little bit more rugged and manly, where the original new Beetle like mine might perhaps be considered to be a little girly looking? However as yet they're still a little too much money for my liking. Especially as the one I'd want would ideally be the rugged off-road looking one called the 'Beetle Dune' which went on sale in 2016. But, like all cars the time will come when they're selling cheaply, or atleast, cheap enough for me, and then I'll jump on one. I've no idea if I'll enjoy it as much as this one, but as I've enjoyed being the owner of two Beetles now I must admit that I would like to find out just how good one of the last Beetles to roll off the production line is going to be, and now I find myself wondering if that too will get under my skin.