Friday, December 15, 2017
Business

The Daily Drivers: 2013 Volkswagen Beetle convertible open for excitement

Volkswagen redesigned the Beetle for 2012, attempting to broaden the Bug's appeal by toughening up its cute look. (Translation: Appeal to the male buyer.) For 2013, VW has rolled out three limited editions: '50s, '60s and '70s. We drove the '60s trim. While it didn't conjure memories of Flower Power, it did impress us with its performance.

Appearance: The redesign left the distinctive Beetle style, but flattened out some of its roundness with a flatter roof line and wider stance. The front still has the signature round headlights and wide fenders. Lyra loved our '60s edition's Denim Blue color, but it seems more baby blue than any pair of jeans we've ever worn. Peter: "I'm not sure what's '60s about this color. Haven't VW designers ever seen Woodstock?" The one bright color on our tester was the red brake calipers that peek out from the 18-inch, five-spoke alloy wheels. There's also a rear spoiler that announces this Beetle means business. When the cloth top is up, the silhouette is almost identical to its hardtop counterpart. With the top down, the Beetle retains its sleek look. The top goes down in less than 10 seconds — even when you're moving at speeds of up to 31 mph. The cloth top folds compactly and doesn't hinder visibility. VW provides a cover that gives the folded-down top a neater look, but it doesn't strike us as being worth the trouble — and it is trouble, says Lyra. Just leave the cover at home to reclaim some trunk space (7.1 cubic feet).

Performance: The 2.0-liter, 200-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder is the same engine as in VW's GTI hot hatch, which makes this one lightning-quick Bug. We both were impressed with the off-the-line acceleration; just hang on to the flat-bottomed steering wheel because there is some torque steer under hard acceleration. The '60s edition only comes with VW's 6-speed dual-clutch gearbox, which clicks off shifts quickly and precisely. The handling is tight, especially for a convertible. Overall, it's one of the more fun small cars we've driven. The price you pay for performance: mpg of 21/29.

Interior: The cabin is attractive and looks upscale, with two-tone ribbed leather seats that are comfortable and well bolstered. The denim blue color continues in both the seats and dash panels. The seat adjustments are manual, which seem out of place in an optioned-out special edition. Up front, there's plenty of head- and legroom, but the rear seats are a tight fit and better suited for children. The instrument cluster has easy-to-read gauges with white-on-black numerals, and a small info screen. Three other gauges sit on top of the dash and give the cockpit a sporty look. The AC controls are simple dials and buttons. The LCD touchscreen, however, is not. Its push-button interface and rotary presets can be confusing. The Fender audio system sounded clear even with the top down.

Our 3 favorites

Peter Couture

Performance: I love the acceleration.

Interior: Handsome and comfortable.

Fun factor: A nice combination of style, performance and look-at-me attitude.

Lyra Solochek

Denim blue: Love the powder blue. It would look even better with a gray top.

Handling: Tossable and fun.

Sleek roof lines: Convertible top is as good-looking as the hardtop.

The bottom line: The VW Beetle is no longer just the economy car it used to be. Today, this '60s edition costs around $33K. But its more athletic looks and performance make it one of the more fun small convertibles on the market.









     
             
Comments
St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

St. Petersburg’s Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement set to be complete in 2019

ST. PETERSBURG — The Museum of the American Arts and Crafts Movement, under construction since 2015, is scheduled to be complete by the summer of 2019.The five-story, 137,100-square-foot building will house businessman and collector Rudy Ciccarello’s...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Obamacare enrollment ends today, but some can get an extension

Today is the day that open enrollment for the Affordable Care Act will close for most people. But those affected by the slew of hurricanes that pummelled Florida, Texas, Puerto Rico and other states earlier this year can take advantage of a two-week ...
Updated: 10 hours ago
Taxpayer subsides of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

Taxpayer subsides of Tampa golf courses are on the rise as struggles continue

TAMPA — For the half of the year that Harry Nichols lives in Oldsmar, he plays 18 holes several times a month at Rocky Point Golf Course. On a good day, Nichols said he shoots close to par on the Dana Shores course. And if he’s really lucky, it’ll on...
Published: 12/15/17
Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

Pack your bags: 107.3M Americans to set holiday traveling record

A record-breaking number of Americans are expected to travel this holiday season.The American Automobile Association projects that 107.3 million Americans will pack their bags and travel more than 50 miles by planes, trains, automobiles and other mod...
Updated: 11 hours ago
Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Local widowers say baby powder caused their wives’ cancer

Two Tampa area widowers whose wives died of ovarian cancer are suing Johnson & Johnson, joining nearly 5,000 other plaintiffs across the country who blame their illness on the daily use of the pharmaceutical company’s talcum powder.Bryan Isa’s wife, ...
Published: 12/14/17
Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

Jabil’s fiscal results top Wall Street expectations

ST. PETERSBURG — Jabil Circuit Inc. beat Wall Street expectations for both profits and revenue Thursday.The St. Petersburg-based contract electronics manufacturer — one of Tampa Bay’s biggest public companies — posted fiscal first-quarter earnings of...
Published: 12/14/17
Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Soccer store opens on Gunn Highway, just in time for the World Cup

Even though the United States Men’s soccer team didn’t qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, that hasn’t diminished local fans’ excitement about the upcoming international event.Ariel Martinez, owner of Best Buy Soccer and Lacrosse, has already receiv...
Published: 12/14/17
Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

Tampa chamber names first companies for minority business accelerator

TAMPA — Four firms in marketing, construction and secure cash logistics will be the first to go to through a new Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce program designed to help black- and Hispanic-owned companies grow their businesses through two years of...
Published: 12/14/17
FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

FCC votes down Obama-era ‘net neutrality’ rules

NEW YORK — The Federal Communications Commission has voted on party lines to undo sweeping Obama-era "net neutrality" rules that guaranteed equal access to internet.The agency’s Democratic commissioners dissented in the 3-2 vote Thursday.The FCC’s ne...
Published: 12/14/17
From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

From Crystal River to Brooksville, branch out to shop on these unexpected main streets

You don’t have to stare at a greeting card to picture a bustling old main street lined with decorated shops and lampposts. Historic small-town shopping districts are easy to find, and more charming than Walmart. Beyond the downtowns of St. Pet...
Published: 12/14/17