Beetle Life

Beetle Running Report

Beetle Life: Creaking door sorted.

Just to keep you all in the loop (and for those unfamiliar with the term, being in “the loop” simply means you are being updated, but us corporate clones like to loop people in because it makes us sound executive-y and powerful 🙂 )…

So, the Beetle was booked in for the door mechanism to be sorted and, as VW Leeds is close to nothing else in the world, I requested a courtesy car. What a ‘mare of inconvenience that is. You call through and, if you need the service department you go through to an anonymous call centre who then book you in. You don’t get to talk to the actual service dept. Now, I know that the job at had wouldn’t take very long. I asked if I could have a timeslot, maybe first job of the day, and I can be in-and-out without needing a car. “No”, is VW’s answer. Instead you have to book a hire car, get a pre-authorisation driving licence code number from the DVLA, take in your ID, wait for it to be copied, sign insurance papers, take the car for the day, the bring it back to collect your car, via the petrol station to put in what you think you’ve used.

Now, this all sounds like a first-world problem – and indeed it is. But it needn’t have been anyone’s problem if VW wasn’t so absolutely corporate. I can see why indi’s are preferred over main dealers who offer a far more personalised, custom service.

But the generic (and admittedly small) inconvenience aside, the process was pretty painless overall. I was booked in for a few weeks later, and a pretty simple process followed. When I arrived, there was a bunch of the staff all stood outside waiting for customers like me to get us on our way. As soon as I pulled up, they knew who I was and came over to greet me. I was ushered inside, signed the forms and taken to my courtesy car – a new Polo (quick review: A very nice little car, but if you are in the market, buy a Fiesta, it’s better). So perhaps 10 minutes of effort, not the end of the world. All very professional and corporate.

I returned later that afternoon once I had finished work to collect the Beetle and, as expected, the check-straps had been sorted and we no longer have any creaking. VW also noticed a nail in one of the tyres and repaired that for about £30 if memory serves correctly.

So, all good, and Beetle is back – in and out within the day. Sorted. 🙂

Beetle Life: Warning, Nothing Is Wrong.

Red VW Beetle Cabriolet

Red VW Beetle Cabriolet

I’ve realised I’ve not updated this at all with the beetle. In fact, 6 months in and we’ve only done about 1,500 miles so far. With my good lady wife now having a job within walking distance from our home, the mileage will probably drop even further. But, thus far, the car has been great.

One issue so far, which is with the drivers door latch, which is creaking as you open it and you can see that there is excess play in the mechanism. I’ve booked this in to be looked at and hope/expect it will be covered under warranty as the car has only been in our possession for 6 months.

Everything else has been great. Its fun to drive and it looks great! Its a chunky thing though – care needed when putting it in the garage as those wheel arches really jut out!

Beetle Cabriolet Interior (Red)

Beetle Cabriolet Interior (Red)

“WARNING! Nothing is Wrong”
The strange thing about the Beetle is how it will warn you about nothing being wrong. Whenever you turn off the ignition, the dashboard flashes up “Check SAFELOCK!”. This is simply telling you that the deadlocks are enabled when you lock the car. Fine. Why wouldn’t they be? Why do I need to be told to check it every time I turn the car off?

It will also light up the amber airbag light for about 30 seconds when the car starts saying “AIRBAG ON”. Yes, I know, this is what I expected, why are you telling me?

Whats next? “Warning: Driver in the drivers seat”. “Warning: The boot is closed”. “Caution before you drive off: The Engine is on!”.

Its a bit stupid if you ask me and detracts from real problems.

Everything else though, fine and dandy! 🙂

Beetle Life: Pointless Features

I noticed last night when wifey came home that the beetle has that irksome modern feature where it turns on the fog light in the direction of travel. That really makes my teeth itch, one of those modern, hopelessly unnecessarily features that some moron decided was a good idea. FFS! I fear it’s going to be the norm with most cars now. But for me it just looks crap as a car winks at you as it heads around a corner. Grrrr….!

But that’s more an irritation with new car stupid features than the beetle itself, which is great.

Dear car designers, please place this utterly stupid, unnecessary, pompous over-engineered feature under the heading “shit we don’t need”. Thanks.

Beetle Life: Welcome Beetle!

So here is our new summer steed! A 2014 VW Beetle Cabriolet Design. This spec gets you a DAB radio with Bluetooth telephone and USB inputs, a colour co-ordinated dash and the retro look wheels. The car has all the standard kit you’d ever need like air conditioning electric mirrors, windows and remote central locking. The boot is a decent size for a convertible and is has a manual gearbox and cloth interior. After years of leather interiors in our cars, the cloth seats are a hugely welcome change. They are supple, comfortable, will look great even with three million miles on the clock and don’t suffer the hot and cold issues of their moo-cow counterparts.

The fit and finish is lovely, and makes our 2005 Porsche Cayenne feel positively ancient. The tech is bang up to date, the doors close with a soft, yet reassuring thud and open easily with a welcome lightness that makes the Porsche feel like a ham fisted tank.

The engine is a 1.4 Turbo and it certainly has some poke! You get into sixth gear pretty early on in speed cycle (the on board display tells you the optimum time to shift up) and has lots of low down torque resulting in fewer gear changes.
Why is it here?

My wife cannot get on with the Cayenne, try as she might. She thinks it is too big, too clunky and absolutely hates the automatic, citing it never feels like you are in control. We have a Mini Cabriolet as a second car, but this is too small to use as an everyday car really, a bit too ramshackley for longer journeys. As a B-road blaster though, the Mini is stupendous fun but as I utterly love driving the Cayenne and want to keep it for a while longer, we needed to upgrade our occasional car to something a little more practical and comfortable. Enter the Beetle.

The Dealership Experience

We found our car at VW Leeds. My good lady didn’t know what she fancied next so our first stop was a car supermarket to look at options and ideas. A Renault Captur made the short-list as she likes the look of these, as did a Jeep Renegade(later discounted from choice as we already have a 4×4). Ideally though, we both wanted to retain a soft-top car in our lives and I suggested we look at a VW Beetle. They are unusual, quirky cars and we like cars that are different to the norm.

As soon as we got to the dealership, the beaming smile on my wifes face as she sat in the front seat told me that we were buying one. I have to admit, it does look really striking and a Beetle is also on my ‘to own’ list so I was happy too. And what about my 4-year old daughter? Well, she had set up shop with the very amenable receptionist who had her perched at the desk next to her, showing her the ropes! All the signs were good. The friendly sales guy came over to answer all of our questions and took us out for a test drive, all good. We left to consider it and I called the next day to seal the deal. A crap deal mind, as he flatly refused to discount the car. Initially I was offered the tax for free, but this was rescinded when it transpired I wasn’t taking out VW finance at a ridiculous 10.9% APR.

This prompted a brief look at a new car rather than this two-year-old model. Using there are some awesome buys to be had and it was a strong contender until the declaration of a 22 week wait time killed that idea stone dead.

Come collection day and the car had been prepped, a few scrapes I had noticed on the bumper had been removed and a scuffed hub cap replaced. The car comes with one-year warranty and £70 towards any repairs required for the first MOT. Nice!

So far, so good!

The Beetle has only covered 10,000 miles and still drives as good as new. It has two services in the book and I expect we’ll cover about 3,000 miles per year. As the car is big enough and comfy enough to use for long journeys, I expect that we’ll use this car more in the summer with the Cayenne bidding a warm welcome to the garage until winter, being occasionally called upon for long distance cruising and holiday jaunts over summer.

Our car collection for 2016 is now complete. We’ve got a big comfy Cayenne tank for cruising and a wonderfully funky Beetle for summer and local outings that we can all enjoy as a family. Perfect! I am still missing a sports car in our fleet, but I’m not missing the hassle of owning a sports car, so I’ll defer purchase until 2017 for one of those – perhaps a 40th birthday present to myself?