Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

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April 17, 2014

Beetle marks 65th year since entry into US

(Continued)

Seat adjustments were manual on this test car and included round plastic dials at the sides of the front seats for seat recline that can be difficult to operate.

The 2-liter turbocharged/intercooled, gasoline four cylinder gave sprightly performance, albeit with considerable engine noise, in the tester. Low-end "oomph" came on easily, and torque from this powerplant peaks at a commendable 207 foot-pounds at a low 1,700 rpm.

This surpasses the turbo torque in the base Mini Cooper hardtop and 500L.

Note that Beetles with this 2-liter turbo four are renamed R-Line this model year. They used to be called Beetle Turbos. VW is replacing the Beetle's base, non-turbo, five-cylinder gasoline engine with a smaller, 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter, turbo four cylinder and wants to differentiate the upper-level 210-horse, 2-liter turbo models with the R-Line label.

The R-Line turbo that was in the tester required premium gasoline, so filling the Beetle's 14.5-gallon tank at today's average price for premium can top $57.

With six-speed Tiptronic automatic, the tester nearly averaged the federal government's 26 miles per gallon in combined city/highway travel. But Beetle shoppers seeking the most mileage will want a diesel, where the combined city/highway fuel mileage average is 32 mpg.

Passengers heard a lot of wind and road noise in the test Beetle, which had uplevel 19-inch tires, and the ride was more compliant than sporty.

Interior buttons, knobs and other controls were clearly arranged and not gimmicky. The information display screen in the center dashboard, however, looked a bit small compared to those of other carmakers such as Toyota and Honda.

The 2014 Beetle's predicted reliability is worse than average, according to Consumer Reports magazine.

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