- The Washington Times - Friday, November 20, 2009

HERNDON | The 2010 Volkswagen New Beetle and New Beetle convertible faithfully carry on the legacy that started with the original Type 1 more than 70 years ago. Both the sedan and convertible models contain the latest German engineering and refinement and are finished with a fully modern Volkswagen design that still delivers that recognizable Beetle look and appeal. The latest versions of the New Beetle are available in a single trim level and start at $18,540 for the sedan model and $26,170 for the convertible.

No matter the time of year, nor the weather outside, the New Beetle convertible stays stylish while keeping the inside comfortable and dry with a three-layer cloth top that features a heated glass rear window. When placed in the up (closed) position, the top helps keep road noise down to a minimum in the cabin. The top is power-assisted for quick and easy lowering and tucks away directly behind the rear seat for a vintage look. The soft-top includes a semiautomatic power roof and a wind blocker. As an added convenience in the convertible, a driver-accessible extra window switch makes lowering and raising all four side windows simultaneously a simple task.

Heated front seats are standard on all models, along with a leather parking brake handle and shift knob; a telescoping, three-spoke padded steering wheel; the easy entry system with the front seats for improved rear passenger entry; and one-touch up-and-down automatic windows, with pinch protection, for both the driver and passenger sides.

The New Beetle models are ready for long rides as well, with a standard six-speaker premium AM/FM radio with slot-in CD player, MP3 CD support, and an auxiliary jack for connecting portable media players, including iPods. As an added bonus, Sirius Satellite Radio is also available as standard and comes with a complimentary six-month subscription.

Under the hood

The 2010 New Beetle and New Beetle convertible are powered by a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder gasoline engine that is chock full of German-tuned advancements. The 2.5L produces 150 horsepower available at 5,000 rpm, and 170 lbs.-ft. of torque come on strong yet smooth at 3,750 rpm. The engine features an aluminum alloy cross flow head, four valves per cylinder, double overhead camshafts and maintenance-free hydraulic lifters to ensure consistent yet undoubtedly efficient performance whenever called upon.

Power is delivered to the front wheels with either an easy-to-shift five-speed manual transmission with self-adjusting hydraulic clutch, or an optional six-speed automatic transmission with Tiptronic that can change gears on its own, or allow the driver to select each gear using the gear selector. The 2010 New Beetle convertible is only available with the six-speed automatic gearbox, and achieves an EPA-estimated 20 mpg in city conditions, and 29 mpg on the highway. The New Beetle equipped with the automatic transmission also reaches the same results. With the manual transmission in place, the New Beetle is capable of 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway.

Keeping the New Beetle on track and comfortable through turns and on the straights is an independent front suspension setup that includes McPherson struts and a front stabilizer bar, working in tandem with a torsion beam rear axle and a separate rear stabilizer bar. The power-assisted rack and pinion steering system with a 15.6:1 ratio ensures accuracy and responsiveness at all speeds, and four-wheel disc brakes easily bring the New Beetle and New Beetle convertible to a halt.

All throughout the chassis are a variety of the latest Volkswagen aids and controls that provide New Beetle drivers and passengers with the comfort and peace of mind every time to take on most any driving condition with confidence. All models are standard equipped with the latest three-channel anti-lock braking system for superior stopping control and the advanced Volkswagen electronic stabilization program that adds anti-slip regulation, traction control, and brake assist functions. A tire pressure monitoring system also comes standard.

Staying safe

The New Beetle convertible is available in black, candy white, gecko green, salsa red, harvest moon, sunflower yellow and tossau blue. The hardtop’s color range also features both platinum gray and reflex silver. Sixteen-inch alloy “Mali”-designed wheels are standard on all 2010 New Beetle models, with the convertible offering an optional17-inch alloy “Versus”-designed wheels as an equally stylish option.

Like all Volkswagens, the New Beetle and New Beetle convertible includes the prevent and preserve safety system. As standard equipment, the New Beetle and New Beetle convertible includes, but is not limited to, dual front air bags; dual front head/thorax air bags; emergency locking retractors in all seating positions; front safety belts with pretensioners and load limiters; and three-point safety belts in all four seating positions with emergency locking retractors.

The New Beetle convertible also features an Active Rollover Support system, which “pops up” two spring-loaded aluminum posts in 0.25 seconds from behind the rear seat headrests to help protect rear passengers in the event of a rollover situation.

Both the New Beetle and New Beetle convertible, like all 2010 Volkswagens, include Volkswagen’s electronic stabilization program (ESP) as standard equipment. This comes ahead of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s mandate that by 2010, all vehicles produced will need to include some form of electronic stability control (ESC). According to NHTSA, having ESC in a vehicle results in 35 percent fewer single-vehicle crashes and 30 percent fewer single-vehicle fatalities in passenger cars. Volkswagen’s ESP compares the driver’s intended course with the vehicle’s actual direction. If a discrepancy is detected, ESP automatically brakes individual front or rear wheels and/or reduces engine power as needed to help maintain directional control.

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