Volkswagen Beetle hatchback review - CarBuyer

Volkswagen Beetle hatchback 2014 review: Subscribe to the Carbuyer YouTube channel: Subscribe to Auto Express: The Volkswagen Beetle is a stylish hatchback that mixes modern mechanical parts with a look inspired by the big-selling original from the sixties. It's only offered as a three-door model and comes in standard, Design and top-spec Sport trims. There are two petrol engines available -- a 1.2-litre turbo and a 1.4-litre with turbo and Supercharger. The Beetle shares its mechanical components with the Volkswagen Golf hatchback, but has a more flamboyant look.

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Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet (convertible) 2013 review - CarBuyer
Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet 2014 review: Subscribe to the Carbuyer YouTube channel: Subscribe to Auto Express: The new VW Beetle is perfect for those seeking a retro cool soft top whilst still enjoying a certain degree of practicality and everyday comfort. The Coupe was introduced in 2012, with the cabriolet joining the range in 2013. There's plenty of different specs to suit all tastes and budgets, but thankfully this one that we are in today has head turning looks for the right reasons and has managed to impress us at CarBuyer. And that's because it really does look the part with its non threatening smiley face and distinctive bulbous wheel arches. The small spoiler on the rear plays up to its cheeky and playful side, too. But first and foremost we are interested in its practical side. Despite not having a huge amount of space -- which is to be expected from a car like this -- the folding roof doesn't affect bootspace in any way thanks to the fact it folds on the outside of the boot. Thanks to this, you will always get this much room [point], no matter where the roof is. And although quite cramped, these seats are brilliant for occasional use -- as opposed to having none at all. The first thing I noticed when I got in this car was the combination of tones, there's some tasteful shiny painted, colour coded, trim here, soft touch materials, which enhance the overall quality and the retro theme we saw on the outside is very much present in here too. There are six equipment levels available however the mid-level Design provides everything you really need including air-conditioning and DAB radio, while the options list includes a touchscreen sat-nav and a upgraded Fender sound system. The 50s, 60s and 70s versions are a bit more expensive, but if you want retro flair, those are the cars for you. Anyway, enough tech, let's get this roof down. It can be operated of speeds up to 31mph so you can put the roof up and down as much as the weather fluctuates on your journey. Bringing me on to my next point, it isn't noticeably noisier to travel in than the coupe thanks to the multi layered fabric hood that provides plenty of sound insulation. Bringing me on to my next point, there is hardly any wind buffeting with the roof down, as long as you have installed the easy-to-fit wind deflector thus allowing me to talk to you about how economical this car is. As expected there are a number of different petrol and diesel engines to choose from. However the most economical is the 1.6 Bluemotion Diesel returning a claimed 62.8 miles to the gallon and emitting just 118g/km of CO2. All can be teamed up with a manual or Automatic DSG gearbox, apart from the one that we're in today - the 1.4 twincharged engine only comes in manual and that returns 41.5 miles to the gallon and certainly has enough pace to complement the comfortable ride. And that does bring me on to the Beetle's downsides. While it drives much better than the outgoing model, mainly due to the fact that it shares its platform with the previous generation Golf and is just as much fun as the Coupe due to extra bracing, it isn't quite as much fun as the practicality smaller MINI Convertible. The biggest sour grape in the Beetle fruit bowl though is the price. It's £2,000 more expensive than the MINI, and that's quite a lot! Well that pretty much sums up the new Beetle Convertible, it's an easy to live with retro inspired cool soft top that turns heads for all the right reasons.

Fiat 500C convertible review - CarBuyer
Fiat 500C convertible 2014 review: Subscribe to the Carbuyer YouTube channel: Subscribe to Auto Express: On first sight of the Fiat 500, you could be forgiven for thinking you had stepped back in time... Fiat's recreation of its famous 1960s city car is so faithful; you really can park the new and old models next to each other and compare like for like. Following on from the massive success of the 500 hatchback, Fiat wasted no time in removing the roof to create the diminutive 500C cabriolet. It's not a true convertible, though, as only the centre section of the roof folds down, and the window frames on either side remain in place. The range of small and cheap to run petrol and diesel engines from the hatchback is carried over, and unsurprisingly the 500C drives similarly to the hatchback, with light and easy controls. The same cute, retro looks are a big part of the appeal, and a big selling point for the 500.

Renault Twizy review - CarBuyer
Renault Twizy 2014 review: Subscribe to the Carbuyer YouTube channel: Subscribe to Auto Express: The electric Renault Twizy city car offers urban drivers something genuinely different -- if you can live with its inherent limitations. The electric Renault Twizy is a revolution in personal transport. The futuristically styled car offers space for two, sitting in tandem, and its small size means it is perfect for driving around and parking in town. It is charged via your home supply: 3.5 hours will see it completely topped up, at a cost of around £1. This will allow a claimed range of 34-62 miles depending on the demands of the traffic conditions. Although the futuristic, 'open-plan' styling may be something of an acquired taste, the innovative Twizy starts to make more sense if you think of it as a scooter with a roof rather than a car with, in its most basic form, open sides -- and no heater. In the UK, the Twizy will be called the Renault Twizy 80 ('80' refers to its top speed in km/h).

Mazda MX-5 roadster review - CarBuyer
Mazda MX-5 roadster 2014 review: Subscribe to the Carbuyer YouTube channel: Subscribe to Auto Express: Mazda hasn't changed the basic design of the MX-5 since it introduced the original version in 1989 - low weight, moderately powerful engines and excellent handling are what the MX-5 is all about. The latest model is bigger, safer and slightly more powerful than its predecessors and has more in the way of creature comforts, so it's easier to live with. Storage space isn't bad considering the size of the car, but you'll still need to pack lightly for a weekend away. Do you own this car? Let us know what you think about it with the Driver Power Survey