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Volkswagen Beetle Dune 1.2-litre TSI 105 review

Date: 02 August 2016   |   Author: Debbie Wood

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £21,275
Key rival: Mini Paceman
On sale: April 2016

Originally launched in 1938, Volkswagen has sold 22.5 million Beetles worldwide, placing it in the top three most successful cars of all time.

In the UK, where sensible cars like the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra dominate sales, the Beetle's distinctive looks and characterful drive provides an alternative to the hatchback norm.

Joining the range is this Dune version, which pays homage to the iconic modified desert racing Baja Bugs of the 1960s.


It features more rugged styling cues including extended front and rear wheel arches, a large rear spoiler and new 18-inch alloy wheels; the ride height has also been raised by 10mm. Don't be fooled, though, this isn't a car to take off the beaten track, instead VW has opted to offer the Dune in front-wheel drive only.

Inside there's some colourful additions to the dashboard and door panels (depending on the exterior colour chosen) and stitching around the seats and steering wheel.

Equipment levels

The Beetle Dune is based on the existing Design trim which comes with a variety of equipment as standard, highlights include a 6.5 inch touchscreen system, Bluetooth, automatic lights and wipers, parking sensors and DAB radio.

Also fitted to our test car is the firm's satnav system that costs an extra £665 and a winter pack for £250 with heated seats, both worthy of consideration.


People don't generally pick a Beetle for its practicality credentials, though that said, the boot is a manageable size at 310 litres and there's enough leg and headroom for teenagers in the back to be reasonably comfortable. 

Small petrol engine

There's a choice of two engines, here we're testing the 1.2-litre petrol that has been used in several installations across the VW Group line-up. Offering 103hp and 175Nm of torque, the 0-62mph sprint is officially achieved in 10.9 seconds. It's a characterful engine that loves to rev, with enough pull to make decent progress on the slip road, despite what the headline figures may suggest.

The suspension is a little firm, although proved adequately comfortable on the motorway and there's plenty of grip on offer too with bodyroll kept to a minimum.


Mated to the engine is a well-matched six-speed manual gearbox and the car is easy to manouvre around town thanks to its tight turning circle.

CO2 emissions of 126g/km are a little disappointing, though, and official fuel economy is pegged at 51.4mpg, although we were lucky to see 40mpg during our test.

Because of its heritage and limited appeal, residual values hold well for the Beetle Dune at 33%, fractionally ahead of the Mini Paceman, one of few cars you could really call its rival. Whole-life costs also just better the comparable Paceman's 50.1p figure with the Beetle achieving 49.7p.


These figures are still high, though, and on paper the Dune doesn't really make a lot of sense as a company car. It's over £2000 more than the regular Beetle in Design trim and offers no additional off-road capabilities for the price; it is however good fun to drive and it's distinctive design will certainly make a statement.

Volkswagen Beetle Dune 1.2-litre TSI 105

Model price range: £21,225-£23,805
Residual value: 33%
Depreciation: £14,225
Fuel: £5946
Service, maintenance and repair: £1965
Vehicle Excise Duty: £220
National insurance: £2109
Cost per mile: 49.7p
Fuel consumption: 51.4mpg
CO2 (BIK band): 126g/km (18%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £78/£156
Warranty: 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space: 310 litres
Engine size/power: 1197cc/103hp


  • Distinctive styling
  • Characterful drive
  • Distinctive styling
  • High CO2 emissions
  • Interior space