2014 Volkswagen Beetle Comfort & Quality

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Comfort & Quality
The 2014 Beetle and Beetle Convertible offer two very different driving experiences, but are surprisingly similar in other respects.

Up front, the Beetle is roomy and comfortable. Head, leg, and hip room are good in both hardtop and convertible models. Flat-bottomed, not-too-soft seats are easy to sit in for long drives, even in the slightly more bolstered R-Line and GSR. Controls for the seats, as well as the climate control and infotainment, are within easy reach for both driver and passenger.

The back row isn't as spacious. That is to say, it's not spacious at all, both narrower and far shorter than the front row. Leg room is largely non-existent with the front seats in normal positions, making the Beetle a part-time four-seater at best. The rear seats do make for a handy place to put things, however.

There's plenty of head and leg room in the 2014 Beetle's front row, but the back seat and trunk come up a bit short.

A power-folding soft top keeps the Beetle Convertible quiet as well as dry when up, retracting smoothly to the open position in 9.5 seconds and closing in 11 seconds. The top will operate at speeds up to 31 mph.

The Convertible also gets a detachable wind guard that stows in the trunk and installs over the rear seats--no plus-two action allowed with the guard in place. The guard is effective, reducing wind buffeting and noise, but it tends to wobble and vibrate in the wind.

Elsewhere in the cabin, there are many small nooks available to stow smaller items: the glove box, a dish on the dash, a bin ahead of the shifter, an armrest bin, and a kaeferfach box. Despite the multitude of boxes and bins, each is relatively compact, limiting the length or thickness of items which can be stowed.

The trunk is 15.4 cubic feet, a fair figure for a fairly compact car. With the Beetle Convertible you'll give up a bit of that space to stow the detachable wind guard, which stows against the upper side of the trunk. The rear seats in hardtop Beetles lay  flat, expanding the cargo capacity to nearly 30 cubic feet; Convertibles get a pass-through between the rear seats.

American Beetles get slightly thinner glass than their European counterparts, and are therefore noisier--enough to be on the noisy side of comfortable at times. Wind, tire, and engine noise (especially in R-Line models) all contribute to the roar.

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