Driving a car that makes you smile, and reflects your personality is a great feeling.
There are a lot of enthusiasts out there who will turn their nose up at a pink car, thinking it’s just a silly gimmick. When VW announced that their #PinkBeetle (yes, that’s what it’s called) concept would become a full blown production trim level available for 2017, I was actually a little impressed. See, while I recognize that this trim package isn’t really much more than some exterior and interior color options, I am all for anything that’s going to make potential buyers excited.
Rather than buying a bland economy car, some young girl is going to fall in love with the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Pink Convertible, and having it is going to make her very happy. If that’s not enough, a car like that could spark the girl’s interest in cars in general, and maybe even turn her into an enthusiast like the rest of us. It was probably that attitude that got me booked into this car in the first place, but since I do like the Beetle (reviewed here), and convertible season is quickly coming to an end, I figured I’d make the best of my week.
By the time I got around to picking up the Beetle, it was well after dark, but probably one of the last truly hot and humid nights of the summer. The wind was calm and the summer heat felt amazing, so much so that I couldn’t resist putting the top down. I pulled out onto the main road, enjoying the warm breeze on my skin, turned up the volume on the Fender sound system and promptly forgot that I was driving a pink car. It was truly a great drive home.
In the morning light I took a good look at the #PinkBeetle and its “Fresh Fuchsia” color scheme. The exterior color is actually fairly dynamic – it looks almost red at night and purple-ish under the clouds. When the sun hit it, it’s a bright pearlescent pink. I guess if you’re going to do pink, do it loudly and proudly! Volkswagen has wisely added some gloss black accents to the exterior to help offset some of the pinkness, namely the lower cladding and mirror caps.
The accents compliment the black canvas ragtop well, as well as tying into the blacked-out headlight assemblies with standard bi-xenon headlamps and LED daytime running lights. As far as pink cars go, the Beetle looks pretty darn good, way better than the quick pink wraps or resprays you’ll occasionally see running around town. I credit that to the fact that the black accents prevent the pink from overpowering the car, and the Beetle’s cute shape lends itself well to the bright color.
Inside there is plenty more pink, but much like the exterior it’s well executed and not overpowering. The gloss black dash is outlined in pink, the painted trim around the cockpit is also pink, the leather-wrapped steering wheel has a pink painted accent, and the durable feeling cloth seats feature a pink plaid design reminiscent of classic VWs.
Colour aside, the interior is a nice place to be, with loads of headroom thanks to the Beetle’s signature arch shape, and a surprising amount of rear passenger room. The driving position is comfortable, as are the supportive seats. My only complaint with the seats is that they use the typical Volkswagen manual adjustment mechanisms, including the side-mounted dial to adjust the back rest. This is something that can be an exercise in frustration to use.
The other issue I had is the lack of storage up front around the driver; the door panel only has a small elastic for storage, and the center console is very small. There are two glove boxes on the passenger side, but I don’t find glove boxes too convenient for daily carry items like cell phones and keys. The only real sacrifice you’ll need to make for the sake of the convertible is the trunk space. A coupe Beetle (reviewed here) offers a very versatile rear hatch, but the convertible cuts that space significantly.
The Pink Edition package comes equipped with everything you would get on a fully loaded Comfortline Beetle, including Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity, heated seats, rain sensing wipers, rear view camera, blind spot monitoring and the Fender audio system. The price on the #PinkEdition is $30,890, which is only $330 more than the standard Comfortline. If you like pink, it’s an easy choice to make.
On the road, the Beetle Convertible delivers a reassuring sense of quality and security. Sharing a lot of its mechanical components with the previous generation Golf (reviewed here), the Beetle is a very nice car to drive. The convertible’s only available engine is the 170 horsepower 1.8L turbo four-cylinder, a lovable little engine that is very responsive, even in the low range. It moves the Beetle around with quite a bit of authority. The six-speed automatic is simple and felt a little sluggish in my test car, but it does downshift eagerly when asked.
Although the steering is tight and responsive, it is rather light and could benefit from a little more weight and road feel. That said, the Beetle’s convertible chassis is noticeably more flexible than the coupe, meaning it’s not quite as responsive to driver inputs or as nicely poised through quick corners. For the average driver though, the convertible is a reasonably nimble little car that’ll certainly add some fun to the daily grind.
Like most VWs, the Beetle settles into a very comfortable highway cruise mode. The on-center steering feel is great, the car easily tracks perfectly straight and with the top up, noise levels in the cabin are kept well in-check relative to its class and price point. The same can be said with the top down, and motoring along on the highway with the top down and windows up one can still hear the radio or have a conversation with a passenger. I credit some of this to the Beetle’s aerodynamic round shape allowing air to flow over the car unimpeded.
My trip to return the Beetle was met with a torrential downpour, but despite the ragtop, the Beetle felt perfectly safe, secure and dry, nothing like the Beetle convertibles from the 1960s and 70s. My only issue in the storm was the rain sensing wipers, which are not the most intuitive and seemed to be continually adjusting their speed despite the steady pace of the rain.
Volkswagen hasn’t neglected efficiency and I averaged a respectable 8.3L/100km over my week of mixed rush hour commuting. That’s not quite as good as I got last year in a Beetle coupe, but I’d suggest that has something to do with the added weight of the convertible top mechanism and heavy A/C usage. It is worth noting that despite having a turbo, the 1.8L is happy running on regular 87 octane fuel.
While the #PinkEdition is obviously not my personal style, there are plenty of buyers out there for a car like this. This was one of the few test cars that my wife was truly excited to see, and she absolutely fell in love during our week with it. From the fuchsia color to the little “Bug” script on the trunk lid, she loved everything about it, and it made her smile every time we went out in it.
Driving a car that makes you smile, and reflects your personality is a great feeling. It’s that feeling which makes many of us the enthusiasts that we are, and it’s what guides a lot of our automotive decisions. The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Pink Convertible is going to make a lot of people smile, and not only that, but you get a great-driving car, a good list of premium features and eye-catching styling.