Five First Impressions: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune

Before you look at the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune, take a moment to put your cynicism away.
The next few hundred words are not about considering a rational purchase. Rather, the Beetle Dune is about something that makes you laugh – for better or worse. I’m driving the Beetle Dune for a few days, and it’s already proven to a laugh and a head-turner.

Here are some first thoughts about the appearance package that makes the Dune, and the rest of the Beetle.

Hey, is that all-wheel drive?’
That’s what a man on the street shouted to me while I was creeping through traffic. Fortunately I was moving fast enough to avoid telling him the truth. The Dune may be a jacked Beetle, but it isn’t supposed to hide some off-road prowess. It doesn’t seem to mind gravel lots, however.

But it is Sandstorm Yellow
This Dune-exclusive color is… polarizing, to say the least. Some say it’s cool, others think it looks like the aftermath of too much cake at a kid’s birthday party. I’d like to note here the Dune also comes in white or black.

UnpluggedA photo posted by Zac Estrada (@zacestrada)” style=”font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px;”>Jul 8, 2015 at 12:49pm PDT

Rough edges
Hard plastics abound, as they have since this new, new Beetle arrived four years ago. It doesn’t matter so much on this more roughed-up Dune, but I expected the interior to have improved more as it has on Americanized products like the Jetta and Passat.

I clearly remember when a Beetle Turbo was a hot, eccentric little thing. The new and prolific 1.8-liter turbo four that’s the base engine for lots of VWs is a supremely competent motivator, even if it seems to lack a real fire in its gut. But the torque is plentiful and works pretty well with the six-speed automatic – the only choice for the Dune.

For the people
For right around the $25,000 mark, the Beetle Dune is pretty well equipped, with front and rear parking sensors, backup camera, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and automatic headlights. And I haven’t really missed features like automatic climate control and keyless entry and start that much. 

Despite the styling gimmick that is the Dune package, I’m sensing some honesty in the Beetle. I hope it’s not fleeting.

But what are your questions about the Beetle Dune? Sound off in the comments.

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  • Craig

    It’s never a ‘good thing’ when a car promises much more than it can deliver.

    • Andrewthecarguy

      VW missed the boat here…at least have 4Motion as an option and even an adjustable suspension. All that for right around $30k would sell like hot cakes. More colors too.

      • Craig

        You would think that 4Motion would be a no-brainer! But they could have – should have – put in an adjustable suspension [like you said] and a few skid plates while they’re at it! Make it at least somewhat ‘Dune’ like.

    • rnc

      Agree. Pure poser off-road version of the poser people’s car and then coming from a company with the best poser reputation as well – VW is great in “Perceived quality” but is far from great in actual quality or reliability. Oh and who is that “clean diesel” poser anyway?

      If people don’t care, they should just buy Toyota or Honda, if they do care what they drive, then this poser-mobile should be on their blacklist, so only the ignorant will be at peace with this sort-off a tribute to a car that VW used to be.

  • Six_Tymes

    I do I like the idea of this. And in 25-30+ years from now even though electric will most likely rule. this will be a collectors car. for the new generation of “hipsters”

  • Squeaky_1

    I love it! I would not be brave enough to buy it BUT I love it. Smile inducing from a happier time. WEll done V Dubb!

  • TheHake

    No climate control??? Ridiculous!

  • smartacus

    Dune Beetle?
    more like Dung Beetle

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