2013 VW Beetle Convertible blends retro, modern styles

'70s Edition

2.5-liter engine

Six-speed automatic transmission

Front-wheel drive

Profile

Foldaway roof

Rear visibility

Folded fabric

Vinyl cover

Flexing chassis

Open-air relaxation

Trunk space

Interior

Fender audio system

Handling and steering

Instrumentation

RNS 315 infotainment

Digital audio sources

Hands-free calling

Bluetooth connectivity

Navigation without traffic

Seating for four

Wind deflector option

Fast friends

The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle loses a bit of its masculine edge with the removal of its top, but still retains its fun-loving character.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Our review car was a special '70s Edition that was fully loaded with tech and featured this handsome Toffee Brown Metallic paint. The interior is trimmed in beige leatherette, and chrome dish wheels finish off the look.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The 2.5-liter engine features good low-end torque, but runs out of steam at higher rpms, making the Beetle more a cruiser than a sprinter.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The only gearbox option available at this trim level is a conventional six-speed automatic transmission with Sport and manual shift programs.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Power and torque meet the road via the front wheels. The 18-inch wheels are shod in enough rubber to smooth out the Beetle's ride while still offering responsive handling.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
With its fabric top in place, the Beetle's profile isn't nearly as flat-topped as the coupe variant.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
With the touch of a button, the motorized roof swiftly folds away.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The roof creates noticeable blind spots at the rear corners of the vehicle, but the large rear window makes parallel parking easy enough. Fortunately, I didn't spend too much time with the Beetle's top up.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The top doesn't really fold away. Rather it collects neatly in a pile at the back of the passenger compartment. I'm not a fan of this look, but more importably the roof somewhat inhibits rear visibility.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Our tester came with a cover that can be used to clean up the appearance of the stowed top. However, I found fitting the cover to be more trouble than it was worth.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
With the top up, driving over downtown San Francisco's lunar-surface roads, I was disappointed to hear the top's weather seals creaking against the glass windows. This tells me that VW has allowed a bit of chassis flex in the tublike Beetle Convertible.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
However, the Beetle's engine and personality encourage a more casual, relaxed driving style.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The Beetle Convertible doesn't offer very much trunk space at all. We were only able to cram half of an adult back there.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The '70s Edition Beetle's beige interior features body color-matched panels on its dashboard.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The Fender audio system is still one of the best-sounding affordable premium audio systems I've tested. Feed it rock with a thumping kick drum and listening to music becomes a tactile experience.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The Beetle's steering is comfortable and relaxed, but the convertible is still agile enough to hustle down a country back road at a decent clip.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The three-gauge instrument cluster with its large speedometer puts only the information relevant to the driver up front.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The RNS 315 infotainment system is simple and easy to understand. Touch sensitivity and physical controls are redundant, giving drivers the choice of two interaction methods.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Available audio sources include USB/iPod playback via the MMI connection, an SD card slot, an auxiliary analog input, AM/FM radio, SiriusXM satellite radio, and a single-CD player.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Bluetooth hands-free calling is also standard on the Volkswagen Beetle Convertible '70s Edition. Contacts in the synced address book are accessible via voice command at the touch of a button.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
That Bluetooth connection is also capable of streaming audio from a compatible smartphone or audio player.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The RNS 315's navigation system is responsive and easy to understand, but does not feature even rudimentary traffic data integration.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
The compact VW features seating for four passengers with more room in its second row than the Mini Cooper Convertible.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Our tester was equipped with a $600 wind deflector. I wouldn't bother with it.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Despite its flaws, the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible and I were fast friends thanks to the awesome stereo and relaxed top-down driving characteristics. I also liked the way the approachable Beetle made strangers feel comfortable walking up and asking about the car.
Caption by / Photo by Josh Miller/CNET
Updated: