During our recent spate of nice weather, I had the chance to test the 2013 VW Beetle Convertible TDI. And, while trunk space isn't quite what I'd hoped for, there is definitely some usable space back there. Even with the top down. the biggest problem with the cargo space: The narrow opening. While there is more depth than you can see, the opening is tight -- just a little wider than my shoulders. So, backpacks and briefcases will definitely fit, but a roller board may have to go in the back seat instead.
This was a totally fun car for a nice week in Chicago, and the top-down operation is easy with a simple press of the button. Nothing to unlatch or unlock, which is nice. The top goes down in less than 10 seconds and takes probably about double that to go back up.
With the TDI engine, it was really peppy and fun to drive. And before I killed my mileage with a ton of city driving I was getting well above 43 mpg. EPA estimates city mileage at 28 mpg and highway mileage at 41. My combined average was at 34 by the time I turned in the car.
This has some great potential as a city car with heated seats and front wheel drive. But without testing it in the white stuff, I couldn't say how well it handles in snow and whether the heat works well enough to fend off winter chill. But for spring, summer and fall, the Beetle Convertible has some serious potential for Chicago. It's easy to park, gets great gas mileage and it's fun to drive.
Base price: $28,495
Cargo volume: 7.1 cubic-feet