When Volkswagen introduced the New Beetle back in 1997, it proved incredibly popular not just with middle-aged buyers who remembered the original Beetle but also with young women. While selling the New Beetle to women was easy, it’s never really caught on with men, especially younger men.
Recently, though, I had the opportunity to spend a few days driving a bright red, 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible. I embraced it, never apologized for what I was driving, and somehow, despite being a man, I ended up enjoying myself.
If you’re going to get the most out of a Beetle Convertible, though, it helps to do it right. Here’s how a guy can get the most out of his Beetle in 5 simple steps.
1. Get the TDI
The Beetle R-Line 2.0T makes more horsepower, but the TDI makes more torque, and since no one is ever going to push their Beetle to the limit like a sports car, the low-end torque you get with the TDI makes it surprisingly fun. If you don’t count cars I’ve only gotten quick drives of, I had more fun driving the Beetle than any other car I’ve reviewed.
For being so much fun, it’s also fuel efficient. I averaged somewhere around 35 miles per gallon in my time with the car, and on the highway, I was up closer to 45 miles per gallon even with the top down. How many other cars do you know of that you can have fun in while still getting over 30 miles per gallon? The list is pretty short.
2. Drop the top
If you have a convertible, there’s no point in driving it with the top up unless you have to. I can’t imagine you’d want to drive from San Francisco to San Diego with the top down, and there’s that whole season called winter that was specifically invented to prevent people from enjoying their convertibles. Other than that, if you’re going to put up with the compromises of a convertible, you better enjoy the advantages.
With the top down, you get to feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin. It’s more fun that way. Be careful, though. If you drive around in the sun for too long, you run the risk of getting sunburned. Not only are sunburns all painful, people are also extremely unsympathetic when they find out that you’re sunburned because you spent too much time driving around in a convertible.
3. Turn on some fun music
The type of music I usually listen to is very serious singer-songwriter stuff. It’s deep and brooding, and it has absolutely no place coming out of the speakers of a Volkswagen Beetle. I tried it. John Moreland may be a spectacular songwriter, but his music is far too depressing to listen to while cruising around town with the top down.
Driving a convertible Beetle is about having fun, so what you need to be listening is music that fits the mood. I’m not specifically suggesting you listen to Miley Cyrus, but pop music from the early 2000s is probably the best match you’re going to find. No matter what you land on though, just make sure it enhances the mood.
4. Buy a slushie
When you’re driving around with the top down, the wind in your hair, and the sun on your face, you’re going to want to cool yourself off a little bit. Sure, you could blast the air conditioning, but that’s kind of a waste. Instead, do the sensible thing, and buy a slushie instead. Slushies are cool like air conditioning, but they’re tasty as well.
I didn’t specifically buy my slushie to make the Beetle more enjoyable to drive. I bought it because I wanted a slushie, and drinking one sounded like a great idea at the time. As it turned out, it actually was a great idea. Who doesn’t want to take a drive in a convertible while drinking a slushie?
5. Take a scenic drive
You can enjoy the Beetle Convertible around town. I’ve spent the last several days doing just that. Even a 2.2 mile drive to my fiancée’s house is pretty enjoyable. It also feels like I spend just as much time lowering and then raising the top as I do driving between our houses. Interstate driving isn’t the best place for the Beetle, either; to truly enjoy the top-down experience, what you need is a scenic highway you can enjoy.
Personally, I chose U.S. Route 1, a fairly slow drive through small town after small town. Traffic speeds rarely exceeded 45 miles per hour, but I sure as heck didn’t care. I was driving through beautiful countryside in a convertible, listening to fun music, and drinking a slushie. And how could anyone not enjoy that?