Reviewed: Volkswagen Beetle Dune

Volkswagen’s Beetle Dune coupe is such a fun car. The Coupe starts at $23,995, offering a great value for a feature-laden vehicle. Inspired by classic Baja Bugs, it enters the Beetle family as a new trim, offering a rugged addition to the rest of the model lineup.

Overall, the Beetle Dune has a bolder appearance in the Beetle range, thanks to the fitment of new front and rear fascias and pronounced black wheelarch extensions that flow into the bumpers. Additionally, the Dune’s raised ride height of 0.4 inches and a body that is 0.6 inches wider give it a more rugged stance.

Highlighting the front end’s new look, the bumper features a large central air intake that widens towards its bottom edge, and a black honeycomb screen has an aluminum-look surround that morphs into the front skid plate. On either side of the intake, two black honeycomb vents contain the foglights.

The Lighting Package adds Bi-Xenon headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights and LED rear license plate lighting.The side of the vehicle is characterized by the contrast between the polished aluminum sills and black trim strips that are reminiscent of the original Beetle running boards. Distinctive 18-inch Canyon aluminum-alloy wheels are fitted with 235/45 all-season tires.

The side mirrors have contrasting black lower portions and Reflex Silver uppers, and “Dune” graphics are displayed on both doors. At the back, the Dune features a large rear spoiler, standard LED taillights, and a new bumper design that integrates matte black and aluminum elements, as at the front of the car. The rear diffuser also acts as a skid plate.

Inside, the 2016 Beetle Dune features sport seats with contrasting orange stitching and a leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel. Standard equipment includes the new MIB II infotainment system, which serves as the foundation for Volkswagen’s available Car-Net suite of features.

VW Car-Net connectivity includes App-Connect technology which allows integration with the three major smartphone platforms—Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink—allowing seamless integration for compatible smartphones.The Dune is fitted with the Composition Media infotainment system that has a 6.3-inch screen with a capacitive touch sensor (similar to smartphone and tablet technology) that enables gesture controls like swiping and pinch-zooming.

MIB II also features a proximity sensor, which detects when a hand is nearby and automatically switches its display to allow easier selection of specific features. USB and Bluetooth connectivity for compatible devices are standard, along with a rearview camera and the Park Distance Control (Park Pilot) system.

A Technology Package will also be available, which adds Climatronic dual-zone automatic climate control, the award-winning Fender Premium Audio System, KESSY keyless access with push-button start, and a tilt-and-slide sunroof.

Just like the rest of the Beetle range, the Dune is fitted with the Automatic Post-Collision Braking System as standard. This builds on the premise that a collision is rarely a single, instantaneous action, but rather a series of events that follow the initial impact—the most significant of which can cause additional collisions.

The Automatic Post-Collision Braking System helps address this by applying the brakes when a primary collision is detected by the airbag sensors, thus helping reduce residual kinetic energy and, in turn, the chance of additional damage.

Other standard safety features include standard Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and front and head-thorax side airbags.

The 2016 Beetle Dune is available in three exterior colors: Sandstorm Yellow, Pure White, or Deep Black Pearl. Sandstorm Yellow cars have an interior that features body color upper door trims and dashpads, whereas the Pure White and Deep Black Pearl vehicles have black door and dashpad trim.

At launch, the Beetle Dune will be equipped with a 1.8-liter direct-injection and turbocharged TSI four-cylinder engine, offering 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. The Dune Convertible is also offered.

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