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Parkers overall rating: 3 out of 5 3.0
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The soft-top Beetle’s niche appeal is narrowed further

PROS

  • Distinctive
  • Comfortable
  • Roomy cabin
  • Well-built

CONS

  • Distinctive
  • Not fun to drive
  • Wind deflector optional

Verdict

Filling a niche hitherto unapparent to most people is the Volkswagen Beetle Dune Cabriolet. Think of it as the familiar soft-top Beetle that’s been given the SUV treatment and you’re about there. If the notion appeals, but a hard-top’s more your thing, VW also offers a Beetle Dune Coupe.

Selling alongside the existing Volkswagen Beetle Cabriolet, the Dune rivals the MINI Convertible and DS 3 Cabrio as well as the pricier Audi A3 Cabriolet and BMW 2 Series Convertible.

What makes the Beetle Dune Cabriolet different?

Paying homage to the ‘Baja Bugs’ – modified Beetles designed for use on California’s Golden Coast from the mid-1960s – VW previewed the idea of a modern take on the theme with the Beetle Dune concept car in 2014.

Two years later and the production version went on sale. This is essentially a superficial makeover, though: rugged, unpainted plastic body mouldings, silvered faux skid-plates and a 10mm ride height increase lend it an off-road air. Pity there’s no four-wheel drive availability for the Beetle.

Changes are fewer in number once you’ve climbed into the four-seater cabin, with dark ceramic-hued stitching on the seats and leather steering wheel, with a Dune logo at its base.

All it’s short of are some remixed Beach Boys hits being piped from the audio system and the transition is complete.

Limited engine range

Although other markets have a wide choice of petrol and diesel powerplants, the UK is offered just one of each.

Beetle Dune Cabriolet ownership starts off with the 1.2-litre TSI petrol producing just 105hp, while those looking for more urgency should pick the 2.0-litre TDI diesel serving up 150hp.

Both are available with a choice of manual and DSG automatic transmissions with CO2 emissions quoted at between 122g/km and 130g/km for the quartet of models available.

Single Dune trim level

Dune versions arrived in the UK at the same time as the trim level structure of the rest of the Beetle range was revised. It’s consequently only been available in one guise from launch, sitting above Design in the regular line-up’s hierarchy.

It’s generously equipped with Dune-specific alloy wheels, two paint shades exclusive to this model, automatic LED lighting and a unique “Turmeric” interior. Plus, the finishing touch to amplify all those body modifications is an italicised Dune script along the lower edges of the doors.

Read the full Volkswagen Beetle Dune Cabriolet review to find out how good this Baja Bug pastiche really is.

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