Parkers overall rating: 2.5 out of 5 2.5

Volkswagen is renowned for making high-quality, well designed interiors. However, the Beetle Dune feels like it has traded some of that quality for garish colours and cheaper materials.

Our test car came in lurid Sandstorm Yellow and plenty of this gold hue was slathered across the dashboard, doors and seats – very much an acquired taste. While the similarly priced Volkswagen Golf feels very stylish and plush inside, the Beetle somehow loses this sense, with hard, cheap-feeling plastic scattered around the cabin.

What does set it apart, however, is the fact that the seats are mounted quite low in the car, which adds to the sporty feel.

The basic air-conditioning controls are perfectly usable but don’t feel like they belong in such a pricey car. Meanwhile, the optional sat-nav system in our test car isn’t the easiest to use or the slickest, with a relatively small, unresponsive screen lost in quite a large bezel. The menus are not as up to date as many other Volkswagens, either. Simply entering an address is a more convoluted process than it should be too.

This jacked-up Beetle also gains a turbo-boost gauge, clock and temperature readout sprouting from the top of the dashboard – which true to the Dune recipe revolve more around form than function. It’s the same story with the upward-opening top glovebox, which offers just enough space for a few pens or maybe a phone or two, but not much else – though there is at least a conventional glovebox below.

Our test car had an armrest that could have come in handy, but we couldn’t get it to stand up by itself.

Though firm, we found the suspension more than comfortable enough in the Beetle Dune, smoothing out the worst of the road surface – impressively so, considering how well the car handles.

More of a limiting factor is the shapeless driver’s seat, which doesn’t offer much back or side support. The seat base also feels very long, meaning that some drivers may not be able to find a comfortable driving position. We found it difficult to operate the clutch smoothly with the seat in what felt like the most natural position.

As a result, potential buyers should take a long test drive to make sure that they can get comfy. Alternatively, the DSG automatic gearbox is very slick and makes driving the Dune a much more relaxing experience.

Other irritations come in the form of a particularly stiff handbrake – unusual itself for being a manual handbrake rather than an electric button-operated version – and the high levels of tyre noise thrown up by the overly wide wheels. On the positive side, the petrol engine is very quiet even when worked hard and little wind noise is audible.