Volkswagen’s New Beetle Dune of 2014 is a No-No, Sadly
I was a HUGE fan of the Volkswagen New Beetle Dune concept back in year 2000. It is still, and will always be, THE dream car of my life. I was excited to see Volkswagen coming up with a new Dune concept in 2014, much like the previous New Beetle Dune.
The looks are similar – chromium-plated bumpers, large wheels, open hood, etc. Seriously, the New Beetle Dune of 2014 looks even more aggressive and cool than the one introduced in 2000, which I thought was awesome already. The dashboard design in the new version is also similar to the old version with built-in spirit level to tell you the tilt angle of the car, etc. But something is missing. Why is the car only running on tarmac road in the video?
No. The New Beetle Dune of 2014 isn’t a “Dune” at all. It beats the purpose of having a “Dune” tag in its name. Having been a fan of the New Beetle Dune concept of the year 2000, the Dune of 2014 is not only a disappointment, but a total profanity against the “Dune” tag. What happened to the awesome concept in 2000? Let us revise what Volkswagen introduced with the Dune concept in 2000 (image source in courtesy of www.arab4x4.com):
Air suspension that adjusts height of the chassis for on-road and off-road experience. The adjustable range is 120mm. When you go off-road, you make the chassis ride higher with the push of a button. When you’re on-road at normal speeds, you choose the central height. When you’re running at high speed, you set the chassis to as low as possible for maximum stability. When you’re off-road, you set the chassis as high as possible for maximum ground clarity. This is an all-round vehicle. Where else can you find such an awesome package?
Awesome 4-Motion all-wheel-drive by Volkswagen with Haldex central differential lock coupled with EDL (electronic differential lock) that allows the computer to specifically adjust power output of each individual wheel several times per second for maximum traction and off-road experience. Nothing comes better than this.
Huge sunroof that can be removed. When put on, it gives the inside of the car warm glow of sunlight. When taken off, the people in the car can enjoy great ventilation without the wind blowing too strongly at them. When removed, the sunroof could be folded away quickly and took very little space. It was a great design.
The dashboard of the New Beetle Dune of 2000 had built-in GPS navigation system and compass (the top semicircular arc). It also has spirit level to tell the car’s tilt in both axes (bottom two dials on the sides of the center dial, each representing an axis).
The internal design is easy to clean so that the driver does not need to worry about sand, dirt, or even some water coming in.
Yes, it comes with a built-in refrigerator. Its place is never described in any of the reports, but my guess is that it’s right here beside the rear seat (bottom left corner of the image).
When the rear seats are folded down, the boot space is not only huge, but awesome with aluminum lining and strips to help pushing the cargo in and protect the surface from damage.
Now let us look at what Volkswagen took away from the original, absolutely awesome, basically perfect concept of New Beetle Dune 2000. (Images for New Beetle Dune 2014 in courtesy of CAR)
- No adjustable air suspension. Oh man. You effectively get a vehicle that rides 2 inches above its on-road New Beetle relative but cannot go off-road, is less stable at high speed because of the higher chassis, and absolutely no option to amend this issue? Com’on, the air suspension system sounded GREAT! What happened to Volkswagen?
- No all-wheel-drive. What?? A Dune with NO all-wheel-drive? A vehicle that tells everyone it’s meant to be an off-road “Dune” vehicle cannot run on dunes?
- Sunroof. Right. The original concept had a cool sunroof system that allows the glow of the sun to enter the car even when put on. The new version has a slide-action sunroof, which is cool, but where is the warm glow of the sun through the roof?
- No built-in GPS navigation? The old Dune had built-in GPS navigation. No idea whether the new one will. Reviews don’t say, so it’s most likely a “no”. The new version having a spirit level isn’t a big deal either, since it can’t even go off-road.
- No easy-to-clean internal space. Dune of 2014 totally killed the “Dune” badge. Do I see carpet in there? Yes there is carpet. I see everything set up just like a sedan except for its cool looking dashboard design. Looks without function. What is the purpose of Dune 2014 again?
- Trunk space? Not much report on the trunk of the new Dune. Trunk space is in fact very important and every car owner needs it. New Beetle Dune 2000 rocked in this department. Without much report on Dune 2014 in regards to its trunk / boot space, I bet it’s but a sedan design like normal New Beetles.
- Nothing of practical value. Dune 2000 had an extra feature: refrigerator. How cool is that??? A refrigerator IN an off-road vehicle! I absolutely drool over it. Dune 2014? No. Nothing. Nothing except for its cool looks. Again, nothing. Nothing, nothing, nothing. I bang my head on the wall as I say “nothing” many more times over.
What’s in it for New Beetle Dune of 2014? The difference is that its dashboard design looks cooler but probably no more practical than New Beetle Dune of 2000, and perhaps with less cool features. The internal design is but for looks, and is but an on-road family car. If you get the inside dirty, expect it to be as hard to clean as any hatchback or sedan.
The outside looks cool, except the larger wheels will cost more, and make the car ride less stably at high speed because of its higher chassis. Oh, did I mention it will suck more money out of the owner’s bag? The looks are awesome. The back of the car has racks to hold outdoor gear. If you’re keeping the car on the road but going off-road on foot, then the racks will be fine. Seriously, anyone can add racks on New Beetle Dune 2000. Dune 2014 isn’t better in this arena.
Oh, there is something better in New Beetle Dune 2014 than its superior 2000 predecessor. It has powerful engines and DSG, a technology that was put in production later than Dune 2000. The powerful engine makes the car reach 100km/h in just 7.3 seconds. That’s GTi class. So instead of making the car go off-road, Volkswagen decided their new Dune will be an on-road sports car that rides 2 inches higher than normal New Beetles. What is the point?
This meaningless, purposeless vehicle will be in production in 2016. What? Why not New Beetle Dune 2000? Why this good-for-nothing vehicle that’s got nothing but the looks? Not to say, it will cost roughly US$3,800 more than the normal New Beetles. Seriously, if I wanted performance, I’d probably go for New Beetle Turbo or even an RSi. What is the point of having a “Dune” that pretends to be a GTi, but is worse off in the most basic design of the chassis (hint: ride height)?
I’ve always loved Volkswagen. I’m their fan. But Volkswagen totally lost it on this one. Please wake up, Volkswagen, and produce New Beetle Dune 2000, or have a car with all its cool features. New Beetle Dune 2014 will never do it.Written on March 19, 2015 at 11:39 am