When the sun is out, there’s nothing better than driving around backroads with the top down on the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune edition. Of course, that’s what VW intended when they recreated this classic motoring icon.

The VW Beetle Dune is well-priced at an MSRP of $23,995 for a turbo-charged, drop-top that handles like a go-kart in the corners. Part of why it has good handling is where the wheels are located – far into each corner – however, the Dune edition also has a 0.6 wider track than normal beetles.

The wider track leads to a more serious look to the Beetle Dune. Emphasized fenders and a domed body help the newest Beetle iteration retain the nostalgic look of classic Baja Bugs. It even has 0.4 inches of extra ride height to give drivers the edge when the road ends.

2016-volkswagen-beetle-dune-convertible_41Stylish 18-inch Canyon aluminum-alloy wheels were covered in 235/45 all-season tires and stood in stark contrast to the Sandstorm Yellow paint. It will also come in Pure White and Deep Black Pearl. Honeycomb vents cover standard fog lights up front, while out back there’s a rear spoiler and a newly redesigned bumper.

Under the gold medal hood lies the soul of the 2016: a 1.8-liter direct-injection 4-cylinder engine fitted with a turbocharger spinning out 170 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. Connected to it is a six-speed automatic transmission and a front-wheel drive drivetrain.

The dynamics were sporty (even without sport mode), delivering sharp steering wheel action during brisk corners that still felt easy and relaxed.

2016-volkswagen-beetle-dune-convertible_44Interior refinements include a Composition Media infotainment system accessible via a 6.3-inch touchscreen. VW has included Android Auto, Apple Carplay and Mirror link in the 2016 Beetle Dune edition, and the Fender audio system founds incredible with the top up or down.

Backseats house two extra passengers with shorter than average legs or cooler than average nerves.

A few weeks after the tour of Redmond in the VW Golf, I got a chance to test it out side by side against other serious performance vehicles at the Run to the Sun 2016. While it was not in the same class as the other muscular beasts there, it was a delight to fling the VW Beetle Dune around corners with glee.

A convertible doesn’t need all of the horsepower under the sun to be a pleasure to have on sunny days, and Volkswagen proves that in spades with the 2016 Beetle Dune edition.

The only real drawback is the truck. It’s smaller than a Miata’s trunk and not as easy to access. However, no one buys a Beetle drop-top for the trunk space.

One buys a beetle because on rain-free days, the top can go down and the fun is turned up. When the clouds part and the sun pops out for the barest of moments, the drop top goes down (automatically) in moments and all occupants can bask in some rays.

One buys a Beetle because they’re spirited 4-seater convertibles for a reasonable price. There will always be some trade off to vehicles like this and, unlike the MX-5 or the Fiat 124, there’s room for friends in the backseat (which can double as cargo space when not utilized by friends or children).

(More below photograph.)

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We enjoyed our time with the peppy VW Beetle Dune, it’s fun handling around corners, its cozy interior environment, and the retro look that this Baja-styled Bug brings to a driveway.

To test one out, please visit your local Volkswagen dealership or visit www.vw.com.

 

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Deanna Isaacs is a syndicated automotive columnist who graduated from the University of Washington's Communication department. She enjoys sports cars, two-seaters and long drives where she can annoy the husband.

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