Something about “heritage” meaning that this car is basically a 911 if you squint at it! Last week I had a choice between a Ford Focus sedan or two VW Beetles. Considering the Volkswagens had Turbo written on the back of them, this was an easy choice. I nearly went with the Focus just because in the world of cheapo rentals, the Focus is not half bad. I kind of had a preconceived notion of Beetles being girly cars. But as a Miata owner, that thought made me chuckle and I figured I would try something new. It did indeed say TURBO on it after all so how bad could it be? Then my next choice was the red or black one. Red seemed more exciting so I just went with that.
The only other VW that I have driven in the past has been a GTI. That was a very fun car and thoroughly convinced me that I needed a turbo hot hatch (or sedan) in my life as my daily driver. I was fairly pissed off at the torque steer as well as constant burnouts anytime I wanted to lay down power in the GTI, which could have just been the tires, but nonetheless was a primary motivator to go Subaru for that AWD. Anyways, in the case of the Beetle I was plesantly surprised to find it had adequate go and none of that GTI drama that just caused disappointment. Plus the suspension was actually quite capable and didnt feel like a boat and/or lawnmower like many other rentals I have had (Corolla, Versa, Forte). Overall the car really reminded me of a GTI, the interior had similar aesthetics to it, the car accelerated/handled similarly, and it had some of the same smoothness to it.
Due to the “less wrong wheel drive drama” encountered with the Bug, it was actually quite enjoyable to beat the crap out of and drive hard. Sure I would still prefer the GTI since it is certainly faster but this car definitely made me think there is a real limit to power you can put down with FWD before it becomes stupid. Of course this is different if you just want to go in a straight line but I only care about acceleration on curvier stuff. I like to think that I would really enjoy the silliness of a GENWON Mazdaspeed3 but with even thinking the GTI was kind of overpowered for a FWD car would really make me sick of that crap in the MS3.
Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed this VW Beetle TURBO rental and would definitely pick one again if given the choice. It is definitely my favorite rental that I have gotten from a traditional (not Turo) rental company. The SLK250 I got once or the Camaro vert are close rivals in my rental preference but those cost quite a bit more and were EXTREMELY overweight pigs in comparison. This car was just a nice tossable regular car that gave me many smiles going fast in a straight line as well as the few turns that I encountered at high rates of speed. It did unfortunately get ~20mpg although considering how I was driving it isn’t all that bad and with it taking regular gas, it would still surely be cheaper than my STi.