There was a time when the Volkswagen Beetle was the ride of choice for the cool kids. Well, with VW’s latest Beetle, it seems that time has come again.
Or come and very nearly gone, as Volkswagen has announced plans to kill off its most iconic nameplate, which is a shame not only for nostalgic reasons, but also because it remains one of my favorite models in the German automaker’s lineup.
The Beetle convertible I drove impressed me with sprightly performance from its 174-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which, combined with a nicely tuned suspension, creates a zippy little package that’s surprisingly fun to drive.
Add in Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy estimates of up to 33 mpg highway and you have a car that’s practically begging for a road trip.Inside, the front seats offer good comfort and support, and even the back seat feels relatively roomy for a car this size.
Ultimately, the fact that the connection to those early Bugs is tenuous doesn’t make the current Volkswagen Beetle any less likeable, because what it continues to offer is the chance to be one of today’s cool kids.
Base price: $20,895
MPG: 26 city, 34 highway
Crash Test: N/A
In a world that seems obsessed with the latest celebrity histrionics and the Next Big Thing, it’s easy to overlook automobiles like the Ford Fusion Hybrid that offer day-in, day-out practicality without a lot of drama.
That no-nonsense quality, combined with its handsome styling, has earned the Fusion Hybrid a place on my list of favorite midsize sedans, which makes rumors of its imminent demise all the more disappointing.
The Titanium model offered a hushed cabin with good room for four adults. The Fusion Hybrid’s battery pack doesn’t take up much trunk space, leaving a decent 12-cubic-foot cargo hold that can be expanded by folding down the rear seatbacks.
The 188-horsepower gasoline-electric hybrid powertrain is another strong point, with an impressive Environmental Protection Agency fuel economy rating of 42 mpg combined. The capability to go nearly 600 miles between fill-ups is also appealing in its own right.
Add all that to top scores in tough crash tests and the Ford Fusion Hybrid is one of those easy-to-miss models too promising to be ignored.
Base price: $25,390
MPG: 43 city, 41 highway
Crash Test: 5 stars
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