Throwback Thursday-Volkswagen Edition

I had a 2000 New Beetle in my life before kids.  I can prove it, here is a picture (oh my gosh, look how small all those trees are):

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2000 New Beetle

But after my first-born was about a year and a half old, we sold it.  I didn’t look back, because it didn’t work as well as I hoped with a family.  My back hurt from lugging the infant safety seat into the backseat, and it wasn’t going to get any easier for me as time wore on, when I would have to actally climb into the back seat each time I needed to get my son buckled up.  I couldn’t face the idea of having to do that for more than about three days, let alone the few years when baby numero dos showed up.  So it was “Bye-bye Beetle” for us.  And yes, I cried when she rolled out of our driveway for the last time.

But as with most things involving parenting, everything seems to have gone by so quickly and I don’t know why we didn’t just hold on to her.  Because now I’m wishing we had a safe, not-too-new car with a manual transmission and a known history that would be good for my kids to learn to drive with.  I think it had something to do with not being able to have an extra car laying around. Details.  DID I JUST SAY, FOR MY KIDS TO LEARN TO DRIVE WITH?  Was I not just talking about my back hurting after having to get in the backseat with them to buckle those infants and toddlers up?

I wonder if Volkswagen feels the same way. I wonder if the designers and engineers who are on the Beetle team sent their 2014 model out into the world dabbing at their eyes with a tissue.  It is certainly all grown up.  I can prove it, here’s a picture:

Teen Beetle

Teen Beetle

I wonder if they had to teach the Beetle to shave before it left the factory?  If they forbade it from dating for a few more years?

In any case, it was a crazy test drive for me because I haven’t test-driven a Beetle in my 9 years as an automotive writer until now.  It felt very “Circle of Life.”  There were many similarities, but like most parents of teenagers I felt that there were many changes I wasn’t ready to embrace.  I missed the chubby cheeks of the 2000 Beetle.  I missed the open, bright interior of the 2000 Beetle.  I missed the cute bud vase, I confess.  Gone was most whimsy of the 2000 Beetle’s youth.  In it’s place was a leaner, meaner, more serious version.  It grew up a bit and was begging to be taken seriously.  I was waiting for it to roll it’s LED-lined eyes at me when I asked it if the drive-in movie it was going to see was rated PG-13 or R.

 

Don't you roll your eyes at me.

Don’t you roll your eyes at me.

It had a 210 horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder like my old Beetle.  It had great road-feel.  The seats were firm yet supportive (like a good parent) and the interior was modern with solid materials and seams.  It’s still relatively pared-down inside with few buttons and knobs, which I like.  The braking was good, the steering solid.  They worked with the 210 horses for a fun drive though I wondered if it made sense to get the car with an automatic transmission like the one in my test car.  Despite the fact that my 2000 Beetle’s turbo/manual pairing was lean and mean, I wanted proof that the 2014 was the same.  That all the chubby thighs and giggles of the previous generation were gone.

Or did I?  Parental reminiscing about a little baby all grown up is fun to do.  But equally amazing is watching your kid grow up, make their way in the world, find their own identity.  Even as I may long for the cutie-cute Beetle Bug of 2000, I acknowledge the 2014 is a unique pleasure in its own right.  Even with the eye-rolls.

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2014 Volkswagen Beetle Interior

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2014 Volkswagen Beetle Passenger Side

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Cargo Space

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Backseats

2014 Volkswagen Beetle

2014 Volkswagen Beetle Rear Angle

 

2 comments

  1. Damn you! You made me cry! And not because of a car! What a great piece of writing!

  2. I love it! The baby bug is all growns-up! And “spoiled” too!

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