Is the 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle Cool or Crap? Beetle Diaries Ep. 11 [Video]

Is one of the world's longest-lived cars cool, or is it just crap?

It’s one of the most popular cars in history, but is it really that cool?

The Volkswagen Beetle has a long and storied history, stretching back eighty years to its original inception in 1938. Over the course of its lifetime, Volkswagen produced over 21 million examples of the Beetle. It’s popularity peaked in the 1960s and early 1970s, with the company building over 1 million models each year. Now, examples like our 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle carry a status as a pop culture icon. But is that status really deserved? Is the Beetle really that cool, or is it just crap? In the video above, Mike Curtis takes a closer look.

Volkswagen Super Beetle - Cool or crap
Is our 1971 Volkswagen Super Beetle cool or crap?

We ultimately broke down the argument for whether the Volkswagen Super Beetle is cool or crap into seven different categories. There’s styling, performance, ride and handling, utility, economy, features and value. Mike gives each category a rating of “cool” or “crap”. Whichever side comes out ahead wins.

On the styling front, the Volkswagen Super Beetle – even with its flatter windshield – is unlike pretty much any other car on the road. Its design was also functional, wherein its teardrop shape helped it achieve better aerodynamics. It’s simple, yet distinctive, so we’d give the Super Beetle a cool nod on how it looks.

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The Volkswagen Beetle doesn’t exactly have a huge amount of horsepower. [Photo: TFLcar]
When it comes to how it performs, however, there’s another story to tell here. That’s obvious to many, particularly those who have been stuck behind a Beetle at any point in their lives. It’s not fast – it’s roughly 60 horsepower 1.6-liter engine struggles to drag our Super Beetle to 60 mph in just over 28 seconds. Twenty-eight agonizing seconds. Sure, the Beetle’s rear-mounted, air-cooled engine is simple and easy to maintain. On that basis, its performance is, unfortunately, crap. Ride and handling, on the other hand, is cool, as it is a fun car to drive (at least at slow speeds).

Utility and features aren’t a strong suit in the Volkswagen Super Beetle either. Its cramped interior and minuscule storage space in the front trunk net it a rating of crap. Although, because it’s so light, at least it’s economical. And because it’s simple and easy to work on, maintenance bills won’t run through the roof either. It’s good value, and overall, the Super Beetle is a cool car.

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