2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune

Episode 3536 , Episode 3550
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

If you’re like Volkswagen these days, you might want to “just get away from it all” for a while. And now they’ve produced that perfect getaway vehicle, the Volkswagen Beetle Dune. A classically-themed, thought thoroughly modern dune buggy…bug that Volkswagen hopes will make you forget their diesel woes, and go for a ride…just for the fun of it.

Ok, we know that this 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune is not an actual dune buggy in the traditional DIY sense. But it clearly is inspired by the Baja Bugs of the 1960’s and 70’s; when the Beetle infestation of America was in full swing.  Peace and love, baby.

Today’s Dune package is a tip to nostalgia, available on either hardtop or convertible Beetles. 

It starts with some unique trim and exterior colors like this 70’s-tastic Sandstorm Yellow. From there it gets all-new front and rear fascias, black-out around the wheel arches, side molding, 18-inch Canyon aluminum wheels, silver and black side mirrors, a big ducktail spoiler, and of course Dune lettering on the doors to let everyone know what it’s all about. 

Ride height does get a slight bump of almost 1/2 an inch, though you have to look really hard to notice it. Taillights are LED, and an available Lighting Package adds LED DRLs and Bi-Xenon headlights to the front. 

There is no throwback under the hood with the same 1.8-liter turbo-4 found in base Beetles, and of course it powers strictly the front wheels. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard. Engine output is 170-horsepower and 184 lb-ft. of torque. 

Unable to find any sand dunes, deserts, or even beaches here in our Central Maryland location, our adventures were strictly confined to the pavement.

Taking it in a ¼-mile at a time, we found good torquey punch off the line; enough to have to battle a bit of wheel spin on our way to an 8.0-second 0-60. 

Working down the track, it’s swift and mostly silent. Shifts are snug and quick, with the engine and exhaust finding an athletic and eager harmony, for the 16.2-seconds that it takes to trip the lights at 90 miles-per-hour. 

There was good balance through the cones, with just some mild oversteer that progressed the harder we pushed, eventually getting really loose as speeds rose. Steering is light and quick in application, but vague in feel. 

Stops from 60 were consistently 120-feet, with a soft and relaxed nature that perfectly matched the rest of the track experience. 

Inside, the Dune’s landscape has noticeably shifted. There are sport seats with contrasting color, a unique steering wheel, and body-colored dash and door trim. 

As well as VW’s new MIB II Composition Media infotainment system featuring a 6.3-inch touch screen that senses when your hand is approaching and operates with tablet like control.

Gauges get a unique theme, with colors to match the stitching found on the wheel and seats. The available Technology Package adds dual zone automatic climate control as well as a Fender premium audio system.

A back-up camera is standard, and we still love seeing it pop out from behind the logo. 

The rest of the Beetle’s interior confines remain the same; which means a rear seat too tight for adults, but also a wide opening hatch that reveals room for 15.4 cubic-ft. of cargo; expanding to 29.9 cubic-ft. with the seatbacks folded. 

It’s a nicely done space too, and between the new theme and great materials, it really feels a notch above its price point.   

The Dune is definitely a cool addition to the Beetle lineup. But we’d be much more jacked up about it, if VW would have jacked it up a little more, added all-wheel-drive, and thrown on some all-terrains, making a Subaru Impreza Crosstrek competitor out of it. 

Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 25-City, 34-Highway, and 28-Combined. We averaged a good 29.8 miles-per-gallon of Regular. So the Energy Impact Score is quite good, with use of just 11.8-barrels of oil and 5.2 tons of CO2 emissions yearly. 

Pricing for the Dune Coupe starts at $24,815; putting it just above SE trim level. And you’re stuck with the 1.8-liter and automatic transmission. The convertible Dune arrives later this summer.     

Let’s face it.  If you’re driving around in a Beetle you’re not afraid of attracting a little attention to yourself. So why not go all in, and add some serious attitude to your bug, with the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune. It’s a perfect little escape vehicle, even if you’re just trying to find a short get away from your daily grind.


  • Engine: 1.8 liter
  • Horsepower: 170
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft.
  • 0-60 mph: 8.0 seconds
  • 1/4 mile: 16.2 seconds @ 90 mph
  • EPA: 25 mpg city/ 34 mpg Highway
  • Energy Impact: 11.8 barrels of oil/yr
  • CO2 Emissions: 5.2 tons/yr

Long Term Updates

Our latest long-term vehicle, this 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune, is also benefiting from a warm summer and lots of long weekend getaways…mainly to our local sand piles.

In case you missed our road test, the Dune is just the latest in a line of special edition Beetles like the Classic, Denim Convertible, and the just announced upcoming #PinkBeetle. All designed to attract attention and help keep this nostalgic entry from going stale. 

The Baja Bug inspired Dune certainly attracts attention, and it’s off to a good start with us.

And why not? The Dune takes all the fun attributes of the Beetle and adds a little bit more ground clearance, a throwback paint job, and a big rear spoiler. 

Plus unique trim inside, to go along with the Beetle’s good coupe layout and great material quality. 

It looks like this summer we’ll be partying like it’s the summer of ’69. 

Mileage: 3,000

This 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune has been in our fleet for 2-months; mostly performing commuting duty, as we’ve tacked on just over 3,000-miles. Its unique look is turning heads just about everywhere we go; while providing us with plenty of fun along the way. 

Now, some might not find the Sandstone Yellow color attractive, but it does seem to attract other Beetles; as a Dune convertible was spotted around our office recently as well. 

We continue to find this bug’s interior very comfortable for a small car, and materials feel above price point for sure. 

And despite sporting the smaller of the two Beetle engines available, the 1.8-liter turbo-4 has plenty of power; as well as a good 31.5 miles-per-gallon average. So, in this Beetle, it’s “to the Dunes and beyond!”

Mileage: 5,000

3–months and 5,000–miles behind the wheel of our 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune showed us that even though the “new Beetle” has been around for almost 20–years now, it still can turn heads; especially when decked out in Sandstorm with a big duckbill spoiler out back. 

A manual transmission would make the 1.8-liter’s 170–horsepower more fun, but it certainly isn’t underpowered even with the automatic; and so far we’ve averaged 30.4 miles-per-gallon. 

And while we haven’t done much off-roading to make use of its higher ground clearance, we have enjoyed the softer ride quality bi-product; making this special edition Beetle truly special indeed. 

Mileage: 6,000

 And with that cold weather on the way, unfortunately our 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dune has bolted for warmer climes. We sure will miss having this flashy 2—door around; as it brought us plenty of fun and peppy performance, with more than a few thumbs up from other VW drivers. In its 4-month stay, we put just shy of 6,000-miles on the odometer, and averaged 30.5 miles-per-gallon from its 1.8-liter turbo-4. Summing up our time with the Dune is one driver’s comment, “it’s not the most practical vehicle around, but is sure is fun and looks cool too.” Not to worry, the Dune’s parking space will be occupied by the mother of all minivans, the new 2017 Chrysler Pacifica. 

2024 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid

Crossed Up Corolla Gets More Efficient

Episode 4313
Auto Value and Bumper to BumperTire Rack "The Way Tire Buying Should Be"

Toyota offers a hybrid powertrain in just about everything they make, so it did seem odd that last year, when they debuted an all-new SUV version of their long-time best-selling Corolla, a hybrid was nowhere to be found. Well, it didn’t take long for Toyota to correct that situation, delivering this Corolla Cross Hybrid for 2023.

With prices for everything seemingly going up daily, we can all use a little more cost efficiency in our lives. That’s a mission that Toyota has been undertaking for some time now and continues to do it with this 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid.

The Alabama-built Corolla Cross arrived just last year as Toyota’s attempt to bring their best-selling nameplate into the SUV era, and give them an additional entry into the most popular automotive segment going right now, small crossovers.

There are some RAV4 styling cues here, but the Corolla Cross is mostly its own deal, and the Hybrid is more than just a fuel efficient option, it has added performance too. So, it’s offered only in Toyota’s S line of trims S, SE, and XSE, where the standard Corolla Cross is available in base L, LE, and XLE.

There are some differences outside, most notably unique front and rear fasicas; the front with a much more aggressive look, with larger grille and blacked-out trim.

Black trim and logos in back too, along with a redesigned bumper; plus, you can optionally go 2-tone by adding black paint to the roof.

Great packaging has it feeling roomier inside than most small 5-seat utes, straddling the line between subcompact and compact. And seats are way more comfortable than your typical urban-minded utility.

In fact, the entire interior feels quite upscale, and the layout will be very familiar to those stepping up from an actual Corolla.

Those who put off buying a Corolla Cross until now will be rewarded with upgraded infotainment, as all Hybrid’s will come with Toyota’s latest 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system standard.

The Hybrid’s small battery is located under the rear seat, so there’s minimal loss of rom, with a good 21.5 cubic-ft. of cargo space available; expanding to 61.8 with rear seatbacks folded.

Getting to the heart of the matter, the Corolla Cross Hybrid’s fuel-sipping ways are courtesy of the 5th generation of Toyota’s Hybrid System which outputs a combined 196-horsepower through its trio of electric motors and naturally-aspirated 2.0-liter 4-cylinder gasoline engine. One of those motors operating strictly the rear axle for standard all-wheel-drive.

At our test track, there was a nice little chirp of the tires off the line, but that’s where the excitement ended.

So while a 7.5-second trip to 60 may not raise your blood pressure, it’s a full 3-seconds quicker than the standard Corolla Cross we tested last year. We’ll take that!

CVT automatic means engine revs and engine noise both hang relatively high throughout the whole ¼-mile, which took us 15.6-seconds to complete, finishing at a reasonable 90 miles-per-hour.

The Hybrid also gets a “sport-tuned” suspension, and indeed it felt light and nimble through our cone course, very neutral too, with no noticeable understeer or oversteer. Steering was light but still provided good feedback. With some grippier tires, this would certainly give the best handlers in the segment a run for their money.

But the real reward comes in Government Fuel Economy Ratings which are 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined. We averaged a great 43.3 miles-per-gallon of Regular; that’s a 40% increase over the 30.9 miles-per-gallon we averaged in the standard Corolla Cross last year.

But, that does come at a cost, though it’s difficult to make direct comparisons with separate trim families, but pricing starts at $29,320 for the Hybrid, about 3-grand over a base all-wheel-drive non-hybrid. Top XSE comes in at $32,400.

As influential as Toyota is in spreading the hybrid doctrine, it was indeed odd that the Corolla Cross arrived last year without a hybrid option. Smartly, it didn’t take them long to right that wrong, as it was always part of the plan, and the Corolla Cross has benefitted from it greatly. The 2023 Toyota Corolla Cross Hybrid is not just more efficient, it’s more capable, and a much better small utility all around.


  • Engine: 2.0-liter 4-cylinder
  • Horsepower: 196
  • 0-60 mph: 7.5-seconds
  • MW Fuel Economy: 43.3 MPG (Regular)
  • Transmission: e-CVT
  • Torque: 139 lb-ft
  • 1/4 Mile: 15.6-seconds at 90 mph
  • EPA: 45-City, 38-Highway, and 42-Combined