Car News: 2016 VW Beetle Dune Review – A Fun Look That’s All Facade

beetle dune

  • Cleveland, Ohio –

Volkswagen has always tried to convince us that the modern Beetle is still relevant. It’s a tough case to make, considering its appeal is entirely emotional. While a Golf is cheaper, more functional, and more fun to drive, nothing looks quite like a Beetle.

To keep us interested in its scarab, VW often turns to special editions, drawing inspiration from Beetles of the past. From the bumblebee-like GSR to the super-retro Classic edition, VW embraces the spirit of nostalgia. One such special edition, the Beetle Dune, caught everyone’s attention after a positive reaction to the concept version in 2014. Thanks to the feedback received, VW decided to put the car into production.


  • The nostalgia factor: I’m a sucker for a good special edition. When I come across a miraculously pristine and low-mileage Beetle Dune fifteen years from now (thanks, Bring A Trailer), I know I’ll feel that internal tug to buy it. This special edition takes inspiration from the Baja Bugs of 50 years ago, which never fails to make everyone smile.

  • Appealing design: The Beetle itself is an emotionally appealing car design, and the Dune’s features only amplify that appeal. While these features may not have any off-road functionality, the new bumpers, faux skid plates, blacked-out wheel arches, bigger wing, and Dune graphics create a terrific look. Based on reactions to the one I was driving, it might be the most appealing Beetle variation to date.

  • Affordability: With a price tag just over $25K out the door, the Beetle Dune is reasonably priced. Surprisingly, it is based on a mid-level Beetle trim, rather than a fully loaded model. Even with a sub-$24K starting price, the Dune comes nicely equipped with features such as a 6.3-inch infotainment screen, heated seats, 18-inch wheels, and LED taillights.

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  • Non-functional look: The Beetle Dune’s appearance is almost entirely non-functional. The car’s changes are limited to a slightly wider body, a slightly wider track, and a small suspension lift. It couldn’t even cross a sand trap.

  • Increased body roll: I felt surprisingly more body roll in the Beetle Dune compared to other Beetles I’ve driven, both laterally from side to side and in terms of pitch. This might be due to the 0.4-inch increase in ride height.

  • Controversial color: The Sandstorm Yellow Metallic color proved controversial in my circle. My mom dubbed the hue “baby shit,” which ruined any love I might have felt for it. Fortunately, the car also comes in black and white, and there’s even a convertible version available.

  • Air conditioning struggles: One minor gripe was that this tester’s air conditioning had trouble keeping up with 85-degree heat, which is ironic for a vehicle named ‘Dune.’


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Photos: John Neff /


Q: How much does the VW Beetle Dune cost?

A: The Volkswagen Beetle Dune starts at a price of under $24,000, making it an affordable option for those looking for a stylish and nostalgic vehicle.

Q: Does the Beetle Dune have off-road capabilities?

A: Despite its off-road-inspired appearance, the Beetle Dune’s changes are mostly cosmetic, and it does not possess true off-road capabilities.

Q: Are there other color options available for the Beetle Dune?

A: Yes, in addition to the Sandstorm Yellow Metallic color, the Beetle Dune is available in black and white, offering choices to suit different preferences.

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The 2016 VW Beetle Dune captures the spirit of nostalgia with its special edition design and unique appearance. While it may not possess true off-road capabilities, the Beetle Dune’s features enhance its emotionally appealing design. With a reasonable price tag and a range of color options, the Beetle Dune offers a fun and stylish option for Beetle enthusiasts and those looking for a distinctive vehicle on the road.

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