"What's there to dislike about the New Beetle?" It's a car that makes people smile wherever it goes. It stands out like an orange life raft in a grey sea of auto-anonymity. Even if they don't immediately recognise the Beetle connection - and not everyone does - expressions of affectionate interest are instant and heartfelt.
What's there to dislike about the New Beetle? Almost everything. Its cartoonish design perhaps, which compromises its practicality in a way that the original's designer would surely never have countenanced. Or maybe the fact that it's a profoundly ordinary car to drive.
But let's begin at the beginning... When Ferdinand Porsche sketched the outline of the Beetle in the 1930s he ignored existing conventions of small car engineering in an attempt to create something better than anyone had hitherto managed. He proceeded logically, step by step.
So successful was the car that it became the foundation of a company that is now one of the world's five largest car-makers.
Now comes the New Beetle, a retro design draped over parts that belong to the fourth generation Golf. This isn't design Ferdinand Porsche-style.
The Golf, as ever, has an in-line four cylinder engine at the front, driving the front wheels. It's not an easy fit with the shape of the original Beetle, a car with a flat-four engine at the rear, driving the rear wheels.
The exterior style of the New Beetle makes its interior an odd environment. The base of the windscreen is so distant and the dash so deep that it feels like driving a people mover. Except, of course, that there's a distinct absence of roomy accommodation aft.
Many adults will find the New Beetle's two-place rear seat unbearable. Head room is tight for those of average height,