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2019 Volkswagen Beetle Review

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle will be the final edition (for now) of this iconic car. Partly because the Beetle isn't as athletic or upscale as many of its competitors, it rides off into the sunset on the heels of a bottom-half finish in our subcompact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Comfortable front seats
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Smooth ride
  • Low-rent interior
  • High price
  • Below-average gas mileage

New for 2019

  • Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert now standard
  • Revamped trim lineup
  • Final production year

Is the Volkswagen Beetle a Good Car?

The Beetle is a so-so car that should appeal mostly to nostalgic shoppers and VW enthusiasts. There are reasons to like it: The Beetle is poised on winding roads, rides comfortably, and has some user-friendly tech features. But it lacks the athletic feel – and fuel economy – of some rivals, and it's behind the times from an interior quality and a technology standpoint.

Should I Buy the Volkswagen Beetle?

If you want a new Beetle, you should buy this one because Volkswagen is discontinuing the model after 2019. That said, there are better choices in the subcompact car class and elsewhere in the Volkswagen lineup. Alternatives that also provide a retro-inspired design include the Mini Cooper and the Fiat 500.

Compare the Beetle, Cooper, and 500 »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volkswagen Beetle?

The 2019 Beetle belongs to a generation that began with the 2012 model year, and it'll be the last Beetle for the foreseeable future. After this year, Volkswagen is ending production of perhaps its most recognizable model. Changes for the final Beetle include a revamped trim lineup and new standard features like blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.

VW cut the Beetle's engine lineup to just one for 2018: a turbocharged four-cylinder with 174 horsepower. Models from previous years were available with a 170- or 210-horsepower four-cylinder engine, as well as a turbodiesel (affected by Volkswagen’s TDI scandal). If you're interested in any of those configurations, you’ll have to shop for models from 2017 or earlier. You’ll have to further refine your search to 2016-and-older models if you want a Beetle with a manual transmission. Stick with 2016-and-newer models, however, if you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

You can save thousands of dollars by purchasing a used Beetle instead of a new one, but you'll want to know about all the differences between older models. To research some other models in this generation, check out our reviews of the 2016, 2017, and 2018 Volkswagen Beetle. If you decide an older model is right for you, check out our Used Car Deals page for savings and incentives on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Beetle »

We Did the Research for You: 68 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Beetle generation, which runs from 2012 through 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of auto industry experience combined. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Volkswagen Beetle Cost?

The base Beetle starts at about $20,900. That's higher than the starting price of almost every other subcompact car. The most expensive Beetle is the Final Edition SEL convertible, which starts at around $30,000. That, too, is higher than the top-trim price of most rivals.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

Volkswagen Beetle Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Beetle or Mini Cooper?

The Mini Cooper is like the Beetle in that it's a small vehicle with stand-out style. However, the Mini has powerful available engines and more dynamic handling than its Volkswagen rival. And unlike the Beetle, the Mini Cooper offers a manual transmission. Inside, the Mini looks and feels more upscale than the VW, and it provides more cargo room. The Mini Cooper is one of the few subcompacts with a higher starting price than the Beetle, but it's also a better all-around vehicle.

Which Is Better: Volkswagen Beetle or Fiat 500?

The Fiat 500 joins the Beetle in the lower half of our subcompact car rankings. It's far less expensive than the Volkswagen, and it seats four in two rows. Neither car's interior is impressive in terms of cabin quality, and both have about the same maximum cargo capacity. The Volkswagen is more powerful, but the Fiat has an available electrified powertrain that's unlike any Beetle offering (though it's only available in California and Oregon). In reality, both cars are overshadowed by superior classmates, so the choice between them largely falls to personal preference.

Compare the Beetle, Cooper, and 500 »

Beetle Interior

How Many People Does the Beetle Seat?

The VW Beetle seats four in coupe and convertible body styles. The front seats are comfortable, supportive, and spacious. The back seats don't offer much space for adults, though there is more room than you'll find in some of the Beetle's competitors.

Beetle and Car Seats

There are two sets of LATCH connectors in the back for installing child safety seats.

Beetle Interior Quality

This Volkswagen has an attractive cabin with a striking interior design. It's not the most luxurious cabin in the class, however, as there are many hard plastics.

Beetle Cargo Space

With more than 15 cubic feet behind the rear seats and nearly 30 cubic feet with the rear seats folded, the Beetle provides a good amount of cargo space. Some hatchbacks have more space, but this VW gives you enough room for your vacation luggage. Convertible models are skimpier on space, however, providing only 7.1 cubic feet of room.

Beetle Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features include the MIB II infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, a USB port, and Bluetooth. Available features include a sunroof and an upgraded MIB II system with a 6.3-inch touch screen, a Fender audio system, satellite radio, HD Radio, VW Car-Net, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and navigation.

The infotainment system is user-friendly, but some rivals have more modern systems. The cabin controls are all easy to use. Physical controls for climate settings are straightforward, though some folks may find the markings hard to read.

Read more about interior »

Beetle Performance

Beetle Engine: Blame the Transmission

The Beetle's 174-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine has enough juice for most driving situations. However, the six-speed automatic transmission's lazy shifting keeps this subcompact car from feeling as fast or athletic as alternatives like its lineup-mate the Volkswagen Golf.

Beetle Gas Mileage: Behind the Curve

Compared to rivals, the Beetle doesn't get great fuel economy. It earns 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, the Kia Rio gets 28 mpg in the city and 37 mpg on the highway, while the Honda Fit checks in at 31/36 mpg city/highway.

Beetle Ride and Handling: A Composed Commuter Car

The Beetle's cushioned ride is well-suited to highway cruising and commuting around town. This VW also has poised handling, making for a relaxed, easygoing driving experience. It's not as athletic as many competitors, however.

Read more about performance »

Beetle Reliability

Is the Volkswagen Beetle Reliable?

J.D. Power gives the Beetle a predicted reliability rating of three out of five, which is about average.

Volkswagen Beetle Warranty

Volkswagen covers the Beetle with a six-year/72,000-mile limited warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Beetle Safety

Beetle Crash Test Results

The 2019 Beetle hasn't been fully crash tested yet, but the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it four stars in its frontal crash and rollover tests. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave it the highest rating of Good in four tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front test. The IIHS didn't put the Beetle through the passenger-side small overlap front test.

Beetle Safety Features

This VW comes standard with a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Front and rear parking sensors are available.

Read more about safety »

Which Volkswagen Beetle Model Is Right for Me?

The VW Beetle comes in two body styles – coupe and convertible – and four trims: S, Final Edition SE, SE, and Final Edition SEL. All models feature a 174-horsepower turbo-four engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive.

The two Final Edition trims are the best choices in the lineup. Though it's the second-lowest trim, the Final Edition SE comes with most of the features you can get in a Beetle aside from some premium options like a Fender audio system and leather upholstery. That makes it a great value compared to the rest of the lineup.

If you do want those high-end features, step up to the range-topping Final Edition SEL for only about $3,000 more than the Final Edition SE. It comes standard with just about every feature you can get in a Beetle.

Volkswagen Beetle S

The base Beetle S coupe carries a base price of $20,895. The Beetle S convertible sports a starting price of $25,995. Standard features include a rearview camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and the MIB II infotainment system with a 5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker audio system, a USB port, and Bluetooth.

The convertible model comes standard with a few more features than the coupe, including a power-folding soft top, synthetic leather upholstery, and heated front seats.

Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition SE

The Beetle Final Edition SE starts at $23,045 for coupe models and $27,295 for convertible models. In addition to the base trim's features, the Final Edition SE comes with a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, heated front seats, and an upgraded infotainment system with a 6.3-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, Android Auto, and Apple CarPlay.

Volkswagen Beetle SE

The Beetle SE coupe costs $24,395, while the convertible SE starts at $28,395. In addition to the lower trims' features, the SE comes with V-Tex synthetic upholstery. You can add some features to the SE that are not available in lower trims. The Premium package ($2,500) adds navigation, a Fender premium audio system, and front and rear parking sensors.

Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition SEL

The range-topping Beetle Final Edition SEL carries a starting price of $25,995 for coupe models and $29,995 for convertible models. This trim comes with basically every feature you can get in a Beetle, including leather upholstery, front sport seats, front and rear parking sensors, a Fender audio system, and navigation.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volkswagen dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volkswagen deals page.

See 2019 Volkswagen Beetle specs and trims »

The Final Call

The Volkswagen Beetle isn't going out on a high note. It's not as athletic or well-built as other cars in the class, which is why it finishes in the bottom half of our subcompact car rankings. That's not to say the Beetle is all bad; it offers user-friendly technology and an easygoing on-road nature. But the sad reality is that the competition has surpassed this iconic car, which is probably one of the reasons it's being retired.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • The latest Beetle traded less on nostalgia than did its New Beetle predecessor, but style still has played no small part for those choosing a Beetle over its more practical – and excellent – showroom sibling, the Golf. So it's not hard to imagine that same audience falling for the Final Edition, if only for its nicer interior. They'll have until next summer to grab one, at which point the Beetle is, again, muerto. At least until its possible return in all-electric form on Volkswagen's new EV platform. Because the Beetle, it seems, never stays dead for long." -- Car and Driver
  • "In the here and now, we're sad to see the Beetle go away for sentimental reasons. But we also know there's no way it could continue on as-is. The competition is better, and the public wants things the Beetle can't deliver – or something else entirely. All of which has left the Beetle a car stuck in time, and its time has run out." -- Autoblog
  • "The Beetle has gone from being VW's most beloved child and a hit on the auto-show circuit to the black sheep of the family. When this retro classic was resurrected in the Nineties -- to great fanfare -- as the New Beetle, it gave the VW brand a shot in the arm. Fast forward to today and you'll see Beetles languishing on dealers' lots." -- Consumer Reports (2018)
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