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2019 Volkswagen Beetle Review

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle ranks in the bottom half of the subcompact car class. It has a gentle ride, but it struggles to match the handsome cabin materials, agility, and fuel economy of its rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Smooth ride
  • Composed handling
  • User-friendly infotainment system
  • Slow-shifting automatic transmission
  • Subpar fuel economy estimates
  • Lots of hard plastics in the cabin
  • Few advanced safety features

New for 2019

  • Blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert became standard
  • Dune trim discontinued
  • Final production year

7.5

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 7.0
Performance: 7.0
Interior: 6.5
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 8.7
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Is the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle a Good Used Car?

Despite its ranking, the 2019 VW Beetle is a good used subcompact car. It can be had in coupe or convertible body styles. Regardless of which one you pick, this Volkswagen has a straightforward infotainment system, poised handling, and a gentle ride. The front seats are highly comfortable, as well. On the other hand, the Beetle also has lots of hard plastics in its cabin, and its automatic transmission can hesitate to shift.

The Beetle does a lot of things well, but there are plenty of rivals that do it better. For example, the 2019 Mini Cooper is just as stylish as the Beetle, but it’s more fun to drive, and it boasts a higher predicted reliability rating. The 2019 Honda Fit has a higher safety score than the Beetle, and, as a subcompact hatchback, it offers a lot more cargo room.

Compare the Beetle, Cooper, and Fit »

Why You Can Trust Us

Our goal is to make shopping for your next car as easy as possible. You'll find everything you need to know about this vehicle in our comprehensive review. It combines concrete data like fuel economy estimates, horsepower specs, and cargo space dimensions with 68 professional Volkswagen Beetle reviews.

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies.

How Much is the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle?

Based on listings for the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle, the average list price is $17,644. Prices range from $17,644 to $31,335 and vary depending on the vehicle’s condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Cost to Own?

The 2019 Beetle’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, taxes, fees, repairs, and maintenance are projected to be about $24,230, or $4,846 per year. That’s above average for the class.

2018 vs. 2019 Volkswagen Beetle: What's the Difference?

Volkswagen made a couple of changes to the 2019 Beetle. The Dune trim was discontinued, and several driver assistance features became standard. Notably, 2019 marked the Beetle’s final model year of production.

Compare the 2018 and 2019 Beetle »

Here are the key changes for the Volkswagen Beetle over the past few years:

  • 2016: touch screen became standard; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto made available
  • 2017: manual transmission no longer available
  • 2018: R-Line, Classic, and SEL trims discontinued; 170-horsepower, 210-horsepower, and turbodiesel engines dropped
  • 2019: blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert became standard; trim lineup simplified

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2016 Beetle, 2017 Beetle, and 2018 Beetle reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Reliable Is the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle?

The 2019 VW Beetle has a slightly above-average predicted reliability rating of 3.5 out of five.

Read more about Beetle reliability »

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Recalls

There have been 3 safety recalls issued from NHTSA.

SERVICE BRAKES, HYDRAULIC:FOUNDATION COMPONENTS:MASTER CYLINDER Recall Date: 09/22/2020
  • Summary: Tenneco Automotive (Tenneco) is recalling certain Beck/Arnley Master Cylinders, part number 072-9831, sold as aftermarket or replacement parts for 2004-2018 Volkswagen Jetta, and 2012-2019 Volkswagen Beetle vehicles. The fluid seal crimp on the master cylinder may be insufficient, causing brake fluid to leak or the cylinder to come apart.
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 38
  • Consequence: If there is a brake fluid leak, it can reduce braking ability, increasing the risk of a crash.
  • Remedy: Beck/Arnley will notify the distributors that sold the master cylinders and will work with the distributors to notify the end users. Affected master cylinders will be exchanged for a new master cylinder (part number 072-9990), free of charge. The recall is expected to begin October 26, 2020. Owners may contact Tenneco customer service at 1-800-625-9319.
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 20E064000
STEERING:COLUMN LOCKING:ANTI-THEFT DEVICE Recall Date: 08/21/2019
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2015-2019 GTI, 2015-2016 and 2018-2019 Golf, 2012-2019 Beetle and Beetle Convertible, 2017-2019 Golf SportWagen and 2011-2018 Jetta vehicles equipped with an automatic transmission, manual handbrake and keyless entry. A build-up of silicate on the shift lever micro switch contacts may enable the key to be removed from the ignition when the transmission shift lever is not in "Park."
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 679027
  • Consequence: Removing the key while the shift lever is in a position other than "Park" increases the risk of an unintended vehicle rollaway that may result in personal injury or a crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will install an additional switch and circuit board, free of charge. The recall began November 19, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 37M2.
  • Dates of Manufacture: JUL 14, 2016 to JUN 03, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 37M2
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V615000
ELECTRICAL SYSTEM: INSTRUMENT PANEL Recall Date: 02/12/2019
  • Summary: Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (Volkswagen) is recalling certain 2019 Beetle and Beetle Convertible vehicles. The instrument cluster may not provide a visual warning when a brake system failure is detected. As a result, the vehicles fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) number 135, "Light vehicle brake systems" and number 101, "Controls and displays."
  • Potential Number of Units Affected: 4064
  • Consequence: If the driver is not alerted when there is a problem with brakes, the driver may lose control of the vehicle while attempting to brake, increasing the risk of crash.
  • Remedy: Volkswagen will notify owners, and dealers will update the instrument cluster software, free of charge. The recall began March 7, 2019. Owners may contact Volkswagen customer service at 1-800-893-5298. Volkswagen's number for this recall is 90L8.
  • Dates of Manufacture: AUG 26, 2018 to JAN 25, 2019
  • Manufacturer Recall Number: 90L8
  • NHTSA Campaign ID: 19V094000

See more information on Volkswagen Beetle safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Beetle Trim Is Right for Me?

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle is available in two body types: coupe and convertible. Both come in four trim levels: S, Final Edition SE, SE, and Final Edition SEL. All models boast a 174-horsepower four-cylinder engine and six-speed automatic transmission.

It’s worth upgrading to one of the SE models to find more safety and tech features, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

  • Volkswagen Beetle S: Standard features in the entry-level Beetle S include the MIB II infotainment system, a 5-inch touch screen, an eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, a USB port, cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, and alloy wheels. The convertible body style also has heated front seats, synthetic leather upholstery, and a power-folding soft top.
  • Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition SE: The new-for-2019 Final Edition SE comes with the VW Car-Net App-Connect system with Apple CarPlay, MirrorLink, and Android Auto. This trim adds a 6.3-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, heated front seats, upgraded cloth upholstery with V-Tex synthetic leather inserts, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and larger alloy wheels.
  • Volkswagen Beetle SE: Outside of V-Tex synthetic leather seats, the SE doesn’t add many features. However, you might find a Beetle SE with front and rear parking sensors, bi-xenon headlights, a navigation system, or a Fender premium stereo.
  • Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition SEL: The top-trim Final Edition SEL comes with just about every feature you can get in this Volkswagen, including the SE’s optional equipment.

See 2019 Volkswagen Beetle trims and specs »

What Does Volkswagen's Certified Pre-Owned Warranty Cover?

Volkswagen offers a certified pre-owned program for vehicles seven years old or less and with fewer than 75,000 miles. You receive the balance of the new-car warranty when you purchase a CPO model. Depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired or on the sale date of the CPO VW vehicle. For 2018 and newer VWs, the limited comprehensive warranty is good for one year or 12,000 miles. The length of the warranty increases to two years or 24,000 miles for 2017-and-older gas, hybrid, and electric vehicles. Finally, 2016 and older TDI vehicles get a two-year/unlimited miles warranty.

VW CPO vehicles must pass a 100-plus-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing, a Carfax vehicle history report, a three-month SiriusXM All-Access satellite radio trial subscription, and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

According to our analysis, Volkswagen’s CPO program is the least robust of all auto manufacturers.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Beetle?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2019 Beetle coupe four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests. The convertible was not tested.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this VW the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver’s side small overlap front test.

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Rearview camera
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert

Available advanced safety features:

  • Front and rear parking sensors

See Beetle safety scores »

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2019 Volkswagen Beetle or 2019 Fiat 500?

The 2019 Fiat 500 has a lot in common with the VW Beetle. Both are small vehicles with stylish materials, and both come in coupe and convertible body types. By most estimates, the Beetle is the better vehicle. It has a stronger engine than the Fiat, better fuel economy ratings, a roomier back seat, and a larger trunk. Additionally, the Fiat is one of the few vehicles in the class to get worse safety and predicted reliability ratings than the Beetle. Get the VW.

Which Is Better: 2019 Volkswagen Beetle or 2019 Honda Fit?

The 2019 Honda Fit is one of the best used subcompact cars you can buy. It’s a versatile hatchback with much more cargo room than the Volkswagen, partly because of Honda’s Magic Seat, which can be configured in a variety of ways for your hauling needs. The Fit also has sharper handling, better fuel economy, roomier rear seats, and a higher safety score. It’s the clear choice.

Compare the Beetle, 500, and Fit »

2019 Beetle Performance

How Does the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Drive?

This VW’s engine is peppy, especially when taking off from a stop, but the six-speed automatic transmission hesitates to shift at times. Although the Beetle isn’t the nimblest subcompact around, it’s enjoyable to drive. Steering is well-weighted, the ride remains serene on most roads, and the Beetle glides over all but the biggest bumps.

  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque
  • Drivetrain: front-wheel drive
  • Transmission: six-speed automatic
Does the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Get Good Gas Mileage?

Both of this VW’s body types get an EPA-estimated 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those are poor ratings for a small car.

Read more about Beetle performance »

2019 Beetle Interior

How Many People Does the 2019 Beetle Seat?

Regardless of body style, the 2019 Beetle is a two-door car that seats four people. The front seats remain comfortable and supportive even after all-day drives, and they have more than enough head- and legroom for most occupants. The back seats are roomier than those in the 2019 Fiat 500 or 2019 Mini Cooper Hardtop, but they aren’t exactly adult friendly.

Although the cabin has iconic Volkswagen styling, the lack of soft-touch surfaces and an abundance of hard plastics leave it feeling less upscale than the interiors of many rivals.

Standard seating features:

  • Cloth upholstery

Available seating features:

  • Heated front seats (standard in convertible)
  • Synthetic leather upholstery (standard in convertible)
  • Genuine leather upholstery
How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle?

The 2019 Beetle has two complete sets of LATCH car-seat connectors for the rear outboard seats.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Features

Although the MIB II infotainment system isn’t quite as modern or high-tech as those in some rivals, it’s relatively straightforward. The main knock against it is that some of the physical knobs are a bit hard to read. Models with the upgraded infotainment system have more modern features and larger touch screens.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 5-inch touch screen, Bluetooth, a USB port, and an eight-speaker stereo
  • Available infotainment features: a 6.3-inch touch screen, navigation, HD Radio, satellite radio, a Fender stereo, and VW Car-Net with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Mirror Link
  • Other available features: dual-zone automatic climate control, push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and a panoramic sunroof

See 2019 Volkswagen Beetle specs »

Read more about Beetle interior »

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Dimensions

Volkswagen Beetle Cargo Space

Cargo space varies according to this VW’s body type. The convertible has a 7.1-cubic-foot trunk. While that’s tiny for a subcompact car, the split-folding rear seats can provide more space. Additionally, unlike most convertibles, you’ll have the same amount of room whether the top is up or down.

The Beetle coupe has more room, with 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space. Folding down the rear seats opens a total of 29.9 cubic feet. Those are decent figures for the class, though there are a few hatchbacks with more room.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Length and Weight
  • Length: 14 feet, 1 inch
  • Curb weight: 3,045 to 3,239 pounds
  • Gross vehicle weight rating: 3,990 to 4,123 pounds

Where Was the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Built?

Volkswagen built the 2019 Beetle in Mexico.

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