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2014 Volkswagen Beetle Review

The Volkswagen Beetle has an upscale interior, peppy engine performance, and a comfortable ride. However, higher-than-average ownership costs pull this subcompact car toward the middle of its class.

Pros & Cons

  • Pleasant ride and sure-footed handling
  • Premium cabin
  • Excellent TDI fuel economy
  • Limited cargo space
  • Buzzy five-cylinder engine

New for 2014

  • Limited edition GSR model
  • Base models received turbocharged engine (mid-2014)

Rankings & Research

The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2014 Subcompact Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Beetle has a score of 7.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 52 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.6
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.1
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.9
Safety: 8.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2014 Volkswagen Beetle Overview

Is the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle a Good Used Car?

The four-seat Volkswagen Beetle – available as a coupe or convertible – is a decent option if you’re shopping for a fun-to-drive subcompact car. It zips up to speed quickly, feels athletic around turns, and provides a smooth ride over rough pavement. Its cabin is posh and cozy, but its cargo space is slim. Overall, the Beetle is more of a fashion statement than a vehicle suited to driving more than two adults regularly.

Used 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Performance and Interior

The Beetle is available with four different engines. Base models are equipped with either a 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine (2.5L trim) or a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder (1.8T trim). A five-speed manual transmission and front-wheel drive are standard; a six-speed automatic transmission is available. Both engines make 170 horsepower and enable brisk acceleration, but the 1.8T feels more responsive and refined than the coarse 2.5L. The 1.8T offers better fuel economy as well, getting up to 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway.

With its turbodiesel four-cylinder, the Beetle TDI elevates fuel economy even further to 28/40 mpg city/highway. While this engine provides just 140 horsepower, its substantial torque gives the TDI plenty of muscle for getting up to speed. Lastly, the Beetle R-Line has a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with 210 horsepower. It’s the quickest of the bunch, yet it still offers decent fuel economy (up to 24/30 mpg city/highway). Both models are offered with a six-speed manual or six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. The manual transmission is crisp, but the automatic can be slow to shift in city driving.

The Beetle strikes a great balance between ride quality and handling. It’s smooth and comfortable over broken pavement, and even the sportier R-Line models soak up bumps with poise. The steering is nicely weighted and precise, and the Beetle feels stable through turns.

Read more about Beetle performance »

The Volkswagen Beetle seats four, and the front seats are supportive and offer sufficient head- and legroom for taller drivers and passengers. The rear seats offer enough space for average-sized adults to sit comfortably on short trips. There are two full sets of LATCH connectors for securing child safety seats. The Beetle coupe features a rear hatchback with 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space. The Volkswagen Beetle convertible is equipped with a power-folding soft top, which limits trunk space to just 7.1 cubic feet.

The Beetle’s cabin may be retro-inspired, but it feels thoroughly modern inside and is fashioned with quality materials. All models have a CD player and Bluetooth as standard. Available features include a touch screen, a navigation system, satellite radio, and an excellent Fender sound system. The dashboard has a simple layout, and it’s easy to access the audio and climate controls on the go. That said, the navigation screen is very small and can be awkward to use.

Read more about Beetle interior »

Used 2014 Volkswagen Beetle Prices

The price of a used 2014 Beetle coupe ranges from about $12,200 for a base model to around $19,000 for an R-Line model. Prices will vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

We Did the Research for You: 52 Reviews Analyzed

We’ve analyzed 52 VW Beetle reviews alongside hard data points like reliability scores and cost of ownership estimates to help you make the best car-buying decision possible.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking cars for a decade, and our team has more than 75 years of experience in the auto industry. While we’re passionate about cars, we’re even more committed to giving helpful consumer advice. To ensure our reviews remain impartial, we refuse gifts and trips from car companies, and the advertising on our site is handled by an outside team.

How Reliable Is the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle?

The Volkswagen Beetle has average reliability, earning a score of three out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Beetle reliability »

How Safe Is the Beetle?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Beetle a Good safety rating in four out of five areas tested, but only a Marginal rating for small overlap front crash safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Beetle a perfect five-star rating for overall and side impact safety, as well as four stars for front and rollover crash test performance. The Beetle lacks a number of advanced safety features that have become common in its class, such as a rearview camera and parking sensors.

See Beetle safety scores »

Should I Consider Another Used Beetle?

The Beetle was fully redesigned for the 2012 model year. In 2013, VW added new convertible and turbodiesel (TDI) variants to the lineup. Updates for 2014 included the addition of a new top-of-the-line GSR trim and a newly named R-Line trim (previously known as the Turbo). The most important change occurred halfway through 2014, when Volkswagen replaced the five-cylinder engine in the 2.5L model with a zippier and more efficient four-cylinder. This trim became known as the 1.8T. If these updates are not important to you, the 2012 and 2013 Beetles are also worth considering.

Compare the 2012, 2013, and 2014 Beetle »

Which Used Volkswagen Beetle Is Right for Me?

Volkswagen offers the 2014 Beetle in five trim levels: 2.5L, 1.8T, R-Line, TDI, and GSR. The Beetle 2.5L and 1.8T base models have heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, air conditioning, cruise control, remote keyless entry, a CD player, AM/FM radio, and Bluetooth. An available Technology package (referred to as the Sunroof and Sound package for coupes) adds a 6.5-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and proximity keyless entry. An optional Navigation package adds a 5-inch touch-screen navigation system.

The Beetle R-Line adds sport seats, a stiffer suspension, and exterior cosmetic changes. Otherwise, it shares the same standard and optional features as base models. The Beetle TDI includes the Technology package as standard, while the Navigation package is optional. The Beetle GSR is a special edition coupe that has a black and yellow color scheme and comes fully loaded with all the R-Line’s options.

It's worth noting that the TDI engine is affected by Volkswagen’s diesel emissions scandal and will require modifications to meet EPA standards. Shoppers looking for used TDI models should be cautious, as these modifications may alter performance and fuel economy.

Volkswagen provides a two-year/24,000-mile limited warranty on all of its certified pre-owned vehicles. Each CPO Volkswagen must pass a 160-point inspection. Additional benefits like towing and roadside assistance may be available, so read the Volkswagen warranty page carefully.

Read more about certified pre-owned vehicles »

Read more about the Volkswagen certified pre-owned program »

2014 Volkswagen Beetle and Other Cars to Consider

Which Is Better: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle or 2014 Mini Cooper?

The Mini Cooper and Beetle have a similar appeal. Both transplant 1960s style into the modern age and please with upscale interiors and zippy performance. The Mini has the edge for tech; it’s available with a more advanced infotainment system and better safety features like parking sensors and a rearview camera. The Beetle, however, offers a comfier ride, roomier rear seats, and a higher reliability score. Neither are top options in the class, though; they offer limited cargo space and above-average ownership costs.

Which Is Better: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle or 2014 Fiat 500?

The Fiat 500 is yet another retro-inspired subcompact car. It offers go-kart-like handling that the Beetle can’t match, and used models are often far less expensive. That said, the tiny Fiat has major drawbacks, including severely cramped rear seats, a slim cargo space, cheap interior materials, and a below-average reliability rating. The Beetle isn’t perfect, but it’s the better pick.

Compare the Beetle, Cooper, and 500 »

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