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2015 Volkswagen Beetle Review

The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle ranks in the bottom half of the subcompact car class. It has an upscale cabin and potent engines, but its below-average reliability rating, high ownership costs, dull handling, and shortage of safety features hold it back in our rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • Capable engine lineup
  • Roomy cabin
  • Less sporty than some rivals
  • Subpar fuel economy with gas engine
  • High ownership costs
  • Subpar reliability rating

Rankings & Research

The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle's #10 ranking is based on its score within the 2015 Subcompact Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Beetle has a score of 7.4 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 54 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.7
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.2
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 8.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Overview

Is the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle a Good Used Car?

The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle is an OK used subcompact car. Available as a coupe or convertible, it has strong engines, a handsome cabin, and spacious seats. Up front, the Beetle has standard heated seats, which is a rarity for the class. However, it also has some of the highest ownership costs in its segment, and its average price is high for the class. To make matters worse, it has a subpar reliability rating and poor gas mileage in nondiesel models.

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Why You Can Trust Us

Our Volkswagen Beetle review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 54 sources and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

The U.S. News Best Cars team has been ranking cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has a combined 75 years of automotive industry experience. To ensure our impartiality, we never accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside team handles the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle?

Based on listings for the 2015 Beetle on our site, the average price is $16,600. Outside of the 2015 Mini Cooper and 2015 Mini Paceman, that’s higher than every class rival. Prices vary based on mileage, condition, location, and features.

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How Much Does the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Cost to Own?

Expenses for fuel, insurance, maintenance, and repairs on the 2015 Beetle are estimated to be around $26,580 over five years, or about $5,316 per year. Those are some of the highest costs in the class.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Volkswagen Beetle?

Compared to the 2015 model, a 2019 Beetle has a stronger engine by 4 horsepower, more standard equipment including blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, and available smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The 2019 model year is the Beetle's last year of production. The starting price for a new model is $20,895, so you may find a new Beetle for less money than a used one, though the new Beetle's starting price is still higher than the average price of a 2015 model.

Read about the new Beetle »

The price of a used 2015 Beetle ranges from $11,500 to $23,000. Not only does almost every new subcompact car fall within that spread, but you could also find a few new compact cars that do as well, including the redesigned 2019 Volkswagen Jetta.  

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Which Model Year of the Volkswagen Beetle Is Best?

The 2015 Beetle belongs to a generation that launched for the 2012 model year. For 2015, the Beetle Classic limited-edition trim debuted.

The 2016 model is a good bet for its added tech features. For 2016, the Beetle gained a standard 5-inch touch screen and available Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The Beetle Dune came out late that same year. For 2017, the manual transmission was discontinued.

Despite having a new base engine, the 2018 Beetle's horsepower and fuel efficiency gains were minor. The R-Line, Classic, and SEL trims were also discontinued that year, along with their engine options.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Beetle »

How Reliable Is the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle?

The 2015 Beetle has a below-average reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Read more about Beetle reliability »

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Recalls

As of this writing, there are three recalls for the 2015 Beetle. Fuel may leak into the engine and cause a fire, a camshaft lobe fracturing may reduce braking ability, and the sunroof may break. Before buying any used vehicle, make sure all issues have been addressed.

See more information on Volkswagen Beetle safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Beetle Model Is Right for Me?

The two-door Volkswagen Beetle is available in coupe and convertible body types, and there are three main trims: 1.8T, TDI, and R-Line. These three trims are differentiated by their powertrains, with 1.8T referring to the base engine, TDI denoting the diesel, and the R-Line signaling the trim with the strongest engine. For 2015, Volkswagen introduced the Volkswagen Beetle Classic. Available only as a convertible, the Classic gains a navigation system and satellite radio as standard equipment.

The base 1.8T trim has VW Car-Net, an eight-speaker stereo, Bluetooth, V-Tex synthetic leather seats, heated front seats, and cruise control. TDI models have all of these features plus push-button start, proximity keyless entry, and satellite radio.

The R-Line loses the standard satellite radio, proximity keyless entry, and push-button start from TDI models, though they remain available. The R-Line is the only model available with leather seats and bi-xenon headlights.

A navigation system, a 5-inch touch screen, and a Fender premium stereo are available throughout the lineup. A panoramic sunroof is available in hardtop models.

See 2015 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, and depending on your car’s model year, you get a limited comprehensive warranty that takes effect once the new-car warranty has expired. 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.

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How Safe Is the Beetle?

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave this two-door car the highest rating of Good in four crash tests and the second-lowest rating of Marginal in the driver-side small overlap front test. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave it an overall rating of five out of five stars, with four stars in the frontal crash and rollover tests and five stars in the side crash test.

An available rearview camera is the only active safety feature for the Beetle.

See Beetle safety scores »

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2015 Volkswagen Beetle or 2015 Mini Cooper?

The 2015 Mini Cooper is one of the most athletic subcompact cars. It’s available as the Mini Hardtop 2 Door, Mini Hardtop 4 Door, or Mini Convertible (we review the Mini Coupe separately). All of these Mini Cooper models have more cargo space than the Beetle. They also have a lineup of turbocharged engine options, nimble handling, and more available safety features than the Beetle. These two cars have similar average purchase prices, but for the money, you're better off with the Mini.

Which Is Better: 2015 Volkswagen Beetle or 2015 Fiat 500?

On average, the 2015 Fiat 500 costs around $6,200 less to buy than the Beetle. That’s one of its few selling points over the Volkswagen. The Fiat has a weak base engine, cramped rear seats, and cheap cabin materials. It comes in hatchback and convertible body types, and while the hatchback has a slightly higher maximum cargo capacity than the Beetle, the Volkswagen has more space behind the rear seats. The 500 is also one of the only models to get an even lower reliability rating than the Beetle. The VW is the better choice in this matchup.

Compare the Beetle, Cooper, and 500 »

2015 Beetle Performance

How Does the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Drive?

The Beetle comes standard with a 170-horsepower 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and either a five-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. R-Line models are equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, which is paired with either a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. The base engine is lively and well-suited for daily driving. The more-powerful engine in R-Line models helps this car accelerate more rapidly.

The Beetle is also available with a 2.0-liter turbocharged diesel engine. Rated at 150 horsepower, this turbodiesel variant has the same transmission options as the R-Line. These models were affected by Volkswagen's diesel emissions scandal, and they require modifications to meet EPA standards. Make sure these alterations have been made before you buy one, and keep in mind that those changes could alter performance and fuel economy.

The Beetle feels engaging and has agile handling, thanks to its responsive steering and strong brakes. However, it isn't as agile as the 2015 Mini Cooper, and it leans around corners. Front-wheel drive is standard.

Does the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Get Good Gas Mileage?

This VW gets an EPA-estimated 24-25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Fuel economy dips as low as 23/29 mpg city/highway for models with the larger turbo gas engine and the automatic transmission. Those figures are low for the class. The TDI gets up to 30/39 mpg, which is excellent for the segment.

Read more about Beetle performance »

2015 Beetle Interior

How Many People Does the 2015 Beetle Seat?

Like most two-door cars, the 2015 VW Beetle seats four people. Head- and legroom are plentiful in both rows, and the seats are supportive. However, rearward visibility is poor due to the small rear window.

The cabin is stylish and clean, with good fit and finish and some nice retro-styled touches. Synthetic leather upholstery and heated front seats come standard. Genuine leather upholstery and front sport seats are available.

How Many Child Car Seats Fit in the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle?

This vehicle has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for securing child safety seats.

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Features

The VW Beetle comes standard with Bluetooth and an eight-speaker stereo. A 5-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, and a Fender premium sound system are available.

The optional navigation system is easy to use, though some critics noted the screen was a bit small. There is no USB port in the 2015 Beetle; this feature was not available in the Beetle until the 2016 model year.

See 2015 Volkswagen Beetle specs »

Read more about Beetle interior »

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Dimensions

Volkswagen Beetle Cargo Space

Cargo space in this VW varies with body type. Convertibles have 7.1 cubic feet of space. Coupes have 15.4 cubic feet of room behind the rear seats and 29.9 cubic feet with those seats folded down. That’s larger than most subcompact sedans but smaller than most subcompact hatchbacks.

2015 Beetle Length and Weight

The 2015 Beetle measures about 14 feet long. Curb weight ranges from 2,948 to 3,435 pounds.

Where Was the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Built?

Volkswagen built the 2015 Beetle in Mexico.

Is the 2015 Volkswagen Beetle Affected by the VW Diesel Scandal?

The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle TDI models were involved in the Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. They require modifications to meet EPA standards, and these alterations may affect driving performance and fuel economy.


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