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2016 Volkswagen Beetle Review

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle offers two potent engine options, but its cramped interior, uninspired handling, and below-average safety scores relegate it to the bottom third of our subcompact car rankings.

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly touch screen
  • Potent engine choices
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Less cargo space than hatchback competitors
  • Above-average operating costs

Rankings & Research

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle's #11 ranking is based on its score within the 2016 Subcompact Cars category. Currently the Volkswagen Beetle has a score of 7.6 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 57 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.




Critics' Rating: 7.8
Performance: 7.4
Interior: 7.3
Total Cost of Ownership: 8.8
Safety: 8.7
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Overview

Is the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle a Good Used Car?

As cute as it is, the 2016 Beetle doesn’t offer much beyond its solid engine choices and user-friendly touch screen. Available as either a coupe or convertible, this Volkswagen is not fuel-efficient for a subcompact car, which contributes to its above-average operating costs. Additionally, even though the Beetle is deemed a hatchback, it doesn’t offer much cargo space.

Why You Can Trust Us

We do not base our used car rankings and reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we collect information like safety and reliability reports, total cost of ownership estimates, and the views of the automotive press. We analyzed 57 professional evaluations for this 2016 Volkswagen Beetle review to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our experienced team of writers, editors, and analysts has been ranking and reviewing the best cars, trucks, crossovers, and SUVs since 2007. We remain unbiased by refusing expensive gifts and trips from auto manufacturers, and employing an independent agency to manage the advertising on our site.

How Much Is the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle?

Our site has almost 160 listings for the 2016 Beetle, with prices ranging from about $13,000 to roughly $22,000. The average list price is about $17,100. Prices vary depending on the vehicle's condition, mileage, features, and location.

See the Best Used Car Deals »

How Much Does the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Cost to Own?

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle’s five-year costs for gas, insurance, maintenance, and repairs are estimated to be $24,816. That’s about $1,250 above the class average.

Is It Better to Buy a Used or New Beetle?

There’s only one reason to consider a new Beetle over the 2016 model: the six-year/72,000-mile warranty that was introduced with the 2018 Beetle. It replaced the more typical three-year/36,000-mile warranty. The 2018 Beetle starts at about $20,000, which is a few thousand dollars more than the average price of a 2016 model. Both Beetles have average reliability ratings. The 2018 Beetle has a new base engine, but it only adds 4 horsepower and increases fuel efficiency by 2 mpg on the highway and around town. That may not be enough for most shoppers to justify paying an additional $3,100, and possibly more, for the new model.

Read about the new Volkswagen Beetle »

There are a few new subcompact cars that are comparable in price to the 2016 Beetle. The 2018 Toyota Yaris iA is a new subcompact that’s a better choice than the 2016 Beetle, depending on your car buying desires. The Toyota’s MSRP is $17,050 with an automatic transmission. That’s about the same as the 2016 Beetle’s average price of $17,100. The Yaris iA provides seating for five, while the Beetle seats four. The Toyota also more rear legroom, a standard rearview camera, and smartphone integration. It delivers decent handling and gets better fuel economy than the VW. The Yaris iA also has an almost perfect reliability rating. The Beetle has a more iconic look and 64 more horsepower than the Yaris iA, but the Toyota is a better overall choice for its practicality.

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Which Model Year of the Volkswagen Beetle Is Best?

The Beetle has seen few changes since this generation was introduced for the 2012 model year. A touch screen was added to the standard features list for 2016, and VW discontinued the manual transmission for 2017. Otherwise, there are no major differences between the older models. You can save money by shopping for a 2014 or 2015 Beetle while getting a similar vehicle to the newer Beetles.

Compare the 2014, 2015, and 2016 Beetle »

How Reliable Is the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle?

The 2016 Beetle has a reliability rating of three out of five from J.D. Power, which is about average.

Read more about Beetle reliability »

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Recalls

As of this writing, the 2016 Beetle has one open recall for a potential loss of power brakes. Make sure this issue is resolved before buying a 2016 Beetle.

See more information on Volkswagen Beetle safety recalls »

Which Used Volkswagen Beetle Is Right for Me?

The 2016 Beetle is available as a coupe or convertible. The 170-horsepower turbocharged 1.8-liter engine is available in S, SE, Dune, and SEL trim levels. The SE and SEL trims are available in R-Line editions that feature a 210-horsepower turbocharged engine.

The S trim has cloth seats and a 5-inch touch screen with a USB port. The SE trim adds a rearview camera, heated front seats, HD Radio, satellite radio, and smartphone integration. The SEL trim features a moonroof (coupe only), keyless start, a navigation system, blind spot monitoring, and cross traffic alert. The Dune trim features a slightly higher ride height and some unique design elements, including bumpers, side moldings, and a wheel design.

Unless you like the Dune’s styling and upgraded standard infotainment system, go for the SE trim, which has the best combination of features, performance, and value.

See 2016 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.

See the best CPO programs »

How Safe Is the Beetle?

The hardtop 2016 Volkswagen Beetle received four out of five stars in the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s frontal and rollover crash tests and five stars in the side crash test. The 2016 Beetle earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top score of Good in the moderate overlap front, side, rollover, and rear categories. In the small overlap front test, however, the IIHS gave the Beetle the second-lowest score of Marginal.

No active safety features are standard in the 2016 Beetle. A rearview camera is available.

See Beetle safety scores »

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle or 2016 Kia Rio?

Although the 2016 Beetle has much more horsepower, the 2016 Kia Rio is the better choice overall. The Rio has a more spacious interior, better fuel economy, and 49.8 cubic feet of overall cargo space compared to the Beetle’s 29.9 cubic feet. The Rio also has an almost perfect reliability rating, while the Beetle’s rating is only average. Operating costs are also much lower with the Kia.

Which Is Better: 2016 Volkswagen Beetle or 2016 Mini Cooper?

Like the 2016 Beetle, the 2016 Mini Cooper has an iconic style. But if you look beyond their retro-inspired designs, the Mini is the better choice. The Cooper has a more upscale interior with high-quality materials and more standard features than the Beetle. The Mini also delivers livelier handling and better fuel economy. The Mini has more cargo space as well, with 38 cubic feet of overall space, while the Beetle has 29.9 cubic feet. However, the Mini has a slightly higher average price and higher operating costs. If you can afford it, go for the Cooper.

Compare the Beetle, Rio, and Cooper »

2016 Beetle Performance

How Does the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Drive?

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T comes with a 170-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine and a standard six-speed automatic transmission. An easy-shifting, five-speed manual transmission is available. The Beetle R-Line has a 210-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine mated to a standard six-speed manual transmission or an available six-speed dual-clutch automatic.

The base 2016 Beetle has a refined engine and lively acceleration. It delivers a comfortable ride and controlled handling. The R-Line's engine has 40 more horsepower than the base engine and delivers better acceleration.

Does the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Get Good Gas Mileage?

The 2016 Beetle with the base engine and automatic transmission gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, which are low numbers for the class. City ratings improve by 1 mpg with the manual transmission.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Towing Capacity

Volkswagen recommends not towing with the 2016 Beetle.

Read more about Beetle performance »

2016 Beetle Interior

How Many People Does the 2016 Beetle Seat?

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle seats four on standard cloth upholstery. Heated front seats and leather upholstery are available. R-Line models come with sport seats that provide more aggressive side support to better hold you in place. The Beetle’s front seats are comfortable, and the rear seats have a fair amount of room. Accessing them can be difficult, though, because of the Beetle’s two-door design. The Beetle’s interior is stylish and well-arranged, but it also has some hard plastics.

How Many Car Seats Fit in the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle?

There are two full sets of LATCH car-seat connectors in the Beetle’s rear seats.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Features

The 2016 VW Beetle's standard features include Bluetooth, a USB port, an eight-speaker audio system, and a user-friendly 5-inch touch screen. Some might find the small screen hard to use while driving. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, push-button start, a nine-speaker Fender audio system, navigation, and an infotainment system with a 6.3-inch touch screen, satellite radio, and VW's Car-Net system, which links car security, maintenance, and navigation features to a compatible smartphone app.

See 2016 Volkswagen Beetle specs »

Read more about Beetle interior »

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Dimensions

Volkswagen Beetle Cargo Space

The 2016 Beetle coupe has 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind its rear seat and 29.9 cubic feet with it folded. The convertible has 7.1 cubic feet of cargo space, and its rear seat does not fold. Those numbers are less than what other hatchback competitors provide.

2016 Beetle Length and Weight

The 2016 Beetle is 14 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 2,948 to 3,278 pounds.

Where Was the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Built?

The 2016 Beetle was manufactured in Mexico.


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