Volkswagen Beetle

Volkswagen went way back to the drawing board with its reimagining of the 2012 Beetle. The new Beetle--which is not to be called a "New Beetle"--draws its inspiration from the original car of 1938, but with a lower, flatter roofline. This gives the car a more aggressive stance. Overall dimensions have grown, which translates to more interior room for passengers. Those passengers get a combination of retro simplicity in the gauge layout, elegance in the quality of cabin materials and high-tech in the available gizmos and gadgets.

The Beetle comes in two basic trims--the base 2.5L and the Turbo. The base model utilizes a 170-hp, 2.5L 5-cylinder engine driving the front wheels through a standard 5-speed manual. The Turbo delivers 200 hp from a 2.0L direct-injected and turbocharged 4-cylinder. This engine is mated to a 6-speed manual. On 2.5 models, a 6-speed automatic with Tiptronic and Sport mode is optional, while on the Turbo buyers can opt for a 6-speed direct-shift (DSG) automatic. The dual-clutch unit offers drivers both fully automatic or semi-manual control.

The Beetle shares its underpinnings with the new Jetta, which include front struts and a rear twist-beam axle. Steering-feel will feel very familiar to those who have driven previous New Beetles, though the driving experience has changed significantly, thanks to the revised A-pillar angle and accordingly the abbreviated dashboard. The effect is to bring the driver closer to the action.

Base trims come nicely equipped with cruise control, keyless entry, 3-color ambient lighting, 6-way adjustable and heated front seats and a 50/50 split folding rear seat. On the technology front, Bluetooth hands-free connectivity and a media device interface with iPod cable are also standard.

Base models can be equipped with a powered panoramic sunroof and a Fender premium sound system and navigation.

Turbo models add a rear spoiler, painted 4-wheel disc brakes with red calipers behind special 18-inch Twister alloy wheels, variable electromechanical power steering, front MacPherson struts and a Cross Differential System, which helps prevent inside wheelspin when cornering. Inside, accents such as brushed aluminum-look pedal covers, sport seats, the 8-speaker sound system of the base car, cloth seating and special interior trim pieces.

Safety comes standard as well in all 2012 Beetles, with anti-lock brakes, dual front airbags and combined curtain and side front seat airbags.

Editors' Review

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Though this Volkswagen Beetle is called the Final Edition, it isn't the first time the model has disappeared. The original, air-cooled version stopped production in other markets in 2003, commemorated with the Última Edición. But this marks the end of the new Beetle, and if I'm honest, I'll miss it.

Turbocharged and topless

You can buy the Final Edition Beetle as a coupe or convertible, powered by a 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4 engine, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission. Final Edition models get their own special colors reminiscent of hues offered on the aforementioned Última Edición, called Safari Uni and Stonewashed Blue. Other Final Edition touches include diamond-stitched leather seats, metal scuff plates, stainless-steel pedals, unique wheels and a Safari Uni-colored dash panel.

If the Final Edition isn't your jam, the Beetle is still offered in S and SE guises for 2019, again powered by the 2.0T/6-speed auto combo.

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The Good The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle provides a healthy dose of nostalgia at a decent price.

The Bad The Beetle lacks ADAS features that many consumers have come to expect.

The Bottom Line The VW Beetle is a fun little runabout, but get it while you can as 2019 is the last year of production.

Editors' Rating
  • Performance 6.5
  • Features 6
  • Design 8.5
  • Media 7

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