'People's car' at a wallet-friendly price: 2012 Volkswagen Beetle starting at just $18,995

Volkswagen today announced that the new Beetle will start at just $18,995. This is the third generation of the classic "people's car."

Suzanne Ashe
Suzanne Ashe has been covering technology, gadgets, video games, and cars for several years. In addition to writing features and reviews for magazines and Web sites, she has contributed to daily newspapers.
Suzanne Ashe
2 min read


When the new Beetle rolls into showrooms this September, it will have a different look and starting price of just $18,995.

The 2012 Beetle, which was spotted this spring at the 2011 New York auto show, is 3.3 inches wider, 6 inches longer, and 0.5 inch lower than the previous generation, and it comes in three trim lines.

The 2.5L model, which has an MSRP of $18,995, has a five-cylinder engine, delivering 170 horsepower. When outfitted with the five-speed manual transmission, the mileage is estimated at 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway. The six-speed automatic option offers an estimated 22 mpg city and 29 mpg highway. This is an improved fuel economy of about 10 percent over previous models.

The 2.5L comes standard with a split folding rear seat, aux-in for portable audio players, and an eight-speaker audio system. It also comes with a leather steering wheel and rides on 17-inch alloy wheels. Other options include a throwback to the past: a "kaeferfach" additional glovebox (similar to that of the original Beetle). The new model also includes latest tech package: Bluetooth, iPod connectivity, heated front seats and three-color interior ambient lighting.

The 2.0L TSI is the sportiest model and has a starting price of $23,395. The 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder turbocharged engine delivers 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. The four-cylinder engine with automatic transmission offers an EPA fuel economy rating of 30 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg city.

The TDI Clean Diesel model, which will be available next year, is powered by Volkswagen's 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine that produces 140 horsepower and 236 lb-ft of torque. This will be the most fuel-efficient Beetle ever, with an expected highway estimate of 40 mpg, Volkswagen said in a release.

Standard safety features on the new Beetle include Volkswagen's advanced Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off the fuel pump, unlocks the doors, and switches on the hazard lights if the car is involved in some types of collisions, Volkswagen said.

"The 21st century Beetle is an automotive icon reinvented, a nod to the heritage and character of Volkswagen and our remarkable history," said Jonathan Browning, president and CEO, Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. "This new interpretation of the original Beetle holds true to the traditional spirit of the car, with all the benefits of modern technologies and efficiencies."

The 21st Century Beetle is the third generation of the classic "people's car." It was on display at the 2011 New York auto show this spring. Sarah Tew/CNET