Volkswagen Beetle Review and Prices

The Volkswagen Beetle has been with us since 1938, but this is only its third iteration and, by all accounts, it’s the best one yet.

Buy or lease the Volkswagen Beetle at a price you’ll love
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RRP £16,135 - £27,370
Carwow price from
Used
£14,840
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wowscore
6/10
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Smart retro styling
  • Modern engines
  • Enjoyable to drive

What's not so good

  • Cramped back seats
  • Firm ride
  • Interior quality isn’t great

Find out more about the Volkswagen Beetle

Is the Volkswagen Beetle a good car?

The two-door car market has evolved quite a bit since then and the modern Beetle is up against some highly accomplished competition such as the nostalgic Fiat 500 and Mini Hatchback, but also the decidedly un-retro DS 3.

The Beetle has been refreshed and got a new range-topping R-line trim along with some interior tech upgrades. The exterior has also been updated, but you have to be an expert in the breed to spot the new fog light surrounds and revised bumpers.

The biggest changes are on the inside, where you’ll find the latest tech available across the VW range including one of the best touchscreen infotainment systems on the market. What remains unchanged is the colourful interior that is built to a much higher standard than in rivals, and the near-perfect driving position. Practicality isn’t spectacular but, for a two-door trendy hatch, it isn’t bad either.

Based on the now obsolete Golf VI platform, the modern Beetle is enjoyable to drive and rides with poise, but it doesn’t blow you away in any criteria – solid and predictable best describes the experience. There is a jacked-up version called the Dune, but it’s not in any way better off-road than the regular Beetle.

At a glance, there is a fairly limited engine range, comprising of four units, but what is available is very hard to fault. The 148hp 1.4-litre petrol is enjoyable to drive more-exuberantly, while the 2.0-litre diesel is relaxed and refined. The optional DSG gearbox is highly recommended because it’s one of the best in the business.

Equipment levels on entry-level models are comparable to rivals, you get a 6.5-inch touchscreen as standard along with air-con and a height-adjustable driver’s seat.

Nostalgia inspiring or not, this is a very capable car

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
Carwow expert

Overall, the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle is an undoubted improvement over its predecessor – not only is it a more fitting tribute to the original than the first ‘New’ Beetle was, but it has a better ride and improved handling characteristics.

The Beetle isn’t brilliant in every area, and there are other cars in this class that are better all-round propositions. That said, the Volkswagen is still a good overall car, and it’s highly likely that a majority of buyers will opt for the Bug purely for the way it looks.

For a more detailed look at the Volkswagen Beetle, look at the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our test on the following pages. Or, to see what sort of offers are available on the Beetle, click through to the deals page.

How much is the Volkswagen Beetle?

The Volkswagen Beetle has a RRP range of £16,135 to £27,370. The price of a used Volkswagen Beetle on Carwow starts at £14,840.

How practical is it?

You’ll buy this car because of the way it looks, rather than what it can carry, but even so, it’s hard to overlook the cramped rear seats and just how tricky it is to get into them

Given how hard it is to get a child seat - let alone a child - into the back of the Beetle, you have to wonder just why Volkswagen bothered to put Isofix mounts there

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
Carwow expert
Boot (seats up)
310 litres
Boot (seats down)
905 litres

Despite the updated tech, there are still a few practicality issues. Taller people may find the rear seats uncomfortable due to the sloping roofline, and access to these seats is a little tricky as the car is only available as a three-door. It’s OK for children, though, with Isofix baby seat mounting points that are standard in the rear seats and optional in the front.

There is no vase to put your flower in anymore but the rest of the storage areas have been improved over the previous model. There are deep door bins and the glovebox is spacious too. In short, the Beetle has as much storage as a two-door Golf making it a lot better in that regard than rivals such as the Fiat 500.

Boot space has been improved by nearly 45% over the previous model, which is good news. At 310 litres in capacity it’s ahead of the DS 3 (285 litres) and the Mini (211 litres), so in this respect, it’s quite practical for a two-door coupe. Flip the rear seats and an impressive 905 litres of space are at your disposal, but the step created by the folded seats makes the load area less usable than you think.

What's it like to drive?

Strong, refined engine options to choose from.

The light steering makes navigating towns a breeze while the capable chassis makes motorway driving relaxing

Mat Watson
Mat Watson
Carwow expert

The petrols, in particular, provide a remarkable amount of power given the limited capacity they have – the 1.2-litre produces 104hp and can do nearly 52mpg. The other petrol in the range is a 1.4-litre with 148hp that can be found in nearly all VW group cars – it’s decently quick and, remarkably, nearly as frugal as the 1.2-litre with a fuel economy figure of 50mpg.

There are two diesel options for those thinking of racking up higher mileages, the 2.0-litre with 109hp and a more potent version with 148hp. The former is the better-rated unit, achieving over 65mpg and has enough grunt to hustle the Beetle’s body along nicely. If you want the sporty-looking Beetle R-Line you can only have it with the 148hp diesel, which is powerful and refined. It too can be frugal with a fuel economy of up to 61mpg.

Underneath the retro skin lies a chassis that is almost identical to the one you’ll find underpinning the previous Volkswagen Golf, so it’s not too surprising to find that ride and drive are perfectly acceptable, however, many opined that the newer Golf is the better-handling car.

It’s a pleasant enough car to steer in a variety of conditions, and the improved visibility makes it an easier car to navigate around town than the previous Beetle. There were a few negatives with how the Beetle drove, specifically the ride, which even on the standard set-up seems to be a bit too firm and jittery at slower speeds.

What's it like inside?

Fans of the old car’s cheesy vase complete with plastic sunflower may be disappointed that it’s no longer present in this model.

Volkswagen Beetle colours

Pearl - Deep black
Free
Solid - Black
Free
Solid - Tornado red
Free
Special paint - Saturn yellow
Free
Special solid - Candy white
From £200
Special paint - Black
From £250
Special paint - Denim blue
From £250
Special solid - Pure white
From £255
Special solid - Tornado red
From £280
Metallic - Moon rock silver
From £495
Metallic - Platinum grey
From £495
Metallic - Reflex silver
From £495
Metallic - Java
From £500
Metallic - Reef blue
From £500
Metallic - Blue silk
From £560
Metallic - Ameleva Blue
From £575
Metallic - Dark Bronze
From £575
Metallic - White silver
From £575
Special paint - Oryx white
From £900
Premium paint - Oryx white
From £985
Premium paint - Habanero orange
From £995
Next Read full interior review
Buy or lease the Volkswagen Beetle at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £16,135 - £27,370
Carwow price from
Used
£14,840
Ready to see prices tailored to you?
Compare used deals