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#31

in Affordable Small Cars

MSRP: $20,295 - $34,895
Invoice: $19,483 - $33,499
MPG: 22 City / 29 Hwy
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Volkswagen Beetle Review

The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle ranks 31 out of 40 Affordable Small Cars. This ranking is based on our analysis of published reviews and test drives of the Volkswagen Beetle, as well as reliability and safety data.

The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle is ranked:

Reviewers say the 2014 Volkswagen Beetle provides a distinctive blend of nostalgia and performance, though some rivals offer better fuel economy and a lower base price.

The base Volkswagen Beetle is equipped with a five-cylinder engine, which test drivers say offers sufficient power for daily driving. However, test drivers prefer the peppy turbocharged four-cylinder engines that are available on higher trims, one of which runs on diesel fuel. The Beetle is available with a number of transmissions, depending on the trim, and test drivers especially like the six-speed manual transmission for its precise shifts. The base Beetle gets up to an EPA-rated 22/31 mpg city/highway, which is on the low end of the class, while the diesel-powered Beetle TDI gets up to 28/41 mpg city/highway. Reviewers agree that the Beetle handles nimbly and offers a stable ride, though it’s a step behind sportier cars that offer curve-hugging thrills.

Reviewers say that the 2014 VW Beetle has a respectable interior that blends retro looks with function, though some also note that it’s not as nice as the Volkswagen Golf’s cabin. There’s plenty of space for tall drivers and a passable amount of room in the rear seats and trunk, they say. The base Volkswagen Beetle comes with an eight-speaker stereo with CD player, auxiliary port, iPod adapter, Bluetooth with audio streaming, heated front seats, multi-color ambient lighting and an app that links car security, maintenance and navigation features to a compatible smartphone. Also standard is Volkswagen’s Intelligent Crash Response System, which automatically unlocks doors, turns on hazard lights on and cuts the fuel line in the event of a collision. Optional features include a Fender sound system, satellite radio, navigation, keyless access with push-button start, a panoramic power sunroof and a rearview camera. Controls are easily accessible and intuitive, reviewers say, and they praise the optional Fender stereo for its premium sound.  

  • "If you're looking for a small coupe that provides equal amounts of style and function, the Volkswagen Beetle should be on your test-drive list." -- Edmunds
  • "So what we have here is another nostalgia trip that makes sense if you love the styling, can accept the compromises that go with it, and are willing to pay for the privilege." -- Consumer Guide
  • "It's a ‘boutique’ car - one that delivers heavily on style, image, emotional appeal and ownership that transcends mere transportation. … Yet, the 2013 Beetle is an attractive selection in its own right, with all the mechanical, technological and feature benefits you would expect from Volkswagen." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "If you can look past the mileage, you may find the Beetle to be a very satisfying commuter car. It’s interesting both inside and out, the sunroof and painted interior trim are extremely pleasant, and what little wind noise there is can be easily drowned out by the excellent audio systems." -- Left Lane News (2012)

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Other Cars to Consider

The Ford Focus is available in sedan and hatchback body styles and reviewers say it has excellent handling and an upscale interior. It gets good fuel economy for the class, too.

The Mini Cooper is available as a hardtop or convertible, and like the Beetle, it has optional turbocharged engines. The Cooper also gets good fuel economy for the class, and reviewers say it offers superb handling.

Compare the Beetle, Focus and Cooper »

Details: 2014 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle seats four and has standard front-wheel drive. It’s available as a coupe or convertible and comes in four trims: 2.5L (base), R-Line, TDI and limited-edition GSR. The base model has a five-cylinder engine and a five-speed manual transmission; a six-speed automatic transmission is available. A turbocharged four-cylinder engine will become standard during the 2014 model year and replace the five-cylinder engine. Higher trims offer turbodiesel or turbocharged four-cylinder engines and come standard with a six-speed manual transmission and an optional six-speed automated manual transmission. The Beetle was redesigned for the 2012 model year, and since it sees few changes for 2014, this overview uses applicable research and reviews from 2012, 2013 and 2014.

See the full 2014 Volkswagen Beetle specs »

Review Last Updated: 5/12/14

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