2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Review

Used Beetle Convertible for sale
List Price Range:$22,488 - $25,887
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Volkswagen Beetle Convertible model years
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Edmunds' Expert Review

  • Stylish yet functional interior design
  • powerful turbocharged engines
  • more practical than other high-style small cars.
  • Less practical and more expensive than conventional compact hatchbacks
  • indifferent handling.

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle pays proper homage to an icon of the past while still offering thoroughly modern features and performance. It's a good pick if you want a coupe or convertible with a mix of fun and practicality.

Vehicle overview

Woodstock. Fahrvergnugen. That silly little bud vase. Ferdinand Porsche. Flower power. Austin Powers. Herbie. Your sister's car in college.

Now that we've got all the possible references to its illustrious two predecessors out of the way, the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle has a better chance to stand on its own. For, if you put aside its historic DNA, you're left with an intriguing compact car that strips away the function of a more conventional hatchback like the VW Golf in favor of distinctive styling inside and out. You also have one of the only affordable four-seat convertibles on the market.

Beneath its styling is essentially a mix-and-match of mechanical components, features and interior switchgear coming from the previous-generation Golf and current-generation Jetta. That's a good thing. Importantly, it shares its available engines, including the powerfully responsive and surprisingly efficient turbocharged 1.8-liter and 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines, with the Golf GTI and Jetta GLI. Unfortunately, the driving experience for Beetle is more in line with the disappointing Jetta -- even the R-Line model -- because of the car's lackluster handling and steering. Also, like the rest of the family, the Beetle's TDI diesel model is on hiatus as Volkswagen works to clean up its emissions system.

There are other issues to consider, including compromised rear visibility (especially in the convertible) and less rear passenger and cargo space than you'll find in a conventional hatchback like the Golf or even traditional coupes like the Kia Forte Koup and Scion tC. In its favor, though, the Beetle is indeed roomier and more useful than the other high-style compact coupes and convertibles it mainly competes with: the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. The Mini is sportier to drive and the 500 easier to park. Really, you can't go wrong here. But for a car with significant history backing it, well, the choice should be obvious.

2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible models

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle is a two-door hatchback or convertible. There are 1.8T and R-Line models that are further broken down into S, SE and SEL trim levels.

The base S coupe comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping leather-wrapped steering wheel, a 50/50-split folding rear seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 5-inch touchscreen interface and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD player, auxiliary audio jack, USB port and a media player interface. There is no R-Line S coupe.

The 1.8T SE coupe adds 17-inch wheels, a rearview camera, heated front seats, "V-Tex" premium vinyl upholstery, three-color ambient lighting, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, VW "Car-Net" smartphone integration features and satellite radio. The R-Line SE is equipped similarly, but has a sport-tuned suspension, 18-inch wheels, foglights, special exterior and interior styling elements, upgraded gauges, sport seats and "sport cloth" upholstery.

The 1.8T SEL coupe builds on the 1.8T SE with 18-inch wheels, a panoramic sunroof, a blind-spot warning system, a navigation system, extra Car-Net functions and on the coupe, keyless ignition and entry. The R-Line SEL differs with 19-inch wheels, automatic bi-xenon headlights, LED running lights, leather upholstery, a Fender premium audio system and the R-Line SE's various performance and styling upgrades.

The Beetle Convertible 1.8T S differs from its coupe counterpart with 17-inch wheels, a power-retractable roof, heated front seats, "V-Tex" upholstery and three-color ambient lighting. There is also an R-Line S convertible that adds the appropriate performance and styling upgrades. The 1.8T SE and R-Line SE convertibles differ only from their coupe counterparts with the addition of keyless ignition and entry. The 1.8T and R-Line SEL are identically equipped to their coupe counterparts.

The Lighting package adds bi-xenon headlights and LED running lights.

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2016 Highlights

The latest Volkswagen touchscreen interface is standard throughout the Beetle lineup, while all but the new 1.8T S base model get the new VW Car-Net App-Connect smartphone connectivity features. The lineup has also been simplified, with trim levels replacing the previous grouping of trim levels and packages. A new lighting package debuts and there are new colors for the fashion-oriented Beetle. Finally, the Beetle TDI is unlikely to be sold for 2016 as Volkswagen works to make its diesel-powered engine emissions-compliant.

Performance & mpg

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T models are powered by the turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard on the SE coupe; a six-speed automatic is optional on that trim and standard on every other coupe and convertible trim. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 28 mpg combined (25 city/34 highway) with either transmission or body style. During Edmunds performance testing, a convertible Beetle 1.8T accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.6 seconds, which is quicker than average for the segment.

Beetle R-Line models have a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder good for 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automated manual (DSG) is standard; a traditional six-speed manual is optional on the coupe. Regardless of body style, EPA-estimated fuel economy is 27 mpg combined (24/31) with the manual and 26 (23/31) with DSG.

Safety

Every 2016 Beetle comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is standard on SE trims and a blind-spot warning system is standard on the SEL. The Car-Net Security and Service emergency communication functions come standard on SE and SEL trims, and include automatic crash notification, roadside assistance, stolen vehicle location, remote door unlocking and geo-fencing (which allows parents to set boundaries for teenage drivers).

In government crash tests, the Beetle coupe received five out of five stars for overall and side crash protection, and four stars for frontal protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) gave the coupe its top "Good" rating in its moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. In IIHS's small-overlap frontal-offset test, the Beetle scored a rating of "Marginal," the second lowest rating. The seat and head restraints were rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear-end impacts.

During Edmunds testing, a convertible Beetle 1.8T came to a stop from 60 mph in 124 feet, which is about average for the segment.

Driving

We're fond of the Beetle's two available engines. The turbocharged 1.8-liter engine is smooth, powerful and provides respectable fuel economy. The more powerful engine in the Beetle R-Line has even more punch and sounds great. The manual transmissions are quite possibly the most easily shifted do-it-yourself transmissions around, while the R-Line's sophisticated DSG gearbox is a nice compromise for those who want the convenience of an automatic with much of the performance and control of a manual. That said, the DSG's responses can be frustratingly slow when accelerating from a stop or in slow-moving traffic.

The Beetle's handling is respectably adept, though the car's overall abilities and steering response are well short of what you'll get from a Volkswagen Golf, let alone a Golf GTI or a Mini Cooper. When just cruising on city streets or on the highway, however, the Beetle is pretty comfortable. Even the R-Line's sport suspension shrugs off bumps and ruts in the road. You'll notice the road's imperfections, but there's no harshness to speak of, while road noise is noticeable but not intrusive. All things considered, the Beetle is a pleasing long-distance road trip companion.

Interior

From a basic design perspective, the 2016 VW Beetle bears a stronger resemblance to the original Love Bug than the more recent and rather oddball retro successor. From a functional perspective, however, it pleasingly has the features, controls and construction that are 100 percent contemporary. There are a few harder plastics here and there than you'll find in the Volkswagen Golf, but it is certainly more visually interesting than its conventional hatchback sibling.

For 2016, every Beetle gains a new touchscreen interface that represents a step up from VW's previous outdated systems. Even the base S model has a 5-inch touchscreen, while the SE trim and above have a 6.3-inch touchscreen. It's easier to use than the knob-based controller setup in the Mini Cooper and more comprehensive than anything you'll find in the Fiat 500.

Despite its seemingly low roof line, the Beetle still provides plenty of room for tall drivers, and most people will find the front seats pretty comfortable. The rear seat also has decent headroom. Legroom in back is fairly tight, but it's still a little more than what you'll get from most rivals.

The Beetle coupe has 15.4 cubic feet of cargo space in the trunk, which on paper is what you'd get in a midsize sedan, but is slightly misleading since much of that extra space is the result of the extra vertical space granted by the hatchback. At the same time, though, that hatchback cargo design allows for a useful 30 cubic feet of maximum cargo space (with the rear seats folded) that makes it a bit more versatile than a small sedan. The convertible cuts maximum cargo capacity to just 7.1 cubic feet. That is around 1-2 cubic feet more than rival convertibles, but loading luggage or other items can be difficult because of the Beetle convertible's awkward, upright trunk opening.

The convertible's power-retractable soft top folds down in about 10 seconds and it can be operated at speeds up to 31 mph. Problematically, though, the retracted soft top sits on top of the rear deck lid, limiting rear visibility.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

5 out of 5 stars
Automotive antidepressant!
McLaurin,10/23/2016
1.8T S 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
My VW Beetle Convertible is perfect in the city for urban driving while also being remarkably comfortable and well suited to the highway for long trips. It has just enough features to make it feel modern without going overboard and having too much gimmickry and engineering. The styling is excellent, interior room is abundant (even for tall drivers like me), and performance is peppy and smooth as silk. I regard this car as underrated and under-appreciated by the reviewers. Anyone who drives it for even one day will be grinning from ear to ear.
5 out of 5 stars
sorry to see you go
warren markowitz,10/05/2018
R-Line SE PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
well engineered, fun to drive, no major mechanical problems. if they were to make a 2019 model i would lease again
5 out of 5 stars
Gram Team's car
Grams,01/07/2019
1.8T Denim 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Love the car! Have had 5 now! Rides great, fun, great gas mileage.
5 out of 5 stars
Volks
Mort,07/07/2018
1.8T Denim PZEV 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Great Car for younger Driver.

More about the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible Overview

The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible is offered in the following submodels: Beetle Convertible. Available styles include R-Line SE 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line S 2dr Convertible (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6AM), R-Line SE PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line S PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line S 2dr Convertible (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6M), R-Line SE PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line S PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line SE 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line SEL PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line SEL PZEV 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), R-Line SEL 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6M), R-Line SEL 2dr Convertible (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 1.8T SEL PZEV 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T SEL 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T SE 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T SE PZEV 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T Denim PZEV 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T Denim 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T S 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), and 1.8T S PZEV 2dr Convertible (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A). Pre-owned Volkswagen Beetle Convertible models are available with a 2.0 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 210 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible comes with front wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed automated manual. The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible comes with a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. basic warranty, a 3 yr./ 36000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T S PZEV is priced between $22,488 and$25,550 with odometer readings between 38045 and49970 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T Denim PZEV is priced between $25,520 and$25,667 with odometer readings between 45728 and46049 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible 1.8T Denim is priced between $25,887 and$25,887 with odometer readings between 39093 and39093 miles.

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Which used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertibles are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible for sale near. There are currently 6 used and CPO 2016 Beetle Convertibles listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $22,488 and mileage as low as 38045 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible.

Can't find a used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertibles you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Volkswagen Beetle Convertible for sale - 11 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $10,348.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 10 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $11,226.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Beetle Convertible for sale - 8 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $17,675.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 7 great deals out of 10 listings starting at $16,688.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Convertible?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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