The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle stakes out a pleasant middle ground among the few retro-themed convertibles that we consider its competition. It's stylish but also very functional and easy to drive. If you're seeking a fun retromobile, the VW Beetle should be on your short list.
We're now well into the second generation of the Beetle's revival and the lineup is just as strong as it's ever been. The more typical trim levels remain, bolstered by a few models to keep things interesting. The new #PinkBeetle (not associated with breast cancer awareness organizations) brings a funky fuchsia paint job and quaint plaid interior and the returning Dune harkens back to the Baja Bugs of the 1970s.
Thankfully, the charm and personality of the Beetle don't mean you need to sacrifice elsewhere. It's plenty capable, comfortable and convenient. The bigger concern may be price, as the Beetle does cost a bit more than some of its other nouveau-retro rivals, but it likely won't be so great as to kill a deal. With six available trim levels, there's probably one in your budget.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle is a two-door convertible that is available in six trim levels, starting with the 1.8T S and climbing to the 1.8 SE, 1.8 SEL, 1.8T Classic, 1.8T Dune and a new #PinkBeetle limited edition. All of these models are powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (170 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque) paired with a six-speed automatic transmission that sends power to the front wheels.
For the most part, successive trim levels add more comfort and technology features, but even the base 1.8T S comes with a solid list of standard items.
Standard feature highlights for the base 1.8T S trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a power-folding fabric top with a glass rear window, a rear spoiler, keyless remote entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, imitation-leather upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, heated front seats, 50/50-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, color-adjustable ambient interior lighting, a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth phone and streaming audio, and an eight-speaker CD player with auxiliary and USB input.
The 1.8T Classic adds 17-inch wheels, cloth and imitation-leather upholstery, VW Car-Net smartphone integration, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, and HD and satellite radio. This model does not come with the ambient lighting.
The 1.8T SE includes the ambient lighting, keyless entry and ignition and full imitation-leather upholstery, but it does not include the navigation system. The 1.8 SEL trim adds 18-inch wheels, front and rear parking sensors, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, dual-zone automatic climate control, the navigation system and a Fender premium audio system.
The limited edition #PinkBeetle is appointed similarly to the 1.8 SE and is only available in a metallic fuchsia exterior color. Other additions include 18-inch wheels xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights, and unique plaid upholstery. The auto-dimming mirror is not included. The 1.8T Dune model is also similar to the 1.8 SE trim but adds 18-inch wheels, unique exterior styling elements, LED taillights, front and rear parking sensors, a slightly raised suspension, and cloth- and imitation-leather-upholstered sport seats. It does not include the keyless entry and ignition, however.
Some features are available as options on supporting trim levels.
2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Dune (turbo 1.8L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD)
NOTE: This review utilizes information and impressions of a 2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Dune hatchback and a 2014 Beetle Convertible R-Line (which is no longer available). Differences between these test vehicles and the typical 1.8T Beetle convertible are likely related to handling and ride comfort, but our other findings remain broadly applicable.
noise & vibration
ease of use
getting in/getting out
audio & navigation
edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.