2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test - MPG

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Long-Term Road Test

  • Full Review
  • Pricing & Specs
  • Road Tests (1)
  • Comparison
  • Long-Term

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Fuel Economy Update for April

May 2, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

We drove the VW Beetle over 1,200 miles in the month of April. A large portion of the miles fell during a short vacation to the San Francisco Bay area. As luck would have it, this was probably the last long trip we'll take in the Beetle before it's year with us concludes.

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Fuel Economy Update for March

April 3, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

Another month and another fuel economy update for our boosted 2012 Volkswagen Beetle. The month of March saw us wind nearly 1,000 miles onto the odometer as well as up the lifetime average from 23.9 to 24.2 miles per gallon.

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle: I want TDI, not TSI

March 12, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

Variety is one of the better aspects of the current generation Volkswagen Beetle. You can order it as a coupe or convertible. Next you have the choice of three engines: a 2.5-liter five-cylinder, a 2.0-liter Turbo like our long-term car, and a 2.0-liter Turbo Diesel. If it were my money, I'd choose the Beetle TDI. Here's why.

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Fuel Economy Update for February

March 4, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

We spun our feisty Beetle Turbo's odometer nearly 1,200 additional miles during February, a month which also saw a couple of milestones. One was expected, as we hit the 15,000-mile mark. The other was a pleasant surprise.

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Fuel Economy Update for January

February 4, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

We drove our VW Beetle Turbo just 617 miles this month. That's off-pace for us, but this is also coming after a three-month spell during which we covered some ground. From October to December, we racked up 6,300 miles. So the Beetle earned a bit of a rest this month.

Our best MPG this month was 30.7, which is just shy of our best overall MPG in our time with the car (30.9). Over the course of 617 miles this month, including a road trip up the central California coast, driving around with a bambino in the backseat, and a 10,000-mile oil change and service, we averaged 23.2 miles per gallon of 91 octane, pretty close to the Beetle's 25 mpg combined EPA rating.

Dan Frio, Automotive Editor @ 14,148 miles

Worst Fill MPG: 15.8
Best Fill MPG: 30.9
Average Lifetime MPG: 23.8
EPA MPG Rating (City/Highway/Combined): 22 city/30 highway/25 combined
Best Range: 423.5
Current Odometer: 14,148

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Central Coast Road Trip

January 2, 2013

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo

I've been meaning to drive our long-term Volkswagen Beetle Turbo on a road trip for quite a while. Though I'm not particularly a fan of it around town due to the steering, stiff-legged ride and delayed powertrain responses, I also know that Volkswagens usually come into their own on longer journeys.

With such a longer journey on the docket for the New Years long weekend, I finally got my chance. Very much mimicking our trip in the Mustang last year, Senora Riswick and I would take the 101 up the coast to Atascadero and Paso Robles for a little scenery, a little food and some post-drive wine tasting. Unlike last year, though, we would be detouring over to the Pacific Coast Highway for a visit to Hearst Castle.

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Road Trip Wrap-Up

December 07, 2012

VW Beetle Cleaned Up.jpg
After five days in the 2012 Volkswagen Beetle I've gotten to know it pretty well. Basically, I love the way it drives.

Here are a few specific pets and pet peeves to share.

Here's what I like:

  • The looks, at least in black.
  • The throaty baritone exhaust note.
  • The look of the interior, except that the shiny black surfaces are dust magnets.
  • The handling, though the suspension might be too firm for some.
  • The fuel efficiency. I got about 33 mpg on the open road.
  • Voice recognition dialing.

Here's what I don't like:

  • The price: $28,265 is too much for this car. Maybe a four door GTI instead.
  • Having to fill up with 91 octane.
  • Poor rear visibility.
  • Limited cargo space.

Philip Reed, Edmunds Senior Consumer Advice Editor @ 11,893 miles

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Fuel Economy Report from the New Mexico Road Trip

November 05, 2012


Before my trip to New Mexico, bankerdanny commented, "Use premium." At the time, I was puzzled... I know our Beetle takes 91 octane; there's a label right there on the fuel door and it had never occurred to me to put in lower octane fuel. But Danny's words turned out to be prophetic.

See, on the drive home, I should have fueled up our long-term 2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo in Seligman, Arizona. There was a Chevron right there when I exited Interstate 40 for my Route 66 detour to Kingman. The car's gauge was showing 1/8 of a tank at that point, and I don't know why I didn't stop. I remember thinking there would be plenty of places to stop on old U.S. 66. Man, was I naive.

The low fuel light had already been on for a bit when I pulled into this station. It looked promising: Open 24 hours, decal on the pumps for 91 octane, credit card reader on pump. When I looked more closely, there was a piece of paper taped to the pump mentioning a broken credit card reader and "we only have 87." Instead of hoofing it inside and settling for regular, I pulled back out onto the road and continued on to the next town, which was about 10 or 15 miles down the road. I'll be able to buy premium there, I told myself.

I pulled into town and came upon a school, houses, various municipal services, but no gas station. Now I was starting to worry. My portable Garmin Nuvi nav system indicated that the nearest gas station was over 40 miles away in Kingman.

Fortunately, I also came upon some get out the vote organizers in the town. "I'm already registered and I promise to vote in my town on Election Day," I told them. They laughed. "Would you be able to direct me to the nearest gas station?"

"Yeah, go to the lodge seven miles down the road."

Major relief. I didn't know what she meant by the "the lodge," but Truxton Station is what I found.

It was a gas station of the old school. Full service. Two men came out, one to pump my gas, the other to wash the windshield with care. "No chance you have 91, right?" I asked. They laughed. Nope, 87 only, and the asking price was about a dollar above the typical asking price for a gallon of 91 in Arizona. You can see how much I paid for 14.1 gallons. The Beetle's tank is listed at 14.5 gallons, and this is definitely the most fuel we've ever put in the car during a fill-up. Also the longest tank at 423.5 miles

About 5 miles down the road, I saw a big Union 76 sphere looming over a hillside. Darn, I could've had premium... and then I saw the weed-infested station, obviously closed down for at least 10 years. I didn't see another viable gas station for 30 miles.

By now, the Beetle has evacuated most of the inferior 87 octane fuel, but these are my numbers for the trip. I can't easily explain why my first tank returned such low mpg, but I suspect a short fill on the fuel-up immediately preceding it.




per Fill-up





















Total trip mileage was 1,881.7 miles, and the Beetle averaged 28.6 mpg against an EPA rating of 22 city/30 highway/25 combined. My average mpg wasn't stellar, but bear in mind that the speed limit is 75 mph on I-40 and I-25 through most of Arizona and New Mexico, and that undoubtedly increased consumption slightly.

Before the U.S. 66 gas station adventure, I stopped for pie at the Pine Country Restaurant in Williams, Arizona. Thanks to bkarlan for the suggestion.

And not far from Seligman, I came upon the Romney Motel. There was no sign of the candidate or his press corps.

Erin Riches, Senior Editor @ 9,121 miles

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle Turbo: Be a Sport

October 22, 2012

Be a sport.jpg

For around-town driving and until you get up to cruising speed on the freeway, Sport mode is really the only way to fly in the Beetle. I know chronic use of Sport affects fuel economy, but without it, the car is considerably less fun to drive.

After looking at the most recent Big List of Fuel Economy, I suspect I'm not the only driver who's shifting into Sport. We're getting 21.3 mpg in the car. The EPA's combined figure is 25 mpg. Keep in mind that the Beetle takes 91 octane, so our Sport habit is costing us extra.

Maybe a compromise is in order: Sedate use of Drive during the week, party with Sport on the weekend. If this was your car, would that work for you?

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @6,425 miles

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle: White Lies in the Red Zone

September 17, 2012

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

It's no secret that Scott Oldham likes a walk on the wild side (our new Buick Regal Grand National being Exhibit One). So it didn't bother him to drive down our long-term Lexus GS 350 to zero range.

The Lachnit household, on the other hand, is decidedly mild side. When the Beetle flashed its yellow "reserve fuel" light yesterday and said we had about five miles of range left, we exited the freeway and filled up. The car has a tank of "about" 14.5 gallons, according to the owner's manual, including two gallons of reserve. We pumped 13.35 gallons. We've been averaging 21 mpg in the Beetle. At its worst, we got 16.3 mpg, so we actually had somewhere between 18.7 and 27.6 miles of range left, not five.

It's a nanny gauge, for sure. But I don't mind it when it comes to fuel, where consumption varies and the consequences of running out are no fun.  

Carroll Lachnit, Features Editor @5,691 miles

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle: My What a Big Fuel Gauge You Have

August 02, 2012


Yes, that's the first thing that struck me when I got in our Beetle for the first time. No idea why really, it's just huge. Big as the tach in fact, not sure I've ever seen that before.

That oddity aside, I was reminded how awesome VW's 2.0-liter turbo engine is once again. We had essentially the same engine in our Audi A4 Avant awhile back and it was great in that car, too. Not much has changed. It's smooth, has plenty of power and doesn't sound half bad for a four-cylinder. The mileage figures haven't been great overall, but that should improve as the mileage piles up. Too bad the new Passat doesn't offer the same engine, that would be a nice combo.

Ed Hellwig, Editor, Inside Line

See full article and comment.

2012 Volkswagen Beetle: Best MPG So Far

July 06, 2012


For a Beetle fill-up a couple days ago we registered 30.9 mpg, the Beetle's best fuel economy so far. I mention this mostly because a few people commented on the Beetle's lackluster listed average (21.2 mpg) in our most recent Big List of Fuel Economy for June. One 30 mpg tank (the EPA highway estimate is also 30 mpg) is not going to significantly raise that average, but it at least does show the car can is capable of meeting an EPA estimate.

This particular tank was indeed all highway driving. It's the same 230-mile route I've used to observe optimized fuel economy in two other VW products, our 2011 Jetta TDI (46.1 mpg) and 2010 GTI (33.5 mpg).

Unlike those trips, though, I didn't set out with a fuel economy goal for the Beetle. I pretty much just drove, which meant 70+ mph speeds and air conditioning on. Seeing it all now, I wish I had made the attempt for better economy. Well, maybe next time.

Brent Romans, Senior Automotive Editor

See full article and comment.

Leave a Comment

Past Long-Term Road Tests