2016 Volkswagen Beetle Review

Pros & Cons

  • Stylish interior design
  • both available engines offer a nice mix of power and fuel economy
  • more practical than other high-style small cars.
  • Less practical and more expensive than conventional compact hatchbacks.
Other years
List Price Range
$15,000 - $17,500

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Edmunds' Expert Review

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle will get you where you want to go, but it does so in a way that will bring a smile to your face. We like the Beetle's style and personality and the way it drives down the road. Read what else we like about this well-known coupe (or convertible) below.

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.

Few cars have more of a familiar shape than the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle.

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 models

The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle is a two-door hatchback or convertible. Both are available with two engine choices, which Volkswagen refers to as 1.8T and R-Line. 1.8T coupe models are available in Wolfsburg Edition, S SE, and SEL trim levels, while the R-Line coupe is available in SE and SEL trims. Regardless of engine, the convertible is available in S, SE and SEL trims. There are also two special-edition Beetles available: the Dune coupe (based on the 1.8T SE) and Denim convertible (based on the 1.8T S).

The base Wolfsburg Edition coupe comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, full power accessories, cruise control, air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver seat with manual lumbar support, heated front seats, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, "V-Tex" premium vinyl upholstery, a 50/50-split folding rear seat, 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.

The S coupe adds automatic headlights, a rear spoiler, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and cloth upholstery. Note that this is the only Beetle without lumbar support for the driver seat or heated front seats.

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

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 and the R-Line SE's various performance and styling upgrades.

The Dune coupe is equipped similarly to the SE, and features 18-inch wheels, a comfort-oriented suspension, unique exterior styling, LED taillights, sport seats, "V-Tex" upholstery with cloth inserts, and front and rear parking sensors.

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. The Denim version adds different wheels, sport seats, cloth seat inserts and unique styling upgrades. 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. The Dune can be ordered with a Technology package that adds a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry and ignition and a Fender premium audio system.

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.

It says "Turbo" on the back, but in fact all 2016 Beetles are turbocharged.

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 Wolfsburg Edition 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 2016 Volkswagen Beetle.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

I drove a truck for 10 years
Thomas Pagano,03/02/2018
R-Line SE 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM)
Rline check. 6 Speed manual. Check. Killer Stereo. Check. Turbo. Check. Horsepower Uniqueness from EVERY OTHER car on the road. Check. $17000 for a used 1 year old with 20K miles on it. Check. MPG. Check. Here's the deal folks...you aren't driving a more fun, reliable, affordable car on the market. And I looked at ALL of them. Unfortunately at the time, there we no Convertibles for sale used. I put this car up against Audi's and BMWs. But go ahead and spend the money on those others if trying to impress the rest of the road is your thing. For me, I look at the Audi and think...what a collosal waste of money. I don't care HOW good that car is. The ONLY NEGATIVE THING I HAVE TO SAY ABOUT THIS CAR IS YOU NEED TO REALLY PAY ATTENTION WHEN BACKING UP. VISIBILITY ISNT GOOD. I've come to use the camera, which is against my nature. I just pay double attention when backing up. Here is a an idea of how much I like this car. I LOVE MY MOTORCYCLE, and I have driven this instead ON MANY OCCASIONS and it had nothing to do with weather or storage. It had to do with FUN OF DRIVING.
The most perfect vehicle you will ever have
17db,09/11/2016
R-Line SEL PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6AM)
This car is the perfect car for a single person. I'm not saying this as my own opinion either. My 7 friends and I, have had older beetles and now we all have 2015 or 2016 beetles, all in different colors (one has a Dune, a few have the basic and the rest have the R lines). from my experience, the beetle is and always has been the best car. Don't get me wrong, I disliked my first beetle in 2001, thought it was very ugly but my friend gave it to me for free. And that was the most reliable and the fastest car I've had. That car lasted me until I decided to get a brand new 2016 beetle. The beetle is great in winter and has all the features needed: heated seats/mirrors, navigation, backup camera, ESP/ABS, sunroof....and there's a lot more. It is quick and small and most people underestimate this car, they think it's a girly car. But me and my friends have always had beetles, along with second cars for fun, and the beetle is always the best everyday car. Also, with a brighter beetle, you're less likely to get pulled over! I've gotten away with so much in this car that I didn't get away with in my mustang. So right now I own a Dune Beetle, a GSR and a RLine (after selling my mustang for the GSR). I also always get compliments on my car and everyone wants to ride in it. All the 2016 and 2015 beetles ride nice, smooth, and stable, you can't hear anything outside really and the car doesn't jiggle like the older models. I have had no problems with my beetles and don't even need winter tir in winter! Get this car!
Reminds me of our 1959 Kaefer
John Baril,12/25/2016
1.8T S PZEV 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
I traded a '16 Wolfsburg Edition (a base model with heated leatherette seats and monster mats) for a '16 Classic (also a base model, but with Apple Connect, multi-function steering wheel and a fabulous retro interior which features a grey and white check cloth seating with surrounding saddle-colored leatherette). It also has retro wheels, which are cool. I can't think of any car (and I used to own a Mini base model) more suited for a one- or two-person family and especially a commuter car. It's cool, still a bit rare, the 1.8L turbo goes like stink and drives wonderfully. Plus, with $5000+ off MSRP for the many remaining '16s, a bargain. Leases are great too. Around Metro Colorado you can lease a Wolfsburg for $159/mo/48 months/10K--there happen to be several still around at one particular dealership. Anyway, I love it and the interior reminds me of our '59 Beetle which we owned in the '60s when I grew up in Holland.
Puts a smile on my face!
Polly Hinds,06/02/2017
1.8T S 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A)
Every time I get in my Beetle, it puts a smile on my face! Tons of style in this Classic, along with acceleration and mileage. I love this car... first new car I have purchased in 19 years. The only poor feature in this car is the lack of the ability to recline the front seats-It is really a little annoying for long distance travel with passengers.

Features & Specs

MPG
24 city / 31 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
25 city / 34 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
25 city / 34 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed shiftable automatic
Gas
170 hp @ 4800 rpm
MPG
23 city / 31 hwy
Seats 4
6-speed manual
Gas
210 hp @ 5300 rpm
See all Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle features & specs

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    Overall4 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger4 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    Overall5 / 5
  • Side Barrier Rating
    Overall5 / 5
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front Seat5 / 5
    Back Seat5 / 5
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of Rollover10.5%
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Good
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle

Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle Overview

The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle is offered in the following submodels: Beetle Hatchback. Available styles include 1.8T Dune PZEV 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T SE PZEV 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T S PZEV 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line SE 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6M), 1.8T SEL 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line SEL 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6AM), R-Line SEL PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6AM), R-Line SE PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), 1.8T Wolfsburg Edition 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T S 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line SE PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6M), 1.8T SE 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), 1.8T Dune 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line SEL 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6M), 1.8T SE PZEV 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 5M), 1.8T SE 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T SEL PZEV 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line SE 2dr Hatchback (2.0L 4cyl Turbo 6AM), and R-Line SEL PZEV 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6M).

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

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Dune PZEV is priced between $17,500 and$17,500 with odometer readings between 48546 and48546 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T S PZEV is priced between $15,000 and$15,000 with odometer readings between 27157 and27157 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2016 Volkswagen Beetles 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 for sale near. There are currently 2 used and CPO 2016 Beetles listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,000 and mileage as low as 27157 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.

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

Find a used Volkswagen Beetle for sale - 3 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $14,881.

Find a used Volkswagen for sale - 6 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $20,089.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen Beetle for sale - 5 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $13,440.

Find a used certified pre-owned Volkswagen for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $19,446.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 Volkswagen Beetle?

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.

Check out Volkswagen lease specials
Check out Volkswagen Beetle lease specials