2017 Volkswagen Beetle
Which Beetle does Edmunds recommend?
Edmunds' Expert Review
Overall rating3.5 / 5
The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle stakes out a pleasant middle ground among the few retro-themed hatchbacks that we consider its competition. It's stylish but also very functional and easy to drive. If you're seeking a fun retromobile in that Goldilocks zone, the VW Beetle should be on your short list.
In comparison, the Mini Cooper has plenty of charm, but it's more expensive than a similarly appointed Beetle. There's also the Fiat 500, which is quite a bit less expensive, but its build quality and performance could lead to disappointment.
This year, the Beetle returns with only a few minor changes. 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 fucshia paint job and quaint plaid interior, the returning Dune harkens back to the Baja Bugs of the 1970s, and the 2.0T R-Line should appeal to more performance-oriented drivers.
Thankfully, the charm and personality of the 2017 Beetle don't mean you need to sacrifice elsewhere. It's plenty capable, comfortable and convenient. The bigger concern may be price — the Beetle does cost a bit more than some of its other retro-themed rivals, but it likely won't be so great as to kill a deal. With seven available trim levels, there's probably one in your budget.
Trim levels & features
The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle two-door hatchback is available in seven trim levels, starting with the 1.8T S and then climbing to the 1.8T Classic, 1.8 SE, a new #PinkBeetle limited edition, 1.8T Dune, 1.8 SEL and 2.0T R-Line SEL. The 1.8 models (including the #PinkBeetle) are powered by a turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine (170 horsepower, 184 pound-feet of torque) while the 2.0T R-Line receives a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine (210 hp, 207 lb-ft). A six-speed automatic transmission is standard except on the 2.0T R-Line, which receives a quicker-shifting six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.
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. The real outlier is the 2.0T R-Line model that has a greater focus on performance.
Standard feature highlights for the base 1.8T S trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, heated mirrors, a rear spoiler, cruise control, air conditioning, cloth upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 50/50-split folding rear seats, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, 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, lumbar adjustments for the front seats, heated front seats, VW Car-Net smartphone integration, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, a navigation system, and satellite and HD radio. This model does not come with the automatic headlights or the auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Our favorite Beetle is the 1.8T SE. You get the automatic headlights and auto-dimming mirror along with keyless entry and ignition, imitation-leather upholstery and color-adjustable ambient interior lighting. The SE does not include the navigation system, but given the infotainment system's robust smartphone app integration systems, you're unlikely to miss it.
The limited-edition #PinkBeetle is appointed similarly to the 1.8 SE and is only available in a metallic fucshia exterior color. Other additions include xenon headlights, LED running lights and taillights and unique plaid upholstery. The 1.8T Dune model is also similar to the 1.8 SE trim but adds unique exterior styling elements, LED taillights, a slightly raised suspension and cloth/leatherette upholstered sport seats. It does not include the keyless entry/ignition, however.
At the top of the Beetle line is the loaded 1.8 SEL. Compared to the SE, it has 18-inch wheels, a sunroof, 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 Beetle 2.0T R-Line SEL starts with the 1.8T SEL's features and adds 20-inch wheels with summer performance tires, a sport-tuned suspension, xenon headlights, foglights with cornering lights, a sunroof, unique exterior and interior styling treatments, shift paddles mounted to the steering wheel and leather upholstery.
2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Dune (turbo 1.8L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD)
NOTE: This test was conducted on the 2016 Volkswagen Beetle 1.8T Dune, which differs from other 1.8T Beetles by the nature of its taller ride height and wider track that will likely affect handling and ride comfort. Our other findings remain broadly applicable to other Beetle models.
Noise & vibration4.5
Ease of use4
Getting in/getting out3
Audio & navigation3
Most helpful consumer reviews
Features & Specs
Our experts’ favorite Beetle safety features:
- VW Car-Net
- Includes automatic crash notification and roadside assistance as well as some convenience features built into a smartphone app.
- Blind-Spot Monitor
- Alerts you if there's a vehicle in your blind spot. It includes rear cross-traffic alert, too.
- Automatic Post-Collision Braking System
- Automatically applies the brakes in the event of a collision, reducing the likelihood of a secondary impact.
2017 Volkswagen Beetle for Sale
The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle stakes out a pleasant middle ground between style and functionality. Easy to drive, well built and visually distinctive, the Beetle allows drivers to enjoy its charms without sacrificing day-to-day livability.
Most Beetles get Volkswagen's turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine, which delivers 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque and drives the front wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. It's hard to find fault with this powertrain, which delivers stronger passing power than you might expect given its modest output numbers. If you want more, though, there's an available turbocharged 2.0-liter engine that serves up 210 hp and 207 lb-ft of torque and comes with a quicker-shifting six-speed, dual-clutch automatic. EPA fuel economy estimates are 28 mpg combined for the base engine and 26 mpg for the more powerful 2.0-liter.
Volkswagen offers the Beetle in seven trim levels, starting with the 1.8T S and then climbing to the 1.8T Classic, 1.8 SE, a new #PinkBeetle limited edition, 1.8T Dune, 1.8 SEL and 2.0T R-Line SEL.
Standard feature highlights for the base 1.8T S trim include 16-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a 5-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth and an eight-speaker sound system. The 1.8T Classic adds a few extra features including a bigger touchscreen and a navigation system. You get a few more features with the 1.8 SE, while the limited-edition #PinkBeetle is appointed similarly to the 1.8 SE but is only available in a metallic fuchsia exterior color.
The 1.8T Dune model is also similar to the 1.8 SE trim but adds unique exterior styling elements. At the top of the Beetle line is the loaded 1.8 SEL. With the Beetle 2.0T R-Line SEL, you get 20-inch wheels, a sport-tuned suspension, xenon headlights, and unique exterior and interior styling treatments.
No matter the version, the Beetle is decent to drive, with steering that feels light around town and firm on the open road. Visibility is limited to the rear, but the standard-fit rearview camera and front and rear parking sensors make it easy to maneuver in tight spaces. The Dune model rides higher than other Beetles, while the R-Line feels more tidy around turns. Overall, none of the Beetles are all that engaging to drive.
That said, we like the practical aspects: The seats are supportive, the ride is comfortable (even on the more firmly sprung R-Line), and the big windows make the cabin feel bright and airy. Headroom is fantastic for front seat passengers; backseaters don't make out so well in either the head- or legroom department, but the seat itself is reasonably comfortable. Storage space for odds and ends is limited, but the trunk is decent and the opening is large.
For a small car with a combination of fun-loving flair and daily-driver utility, you can't do much better than the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle. Use Edmunds to help find the perfect one for you.
2017 Volkswagen Beetle Overview
The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle is offered in the following submodels: . Available styles include 1.8T Classic 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T S 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T SE 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T Dune 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), 1.8T SEL 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A), R-Line SEL 2dr Hatchback (2.0L Turbo 4cyl 6AM), and #PinkBeetle 2dr Hatchback (1.8L 4cyl Turbo 6A).
What do people think of the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle?
Consumer ratings and reviews are also available for the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle and all its trim types. Overall, Edmunds users rate the 2017 Beetle 4 on a scale of 1 to 5 stars. Edmunds consumer reviews allow users to sift through aggregated consumer reviews to understand what other drivers are saying about any vehicle in our database. Detailed rating breakdowns (including performance, comfort, value, interior, exterior design, build quality, and reliability) are available as well to provide shoppers with a comprehensive understanding of why customers like the 2017 Beetle.
Edmunds Expert Reviews
Edmunds experts have compiled a robust series of ratings and reviews for the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle and all model years in our database. Our rich content includes expert reviews and recommendations for the 2017 Beetle featuring deep dives into trim levels and features, performance, mpg, safety, interior, and driving. Edmunds also offers expert ratings, road test and performance data, long-term road tests, first-drive reviews, video reviews and more.
Our 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.
Which 2017 Volkswagen Beetles are available in my area?
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Should I lease or buy a 2017 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.