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.
- 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 than conventional compact hatchbacks
- More expensive than competitors