By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.3
The 2013 Volkswagen Beetle is the kind of car you buy not because you need it, but because you absolutely want it. Nowhere is this reality more strongly represented than in the new Beetle Convertible. As a "boutique" car, the VW Beetle delivers heavily on style, image, emotional appeal and ownership that transcend mere transportation. This niche segment could reasonably include the likes of the Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, Hyundai Veloster, and even the sibling VW GTI. Yet, the 2013 Beetle is an attractive selection in its own right, with all the mechanical, technological and feature benefits you would expect from Volkswagen. It's powered by a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder, a 2.0-liter turbo-4 powerhouse or a new 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel, and wrapped in the most familiar shape on the road.
If you're attracted to the striking shape – as we certainly are – you can't help liking the 2013 VW Beetle. Inside and out, it's a constant reminder that you're making an unmistakable style statement.
If you want an economical 2-door with plenty of room for four occupants and all their stuff, there are better choices than the 2013 Beetle. The back seat is a little cramped, the low roof line detracts from interior room, the sleek shape cuts into trunk capacity, and there are certainly less-expensive alternatives.
Diesel power comes to the Beetle for 2013. Available in hardtop and convertible models, Volkswagen's 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine posts some impressive numbers: 236 lb-ft of torque and 28/41 city/highway mpg. Also, the Beetle Fender Edition, a special trim package presented in cooperation with the iconic electric-guitar maker, is currently available through dealer order.
Driving Impressions Driving the 2013 Beetle, we are both entertained and disappointed. Entertained, because it does everything well: All controls feel direct and responsive, and the behavior is stable and refined. Disappointed,...because we wish this latest iteration of the Beetle had the more spirited dynamics of VW's GTI, one of our all-time favorites. The Beetle seems tuned for a softer ride and less aggressive handling, though truthfully, most drivers won't mind. The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder base engine is adequate, but we prefer the 2.0-liter turbo-4, which delivers lusty performance with little penalty in fuel economy. The new diesel engine changes the character of the car some, as its thrust lives low in the rev bend, but it's still entertaining. The 2013 VW Beetle feels like one solid piece whether you're going down the road or carving up mountain passes.
Too often, efforts to evoke the past in modern incarnations do an injustice to both the past and the present. But the 2013 VW Beetle's interior layout and instrument panel salute the original Beetle while managing to be attractive, functional and up-to-date.
The 2013 Beetle's base 2.5-liter 5-cylinder is completely satisfactory, but the 2.0-liter turbo-4 is a real stormer throughout its rev range, and our preference. For the truly economy-minded, the new-for-2013 2.0-liter TDI turbodiesel offers exceptional fuel economy and impressive low-speed torque.
The instrument panel of the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle is simply one of the best. It recalls the original Beetle's rounded edges and curving shapes, it's a testament to clean design, and it shows the sort of classical timelessness exemplified by, say, a 1959 Fender Stratocaster electric guitar. The entire layout inside the Beetle celebrates function, with all the necessary controls and information displays arranged for ready access. Case in point, the Beetle Convertible's power soft top activates with the touch of a button, even while traveling at speeds up to 18 mph.Exterior
The 2013 VW Beetle looks bigger in the metal than it does in photos, so many people expect something more compact. Actually, the overall form owes more to the original Beetle than to the "New Beetle" of the last several years. Where the previous model was very rounded, with a high-arching roofline, this version is lower, certainly more aggressive-looking and has a stronger family resemblance to its earlier ancestors, particularly in the side profile and window treatments. We think this is a good thing, as the car looks more assertive and more firmly planted on the pavement.
The 2.5L, Turbo and TDI models each come in three trim levels. The 2.5L model has 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, Leatherette seating and stability control. Moving up to the 2.5L w/Sunroof adds (surprise!) a sunroof, satellite radio, Premium VIII audio and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. The "Sun, Sound and Nav" package brings 18-inch alloy wheels, a Fender Premium Audio System, a trip computer and navigation with touch screen. Similar progressions happen with the Turbo and TDI lines, though the sportier Turbo starts with 18-inch alloy wheels and "Cross Differential" limited-slip system, and ends up with 19-inch alloy wheels and bi-xenon headlights.
Since the Beetle add-ons are largely grouped into trim-level packages, the only additional options are minor items having to do with vehicle protection, floor mats and graphics treatments. But one item worth special mention, if you can pop for one of the top-line trims, is the terrific Fender Audio System. It's easy to operate and delivers great sound. If you're an audiophile, you need to check this out.
The base engine in the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L is a 2.5-liter 5-cylinder available with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. The 2.5L is rated at 170 horsepower and delivers perfectly acceptable, if not exactly soul-stirring, performance. There are two commendable optional 4-cylinder engines. The 2.0-liter Turbo, a favorite of ours in other VW models, makes 200 horsepower and 207 lb-ft of torque. Fitted with a 6-speed manual or 6-speed DSG automatic, this inline-4 delivers performance that is more than just spirited. The Beetle TDI's 2.0-liter turbodiesel delivers 140 horsepower and a very impressive 236 lb-ft of torque, and is matched with a 6-speed manual or Tiptronic automatic transmission. The TDI offers remarkable around-town get-up-and-go and thrifty fuel economy.
170 horsepower @ 5,700 rpm
177 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/31 mpg (manual), 22/29 mpg (automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
200 horsepower @ 5,100-6,000 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700-5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/30 mpg (manual), 22/30 mpg (automatic)
2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
140 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 28/41 mpg (manual), 29/39 mpg (automatic)
By Sprite on Thursday, December 18, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,600overall rating 6 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun for short rides, great price."
Cons: "Steering is very loose!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2
"Having had a 1966 VW in 1976, I was young, much lighter and had no car experience, I was 23. I loved my bug, with no heat, no air, and no working defrosters, it was my baby. I grew up and moved on with different types of cars, staying with more mid size comfort type cars. So, no judging please, I knew their would be major differences in ride etc. when I went with the bug! When the new remodeled VW bug rolled out in 2012, I fell into the nostalgia trance of the old 1966 bug. I drove the 2012 found it to be a lot of fun and decided to lease one. First, it is a lot of fun to drive, it is smart looking, and it has more head room than you were expect. However, I can not tolerate any trip more than 1 hr as you feel everything the road has to offer, dips,rough roads etc., the steering is my main issue. The wheel is so loose you must keep both hands on the wheel at all times in a death like grip, ensuring you don't go off the road!! I did bring the car back to check it out, I was told that the steering is working as designedly! I am trading this puppy in even as we speak."
By George on Wednesday, December 17, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 29,000overall rating 7 of 10rating details
Pros: "Character, comfortable, quick, fun."
Cons: "So-so fuel economy, some interior quality issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I bought my 2012 Beetle as a certified pre-owned vehicle from a local VW dealership. It has been the car of my dreams since I was a kid (even though I am a guy). I bought my Tornado Red bug cash and drove home with a smile on my face. Mine had the window issue, which was replaced under warranty. I also had my seat cushion replaced from collapsing (no, I am not fat), a few speakers replaced due to rattling, and an attempt at silencing some squeaks and rattles in the interior. Everything was replaced effortlessly, but the squeaks and rattles come and go. In the bigger picture, it is a minor issue. It is roomy up front (I am 6ft tall) and is comfortable for extended drives. It rides well and soaks up bumps. It isn't "sporty" but can definitely be tossed around a bit. Mechanically the car is a dream. The 2.5 5 cylinder is the safe way to go; it is a tried and true powertrain with the 6-speed auto. It is not fast, but very torquey and pulls. Gas mileage lags in city, and could be better highway but VW's gas engines were never known to be fuel efficient. I average about 23-24 mpg in mixed driving and 29-30 mpg on full highway trips. Not too bad when you consider the size of the engine and the power you get. All in all, I am completely satisfied with my bug. I plan to never get rid of it and keep it by my side, even as a second car. It is an unmistakable fashion statement and icon. It is something that people of all ages can point out in a crowd. Buy one, but get a later model (2013+) they seemed to have worked the bugs out of those. (no pun intended haha)"
By The Pretty One on Thursday, December 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 20,200overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price, comfort seating, good traction"
Cons: "doesn't pump its own gas"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is my 3rd VW Beetle in a row. I had a 1999, 2006 and now this, my 2013. I have traveled the US from Maine to Florida and NJ to CA. I won't drive anything else unless someone would give me a free car. I will only buy VW products. Best comfort for sitting long periods of time. I have even slept in the car comfortably during my travels and I am 5'10". I get about 34 mpg/hwy when the avg norm is 28 mpg/hwy. I recommend this car to anyone who doesn't have to haul a houseful, although I have moved a studio apt in mine. Take care of your car and it will take care of you."
4 people out of 8 found this review helpful
By BIG DADDY on Friday, December 05, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 13,400overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "price, horsepower, design, a blast to drive, mpg"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"2012 Launch Edition Beetle. This car has been a solid, solid well built vehicle. This car is very well designed. Handles corners very well. This car is high class German engineering at its finest. 200 horsepower, other than a little turbo lag, this little car is quick. I am a little under 6 foot tall and around 300 pounds, and I am not cramped in this car, however the driver's seat is designed for someone a bit smaller. I commute to work which is hills and curves and I average 35.5 mpg. Now that premium fuel is reasonably priced, filling it up. Trunk area will surprise you with how much it will hold. Tires are somewhat expensive and not eas to find (19") but look great and handle very well."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By Lanny on Sunday, November 16, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "great price point very fun to drive"
Cons: "back seat accessability"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Very Sporty Fun to Drive Handles like a sports car. The styling was my first attraction along with the price point."
10 people out of 16 found this review helpful
By Ray on Sunday, November 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great sound system, much fun to drive."
Cons: "None, just need the van."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Great vehicle, we love it. Bought it for the wife. She has became wheel chair bound and only got to drive it one time. Will sell to get handicapped van."
6 people out of 14 found this review helpful