By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating:
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)
The Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) for the 2013 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L with manual transmission is just over $20,000, which is in the ballpark with the Fiat 500 Lounge, Mini Cooper and Scion tC. The 2.0 Turbo starts a little over $24,000 with a manual transmission, and the DSG automatic adds about $900. A fully optioned 2.0 Turbo, with the Sunroof, Sound & Navigation package, will reach $31,000. Convertible models open at just under $26,000 and top out close to $32,000. The new-for-2013 TDI runs from around $24,000 to $27,000. Be sure and check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what other buyers in your area have paid for Beetles. Residual values for the 2013 VW Beetle should be about the same as those of the Scion tC, less than those for the Mini Cooper, and more than those for the Fiat 500.
By Ace (DC) on Saturday, January 19, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 9,300overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "all of it"
Cons: "the depreciation"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This car is way under estimated! Its comfortable, very dependable, entertaining to drive, and quick. The build quality is better than you see in most cars. The only disappointing thing is the vakue after a year is a joke so plan on keeping it. People say it has lost half the value and I have no idea why. The Blue tooth is the best, the Fender stereo is the best out there, the panoramic moonroof is awesome. Its just a remarkable car and I average 25 miles in the city better than the sticker."
13 people out of 13 found this review helpful
By Sandy (MI) on Tuesday, January 15, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 500overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I just bought the 2013 Beetle with Sound, Navigation and Sunroof. I love the way the car handles - very fun to drive. The interior is well thought out and the push button start is pretty cool. I drove a 2002 Turbo before buying this one and I miss the way the back seat could be pulled forward so that the back seat rests could fold flat. The sunroof on the new Beetle does not go all the way back like my old one. Minor differences as I do love this new Beetle...it's also great on gas mileage."
6 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By beetle juice (MN) on Wednesday, November 07, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,500overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Feels good at speed"
Cons: "Head lights"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"2.0 Turbo Manual,Get over the window promblem fix works as should be. V. W. should of taken care of this up front to eliminate bad press handles well not great high speed very stable linkage very nice throttle response is right on at low R.P.M. nice."
1 person out of 2 found this review helpful
By sweett (PA) on Wednesday, October 24, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 800overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive"
Cons: "window malfunctioning"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"this is a great car that rides very well and of course looks nice too although the window malfunctioned and had to be repaired other than that it is a wonderful car"
2 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Chugie (NV) on Monday, September 10, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 1,100overall rating 3 of 10rating details
Pros: "Beautiful looks"
Cons: "Don't trust it - defective in too many ways."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought my VW Beetle 2012 three months ago. Driving off the forecourt I mentioned the window wasn't working properly. I was told it just needed to be reset. Well, not one day has gone by when it hasn't needed to be reset. The tachometer was frozen, and 46 psi in each tire had somehow been overlooked in their haste to sell me this car! I suspect that the speedometer is also malfunctioning. The mileage is also very poor. I love Beetles - my first and second car was a Beetle. I didn't like the 1st re-design and I waited years until I saw this model. I fell in love with the retro look immediately but I've been hugely let-down, by all involved sales/service staff. I want to give them back my car. I just don't want it any more! We keep being told that our concerns are being "escalated" but no one with any authority phones us back as promised - and we end up again with someone who can't arrange for the car to be returned. The men at the top just don't want to know it seems! (So far the tachometer is the only thing that's been fixed.) When I pay $20,000+ for a car I don't expect it to start spending days at the dealership from the very beginning!"
20 people out of 24 found this review helpful
By Lauren (TX) on Friday, July 06, 2012
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 2,700overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "fun to drive!"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"These cars need to be recalled due to the window issues. However, in order to recall a car, you have to have a fix. Volkswagen is still two months or so away from having a new motor made to be put into the windows. The digital speedometer is off, causing me to receive speeding tickets. The dealership is letting me out of my contract free and clear. You might want to look into this before you buy one. Biggest mistake so far. And yes, I have spoken with Volkswagen USA and all my information is correct. Call if you don't believe me."
16 people out of 19 found this review helpful