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)
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 Little Old Lady on Thursday, January 30, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 3,500overall rating 1 of 10rating details
Pros: "It looks good."
Cons: "Did not meet my expectations of a Volkswagen."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I have owned several Volkswagens in the past, from Bugs to Rabbits to a Jetta. I liked the 2001 Jetta so much I kept it for 12 years. This new Beetle is terrible. It's cramped and refuses to go where my former VW's were happy to wander. The final straw was trying to get up my driveway in wet snow - not ice, wet snow. I had to back up and get a running start and still had to spin to make it to the top. I'm going to trade it as soon as possible and will not be going to a Volkswagen dealer."
5 people out of 7 found this review helpful
By JJ on Monday, January 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 5,733overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Most enjoyable Beetle yet !!"
Cons: "30 MPG Are you kidding?"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"This is our 5th Beetles over the years including 3 original Beetles ('73 Super Beetle which I still own) and the old 'New Beetle' Cabriolet. So far, I love everything about it. I love the power of the 2.0 Liter turbo. I love the smooth shifting 6 speed manual transmission. It drives so much nicer than the old new Beetle. It doesn't even have a 3 feet long dash board or the less than useful flower vase. I love the ability to stream Bluetooth audio, two tiers glove boxes, big cup holders, cool lighting effects and the cool albeit fake flat-four-noise they piped over the speakers. I love the new wide stance, alloy pedals, dual exhaust, big rear wing and the big 18" wheels too!!! The downside of the entire car is fuel consumption. There are many vehicles with bigger engine displacement and more cylinders that get much better fuel economy. They're just not as much fun."
By Dillinja on Saturday, November 09, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 600overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "Turbo, Retro interior, Handeling"
Cons: "I'm a guy in a beetle :-/"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"Can't complain, yet. I get about 8-9 days out of the gas tank. The Turbo is great. Looks 10 times better than the last design. The red/white/blue interior lighting is amusing as well."
3 people out of 3 found this review helpful
By Big Daddy on Monday, October 28, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 18,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "design, interior space, fit and trim, handeling"
Cons: "no center arm rest, seats not easy to adjust"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"When I was a kid growing up in the 70's, my parents owned a 69 Bug. Growing up in Chicago meant in the winter, we still needed to wear coats, gloves, hats and scarfs inside the Bug, because the heaters were....well pretty much useless. Later in life in the mid 80's I spent the summer with my mom in San Diego. Seemed like there was an endless supply of VW's in southern California. I found one at a dealership ('71) that i fell in love with. I wasnt able to buy that car, but I'll never forget drooling over that simple candy apple red Beetle. So, now that I am in my 40's, overweight and no where near the physical shape i was in back then, my wife and I, and 16 year old daughter fell in love with the 2012-2013 newly designed Beetle. Problem was that at nearly 6' tall and 300 pounds, I figured I'd never fit in the car, even though the bug and I share similar shape ( Lol ). So yesterday my wife and i set out to replace one of our vehicles. I suggested that she go ahead and take a test drive with our salesman, to avoid the embarassment of not being able to fit in the car. After they both insisted that I come along, I got into the passenger seat, and I stepped back in time 30 years. I immediately smiled from ear to ear. This was a 2013 black 2.5 automatic. I was so glad that they insisted that I get in it. I fit just fine. Now, for my rating and opinion. I have owned more than 40 cars in my life time. I drove tractor-trailers for years and was a police officer for more than a decade. My opinion may not be "professional" but definitely "well experienced". This car reminded us both very much like thr handling and responsiveness of a 3 series BMW. Both the steering and acceleration is amazing. We now live in rural Arkansas with lots of hills, mountains and curvy roads. This beetle is so fun to drive. The stereo is adequate, fantastic heat and AC. (ha ha) but besides the performance and awesome new look ( lowered roof line ) the interior is suprisingly spacious as compared to Bugs I was used to. Very quiet ride too. There are a couple areas that will take some getting used to though. 1.) lack if center arm rest 2.) adjusting seats between drivers takes a while Other than that we love it, and will start looking for another. I didnt care for the cab forward ash design of the "NEW BEETLE" I LOVE THIS DASH THOUGH. !!!"
6 people out of 6 found this review helpful
By kpf on Sunday, September 29, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 4,000overall rating 4 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun To Drive Fender is the best"
Cons: "poorly made Mexico product"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 4
"Do not buy one with a sunroof. They are made in Mexico and not strucurally sound. Body creaks, body bangs over bumps, dealer cannot fix after having for nearly 30 days."
1 person out of 3 found this review helpful
By vw owner on Thursday, September 26, 2013
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 23,000overall rating 8 of 10rating details
Pros: "great looking car, swift acceleration"
Cons: "hard to park, steering, low to the ground"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"I have a 2013 black beetle 2.5 base model. i had 2 other Volkswagens which was a 2003 new beetle 2.0 and a 2007 GTI. this beetle i find it is decent car the gas milage is not that great compared to my other volkswagens i get about 20 city and 30 highway. i have about 23000 miles on this car and no issues at the moment. my major complaint is the steering is awful i feel like i am driving huge truck and because of the odd shape it is more difficult to park. this car is decent but i would spend a little extra money and get the turbo."
5 people out of 5 found this review helpful