By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 7.2
The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle is one of those cars that is more about desire than practicality. People buy it because it's clever and cute and fun. VW understands this, so they've made their latest Bug as livable as possible, giving it a usable back seat, an optional high-mileage diesel engine and even a convertible model for open-air buffs. Based on the Golf, the Beetle rides atop a very capable platform that delivers competent handling as well as impressive safety. Larger than the niche cars it competes with, namely the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500, the 2014 VW Beetle makes living with a small car a bit easier, especially when it comes time to bring along friends and family.
If you're looking for distinctive styling in a well-equipped small car, the 2014 VW Beetle not only offers it, it does so with a wide choice of engines, options and colors.
Exclusivity has its price. If you need a vehicle that can regularly fit four passengers, a 4-door Mini Cooper Countryman or Fiat 500L makes a better choice. Also, if you like a car that lets you pick and choose your options, VW's trim-specific packaging may frustrate your creative side.
A new 1.8-liter turbo is set to replace the 2.5-liter engine midway through the 2014 product cycle. Also new is an independent rear suspension, a limited-edition GSR trim, VW CarNet and a rearview camera on top-line trims (late availability). For 2014 the Turbo models are renamed R-Line.
Driving Impressions The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle is one of those cars that both excites and lets you down at the same time. The excitement comes from the car's cool looks, its handsome...and sophisticated interior build and its smooth, stable ride. But, when VW offers the optional 2.0-liter turbo from the GTI, we're a bit disappointed the GTI's taut suspension and dynamic handling were not included in the swap. Given the Beetle's intended audience, however, its softer ride and less aggressive handling won't be criticized harshly, and the new independent rear suspension does improve things a bit. The new 1.8-liter turbocharged engine is a welcome replacement for the previous 5-cylinder, offering better performance and fuel economy. Enthusiasts will want to opt for the R-Line's 2.0-liter turbo and manual transmission, while penny pinchers will find the TDI diesel offers excellent fuel economy yet is still surprisingly quick.
Nobody does retro better than VW. The 2014 Beetle's interior pays homage to the original car without sacrificing the quality, look and feel of a 21st-century VW product.
There's an old saying that "wheels make the car," and in the Beetle's case, it's true. Be it the retro Heritage wheel that mimics the old Beetle's chrome hubcaps, or the stylish Twister and Tornado wheels on the R-Line and GSR, the Beetle's original wheel designs are four of its most attractive features.
The instrument panel of the 2014 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 2014 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 base 2.5L (which becomes 1.8 later in the model year), R-Line and TDI models each come in various trim levels. The base 2.5L model has 17-inch alloy wheels, Bluetooth, Leatherette seating and stability control. Moving up to the 2.5L w/Sunroof adds a sunroof, satellite radio and Premium VIII audio (not available on TDI). The Sun, Sound and Nav package brings 18-inch alloy wheels, a Fender Premium Audio System and touch-screen navigation. Similar progressions happen with the R-Line and TDI, though the sportier R-Line 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. Customers can also purchase various wheels through the VW accessories catalog, but will pay full retail, as VW doesn't allow buyers to delete and substitute factory wheel choices.
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. This engine is due to be phased out midway through 2014 and replaced with an all-new, 1.8-liter turbocharged engine. There are two other 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)
1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 4,800-6,200
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,750
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 (manual), 25/33 (automatic), 24,32 (automatic, Beetle Convertible)
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: 23/31 mpg (manual), 24/30 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 2014 Volkswagen Beetle 2.5L with manual transmission is just shy of $21,000, which is in the ballpark with the Fiat 500 Lounge, Mini Cooper and Scion tC. The R-Line starts a little over $25,500 with a manual transmission, and the DSG automatic adds about $900. A fully optioned R-Line, with the Sunroof, Sound & Navigation package, will reach $32,000. Convertible models open at just under $26,000 and top out close to $32,000. The TDI runs from around $25,000 to $28,000. 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 2014 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