2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition First Review
- Final Edition comes in two unique colors, with special badging, unique wheels
- Convertible or coupe, with a 2.0-liter engine and 6-speed automatic transmission
- Fuel economy of 26 mpg city/33 mpg highway, 29 mpg combined
- Pricing starts at $23,045 (plus $895 destination charge), on sale now
Volkswagen is saying goodbye to its iconic Beetle – for the second time -- with a fitting sendoff. The company has offered plenty of charming, likeable special editions that pay tribute to past models, a VW tradition that continues with the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition. In this case, the Final Edition hearkens back to the first time we said goodbye to the Beetle, when the original Bug ended production in 2003 in Puebla, Mexico.
Not only does the current Beetle have a design that’s a modern version of the classic, but the current Beetle’s final edition plays off the end of production of the Type 1 Beetle (the classic), known as the Ultima Edicion that was produced in Mexico until 2003. The Ultima Edicion was only offered in beige or light blue, with body-color steel wheels, chrome accents and interior trim that matched the body color.
The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition is available in five colors, but it receives two exclusives: Safari Uni (gloss beige) and Stonewashed Blue (light blue), has unique aluminum alloy wheels, and comes standard with chrome accents. In addition, a “Beetle” badge replaces the “Turbo” badge in back. Inside, the dash has been adorned with accents in Safari Uni.
Just like Goldie Hawn’s character in the 1978 movie “Foul Play,” we were touring the California coast in a Beetle. Well, it wasn’t exactly the same, as our jaunt took us seaside in Southern California instead of further north, and the weather was rainy and gray. But we still had the pleasure of experiencing the charm and likability of the Volkswagen Beetle.
Whether you opt for the coupe or the convertible, the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition is powered by a 174-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine with a 6-speed automatic transmission. There are no mechanical differences between the Final Edition and the regular Beetle, and the driving experience was exactly what owners of the new Beetle enjoy: the Volkswagen Beetle is peppy and plenty powerful but not lightning fast. The car has an easygoing demeanor and its cheery disposition shines through, even on a gray autumn day. There is some turbo lag, and while the car’s handling makes for a fun time on canyon roads, the suspension is a little less forgiving when driving over potholes.
Charming interior accents
The Beetle’s interior seats four, and the generous use of beige accents plus the large windows make the Beetle interior light and airy. We drove both Beetle Final Edition trim levels, the SE and SEL. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility are standard, and you can control infotainment features through a 6.3-inch screen. The Final Edition SE comes with an 8-speaker audio system, and Final Edition SELs receive a Fender Premium Audio system with a subwoofer. Controls are well placed on the dash within easy reach in a simple layout. However, the Beetle never benefitted from the upgrade to the digital cockpit that’s offered in the new Jetta and e-Golf.
The SE we drove had black V-tex leatherette seats with patterned beige cloth inserts, and the SEL’s seats were wrapped in diamond-stitched black Nappa leather. Both models have 8-way manually adjustable heated front seats. The seats are comfortable and supportive. Up front, the Beetle Final Edition is roomy, and my co-driver and I had plenty of space to stretch out. However, whether it comes down to a coin flip or a heated Rock Paper Scissors tournament, taller passengers may want to compete for the spacious front passenger seat, as the back row loses nearly 10 inches of legroom and two inches of headroom.
Pricing, and a Final Goodbye
If you’re shopping for a 2019 Volkswagen Final Edition Beetle, pricing starts at $23,045 for the SE Coupe and $25,995 for the SEL Coupe. Add $4,250 for the Convertible SE, or $4,000 for the Convertible SEL. These prices do not include the $895 destination charge. The SE is fairly well equipped, with features such as automatic windshield wipers, dual-zone climate control, a sunroof and pushbutton start. The SEL adds LED daytime running lights and taillights, plus fog lights, Car-Net security, the upgraded audio system, and front and rear Park Distance Control.
While it’s clear that SUVs are in high demand and the popularity of passenger cars continues to wane, it’s still a shame to have the end of Beetle production in sight after 70 years in America. But Volkswagen is sending it off with a fun, charming well-equipped special edition. There’s also a bit of sneaky value in there: a Final Edition SE costs less than a regular Beetle SE.
Besides, Beetle fans, you never know what lies ahead for Volkswagen: maybe with the company’s push toward electric vehicles, they will introduce a small, lightweight, affordable efficient 2-door coupe that can get you from Point A to Point B without costing a lot of money. If they’re looking for a catchy, well-known name, I can think of one that’ll soon be available.
Where is the Volkswagen Beetle Built?
The Beetle is built in Puebla, Mexico.
What is the Volkswagen Beetle’s fuel economy?
Whether the Beetle is a Final Edition, or a coupe or convertible, there is one engine and transmission combination: a 2.0-liter turbo four with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Therefore, all 2019 Volkswagen Beetles have the same fuel economy of 26 mpg city and 33 mpg highway, for a combined rating of 29 mpg.
What years did Volkswagen make the new Beetle?
The New Beetle went on sale in 1998, replaced by the second-generation Beetle (“New” was dropped from the name) for the 2012 model year, which ends its run in 2019.
When will the last Beetle be produced?
Volkswagen anticipates that the last Beetle will leave the production line in Summer 2019, 70 years after the Beetle first came to America. The 2020 model year will be the first year since the 1940s with no Beetle being manufactured.
Did You Know?
- The first Beetle, known as the Type 1, was first sold in the U.S. starting in 1949. That first Beetle continued to be sold here through the 1979 model year, and the current Golf-based Beetle ends production in the 2019 model year, marking 70 years in the USA.
- More than 21.5 million Type 1 Beetles were produced worldwide.
- The original Beetle used a 25-horsepower engine.
- While the VW Microbus (aka Type 2) looked much larger, it had the same 94.5-inch wheelbase as the Beetle.