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2015 Volkswagen Beetle

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2015 Volkswagen Beetle Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.6

IMPORTANT NOTE: Please be aware that this vehicle's diesel engine is involved in a Notice of Violation of the Clean Air Act issued by the EPA to Volkswagen for producing and selling 4-cylinder diesel cars that include a software device that circumvents EPA emissions standards for certain air pollutants. The EPA and the California Air Resources Board (CARB) determined that these diesel cars emit up to 40 times more pollution than emission standards allow. Recalls, investigations and litigation are currently ongoing.

Volkswagen’s 2015 Beetle grants access to one of the world's most iconic vehicles at a low entry price. Of course, today's Beetle is a far cry from the VW Bug of decades ago, and is markedly changed from the New Beetle that helped usher in the new millennium. Now simply called the Beetle, this generation of VW's venerable nameplate was introduced for the 2012 model year with beefier looks, bigger proportions and a sleek 4-passenger interior that takes cues from its Audi cousins. But its Beetle essence remains with its rounded shape and retro vibe. The Beetle is larger than niche rivals such as the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper, is available as a coupe or convertible, and offers a variety of powertrains including a diesel engine.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a retro-style car with modern amenities, one that instantly advertises its driver as a fun gal or guy, the VW is hard to beat for the price. The Beetle is also quite efficient, especially in TDI diesel form with fuel economy up to 41 mpg.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Aside from the 2015 Beetle's style – you'll like it or you won't – this VW is limited to carrying four passengers. More practicality can be found in the VW Golf, Fiat 500L or other hatchbacks such as 5-door versions of the Mazda3 and Subaru Impreza.

What's New for 2015

After a new turbocharged gasoline engine arrived last year, a revamped diesel comes for 2015 with more power and even better efficiency. A limited-edition Beetle Classic with a tempting starting price of just over $21,000 also joins the lineup.

Driving the Beetle
Driving Impressions

With a choice of three engines, the 2015 VW Beetle can feel like as many different cars depending what's under the hood. Base models paired with the 1.8-liter turbocharged gasoline...

... engine that has replaced the previous 5-cylinder is a welcome change that offers zippier performance and better fuel economy. The new diesel engine offers excellent fuel economy and surprising power, especially in off-the-line acceleration. The sportiest of Beetles is the R-Line, which packs a 210-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder. The R-Line also includes a sport suspension for better handling, though don't expect it to perform like a Golf GTI. The Beetle in general has a softer ride that's well-suited for its intended audience. Unlike smaller 4-seat coupes and convertibles such as the Fiat 500 and, to some extent the Mini Cooper, the 2015 Beetle feels stable even at freeway speeds.

MANUAL TRANSMISSIONS
If you're into manual transmissions, rejoice at their availability in the 2015 Beetle. Incredibly, even a diesel convertible offers one.

INTERIOR LAYOUT
Nobody does retro better than VW. The 2015 Beetle’s interior pays homage to the original car without sacrificing the quality, look and feel of a 21st-century VW product.

2015 Volkswagen Beetle Details
Interior

Whether coupe or convertible, all 2015 VW Beetles have four seats. The front seats are spacious but the rear seats are tight. The Beetle's interior is clean and simple with easy-to-use controls. A center armrest makes long commutes more comfortable. Multiple storage bins in the center console are ready for cell phones and other small items. And there's the "kaeferfach" – an upper, secondary glove box that's a throwback to Bugs of yore. Coupe models have a hatchback design and surprising cargo space – 15.4 cubic feet with rear seats upright. Convertibles have less than half that space, and trunk access is rather awkward.

Exterior

Less Flower. More Power. Today's Beetle is bigger, beefier and sportier-looking than the New Beetle that came before it with a built-in vase. The 2015 Volkswagen Beetle is still instantly recognizable, but its iconic shape has been elongated and now looks more like its sexy cousin the Audi TT. A rear spoiler that's standard on the R-Line and optional on other models injects sporty appeal and a visual break from the rest of the Beetle's mounds of round. Convertible Beetle models have a power-operated folding fabric top and a trunk lid instead of the hardtop's liftgate.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

New to the 2015 VW Beetle lineup is the Classic edition. It's the least expensive model but offers surprising value. Included is an automatic transmission, 5-inch touch-screen navigation system, heated front seats, Bluetooth connectivity and audio streaming, Volkswagen's Car-Net telematics system, cruise control and tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Audio entertainment is provided by an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD/satellite radio system with iPod and auxiliary connections. TDI models add a premium audio system with 6-disc changer and HD Radio, and keyless access and push-button start. R-Line models have the most powerful engine and 18-inch alloy wheels. All new VWs come with one year/10,000 miles of free scheduled maintenance.

Optional Equipment

Options on the 2015 Beetle, with some dependent on trim, include navigation system, panoramic sunroof, keyless access, 18-inch alloy wheels, and premium Fender audio system. R-Line models can be had with bi-xenon headlights, leather interior and upgraded 19-inch wheels. Accessories to personalize the Beetle include a rear spoiler, body styling kit, and nickname badges on the rear, i.e., to call your new Beetle a "Bug."

Under the Hood

With the old 5-cylinder gone, all three 4-cylinder engines available in the 2015 Beetle are easy to recommend. The base powerplant is a 1.8-liter turbocharged gasoline engine. With 170 horsepower and up to 33 mpg, it offers a good balance of pep and efficiency. The new diesel engine in the Beetle TDI earns up to 41 mpg and provides a stout 236 lb-ft of torque. The zippiest Beetle is the R-Line with its 2.0-liter turbocharged gasoline engine that makes 210 horsepower. All Beetles are front-wheel drive. As mentioned in Favorite Features, manual transmissions are widely available across the Beetle lineup, but the 6-speed automatic DSG is just as recommendable. The turbo gasoline engine in 1.8-liter models can run on regular unleaded; premium is recommended in the R-Line.

1.8-liter turbocharged inline-4
170 horsepower @ 4,800-6,200 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg (manual, coupe), 25/33 mpg (automatic, coupe), 24/32 mpg (automatic, convertible)

2.0-liter turbocharged diesel inline-4
150 horsepower @ 4,000 rpm
236 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 31/41 mpg (manual and automatic coupe), 30/40 mpg (manual and automatic convertible)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
210 horsepower @ 5,300 rpm
207 lb-ft of torque @ 1,700 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 23/31 mpg (manual, coupe), 24/30 mpg (automatic, coupe), 23/29 mpg (manual, convertible), 23/31 mpg (automatic, convertible)

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