New 2017 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback New 2017
Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

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KBB Editor's Overview

By Editorial Staff

Cars don't get much more iconic than the VW Beetle. Volkswagen's cheery 2-door coupe and convertible have been capturing hearts for over six decades, and in that time VW has sold over 21 million cars. While the size of the Beetle has grown and its technology and safety features are as modern as any other car, its essence remains. The 2017 VW Beetle carries that torch as an efficient, affordable and fun hatchback or ragtop with timeless style. Small enough to excel in city dwellings, the 2017 Beetle is more substantial than other retro-revivalists like the Mini Cooper and Fiat 500. If the standard Beetle isn't niche enough, new variants include the beefier Beetle Dune or #PinkBeetle -- whose hashtagged name implies everything you need to know.


You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a coupe or convertible that's stylish, iconic, efficient and slightly more practical than its smaller competitors, the 2017 VW Beetle checks all the right boxes. Throw in a zesty turbocharged engine and sub-$21,000 starting price, and it adds up to a sporty value.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you plan to regularly seat more than one other person, look to something with a larger back seat such as a Mazda3, Honda Civic or Chevy Cruze hatchback. While the Beetle Dune looks off-road ready, its lack of all-wheel drive won't take you far off the beaten track.

What's New for 2017

A year after the higher-riding Baja Bug-inspired Beetle Dune coupe debuted, a convertible version arrives for 2017. The limited-edition #PinkBeetle, meanwhile, is a rolling statement of pizazz. Across the 2017 Beetle lineup, only automatic transmissions are now offered.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

Depending on which turbocharged gasoline engine you choose, the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle feels like a peppy go-kart or a racy coupe. The standard engine for all but the R-Line is VW’s 170-horsepower, 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that delivers both good acceleration and fuel economy. If you’re seeking GTI-like acceleration, the R-Line’s 210-horsepower 2.0-liter turbo can deliver it. While the R-Line’s stiffer suspension provides better handling, it’s not too stiff. Overall, the Beetle returns a softer ride than the Mini Cooper or Fiat 500, and its interior is quieter and more comfortable. At freeway speeds, the Beetle feels stable and solid, returning the kind of ride and handling more commonly associated with a midsize sedan. Though slightly higher-riding, the Beetle Dune feels nearly similar to the standard model. The manual transmission has been dropped for 2017, but both the traditional 6-speed automatic in 1.8-liter models and 6-speed dual-clutch in the R-Line are well-matched.

Favorite Features

We still like the muscled-up yet familiar exterior styling of this current-gen VW Beetle. This design that replaced the New Beetle in 2012 remains fresh to our eyes, and now offers even more distinction with the Dune and #PinkBeetle variants.

The 2017 VW Beetle boasts serious style for the money. It's nearly impossible to find a new car that can match the Beetle's historical significance and iconic design for less than $21,000.

Vehicle Details


In either coupe or convertible form, the 2017 VW Beetle has four seats just like the Mini Cooper Hardtop 2-door and Fiat 500. While the VW's rear seats are roomier, it's still tight for adults. The Beetle's interior is clean and simple with easy-to-use controls and a center armrest. Multiple storage bins hold cell phones and small items. And there's the "kaeferfach" -- or Beetle bin -- an upper, secondary glove box. Coupe models have a hatchback design and surprising cargo space -- 15.4 cubic feet with rear seats upright. Convertibles have less than half that room, and trunk access is rather awkward.


As stated in "Favorite Things," we still like the looks of this emboldened Beetle, even comparing it to its sexy cousin the Audi TT. A rear spoiler adds 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 trunklid instead of the hardtop's liftgate. The Beetle Dune is slightly wider and rides a tad higher. The #PinkBeetle packs a visual wallop with its Fresh Fuchsia Metallic paint. All 1.8-liter VW Beetles get updated front and rear bumpers that aim for aggressiveness like the R-Line variant.

Notable Standard Equipment

The 2017 VW Beetle lineup spans seven trims, from the base 1.8T S to the 2.0 R-Line SEL. At its most basic, the VW Beetle S coupe arrives with an automatic transmission, cruise control, heated side mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror 16-inch alloy wheels, 6-way-manual-adjust front seats and 50/50-split folding rear seats. Entertainment and audio is provided by an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD system with USB and auxiliary inputs, plus Bluetooth connectivity. An SE adds V-Tex Leatherette seating (heated in front), keyless access and an upgraded touch-screen infotainment system with VW's Car-Net app system compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Notable Optional Equipment

Climbing further up the trim chain, a 2017 Beetle SEL adds panoramic sunroof, navigation, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic dual-zone climate control, Fender premium audio system and rear park-assist system. The top-line 2.0 R-Line model brings the more powerful engine, performance-oriented brakes and suspension, a limited-slip differential, leather interior and 20-inch wheels. There aren't a slew of options for VW's Beetle, but one is a lighting package that brings bright bi-xenon headlights, LED daytime running lights and LED taillights. A technology package for the Dune brings it up to SEL levels of features.

Under the Hood

With the formerly available manual transmission axed and the TDI diesel engine gone, the VW Beetle's powertrain offerings are further limited for 2017. Most Beetles, including the Dune and all convertibles, use a 1.8-liter turbocharged engine that most buyers will find plenty adequate for highway cruising and zipping around the city. The Beetle R-Line uses a more robust 2.0-liter turbo, but the step up in performance comes at a substantial cost (see Pricing Notes, below). Both engines are linked to 6-speed automatic transmissions, with the R-Line using VW's DSG twin-clutch. 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 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 24/33 mpg (standard coupe & convertible), 24/31 mpg (Beetle Dune coupe & 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: 23/29 mpg

Note: Due to changes in EPA testing to more effectively reflect real-world conditions, some 2017 models show slightly lower fuel-economy scores than their 2016 versions.


Pricing Notes

The 2017 VW Beetle has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $21,000 for the S trim coupe, and it offers impressive content, including an automatic transmission. The SE coupe is even more recommendable, starting just over $23,000. SEL variants begin closer to $27,000, while the #PinkBeetle will capture plenty of attention for under $23,000, and the Beetle Dune makes its own statement for under $25,000. 2017 Beetle Convertible models begin over $25,000. The top-line R-Line model, available only as a coupe, has a starting price that jumps to over $33,000, making it a tougher value proposition. The Beetle's base price remains slightly below that of the Mini Cooper 2-door. It is above that of the Fiat 500, but that subcompact is less recommendable. Before buying, be sure to check the Fair Purchase Price to see what others are paying in your area, and keep in mind that the Beetle's resale value is not especially strong.

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