New 2018
Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

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KBB Editor's Overview

By KBB.com Editorial Staff

Available as a coupe or convertible, the turbocharged 2018 Volkswagen Beetle is all about affordable fun. With a new more powerful and fuel-efficient engine, along with its iconic and timeless shape, the new VW Beetle perfectly blends a retro vibe with modern style, safety and features. The desirable combination makes it a standout against a small pack of rivals including the Mini Cooper and the Fiat 500. The 2018 Volkswagen Beetle is available in four trim levels; S, Coast, SE and Dune, with prices starting just over $21,000 for a Beetle S coupe. A Beetle S convertible costs about $5,000 more. All new Beetles are front-wheel drive, come with a standard 6-speed automatic transmission and they’re powered by a new 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that makes 174 horsepower, which is strong for its class.

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You'll Like This Car If...

At its base price around $21,000, the new 2018 VW Beetle offers huge smiles-per-dollar value. It’s one of the happiest and the most stylish cars available at that price, and its new turbocharged 2.0-liter engine gives it more standard power than the Mini Cooper or the Fiat 500.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Mini Cooper’s 1.5-liter base engine doesn’t pack the power of the Beetle’s new turbocharged 2.0-liter, but the Mini gets better gas mileage. The Mini also offers a manual transmission, and the 189-horsepower Mini Cooper S outpowers the VW. Plus, the Mini is available with four doors, which the Beetle is not.

What's New for 2018

For 2018, every new Volkswagen Beetle gets a larger and more powerful 174-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that also improves the VW’s fuel economy. Also new is the Coast trim level, which gets a surfboard-inspired wood-look dash pad, and a longer warranty that covers every new Volkswagen for six years or 72,000 miles. The Beetle R-Line has been discontinued.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

The 2018 VW Beetle is a sporty drive, with plenty of power and agile handling. It’s no hot rod, but it’s fun to drive and it’s more comfortable than a Mini Cooper or a Fiat 500, with a smoother ride and a quiet interior. 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 Beetle’s new 174-horsepower turbocharged engine is also satisfying. It provides strong acceleration and good passing power, and it’s well-matched to the Beetle’s 6-speed automatic transmission, which has a manual mode if you’d like to choose your own gears and a Sport mode for more aggressive response. Visibility is excellent, although it’s a bit less so in Beetle convertibles. With the soft top up or down, rearward visibility is compromised by the roof’s large pillars and high stack.

Favorite Features

FENDER PREMIUM AUDIO SYSTEM
One of the strongest audio systems available in this class, the VW Beetle’s optional Fender Premium Audio System packs 400 watts of power and a subwoofer mounted in the trunk. Created in collaboration between Fender and Panasonic, the Beetle’s Fender system features four speakers and four tweeters for high-quality sound.

DRIVER-ASSISTANCE TECHNOLOGY
A rearview camera is standard on every 2018 VW Beetle, as is an Intelligent Crash Response System that cuts the engine’s fuel supply, unlocks the doors and activates the hazard lights in the event of an airbag deployment. The Beetle’s Automatic Post-Collision Braking System also slows the vehicle after an accident to avoid secondary collisions. A Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert as well as bumper-mounted parking sensors are also available.

Vehicle Details

Interior

Front-seat space and comfort are exceptional. The Beetle’s front bucket seats are well-shaped and supportive and there’s enough headroom for Shaq in a 10-gallon hat. The Beetle’s back seat can handle two, but it’s tight back there for tall adults. The interior design is clean and modern with simple and easy-to-use controls, but there’s just enough retro to be found in the shape of the dashboard and the gauges, which keeps things interesting. Multiple storage bins hold cell phones and small items, and there’s 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 awkward.

Exterior

One the most recognizable shapes in all of automobiledom, the Beetle’s arching roof, curvaceous fenders and short front and rear overhangs are as iconic as any low-slung Ferrari. And the design still turns heads. A rear spoiler adds sporty appeal and a visual break from the rest of the Beetle's mounds of round, and we dig the retro wheel design on the Coast trim level. 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, which gives it a rugged off-road-ready look, kinda like a Baja Bug if you want to turn back the clock that far.

Notable Standard Equipment

The new VW Beetle S coupe features a standard automatic transmission, cruise control, heated side mirrors, a rearview camera, auto-dimming rearview mirror 16-inch alloy wheels, 6-way-manual-adjust front seats and 50/50-split folding rear seats. Entertainment and audio are provided by an 8-speaker AM/FM/CD system with USB and auxiliary inputs, plus Bluetooth connectivity. Also standard is a leather-wrapped steering wheel with tilt and telescopic adjustability. The 2018 Beetle S with Style and Comfort adds V-Tex Leatherette seating, heated front seats, keyless access and an upgraded 6.3-inch 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 2018 Beetle Coast adds a unique surfboard look to the dashboard, unique seat fabric and a panoramic sunroof. It rides on 17-inch wheels. The Beetle SE gets blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic dual-zone climate control, keyless entry and push-button start. The top-of-the-range Beetle Dune adds unique front and rear bumpers, which look a little more rugged, bi-xenon headlights, the Fender Premium Audio System, which is also available on the Beetle SE, and 18-inch wheels.

Under the Hood

All 2018 VW Beetles, including the Dune and all convertibles, use a new 174-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with direct fuel injection that most buyers will find plenty adequate for highway cruising and zipping around the city. The engine is linked to 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual mode as well as a Sport mode for quicker response. No manual transmission is available and every Beetle is front-wheel drive. The turbo engine can run on less expensive regular-grade gasoline.

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
174 horsepower @ 4,400 rpm
184 lb-ft of torque @ 1,600 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 26/33 mpg (standard coupe & convertible), 26/34 mpg (Beetle Dune coupe & convertible)

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Pricing Notes

Including an $850 destination fee, the 2018 VW Beetle has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just over $21,000 for the S trim coupe, and it offers impressive content, including an automatic transmission. The Beetle Coast coupe is even more recommendable, starting just under $24,000. The SE variant begins closer to $25,000, and the Beetle Dune makes its own statement at around $28,000. 2018 Beetle Convertible models begin over $26,000 and top out just under $33,000 for a Beetle Dune convertible. 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 KBB.com 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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