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2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

$20,895 - $25,995
Price Range (MSRP)
Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Review: Hasta Luego, Volkswagen Beetle

by Roger Biermann

The Beetle, the most famous of all Volkswagen's creations, is being retired again. Production of the sub-compact retro hatch in Mexico - from where all Beetles are shipped worldwide - will come to an end later this year. For now, though the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder developing 174 horsepower continues, along with a six-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel-drive, creating a nippy, fun, joyful drive that many Volkswagen enthusiasts will be sad to see go. For everyone else, the Beetle is no longer the cheap, practical, and basic car its grandfather was. The MQB underpinnings mean it's merely a Golf in drag; and while this may mean it comes with loads of refinement, the icon has simply become redundant. That being said, the ride is exceptionally civilized and the handling makes for an entertaining drive. Competing with the VW Golf and retro offerings from Fiat and Mini, the Beetle aims to bow out once more with dignity.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Changes: What’s the difference vs 2018 Beetle Hatchback?

As is the custom when Volkswagen retires a model (whether permanently or not), special editions are available for 2019 under the Final Edition moniker. Expanding the model lineup when the vehicle is about to be retired would not have made sense. Volkswagen has therefore elected to trim the range by cutting the Dune and Coast variants. At the same time, all models have now been equipped with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert as standard.

Pros and Cons

  • More practical than its retro rivals
  • Decent fuel economy and reasonable power
  • Competitively priced versus other chic retro models
  • Funky interior with reasonable space
  • Good forward visibility
  • Not as useful or as well-specced as a regular sub-compact
  • Lack of driver aids
  • No manual option

Beetle Hatchback Exterior

Styling is instantly recognizable as that of the Beetle. A spoiler breaks up the rear hatch and the bulbous wheel arches wrap around, while two doors stay true to the original layout with a modern look. LED DRLs and tails and bi-xenon headlights can be had too. Wheels range from 16-inch items to more retro 18-inch variants, and a sunroof is available.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior
See All 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The 2019 Beetle has a curb weight of 3,025 lbs, which is considerably heavier than its throwback-Thursday counterparts, the Mini Hardtop and Fiat 500. However, its dimensions are also larger. Its length measures 168.4 inches, its maximum width is 71.2 inches, and its wheelbase is 100 inches. Height is the only area where the trend is bucked - the Beetle is 58.5 inches tall, a fraction shorter than the Fiat.

Exterior Colors

For 2019, Bottle Green Metallic, Deep Sea Teal Metallic, and the Dune-specific Sandstorm Yellow Metallic have all been removed from the options list. The rest of the colors, including the shockingly vibrant $250 Habanero Orange Metallic option have remained. In addition, the Final Edition models can be had in Stonewashed Blue Metallic or Safari Uni, a pastel beige shade. The Final Edition trim levels can also only be specced with these or Deep Black Pearl, Pure White, or Platinum Gray Metallic. The more vibrant options are not available on these higher trim levels.

  • Habanero Orange Metallic
  • Deep Black Pearl
  • White Silver Metallic, Build Out: 01/01/2019
  • Tornado Red
  • Silk Blue Metallic
  • Platinum Gray Metallic
  • Pure White
  • Stonewashed Blue Metallic
  • Safari Uni

Beetle Hatchback Performance

The front-wheel-drive Beetle (the original classic was rear-wheel-driven) is equipped with a bigger engine than its British and Italian rivals, but that does not make it an express-train-fast monster of acceleration. That's not to say that the Beetle is excessively sluggish, though. It can theoretically manage the 0-60 mph sprint quicker than the Mini or 500 can manage in their non-performance variants, although Volkswagen has not claimed an official time. The plucky Bug continues accelerating on its way to a limited top speed of 120 mph. It's certainly not going to be mistaken for a sports car but for what it is, acceleration and general performance are respectable. Unlike the Mini and Fiat, there is no sportier version or hardcore limited-run boy-racer model available. While this may seem like a negative, the price of these hotted-up subcompact hatches is seriously high for the size and practicality of cars in this segment. The 174 hp Beetle is just right - not slow and not ludicrously fast.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior Detail

Engine and Transmission

The Beetle is equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces 174 hp and 184 lb-ft of torque. This solitary engine option is mated to a six-speed automatic gearbox exclusively. This sends power to the front wheels only with no other option being available - lower power outputs and a manual gearbox were discontinued for this model in 2017 and have not returned since.

Acceleration won't tear your face back, but it won't put you to sleep either. Power is adequate to make the Beetle a smooth accelerator whether moving off from a standstill or overtaking slow-moving traffic on the freeway, but the gearbox is not tuned for speed, and this is what hampers the performance slightly, with gear changes taking a little longer than would be ideal. If a manual option were still available, this may have been remedied, but the Beetle is bought by people with an interest in style and comfort, rather than outright athleticism.

  • Engine
    2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
    FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

A smooth ride and a playful chassis characterize the driving experience in the Beetle, with this turning out to be a properly fun car to drive while still maintaining excellent ride composure over big and small bumps alike. The smooth suspension damping creates a pleasurable driving experience even on long drives. Potholes and corrugations in the road surface are soaked up with ease while the tight chassis makes turning in a breeze.

A comfortable cruiser, the Bug is also capable of entertaining the driver when asked, with no fuss or excessive tire squeal when you get a little enthusiastic. The chuckable nature of the car's chassis tuning encourages drivers to carry as much momentum as possible through bends, rewarding you without adding unnecessary drama. Although the Mini Hardtop Cooper S and Abarth 500 are arguably even better at mimicking a go-kart's handling characteristics, those are the performance versions of already pricey cars and the Beetle can be just as fun without forking out nearly as much money.

Braking, on the other hand, will keep you honest and remind you that you are not driving a performance car, as the bite point on the pedal is a little lower than we'd like, necessitating firm inputs when you're really shunting the car.

Beetle Hatchback Gas Mileage

The Beetle being equipped with just one gasoline-powered engine and one gearbox combination achieves 26/33/29 mpg on the EPA's official city/highway/combined cycles. Equipped with a 14.5-gallon tank, the Beetle's 2.0-liter turbo motor will return an average range of 420.5 miles per full gas tank. The smaller-capacity offerings from Mini and Fiat do get better gas mileage even with their standard manual gearboxes, so if you're looking for the least greedy fuel-sipper in this segment, the Bug won't suit you.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    14.5 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 26/33 mpg
* 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback 2.0T S Automatic

Beetle Hatchback Interior

Unlike the previous generation, this new Beetle has not relied as heavily on nostalgia and retro styling themes as its predecessor did. This carries through to the interior of the Beetle, where the dash and clocks are far more rational and sensibly placed. There is still a body-colored plastic fascia adorning the length of the dash which harks back to the original Beetle. Within this section, there is also a storage bin facing the passenger, much like in the classic. With plenty of space up front and large windows amplifying the sense of roominess, the cabin is a comfortable place to be and is supported by a decent, if small, infotainment system. Heated seats are also available, adding to your comfort.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Interior Detail
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Steering Wheel Detail
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Interior Detail
See All 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

Featuring just two doors and only four seats, the Beetle is not a people-carrier, and the seats in the rear will only be comfortable for small children as the sloping roofline eats into the headroom. Getting into the back is also less than simple unless you're 12 or a natural contortionist. The front is a different story, with ample space to get in and out and enough open area to make even six-footers feel anything but claustrophobic. The front seats are also height-adjustable items and the telescopic steering wheel makes it easy for anyone to get into a comfortable driving position. Seeing out through the front and sides is easy thanks to the large windows, but the small rear windows make visibility out back and in your blind spots a little marginal.

  • Seating capacity
    4-seater

Interior Colors and Materials

Only the top Final Edition SEL trim has genuine leather seats that feature diamond-stitching, while the base model gets cloth upholstery and the others get either faux leather or a combination of cloth and simulated cowhide. All models get a leather-wrapped steering wheel and Final Edition models feature stainless steel pedals. Body-colored interior dash trims are finished in plastic, and the overall feel of the interior is funky but smart, although the quality is a little underwhelming when compared with some rivals.

Beetle Hatchback Trunk and Cargo Space

The trunk in the Beetle is of average size, 15.4 cubic feet of volume make up the storage in the rear, which can be expanded to 29.9 cubic feet when the two rear seats are folded flat. The seats fold in a 50/50 configuration, allowing you to leave one up if you do not need maximum storage.

In the front, two cupholders do duty in the center of the car, with a small bin under the center armrest supplementing the door nets which are really only useful for items like folded paper maps. In front of the passenger-side seat, you will find a pair of gloveboxes, one in the usual space, and one integrated into the dash. A bin on the driver's side and one under the center binnacle add a little extra storage space for wallets or smartphones, in addition to a shallow bin atop the dash.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Interior Shown
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Interior Shown
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Exterior. MY15 Shown.
  • Maximum Cargo Space
    29.9 ft³

Beetle Hatchback Infotainment and Features

Features

A rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and heated mirrors are all standard equipment on the S model. Higher trims are treated to keyless entry and start, as well as dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats and a panoramic sunroof. Audible parking sensors, front and rear, are available, as is VW Car-Net Security & Service, which enables emergency communications. The Intelligent Crash Response System will also switch off the fuel pump, unlock the doors, and activate the hazard lights in the event of a crash.

Infotainment

The base Beetle S is fitted with a simple but basic MIB II infotainment system featuring a five-inch touchscreen, one USB port, eight speakers, and Bluetooth connectivity. From the SE model up, the screen size is increased to 6.3 inches, and an upgraded version of the infotainment system adds HD Radio and SiriusXM satellite radio with Travel Link through VW Car-Net, which also includes Android Auto and Apple CarPlay and allows for numerous smartphone apps to be connected. The optional Fender audio system with navigation is standard on the Final Edition SEL model. All models feature steering functions.

Beetle Hatchback Problems and Reliability

The Beetle has been subject to two recalls, one of which was for a failure to display a brake wear indicator, necessitating a visual inspection of the brakes to determine if they needed replacing. The other was to prevent the vehicle from rolling away if the key was removed while the transmission was not in the park position.

J.D. Power has scored the Beetle a respectable 81 out of 100 for reliability, but should anything go wrong, the Bug is covered by Volkswagen's six-year/72,000-mile new vehicle and bumper-to-bumper warranties.

Beetle Hatchback Safety

The Beetle scores a rating of Marginal from the IIHS, which is just one rating above the lowest possible score of Poor. Meanwhile, the NHTSA rated the Beetle four stars out five for crash safety.

Key Safety Features

The Beetle is not overwhelmingly equipped with driver aids, but blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and a rearview camera are standard. Front and rear park sensors are available, while dual front-impact and side-impact airbags feature as do overhead airbags and seatbelt pretensioners.

Verdict: Is the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback a good car?

So is the Beetle worth considering? Well, it has less than perfect safety ratings, its interior is a little too cheap-feeling and too brightly accented for some, and it certainly is not the most spacious vehicle in the subcompact segment, especially with the Golf around. Gas mileage isn't particularly astounding either and the infotainment system is adequate but with a smaller screen than in many rivals.

However, this is the final year that the Beetle is being produced, and VW is even incentivizing its purchase, with the regular SE being priced higher than its better equipped Final Edition brother. If that kind of preemptive nostalgia speaks to you in any way, this may be worth a look for you. The Beetle is not a car you buy for its capabilities but for its character, and this 2019 model has it in buckets, with retro but tasteful styling accents, fun handling, and an unmistakable presence that almost nobody can bring themselves to hate. If you don't need massive practicality and do like a charming machine that almost has a soul, the Beetle ticks all the right boxes.

What's the Price of the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback?

Pricing starts at $20,895 for the cheapest model, the S, exclusive of Volkswagen's $895 destination charge, licensing and registration fees, taxes, and incentives. The SE's price jumps up to $24,395, while pricing decreases for the Final Edition SE, which starts at $23,045. The top-spec Final Edition SEL costs $25,995 - no regular SEL model exists anymore. A fully-loaded Final Edition SEL simply features bigger 20-inch Monterey wheels and will cost $28,069 before charges.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Models

The model lineup for the 2019 Beetle is comprised of just four options: S, SE, Final Edition SE, and Final Edition SEL. The cheapest model, the S, has been the most popular over the years for its uncluttered simplicity and style but for the twilight of this generation, the Final Editions can be attractive options, with their unique retro wheels and decent pricing.

The S is well-equipped for the model, featuring 16-inch wheels, cruise control, a rearview camera, blind-spot-monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, plus a leather-wrapped steering wheel and heated mirrors too.

The SE builds on this with an upgraded 6.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, 17-inch wheels, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, faux leather upholstery, keyless ignition, and heated front seats as standard.

The Final Edition SE features the SE's specs and then gets unique interior changes with its special upholstery "Final Edition only" wheels.

The Final Edition SEL is the top-of-the-range model and adds the regular SE's optional Premium package as standard plus white-accented Final Edition retro wheels. The upgrades include bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, parking sensors in front and at the rear, and a Fender sound system. With genuine leather, it's a noticeable upgrade over the other models.

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
2.0T S
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$20,895
2.0T Final Edition SE
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$23,045
2.0T SE
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$24,395
2.0T Final Edition SEL
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$25,995
See All 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The only additional package one can add to the Beetle is available on the SE model only and is called the Premium package. This upgrades your wheels to 18-inch items and adds bi-xenon headlights with LED daytime running lights, taillights, and license plate lights. You also get park distance control front and rear, and foglights which automatically illuminate at low speed. Inside, a Discover Media touchscreen interface adds navigation and connects to a Fender sound system upgrade. The package costs $2,500.

What Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Model Should I Buy?

The Beetle isn't too different across the lineup, but the Final Edition SEL is the most unique. However, the special wheels and seats with leather are not enough to justify the extra cash. Our recommendation is the almost fully-equipped Final Edition SE, which is cheaper than a regular SE. It adds a little more retro goodness and uplifts the feel of the interior slightly without costing too much. A car like this should be kept simple, and VW has done just that while still making the special edition notable in its own way.

Check out other Volkswagen Beetle Styles?

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Comparisons

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback
2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback vs MINI Cooper Hardtop

The last generation of the Beetle arguably inspired the Mini's revival, so is the "original" retro car better? In terms of base price, cargo space, and interior roominess, the Beetle is certainly the clear winner, making it the more practical car by a long shot. In terms of fuel economy, the two cars are very similarly matched. However, that's where the upshots end for the Bug. The Mini is available with either a manual or an optional auto box, has multiple engine variants in the lineup, and can be well customized with numerous add-ons, while the Beetle's personalization offerings end with your choice of color. The Cooper is also the sharper handling vehicle and has a far better-built interior. This car feels premium next to the VW. However, for the size of car, it's quite expensive and options add up quickly. The Mini is the one to choose if you want to make a statement, while the Beetle makes the most of its simplicity and is more usable.

See MINI Cooper Hardtop Review

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback vs Fiat 500

The Fiat 500 is the retro hatch that has arguably stayed truest to its roots, keeping its size down considerably better than its counterparts. Unfortunately, this takes a toll on the comfort and practicality of the car, as even front occupants will feel a little too close together, while the cargo space of the 500 won't carry nearly as many shopping bags in the back and the rear seats will frequently be used for additional storage. On the plus side, finding a parking space and maneuvering into it is much easier, but that's the only plus point this car possesses beyond its charm and admittedly much lower base price (over $4,000). The Beetle is a much more economical car despite a considerably higher power output. The little Fiat suffers from a lack of torque, making it slow to get going while acceleration is usually not adequate except to pass the slowest traffic. The Beetle is a clear winner here.

See Fiat 500 Review

Volkswagen Beetle Hatchback Popular Comparisons