Volkswagen Beetle (2012 – 2018) | Expert Rating

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Summary


The Volkswagen Beetle was a tribute to the famous original Volkswagen Type 1 (universally known as the Beetle but never officially named as such). It was essentially a rebodied Volkswagen Golf Mk6, available in coupé and cabriolet versions, and followed on from the previous ‘New Beetle’, which was basically a rebodied Golf Mk4.

Engine options were borrowed from the Golf and consisted of several petrol and diesel engine options, with both manual and automatic transmissions available.

Unsurprisingly, the Beetle was regularly compared to the Golf during its lifespan, and most reviews preferred the latter. ” Autocar explained that this last-generation Beetle “is a vast improvement on the previous incarnation of Beetle, but it continues to lack the dynamic polish and competence of the Golf.”

Other than its firm ride comfort, the key criticism levelled against the Beetle was its poor levels of practicality in the rear, and while it is a capable family car, many reviewers commented that the Volkswagen Beetle is nostalgia-inducing, but not very special on the road.

The Sunday Times wrote that its test drive in both the coupé and cabriolet versions provided a “a trip down memory lane” in a car that was fundamentally “undemanding and unrewarding”.

Top Gear explained that the Beetle was improved by its light 2016 facelift, which consisted of styling tweaks inside and out, but was still hard to recommend over the Golf or SEAT Leon considering its high pricing. The Volkswagen Beetle Dune, a trim with more ground clearance and SUV-style bumper cladding, joined the range in 2016. However, it cost several thousand more than the standard model and is a rare sight today.

Production of the Volkswagen Beetle ended in 2019. It holds an Expert Rating of 50%, which is significantly worse than any other Volkswagen – either new or used – in our Expert Rating Index.

Beetle highlights

  • Attractive retro styling
  • Range of economical modern engines
  • Well-built and reliable
  • Nippy performance with agile handling

Beetle lowlights

  • Cramped rear seating
  • Range gets expensive, especially cabriolet models
  • Golf is more practical and comfortable
  • Rigid ride comfort

Key specifications


Body style: Compact liftback coupé and cabriolet
Engines: petrol, diesel
Price when new: From £17,210 on-road

Launched: Autumn 2012
Last updated: Winter 2016/17
Replaced: Summer 2019



Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

No safety rating

The Volkswagen Beetle was originally crash tested by Euro NCAP back in 2011 and awarded a five-star rating. However, this rating expired in January 2017 and is no longer valid as the car no longer meets the standards required for such a rating.

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

No eco rating

The Volkswagen Beetle was not lab tested by Green NCAP during its production life.

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Volkswagen Beetle, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Alfa Romeo Giulietta | Fiat 500C | Fiat Tipo | Ford Focus | Hyundai i30 | Kia Ceed | Mazda 3 | Mazda MX-5 | Mini Convertible | Peugeot 308 | Renault Megane | Skoda Scala | Skoda Octavia | Vauxhall Astra | Volkswagen Golf

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