Sporty/performance car; Built in
  • 2-door convertible
  • 2-door hatchback
Good condition price range: $8,500 – $22,000*


2014 Volkswagen Beetle


2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line


2014 Volkswagen Beetle R-Line


2014 Volkswagen Beetle

Pros:
  • Control layout
  • Fuel economy (TDI turbodiesel)
  • Ride/handling
Cons:
  • Rear-seat room

This Beetle is just as style-driven as the New Beetle was, but it’s also more practical in everyday terms, feels more substantial, and is arguably better to drive. Trouble is, a comparably equipped version of the related Golf or Jetta offers many of the same virtues, plus far better rear-seat and cargo room. Where the Beetle really shines is in convertible form. So what we have here is another nostalgia trip that makes sense if you love the styling, and can accept the compromises that go with it. Our hearts like the frugal diesel-powered TDI models, but our heads tell us the best value is in the base 2.5 and 1.8T models.

Overview

The 2012 Volkswagen Beetle was redesigned with freshened styling, new engines, and some added features. The 2012 model is about 1 inch longer in wheelbase, 7 inches longer overall, and more than 3 inches wider than the 1998-2010 Volkswagen New Beetle.

The 2012 Beetle was offered in three trim levels: Base, 2.5L, and 2.0T Turbo.

Base models came equipped with a few noteworthy features, including a tilt-and-telescopic leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated power mirrors, 17-inch tires, and alloy wheels.

The 2.5L added vinyl upholstery, heated and height-adjustable front seats, driver-seat lumbar adjustment, iPod interface system, wireless cell-phone link, and more. The 2.5L Sunroof added a power sunroof, satellite radio, and other features. The 2.5L Sunroof/Sound/Navigation added a navigation system, Fender sound system, and 18-inch tires.

The 2.0T Turbo added the following to 2.5L: a turbocharged engine, rear spoiler, sport suspension, 18-inch tires, and more. The 2.0T Turbo Launch Edition included unique interior and exterior trim and 19-inch tires. The 2.0T Turbo Sunroof/Sound added the following to 2.0T Turbo: a power sunroof, Fender sound system, satellite radio, and more. The 2.0T Turbo Sunroof/Sound/Navigation added a navigation system.

Note that trim levels equipped with a sunroof, Fender sound system, and/or navigation were priced as separate models.

A Lamp and Wheel Package (bi-xenon headlights, 19-inch tires) was the sole factory option package. It was only available on the top-line 2.0T Turbo Sunroof/Sound/Navigation model.

Base and 2.5L models came equipped with a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 5-cylinder with either a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. 2.0T Turbo models had a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder mated to either a 6-speed manual or a 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual transmission that behaves much like an automatic. Volkswagen recommended regular-grade gas for the 2.5, and premium for the 2.0 turbo. Beetle is front-wheel drive.

The EPA rated the 5-cylinder 2012 Beetle with manual transmission at 22 mpg city/31 mpg highway—22/29 for the automatic. The turbocharged 4-cylinder models were rated at 21/30 with manual transmission and 22/30 with automatic.

Volkswagen recommended regular-grade gas for the 2.5, premium for the 2.0 turbo.

The 2012 Beetle had a standard complement of expected and federally mandated safety features. All manual-transmission models came standard with a hill-holder clutch.

Yearly Updates

2012 Beetle
VW announced turbodiesel TDI versions as early-2013 models and a new Turbo R-Line variant as a late-year addition. Another mid-year tweak for Turbo versions was a new engine with 10 more horsepower, bring the total to 210. The only other changes among Beetle coupes involved shuffling features, and adding a special Fender Edition package created with the noted maker of electric guitars and amplifiers. But the major news was the debut of a Beetle Convertible. In addition to several 2.5, TDI, and Turbo models, three special-edition Beetle Convertible “decade” models were also available. Each was meant to recall a specific decade when the original bug was available in America–the 1950s, the 1960s, and the 1970s. The ’50s Edition Beetle Convertible was a base 2.5 model painted black and finished with a tan leather-trimmed interior. It also included chrome side mirror housings and “Heritage” wheels. The ’60s Edition Beetle Convertible was based on the top-line Turbo with Sound and Navigation variant. It featured Denim Blue paint with two-tone leather sport seats. The ’60s Edition was only available with the DSG automated-manual transmission. The final special Beetle was the ’70s Edition. This model was a 2.5 with Sound and Navigation and added chrome exterior mirrors, unique Toffee Brown metallic exterior paint, and leather interior trim.
2013 Beetle
The 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine was phased out during 2014, and a 1.8-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder became Beetle’s base engine. Since the base engine was now a turbo, the existing Beetle 2.0T Turbo models were renamed R-Line. There was also a new limited-edition GSR model. New features included an available rearview camera and Volkswagen’s Car-Net communications system/smartphone app. All Beetle models now used a multi-link independent rear suspension; previously Beetle 2.5L and TDI coupes used a torsion beam rear axle.

Engines

Beetle 2.5s use a 170-horsepower 2.5-liter 5-cylinder engine that mates to a 5-speed manual transmission or optional 6-speed automatic. During the 2014 model year, the 2.5-liter engine was phased out and Beetle’s base engine switched to a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder with 170 horsepower. It could be mated to a 5-speed manual or 6-speed automatic transmission. Turbo models made in 2012 and early in the 2013 model year are equipped with a 200-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder. Later-production 2013 Turbos and 2014 R-Line and GSR models have a newly designed 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo that’s rated at 210 horsepower. TDIs substitute a 140-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbodiesel. These engines team with a 6-speed manual transmission or an optional 6-speed dual-clutch automated-manual that behaves much like the torque-converter automatic.

Turbodiesel dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/120
Engine HP 140
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 236
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automated manual
28/41
29/39
dohc I5
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.5/151
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 177
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic
20/28
20/29
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 1.8/110
Engine HP 170
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 184
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
5-speed manual
6-speed automatic
24/33
25/33
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 200
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automated manual
20/28
22/30
Turbocharged dohc I4
Engine Size (liters/cubic inches) 2.0/121
Engine HP 210
Engine Torque (lb-ft) 207
Avail. Trans. EPA MPG (city/hwy) MPG avg. as tested
6-speed manual
6-speed automated manual
23/31
24/30

Road Test

The 5-cylinder engine provides good low-speed acceleration but only adequate highway-passing power. Its 6-speed automatic shifts smoothly and downshifts promptly. The 200-horsepower 2.0-liter gasoline turbo affords greater high-speed power and a more sporting driving experience, but low-speed turbo lag prevents it from producing the same jump off the line as the 2.5. Furthermore, its automated-manual transmission isn’t as smooth in operation or as quick to downshift for passing, but once it does, power arrives in a rush. We’ve had no opportunity to test a Beetle with manual transmission.

No opportunity to measure fuel economy of TDI or 210-horsepower Turbo models. A 2.5-liter convertible averaged 20.8 mpg with more city driving than highway use. A 200-horsepower Turbo with the automated-manual transmission averaged 23.0 mpg in a roughly 60/40 city/freeway driving mix. Volkswagen recommends regular-grade gas for the 2.5, premium for the 2.0 turbo.

Beetle 2.5s cope well with most paved roads, but are most comfortable with the 17- or 18-inch tires. Body motions are well controlled, but washboard roads induce more wheel pattering than we expected. TDI models should be similar in all respects. The sports-oriented Turbos use a stiffer suspension that makes for thumpy, choppy going on rougher pavement, especially with the available 19-inch tires, though even this setup won’t rattle your fillings.

The 2.5 models are dynamically competent, cornering with moderate body lean and good grip. Tactile, properly weighted power steering adds to driving enjoyment, while strong, easily modulated brakes add to driver confidence. Again, TDIs should be similar. Turbos are more athletic yet not truly nimble, feeling heavier and less “tossable” than VW’s own GTI “hot hatchback” and a number of other sporty small cars. The convertible’s body structure is fairly stout, but we observed some body flex and cowl shake when traversing pockmarked Chicago streets.

In coupes, wind rush can overwhelm tire thrum at highway speeds, though neither is intrusive. Still, one tester complained of “borderline excessive” road noise in a Turbo with 19-inch tires. The 2.5 and TDI engines are acceptably quiet at cruise and sound reasonably refined at full-throttle. The Turbo models, unsurprisingly, have a sportier exhaust note, but it’s easy on the ears.

Top-up, Beetle convertible is reasonably serene with good overall noise isolation. Engine and road noise are heard at times, but neither is prevalent enough to be an issue. Top-down drives were with the accessory wind blocker in place. Wind intrusion is well managed, and conversation remains possible even at highway speed.

A simple dashboard channels original-Bug design with contemporary flair. Clear gauges and a useful trip-data display nestle in a pod ahead of the driver. The climate-control panel includes three good-size dials, but it sits near the gearlever, too low for easiest use while driving. Audio and/or navigation units mount high in the center of the dash, a few inches to the right of the wheel. All feature a good-size touchscreen display, flanking function-select buttons, and rotary knobs for volume, radio tuning and similar adjustments. The navigation systems have a third knob that functions like BMW’s iDrive controller. All these setups are pretty intuitive and convenient, though the touchscreens, like so many others, can wash out in strong light.

Interior treatments vary with model. All are stylish but not rich-looking, thanks to extensive use of hard plastic and, save top-price models, few soft-touch surfaces. Available two-tone color combinations help dress things up. Steering-column stalks had a slightly flimsy feel on one test car.

Up front, adults enjoy ample space on comfortably supportive seats. The driving position is easily tailored with the standard tilt/telescopic steering wheel and seat height and lumbar adjustments, plus long seat tracks. Visibility is fine in Beetle coupes except to the rear corners, where thickish roof pillars and the rear headrests get in the way. The sun visors don’t provide very good side-window coverage, as they’re slightly skimpy and neither extend nor have slide-out extensions. The sunroof has a large opening that is somewhat narrow but extends well forward.

The convertible top severely restricts visibility directly aft and to the rear corners. A rearview camera would help immensely when backing out of a parking space, but this feature was not offered until the 2014 model year.

The back seat is more useable than the New Beetle’s, but that’s not saying much, as it’s still shaped for just two passengers. Average-size adults can ride in tandem, but the one behind has minimal legroom. Rear access is a squeeze-play too, if less so than in many 2-door coupes. Though door openings are relatively long and tall, the sliding front seats don’t leave a very wide passage. Note that with the convertible’s available wind blocker in place, the rear seat can not be used by passengers, but it remains available for parcels.

VW claims a useful 15.4 cubic feet of space behind the coupe’s rear seat and 29.9 with the split backrests folded, but the cargo bay is rather narrow and shallow. It also lacks underfloor storage. The seat backs can be dropped while standing behind the car, but shorter folks may not be able to trigger the release buttons except from inside. In addition, the folded seat backs do not lay flat and create a 3-inch step with the cargo floor, thus compromising utility.

The convertible’s trunk is quite small in size and opening, but it’s usefully shaped and when carefully loaded should be able to hold at least several bags of groceries or a couple pieces of soft-side luggage. The rear seat backs are split 50/50 and fold forward, opening up a small pass through. The seat backs don’t fold flat though and leave a step above the trunk floor.

Interior storage is decent in all Beetles, with two good-size dashboard gloveboxes, a largish open bin ahead of the gearlever, and various nooks and crannies.

Ratings

Model Tested: 2.5L coupe, automatic

Ratings values are on a 1-10 scale, with 10 being the best. With the exception of Value, these numbers reflect how the vehicle compares against the universe of vehicles, not just against rivals in its class.

Performance

Acceleration - 6
60%
Fuel Economy - 5
50%
Ride Quality - 6
60%
Steering/Handling - 6
60%
Quietness - 5
50%

Accommodations

Controls/Materials - 6
60%
Room/Comfort Front - 8
80%
Room/Comfort Rear - 2
20%
Cargo Room - 5
50%

Other

Value - 7
70%

Total: 56

Specifications

2-door convertible
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
100.0 168.4 71.2 58.0
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
7.1 14.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.3 37.6 41.3 31.4
2-door hatchback
Wheelbase (in.) Length (in.) Width (in.) Height (in.) Weight (lbs)
99.9 168.4 71.2 58.5
Cargo Volume (cu/ft) Payload Capacity (cu/ft) Fuel Capacity (gal.) Seating Capacity
29.9 14.5 4
Headroom Legroom
Front Rear Front Rear
39.4 37.1 41.3 31.4
Safety Ratings

Model Tested: N/A Not tested 2-door convertible

NHTSA

(5 is the highest rating)

Front Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Front Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

Side Impact Test

Driver Injury - N/A
N/A0%
Rear Passenger Injury - N/A
N/A0%

HLDI

(A score of 100 is average. Lower is better)

Collision N/A
Injury N/A
Theft N/A

Trouble Spots

Windows
Description: Some 2012 and 2013 model year Beetles may have problems with the operation of the front windows requiring the replacement of the window motors with an improved version. (2012-13)

Recall History

2012 Beetle
Description: Certain 2012 model-year Beetles may have been equipped with summer performance tires that may not be in compliance with federal motor vehicle safety standards. Dealers will replace noncompliant tires free of charge.
2012-13 Beetle
Description: Certain 2012 and 2013 model year Beetles manufactured from February 2012 through August 2012 and equipped with leather sport seats have an occupant control module that may not properly detect the presence of a child seat if the passenger’s front seat gets wet.
2012-13 Beetle
Description: Certain 2012 and 2013 model year Beetles may have rear trailing arms that could suddenly fail if they were deformed in a previous crash. The arm could suddenly fail, possibly causing loss of vehicle control. Dealers will install a sheet metal inlay on the trailing arms that are meant to prevent loss of control in the event of a sudden failure.
2013-14 Beetle
Description: Certain 2013 and 2014 model year Beetles were equipped with glass sunroofs that may break when the vehicle is driven on a hard road or strikes a pothole.
2014 Beetle
Description: Certain 2014 model year Beetles manufactured after March 31, 2014 are equipped with a fuel rail that has a cap that may fail and allow fuel to leak into the engine compartment.
2014 Beetle
Description: Certain 2014 model year Beetles equipped with the 1.8-liter engine and automatic transmission may develop a transmission fluid leak because of failed O-ring seals in the transmission oil cooler.

Equipment Lists

Equipment lists are only viewable on larger screen sizes.

Pricing

Used-car pricing varies widely depending on local market conditions. Therefore, we recommend visiting websites that list used cars for sale to get a better idea of what a specific model is selling for in your area.