Pros: Unique retro looks; good build quality; availability of economical diesel engine; peppy acceleration; availability of slick, stylish convertible body style
Cons: Swoopy styling takes precedence over ergonomics; pricier than similarly equipped Golfs and Jettas; cramped back seat
CG Says: The 2014 Volkswagen Beetle gets a new base engine: a turbocharged 1.8-liter 4-cylinder with 170 horsepower. Since the base engine is now a turbo, the Beetle Turbo models are renamed R-Line. Also new for 2014 is an available rearview camera, Volkswagen’s Car-Net communications system/smartphone app, and the limited edition Beetle GSR model. 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, it costs a fair bit more than a comparably equipped version of the related Golf or Jetta, which offer many of the same virtues, plus far better rear-seat and cargo room. So what we have here is another nostalgia trip that makes sense if you love the styling, can accept the compromises that go with it, and are willing to pay for the privilege.