The 2016 Volkswagen Beetle, just a few years removed from a redesign that VW marketed as a more masculine look, continues into the new model year with very few changes. While we still see the cute side of the Beetle, we can appreciate VW’s attempt to rough up the model a bit.

Pricing and Equipment

For the 2016 model year, the Beetle continues with tons of trim levels, but the lowest-cost trim remains the 1.8T S. This entry-level version of the retro model starts out at just $19,795. For this scratch, we found the Beetle surprisingly well equipped, as it comes with:

  • Aluminum-alloy wheels
  • Automatic headlights
  • Leather-wrapped steering wheel, shifter knob, and parking-brake handle
  • An MIIB II Audio system with a 5-inch touchscreen

In addition to this base model, the Beetle is also available in other, better-equipped trims like the 1.8T SE ($21,350), 1.8T SEL ($25,975), R-Line SE ($25,995), and R-Line SEL ($31,450). As we go to press, sales of TDI models are on hold in the wake of the emissions cheating scandal.

Performance Pros

Volkswagen Beetle Convertible

A lively lineup of engines makes for a fun drive across the board. The suspension is firm enough without being uncomfortably taught.

  • The torque-heavy diesel engine (not currently available) is surprisingly peppy.
  • Base and optional turbocharged gasoline engines are a blast
  • The optional dual-clutch transmission is excellent

Performance Cons

  • VW's diesel engine is under federal investigation for cheating emission tests, leaving a bad taste in our mouths after rating it so favorably.
  • While it isn't severe, the convertible model has noticeably more body roll in the corners.

Interior Pros

The front seats are well-suited for long road trips, even in the sporty R-Line trim level. There are plenty of nooks and crannies to store all our gadgets, gizmos, and other pocket-dwelling items.

Interior Cons

  • Legroom in the rear seats is nearly non-existent with a normal-height adult in the front seat.
  • While it is not overwhelming, there is a fair amount of wind and road noise that gets into the cabin.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Volkswagen Beetle

The features that come standard with the 2016 Beetle are pretty incredible, but what really shocks us is just how many premium features are available. Sure, the Beetle is no luxury car, but it does a pretty good impression of one at the top of its range.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

The rear seats are surprisingly cramped, making the Beetle a poor option for a growing family.

The Bottom Line

The Beetle’s retro looks, peppy powertrains, and useful cabin all add up to a pretty fine compact coupe.