With its rounded shape and retro styling, the Beetle continues to be one of the most iconic vehicles in the world. Though the exterior recalls its vintage roots, it is hardly indicative of the features and technology housed within its curvy frame. The Beetle offers a choice of hardtop or convertible, three quietly efficient powerplants, and several possible configurations at each trim level, giving potential buyers a host of options to choose from.
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2016 Volkswagen Beetle Overview
What's New for 2016
A number of changes have been made to the Beetle for 2016 including the creation of a new, value-focused trim level the 1.8T. Other updates include the addition of the new MIB II infotainment system, new exterior colors and a new lighting package that is available on all 1.8T and TDI models.
Choosing Your Volkswagen Beetle
In addition to the vintage yet modern styling of the Beetle, a major component of the appeal is the engine under the hood. This year, Volkswagen offers three different four-cylinder engines to choose from.
- The base powerplant is a 1.8-liter turbocharged affair that produces 170 horsepower and comes paired with a five-speed manual transmission. An optional six-speed automatic is also available. Both transmissions offer an EPA-estimated 25mpg city/ 34mpg highway.
- A 150-horsepower diesel engine powers the TDI line while delivering an estimated 31/41 mpg when paired with either the manual or automatic transmission. NOTE: As we go to press in the wake of VW's emissions scandal, TDI's are on hold unless government agencies approve a solution.
- Finally, a zippy 2-liter 210-horsepower turbocharged engine is what powers the R-line models delivering 23/31 mpg when paired with the standard six-speed manual transmission, or 24/30 mpg when automatic.
The 1.8T does offer a good entry point for those looking for good overall value. It includes a surprising number of features for the cost. However, if you are looking for performance, go directly to the R-Line, which really picks up the pep for this fun to drive car.
2016 Volkswagen Beetle Review
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.
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
- 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.
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.
- 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
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.