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2017 Volkswagen Beetle Overview

James Flammang
Contributing Editor - November 1, 2016

With its rounded shape and retro styling, the modern-day Beetle continues to be one of the most iconic, easily recognizable vehicles in the world. Though the exterior recalls its vintage roots, the distinctive appearance is hardly indicative of the features and technology housed within its curvaceous framework. The Beetle comes in hardtop or convertible form with several possible configurations at each trim level, giving buyers a host of options to choose from. Diesel power has disappeared in the wake of Volkswagen’s emissions-testing scandal of 2015, but Beetle shoppers can choose from two gasoline engines.

What's New for 2017

In addition to a few exterior design updates, the Beetle lineup is expanding to include hardtop and convertible versions of the Dune edition, a limited-production #PinkBeetle, and a revival of the retro-focused Classic model. Bolder-looking bumpers aim to suggest the more costly R-Line model. In previous years, manual shift was invariably standard, with an automatic transmission optional. Manual gearboxes faded away as the 2017 model year began, but might be revived later. Meanwhile, the Classic version has returned after a year’s absence.

Volkswagen Beetle

Choosing Your Volkswagen Beetle

In addition to the vintage yet modern styling of the Beetle, a major component of its appeal has been the engine under the front hood. This year, with the diesel option gone, Volkswagen offers two distinct four-cylinder gas engines and transmissions to choose from.

The base power source is a 1.8-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that produces 170 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque, mating with a six-speed automatic transmission. Fuel economy is EPA-estimated at 24-mpg city/33-mpg highway (28 mpg combined) for both the hardtop and the convertible. Estimates drop to 24/31 mpg (27 mpg combined) for the Dune edition.

In R-Line models, a zippy 2-liter turbocharged engine develops 210 horsepower and 207 pound-feet of torque. Instead of a conventional automatic transmission, the R-Line gets a six-speed dual-clutch DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) unit. Gas mileage is estimated at 23/29 mpg city/highway.

1.8T S

Priced $480 lower than the Classic Beetle, the value-focused 1.8T S serves as the entry-level model. It comes with the 1.8-liter engine and six-speed automatic transmission. If a manual transmission becomes available later in the 2017 season, it will be standard, and the automatic will becomes optional. Standard features include a leatherette interior, heated front seats, eight-speaker audio with CD player, Bluetooth streaming, automatic headlights, a multi-function steering wheel, heated side mirrors, and cruise control.

An optional Lighting package includes bi-xenon high-intensity headlights, LED daytime running lights, and LED taillamps.

1.8T SE

For $22,450 (destination charge included), the step-up version comes with keyless access, pushbutton start, customizable ambient lighting, and 17-inch wheels.

1.8T SEL

Priced at $25,975, the top 1.8T model adds a panoramic sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, parking sensors, Fender premium stereo, and Discover Media that includes navigation.

1.8T Classic

Last seen in the 2015 model year, this $20,475 Beetle focuses on “heritage-inspired” design elements that include a checkered interior and 1960s-style hubcaps. It’s available only with an automatic transmission that includes paddle shifters, as well as touchscreen navigation, an eight-speaker sound system with MP3 compatibility, satellite radio, Bluetooth compatibility, heated side mirrors, and a rear spoiler. Alloy wheels hold 17-inch tires.


Offered as a limited-edition, this noticeable offshoot is painted in unique Fresh Fuchsia metallic. Premium touches include gloss black accents, bi-xenon headlights, LED taillamps, and pink plaid seat upholstery. Sticker price is $21,890.


Introduced for 2016 in hardtop form, the Dune edition is also offered as a convertible for 2017. Visually inspired by Volkswagen’s rally-race heritage and the old Baja Bugs, the Dune gets a slightly taller (0.4 inch) ride height, a wider body (0.6 inch), a big spoiler, a black honeycomb grille, 18-inch wheels, and black wheel well extensions. Sport seats contain orange contrast stitching.

R-Line 2.0T

The sportiest and priciest ($32,550) of the Beetle trim levels, the R-Line 2.0T upgrades to the 2-liter turbocharged engine, adding a sport-tuned suspension, rear spoiler, sport front seats, and 20-inch wheels.

Beetles may be equipped with blind spot monitoring that includes rear cross-traffic alert.

CarsDirect Tip

The basic 1.8T S serves as a worthy entry point for shoppers seeking good overall value. For the price, it includes a surprising number of features. If performance is a compelling incentive and price isn’t an obstacle, head directly for the R-Line, which really peps up this always-familiar, fun-to-drive car.

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