Used Volkswagen Beetle Review
- Unique styling
- Strong engines
- Impressive safety record
- Disappointing ride quality
- Cabin materials not the best quality
- Not as fun to drive as some rivals
Newest model of the iconic Beetle is better than ever
The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most recognisable cars ever to have been produced. First introduced in 1938 as the Volkswagen Type 1, the first-generation Beetle remained in production for 65 years. It was most-manufactured, longest running car ever produced on a single platform. This truly was the “people’s car”. Based around a 2-door, 4-seater concept, the Beetle was practical, stylish, and reliable.
The most recent update came in 2011, with the third-generation Beetle drawing heavily on styling cues from the iconic first-generation. With a retro interior, low profile body, and the latest technology used in its development, the new Beetle combines tradition, with modernity.
High quality design, disappointing quality
The interior of the Beetle is one area in which it shines. Taking design cues from the original, the latest model has a retro-feel interior that stands it apart from nearly every car on sale today. Material quality is a little disappointing, and space isn’t class-leading, but it’s certainly unique.
When you step into the Beetle’s cabin, you’ll be struck by just how to different to other cars the interior is. The dashboard in particular stands out. It’s much more square than a lot of modern cars, leaving some areas, particularly the glove box, seem quite unusual. It’s a nod and a wink to 60’s retro, which will appeal to a lot of fashion-conscious buyers. Material quality might disappoint some however, as the plastics used throughout don’t live up to the quality we’ve come to expect from Volkswagen.
Space-wise the Beetle is surprisingly practical for such a unique shaped car. There’s 310 litres of boot space, which is just short of most family hatchbacks, and almost as big as a Golf. There’s certainly enough space for the return run from the shopping centre sales. Inside space isn’t quite as impressive however. There’s only four seats, and people over six foot might find it a little cramped in the back, primarily due to the car's sloping roof.
Spec levels in the Beetle are a pleasant surprise. The most popular trims in the range are the Sport, and Design. The design comes with a striking body-coloured dashboard, comfort seats, alloy wheels, Bluetooth, and a touch-screen DAB radio. The Sport trim adds a carbon-effect dash, bigger alloys, and front and rear parking sensors. That’s enough to please even tech geeks.
The interior of the Beetle is certainly an interesting place to find youself in. The design is excellent, there’s plenty of kit, and a reasonable amount of space. Material quality isn’t as good as it could be, but there’s more than enough going on here to keep most people happy.
On The Road
Top range models are decent, entry-level models disappointing
Whilst the design and the interior feel and look iconic, it’s hard to say the same thing for the driving experience. The ride is firm, steering isn’t precise enough, and it’s definitely not anywhere near as fun to drive as a Golf.
If you look at the Beetle from the outside, you would immediately assume that it's fun looks would have a driving experience to match. This isn’t the case however, especially in entry-level models. It’s certainly not the worst car in the world to drive, but steering isn’t as sharp as it could be. The range-topping 2.0TSI model comes with a much-improved experience lifted directly from the Golf GTI, but everything below this level is disappointing.
The Beetle also disappoints when it comes to refinement. On all models the suspension is stiff, making for a bumpy ride, especially around town. Things get a little better when you pick up the speed, and there’s very little in the way of body roll, but if you like a comfortable ride, you’re probably better off looking elsewhere.
Gearbox options in the Beetle come in two guises, a 6-speed manual, and a 6-speed DSG automatic. The manual box is decent enough to use, though the DSG box, that works so well in other cars in the VW range, here feels a little jolty, especially at low speeds, making city driving not the most pleasant of experiences.
Impressive range of engines
When it comes to deciding how you want to power your Beetle, you’ve got two options: petrol, or diesel. There’s three petrol options, all of which have enough bite, and two diesels, which impress in both eco-credentials and fuel efficiency. There’s a powerplant for everyone here.
If speed and power are of primary concern in your Beetle, the stand-out option in the range is the petrol-powered 2.0 TSI 220 Sport. Taken from the sporty Golf GTI, this engine is tuned specifically for the Beetle, meaning that you’ll get an engine packing 220bhp, which will fire you from 0-62mph in just 6.7 seconds.
For the eco-friendly buyer, the best option in the Beetle range is the diesel-driven 2.0 TDI 110 BlueMotion. It’s not the best engine on the market for eco-credentials, but with just 112g/km of CO2 emissions, you’re not going to be paying out too much on road tax. This model also happens to be the best for saving money on fuel. With an impressive 65.7mpg, you’re going to have more money to spend on life’s other essentials.
Whichever engine option you choose to go for in your Beetle, there’s going to be enough bite to keep you entertained, without draining your expenses on running costs.
Full marks on NCAP safety tests, impressive safety equipment
Like most modern Volkswagens, the Beetle easily achieved the highest possible 5-star NCAP safety rating. It also scored impressively in both adult and child safety, scoring 92% and 90% respectively. That’s enough to beat nearly all small hatchbacks, making the Beetle a surprisingly safe family car. There’s also decent safety kit as standard, with six airbags and an electronic stability control system featuring. The Beetle really is an impressively safe car.
Value for money
Impressively good value
The Volkswagen Beetle offers buyers tremendous value for money. This varies from model to model, but there is value to be had throughout the range. Most models come with low C02 emissions, and fuel consumption levels are exceptional, with even the sportiest models offering up to 45mpg.
For a car that stands out from the crowd so much, the Beetle is reasonably cheap when it comes to insurance. The cheapest model in the range finds itself in group 10 (1.2 TSI), ranging up to group 27 for the top of the range 2.0 TSI Sport.
Depreciation is one area that particularly affects the Beetle, especially compared to some rivals. With first year depreciation as high as 40%, you’re better off opting for an inspected used equivalent.
The Volkswagen Beetle remains one of the most iconic cars on sale today. With unique styling, both inside and out, and a range of punchy engines, there’s enough character to please most buyers. Interior quality and the driving experience aren’t the best, but the real heart of the car impresses enough for most not to notice.
Buying a used Volkswagen Beetle online with Carspring
If you’re after a used Volkswagen Beetle for sale, it can all feel like a bit of an ordeal. What, with long days spent around gigantic car supermarkets, or time spent trawling through classified websites, looking for that ideal used Volkswagen Beetle. Carspring makes it simple. Buy your next used Beetle online with the touch of a button. Simply decide on the model you want and choose how you want to pay.
Looking to finance your used Volkswagen Beetle? Not a problem, we work with our carefully selected finance partners to ensure that, if you’re paying monthly for your used Beetle, you know you’re getting the best rates. What’s more, with any Carspring used Volkswagen, you also get our 14-day money-back guarantee and 6 months’ free Carspring Warranty. Plus, you don’t have to leave your home. We’ll deliver your used Volkswagen to you at a time and place of your choice.
*This is an approximate figure based on the range of the car’s list price and the AA’s average 1st year depreciation cost of 40%.
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