There are only a few cars on the road that more iconic than the Volkswagen Beetle. But the latest generation who debuted in 2012 has never been a big seller like the original and the New Beetle. It’s a shame since the 2018 Volkswagen Beetle is an appealing two-door small car that offers a mix of performance, style, comfort and features.
For 2018, the Beetle has been simplified. There are fewer trim levels with the performance-oriented R-Line has removed. But the new special-edition Coast trim features a special beach-themed styling has enters the lineup. There is also a new standard engine for every Beetle, a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder replacing the old 1.8-liter. And although both produce the same output, the new 2.0-liter adds an extra 3 mpg in a combined city/highway driving.
Some old drawbacks still exist, such as more expensive prices than most competing hatchbacks and less cargo space. But if you are looking for a compact car with several characters, the 2018 Volkswagen Beetle is worth a try.
For 2018, there only is one engine available: a new and more fuel-efficient turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The R-Line 2.0T trim level has been discontinued. There are other changes to trim levels and option packages. Finally, the Beetle gets a new six-year warranty.
Trim levels and features
The 2018 Volkswagen Beetle is a two-door hatchback or convertible with seats for four people. Its available in four trim levels: S, Coast, SE and Dune.
Standard equipment for the base S trim includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED running lights, a rearview camera, heated mirrors, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, cloth upholstery, height-adjustable front seats, Bluetooth, the Composition Color 5-inch touchscreen interface, an eight-speaker sound system with one USB port, a CD player, a media player interface and an auxiliary audio jack.
The S optional Style & Comfort package adds keyless ignition and entry, 17-inch wheels, extra body-colored exterior trim, automatic headlights, automatic wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, heated front seats, leatherette upholstery, the Composition Media 6.3-inch touchscreen, HD and satellite radio, VW Car-Net App-Connect with various smartphone-integration apps including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The new special-edition Coast trim includes all above features along with blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, a sunroof, special design elements such as a unique Deep Sea Teal paint option, special floor mats, a surfboard-look dash pad and houndstooth cloth upholstery. The Coast Light package adds bi-xenon headlights and LED taillights.
The SE includes the Coast extra features except for the special design elements. It also gets a dual-zone automatic climate control and VW Car-Net Security & Service emergency communications. The SE Premium package adds 18-inch wheels, bi-xenon headlights, LED taillights, front and rear parking sensors, the Discover Media 6.3-inch touchscreen that adds a navigation system to the Composition Media system and a Fender audio system.
The 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Dune gets the SE Premium features except for the Discover Media touchscreen plus extra ground clearance, special exterior design elements, a wider track, 18-inch wheels, front sport seats, and faux leather and cloth upholstery. Oddly, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert systems, and VW Car-Net Security and Service are not available on the Dune.
The 2018 Volkswagen Beetle is powered by a new turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 174 horsepower and 184 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is the only gearbox available and sent that power to the front wheel. EPA estimated fuel economy stands at 29 mpg combined (26 city/34 highway) for both hatchback and convertible body style.
Despite having a soft spring rate, the Beetle surprisingly little body roll in modest cornering, while the slightly heavier convertible and taller ride height Dune models don’t affect their overall driving quality. The turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine provides decent acceleration and excellent fuel economy.
In performance testing, the 2018 Volkswagen Beetle accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, which is quick for its class.
As one of the best retro design cars, the Beetle iconic metalsheet wrapped around its unique interior which also does its best to reflect the original. The front seat passenger will find plenty of legroom with a wide-bottom seat cushion that comfortable for long trips. The cargo capacity is 15.4 cubic feet and increases to 22.9 cubic feet with the rear seat folded, which is below average for the class.
On the other hand, the 2018 Volkswagen Beetle’s interior not only shows its age but is also the most disappointing. In the midst of all nostalgia is a vast expanse of thin-feeling, sub-standard black plastic trim. The complicated things are the back seat, with 31.4 inches of legroom, adults passenger will find it tight and probably only suitable for children, at least for long trips.
Release Date and Price
The official price for the base Beetle S coupe starting at $21,070 (include $850 destination charge) and $26,290 for the Convertible. The Coast coupe takes $23,970 and $27,690 for the droptop. The SE coupe costs $24,870 and the convertible need $28,890. The Dune Coupe has a price tag of $27,640 and $32,940 for the convertible.