The return of the VW Beetle in the late 1990s was a big event, bringing back nostalgic memories from the 1960s. The beetle continued for another generation, updating in 2012, as a more usable version of the car. The 2019 Beetle is now the car’s final year of production and Volkswagen has introduced some Final Edition models as a farewell.

Quick Specs & Info

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Class: Compact 2dr hatch
Base Model As Tested: Final Edition SE
Powertrain 2.0L t4cyl, 6spd auto Powertrain 2.0L t4cyl, 6spd auto
Base MSRP $20,895 MSRP as tested $23,045

Overview

After a couple of decades of post-war production, becoming an icon of the fast-moving 1950s and the high flying ‘60s, the original Bug is now a very collectible classic. Just before the turn of the 21st century, Volkswagen revitalized the Bug as the New Beetle and this new rendition lasted through two decades with moderate sales success throughout. Now this new icon of Generation Y is leaving as well, perhaps also destined to become a collectible in years to come. Time will tell.

The current-generation Beetle, introduced in 2012, features a more usable body design, better interior, and great drive dynamics. At once nostalgic and sporty, the 2019 Beetle is a great car for those looking for the style throwback it offers. There are downsides to a car like this, of course, but most are not dealbreakers for those interested in buying one.

This is the last chance any of us will have to get a current-generation Beetle and if Volkswagen is serious about the cancellation, it may be the last time ever. The Final Edition models added for this year are nice value packages with a goodbye ring to them.

Trim Packages

  • S – The base model trim offers 16-inch alloy wheels, heated mirrors, a rearview camera, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, height-adjustable front seating, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth, a 5-inch touchscreen interface, a USB port, and an eight-speaker sound system.
  • SE – Upgrading from the S, the SE adds 17-inch wheels, automatic headlamps, a sunroof, automatic windshield wipers, keyless ignition/entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, simulated leather upholstery, dual-zone climate, heated front seating, a 6.3-inch touchscreen, upgraded radio (with optional Fender and navigation additions), and several tech features like Android Auto/Apple CarpLay and VW Car-Net App-Connect and emergency service.
  • Final Edition – The Final Edition models are available in both the SE and an added SEL trim level. The SE adds unique 17-inch wheels, special cloth upholstery with leather inserts, more Beetle badges on and in the car, and stainless steel sport pedals. The SEL adds all of the SE package updates plus 18-inch wheels, Fender audio and navigation, heated sport seating, leather upholstery, bi-xenon headlamps, and a few other details.

Exterior and Interior Design

On the exterior, the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle has a good look that matches the nostalgia buyers have wanted from a car like this. The Beetle’s Final Edition adds more badges to accentuate the Beetle’s heritage and tie-in with the Bug of old.

On the inside, the Beetle is a very livable car despite its size, with seating for four and plenty of room for most people to fit (especially in the front seats). Instruments and design are well done for the car and ergonomic to use. The Final Edition adds a lot of extra to the look of the interior while providing some package updates that help make the car more modern.

Driving the 2019 VW Beetle

The VW Beetle is a surprisingly drivable car with good handling and more umph from the 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbo engine than might be expected. The six-speed automatic transmission (the only option available) pushes the front wheels nicely and the Beetle feels peppy most of the time.

There are a few things missing from the 2019 Beetle that competitors often have as standard now, such as adaptive cruise control and forward collision warning. The cost of updating the aging Beetle in this generation and the continually sliding sales for the vehicle were what doomed it to this last model year.

Yet even with the missing goodies, the 2019 VW Beetle is a great car and worth getting if grabbing a last hint of nostalgia is your thing.

Competition

There are some key competitors in the nostalgic and compact realms for the 2019 Beetle. Notably, the Volkswagen Golf GTI and the MINI Cooper. Both of those vehicles are newer in terms of design and technology when compared. The Golf is much more expensive in the GTI package, but also far sportier in return. The MINI has a great look that competes directly with the Beetle for attention and is priced similarly to the VW for that.

Strong Points

  • Nice interior feel and good comfort.
  • Strong drive qualities in both peppy appeal and everyday comfort.
  • Surprisingly practical for its shape and size.

Weaknesses

  • Expensive for the return, but if the look is what you’re after, that’s not an issue.
  • Practicality does suffer for design when compared to standard hatchbacks and small crossovers.
  • Infotainment is dated and screens are small.

Conclusions

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle in its Final Edition packaging hits a nice spot of amenities and cost that brings value to the aging car. The Beetle has had a good run (or two) and definitely shines in many peoples’ eyes. There’s a lot to love about this nostalgic car and it could well become a classic in a few years.

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An automotive enthusiast for most of his adult life, Aaron has worked in and around the industry in many ways. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press (RMAP), the Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA), the Texas Auto Writers Association (TAWA), and freelances as a writer and journalist around the Web and in print. You can find his portfolio at AaronOnAutos.com.

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