The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most iconic cars of all time which means that it is rather difficult to state that it is not a good car. The VW Beetle is actually one of the best, if not the very best sold single model of all time because VW managed to sell more than 21 million units all across the world.
Modern-day VW Beetle models tend to sport either 4-cylinder engines in many different iterations. The very first VW Beetle only offers 25hp, while the Beetle RSI offers almost 10 times as much. The Beetle is commonly known to be a FWD car manual car, but the latest DSG dual-clutch has also found its way into newer Beetle models.
Design-wise, the VW Beetle is unmistakable. Everyone around the world knows how a VW Beetle looks so it’s only a question if you like it or not. The interior of the Beetle is a bit more ordinary and in line with many other VW models.
Reliability-wise, the VW Beetle is nothing special, but the newer models are indeed more dependable. The VW can be had for only a few thousand dollars while the practicality of the Beetle is not the very best because the iconic design is more important than maximizing space.
VW Beetle – The powertrain
As previously mentioned, the VW Beetle engine lineup consists of predominantly 4-cylinder in-line engines. Initial VW Beetle engines were small 704cc and 984cc air-cooled engines, but all modern-day Beetle models use 4-cylinder engines while some also use 6-cylinder engines.
All Beetle models in the last 20 years or so rely on either 1.4, 1.6, or 1.8L 4-cylinder engines with power outputs ranging from 75hp to 150hp for the turbo models. Probably the most iconic Beetle engine is the 2.0L inline 4-cylinder that typically offers between 115hp and 220hp for the latest models.
The most powerful serial production beetle is the VW Beetle RSI thanks to a 224hp V6. There were also many special versions of the VW Beetle over the years such as the V5 model for example. The Beetle is a FWD car that typically comes with a manual gearbox while some newer models are also available with a DSG automatic.
You can expect newer Beetle models to return up to 50MPG if you want to maximize fuel efficiency.
VW Beetle – Design and chassis
The VW Beetle is one of the most iconic cars of all time which means that its design is rather unquestionable. Ever since the Beetle was first released back in 1930, it has kept the bulbous design that made the Beetle stand out and become a car without true competition. You either like or don’t like the design of the Beetle.
The interior of the Beetle is a bit more ordinary which means that it shares many of its parts with the rest of the VAG family. Some Beetle models like the rare 1950s Zwitter models are likely the best-looking ones thanks to a Bugatti Atlantic-inspired split rear window design.
The chassis and suspension tuning of earlier VW Beetle models was tuned towards not falling apart but the newer VW Beetle models do somewhat drive as regular Golf models do.
VW Beetle – Reliability and common issues
The VW Beetle is a relatively reliable car which means that it can stand the test of time if they are being maintained correctly. The most common VW Beetle issues are related to the timing chain system, all sorts of leaks, MAF sensor issues, equipment issues, and the engine cooling system.
Either way, maintaining a VW Beetle is more or less the same as maintaining a VW Jetta or a VW Golf which means that it is easy and cheap.
VW Beetle – Value and practicality
You can get a decent VW Beetle model for only a few thousand dollars while the most collectible modes go for over 100,000 dollars easily. Some of these are certified classics while others are not. This is because the Beetle has been sold in almost every country in the world with sales numbers exceeding 21 million units.
The Beetle is also a practical car to some extent because it does come with 4 seats. However, the seating space is nothing to brag about while the cargo space is also mediocre. Convertible models are even worse in almost all regards.
Should I buy a VW Beetle?
If you are interested in owning a piece of automotive history, buying a classic VW Beetle is a perfect way to do it. These are actually the best VW Beetle models to buy because they hold their value well and are extremely easy to work on. Modern-day VW Beetle models simply aren’t as good as the VW Golf, and the Jetta.
All in all, if you love the history, design, and feel, a VW Beetle is indeed a welcome addition to any garage. These are also known for an extremely colorful aftermarket tuning scene which means that you can do wonders with a VW Beetle.
Why is the VW Beetle so popular?
The VW Beetle is the prime model of the most famous automakers in history. The Beetle was part of many movies all across the globe which means that the Beetle often stars in cartoons, children’s movies, and even Hollywood movies.
The Beetle was also in production for almost 8 decades which meant that it was rather impossible to not see a Beetle anywhere you go. There are many reasons why the Beetle is as popular as it is, but the reality is that the way the car looks is certainly one of the most prominent ones.
Is the VW Beetle safe?
Some may be concerned that the VW Beetle does not look particularly safe at first glance. However, the newer models tend to enjoy a stellar 5-star safety rating in most areas. The Beetle does not come with all the state-of-the-art software safety systems, but you can equip most of them through optional packages.
Convertible models are a tad bit less safe, but not enough to make a massive difference in the real world.