2017 Volkswagen Beetle is Safe, Fun, and Doesn’t Cost Much

2017 VW Beetle (Aaron)

The 2017 VW Beetle combines everyday driving pleasure with a versatile build and high safety marks. It’s both fun and cheap to buy, making it a good contender in the “retro coupe” market it competes within.

The manufacturer says

With seven stability-enhancing systems, an Intelligent Crash Response System (ICRS), and a safety cage made of high-strength steel, the Beetle allows you to be comfortable in your own shell, in its shell.

Specs:

  • Manufacturer: Volkswagen
  • Year, Model:2017 Beetle
  • Class, Type: Coupe
  • Propulsion system: 1.8L gas
  • Base Price: $19,995
  • MSRP as tested: $24,415
  • Availability: Now

Overview

The 2017 Beetle sees a couple of updates that are of note. First off, it’s got some tweaks to the front and rear fascias, making it a little more feminine in line with its largest customer market. Only the Dune model retains the more beefcake look given to the Beetle for this current generation to man it up a little. Second, the 2017 Beetle also sees some shuffling to simplify its trim levels for easier buying decisions. We welcome this because outside of the car’s special editions, the handful of package options seemed a bit confusing and excessive. As it is, the seven trim levels are still a bit lengthy for our taste.

The 2017 Volkswagen Beetle comes in three basic flavors: the 1.8-liter-powered standard and Dune editions, the Dune having a more robust body style and higher ground clearance, and the 2.0-liter turbocharged R-Line edition. That latter is made for the performance-oriented who might be shopping along the Beetle line.

Most buyers will probably find themselves in the middle-ground SE trim with the 1.8 turbocharged four-cylinder engine (aka 1.8T). This strikes a good middle ground between cost and packaging to give most buyers what they’ll likely want out of the little Beetle. The 1.8L delivers 170 horsepower and 184 foot pounds of torque through a six-speed automatic transmission in front-wheel drive.

The Beetle’s 1.8 is EPA-rated at 24 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. In the real world, we were right about there at 30 mpg overall in our week with the car. That’s respectable given the Beetle’s focus on things other than efficiency as its main goal.

One focus is driveability. The 2017 Beetle does require that the driver enjoy driving. The brake pedal is stiff, the throttle is quick to respond, and the car’s handling is relatively tight with a lot of road feedback to boot. Highway noise is relatively high compared to other compacts, but the Beetle is a genuine joy to drive when it’s all said and done.

As for versatility, there is a good amount of cargo space (more than would be expected), especially in the coupe model, and the Beetle can handle children in the back seat as regular passengers.

What we like

Fun car to drive.

Easily achievable fuel economy.

What we don't

Not a lot of interior storage for gadgets and gear.

Can be noisy on the highway.

Conclusions

There are a lot of good things that can be said about the 2017 Volkswagen Beetle. The style updates given will appeal to a broader audience of potential buyers and the nice mix of trim options will give a lot more options to those who do shop the car. Fuel economy is realistic and the car is really fun to drive both everyday and when fun is the point.

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