The VW Beetle is perhaps one of the most iconic cars the world has ever seen. Since the first Volkswagen Beetle rolled off German assembly lines in the 1930s, it has continued to live up to its title as “The People’s Car.” Germany stopped producing the Beetle in the 1970s before reviving the iconic model in 1998. The original goal of the VW Beetle was to provide an affordable, reliable car for everyday people. Ferdinand Porsche, who designed the first VW Beetle probably had no idea that his design would still be turning heads nearly 90 years later, but the VW Beetle remains one of the most recognizable cars on the road today.

Price and Value

Thanks to the numerous trim options associated with the VW Beetle, the prices vary by a pretty large margin. If you’re in the market for a used vehicle, you can find VW Beetles up through 2019 that cost anywhere between $10,000 and $37,000. As is always the case with pre-owned vehicles, the lower priced options are those that are a few years older with more mileage on them. Fortunately, thanks to the reliability of the VW Beetle, making the decision to get an older model with more miles doesn’t leave you with a less reliable vehicle.

The less-expensive base models are those that may not have all the bells and whistles and have been around the block a time or two while the higher end options that cost closer to $37,000 are just a couple years old and have more options. The one thing that remains constant between all the years and options is the fact that VW Beetles are just as reliable and dependable as they’ve always been.

Size and Seating Capacity

When you take a look at the outside of a VW Beetle, you may get the impression that there’s barely room for two people, let alone the four passengers that Volkswagen says the Beetle can carry. However, the saying that “big things come in small packages” is proven true when you take a look inside a VW Beetle.

With 85.1 cubic feet of total passenger space, the Beetle is much roomier than you may assume it is at a glance. As is the case with most four-passenger vehicles, there is more room in the front than in the back. The driver and their front-seat passenger will enjoy 41.3 inches of leg room while the passengers sitting in the back still have a comfortable 31.4 inches of leg room. The dome-shape of the Beetle ensures that all the passengers have plenty of head space. Second-row head room comes in at 37.1 inches while front-row headspace measures at 39.4 inches.

While the cargo storage may not be staggering, it’s still probably more than you’re anticipating when you look at the Beetle. If you lay the back seats down, you can enjoy 29.9 cubic feet of cargo space. That number only drops to 15.4 cubic feet if you leave the back seats up. Even if the Beetle looks small on the outside, there is plenty of room for passengers inside.

Volkswagen Beetle: The iconic "People's Car"
Battery, Range and Engine Specs

The Beetle also manages to provide plenty of punch in a small package. While the engine size may vary slightly between 2013 and 2019 models, all of them still have more than enough power for you to get where you’re going and maybe even enjoy a little bit of speed on the way. Engine size has varied some over the years with VW Beetles. For instance, the 2019 Beetle has a 2.0 liter engine while the 2016 model allows you to choose between a 1.8-liter and a 2.0-liter engine. Be sure to check the specs on you’re the Beetle that you’re considering, and make sure you’re getting one that has the engine size that you’re looking for.

You already know that the purpose of the VW Beetle was to provide an affordable car for the average person. Part of that affordability includes gas mileage. In a time where most people are looking for ways to save at the pump, the VW Beetle certainly provides a budget-friendly option at the pump. With 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway, the 29 mpg combined makes the VW Beetle one of the more fuel-friendly vehicles that you can choose.

Trims and Features

Volkswagen has been looking for a way to put various trims and features on the market in the same year for a while now, and the 2019 Beetle is a great example of that. In 2019, Volkswagen put four different trims on the market, each of which come with their own set of features. For instance, the base model has a cloth interior, the SE has leatherette interiors and the two highest trim options boast leather seats with a diamond-stitched design.

Volkswagen also made sure that there is plenty of technology and entertainment options in every level of the 2019 Beetle. The base model (Beetle S) comes with a 5-inch touchscreen reader, CD player and an SD memory card reader. While that certainly sounds like plenty, the options only go up from there. The most high-end model (Beetle SEL) has a larger touch screen at 6.5 inches and an MP3/WMA/FLAC-compatible CD player.

Volkswagen Beetle: The iconic "People's Car"
Safety

Volkswagen implemented side air bags in the Beetle beginning in 2013, which had an immediate positive impact on the vehicle’s safety ratings. In fact, everything from the sides of the Beetle to the roof strength graded out as “good” according to IIHS, which is the best rating they give to vehicles.

Overall, the VW Beetle comes standard with most of the safety features that are on the market today. Antilock brakes and stability control allow you to remain in control even if you have to slam on your brakes. The Beetle also includes seatbelt pretensioners that ensure that everyone is in the safest possible position in the event of a collision. The most recent safety features include blind-spot monitoring and a backup camera.

Reliability

JD Power rates every vehicle on the market on a number of factors, including reliability. They rely on the opinions of hundreds of thousands of verified car owners, which makes their final rating of the 2019 Beetle even more impressive. The Beetle scored an 81 in reliability according to JD Power, which the company considers great.

The Takeaway

Roughly 80 years ago, Volkswagen produced the Beetle to be reliable, safe and affordable. While some aspects of the vehicle’s look may have changed some over the years, those three principles are still very present in the Beetles on the road today. Not only have they kept those three elements at the root of the Beetle, but Volkswagen has also stayed true to the original design that made the VW Beetle one of the most easily identified cars on the highway.