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2018 VW Beetle is a classic vehicle with modern twists Featured

Aug 29, 2018 Hit: 27 Written by 
The 2018 VW Beetle maintains its unique, classic character while adding some modern tech features.
The 2018 VW Beetle maintains its unique, classic character while adding some modern tech features. Photo by Matt Myftiu/AutoTechReviews.com

The Beetle is a resilient little bug … and yes, I'm talking about the 2-door hatchback car legend first introduced in the U.S. in 1949.

Still around almost seven decades after its introduction, the Beetle remains a unique vehicle that's so well-known it's even got its own road game that involves punching your siblings.

I recently tested a 2018 VW Beetle, and I'm back with a full report on how the latest version of this iconic ride fits into today's automotive world.

LOOKS

While there are some adjustments to the look, including a lower roof profile, in the end the 2018 Beetle is what a Beetle has always been -- a small, two-door vehicle that is shaped, well, like a Beetle.

There are technically a couple competitors in the segment (MINI Cooper and Fiat 500), but no one is ever going to confuse those little rides for the Beetle. No other car looks like this, and it’s a very stylish design from the headlights and taillights, to the interior wood design and the sunroof. The exterior design overall was very snazzy, right down to the red trim on the rims to match the paint job.

While visually attractive, the design of the Beetle does lend to poor visibility out of the rear.

Perhaps the biggest flaw in the Beetle is that the back seat of the 2018 Beetle is basically nonexistent. It’s there, but no adult wants to sit there. Consider it a storage area unless kids are going in the rear.


The Beetle comes in four trim levels: S, SE, Coast and Dune: Cloth seats come standard on S models, SE comes with leatherette seating. Coast features two-tone beige and black cloth seats, and the Dune features sport cloth seats with leatherette accents.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2018 Volkswagen Beetle Coast
  • Price as tested:: $23,970 (starts at $19,995)
  • Best feature:: Iconic style with modern updates, peppy ride
  • Rating:: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Buyers looking for something small that will make an impression

Storage space is limited. Overall, interior volume is 85 cubic feet, with 15.4 cubic feet of trunk space. That number grows to 29.9 cubic feet of trunk space with rear seats folded down.

The Coast model I tested came with 17-inch alloy wheels and all season tires. It featured heated foldable power adjustable side mirrors with integrated turn signals, rain-sensing front wipers, a rear spoiler, and a power tilting and sliding sunroof is standard on all versions except base model.

Heated front seats are standard on all Beetles above the S trim level. Dual-zone auto climate control is included on SE and Dune models, and cruise control is standard on all Beetles.

The coolest part about the look of the Coast package was that it includes a unique seaside theme, including: A surfboard wood look to the dashpad, in addition to the two-tone cloth seating surfaces, plus all-weather floor mats.

It’s definitely ready-made to be taken to the beach, especially if you go the convertible route (Beetle comes in both coupe and convertible options).

HOW’S THE RIDE?

The Beetle features a 2.0-liter, turbocharged, direct injection four-cylinder engine. Numbers are 174 horsepower and 184 lb.-ft. of torque. This is more power than previous editions, which featured a 1.8-liter engine.

Both automatic and manual transmissions are offered, depending on  your shifting preference. The Beetle is a front-wheel drive vehicle.

Overall, my experience in the Beetle was that it’s a very fun ride … it gets up and goes when you need it too. It’s also great in the turns due to its smaller size and four-wheel independent suspension.

The cabin was not as quiet as I would have liked though, with wind noise being somewhat prevalent.


TECHNOLOGY, SAFETY

The Beetle is not bad in the tech realm for being such a small car.

In addition to its set of airbags, you get three-point safety belts, anti-lock brakes,

electronic stability control, tire pressure monitoring,and the vehicle has strong overall government safety test ratings.

In the lighting realm, there is an optional lighting package on the Beetle Coast which features Bi-Xenon headlights, LED DRLs, LED tail lights, LED license plate lights and fog lights.

Also offered on the Beetle is Blind Spot Monitor with Rear Traffic Alert (a new addition; standard on SE and Coast only), keyless access and push-button start.

If a vehicle is on other lane, a flashing LED in the side mirror will indicate that the lane is filled.

Standard safety features on the Beetle include an automatic post-collision braking system; and and Intelligent Crash Response System that shuts off fuel pump, unlocks doors and switches on hazard lights if the vehicle is involved in certain types of collisions.

The Rear Traffic Alert system detects items up to 65 feet away. Visual and audio warnings are sent to the driver if something is in path. And the vehicle will help stop itself if you don’t take action.

The infotainment system in the Beetle was simplistic, but functioned well.

The Beetle Coast features a 6.3 inch touchscreen, plus AM/FM/HD radio/CD/USB ports/AUX port and voice controls. The base S model has a 5-inch screen, as well as one USB port, AUX port and rearview camera and Bluetooth. You can upgrade to the 6.3-inch screen on S model, and it is standard on all other trim levels.

MPG
Official fuel mileage numbers on the 2018 Beetle Coast I tested are 26 city/33 highway/29 combined (for S, SE and Coast models). I averaged about 26 during my time driving the vehicle. This is best-in-class in a class with few members: The only other vehicles that really look and feel anything like the Beetle are the Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper.

 

PRICE
The Beetle Coast I tested cost just under $24,000; and the base price starts about $20K … which is very affordable. Trim levels are S, Coast, SE and Dune. A decked out Dune can top $30K on the high end of the Beetle spectrum.

Beetle also comes in both convertible and coupe options; and I can see the convertible option being very popular in warmer climates.

And they come with great warranties, including 72K miles or 6 years, including powertrain; plus 36K or 3 years or roadside assistance; and 100K miles or 7 years for corrosion.

BOTTOM LINE

Obviously not meant for those who need to transport a lot of people or stuff, but for mostly solo travelers, or those who carry only one passenger, the Beetle is an impressive and stylish small car option to consider. It’s a classic which has adapted technology of the modern era very well without losing its original flair.

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AutoTechReviews.com can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page.

Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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