8 Best & Worst Volkswagen Beetle Years (With Facts & Stats)

The Volkswagen Beetle, also known as the “Bug”, is a subcompact car with roots that date back to 1945.

It holds the record for being the most-produced car in the world.

These cars have been a popular choice thanks to their quirky design, fun-to-drive manners and affordability.

In this article, we’ll examine the best and worst model years of the Beetle in the modern era…

Here’s The Short Answer To What The Best And Worst Years For The Volkswagen Beetle Are:

The best Volkswagen Beetle model years are 2019, 2018, 2017, and 2016. The worst model years of the Beetle are 2013, 2012, 2014, and 2015. This is based on auto industry reviews, NHTSA statistics, reported problems, and consumer feedback.

What Are The Best Years For The Volkswagen Beetle?

2019 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2019 model is the final model associated with the Beetle line.

It was received with much fanfare but due to steadily declining sales figures, the German automaker decided to discontinue the series.

It is known for its stylish interior design, powerful and economical engine, and high levels of practicality.

A total of 4 trim levels were introduced: S, SE, Final Edition SE, and Final Edition SEL.

The model’s drivetrain consists of a front-wheel-drive paired with a 2-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 174 horsepower.

Fuel economy is 29 miles per gallon for combined driving, 26 miles per gallon for city driving, and 33 miles per gallon for highway driving. 

It also has modern tech available too such as blind-spot monitoring and a touchscreen navigation system.

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 77 / 100

2019 Beetle, Edmunds review:

“It’s quick and fun to drive and the added accessories are totally awesome!”

2018 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2018 Beetle is the penultimate model of the long-running Bug line, it is also one of the most refined and most reliable.

For this model year, only one engine type was offered – a dependable turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine (which replaced the previously offered turbo 1.8-liter engine).

Trim levels were named S, Coast, SE, and Dune, with prices ranging from approximately $20,000 to $27,000.

Noteworthy safety features include Volkswagen’s patented Car-Net Security & Service, blindspot monitoring system, and automatic post-collision braking system. 

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2018 Beetle, Edmunds review:

“My new bottle green bug is eye-catching, everybody who sees it loves the color. I am a tall woman, 5’11” and have lots of leg room..The technology is great, easy for me to get used to..this is my second Beetle..my last one was a 2006 and had it for ten years…even though I have a beautiful Jaguar F Pace-S SUV, I just love this little car for tooting around town.”

2017 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2017 Beetle is the epitome of practicality, style, and vintage energy. It also scored an impressive 5-star safety rating from the NHTSA.

Other than slight styling updates to the front and rear bumpers, the only notable addition was the introduction of a limited edition #PinkBeetle variant, which is a midrange trim level among 7 total trims. 

Fuel economy is excellent. The Beetle can reach up to 33 miles per gallon for highway driving, 28 miles per gallon for combined driving, and 24 miles per gallon for city driving.

The drivetrain is a front-wheel-drive matched with a 6-speed shiftable automatic transmission system.

  • Edmunds: 4.4 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2017 Beetle, Edmunds review:

“For the price and condition this was a fantastic purchase. My first car forty- six years ago was a Beetle Bug and although the air-cooled engine is no longer, the reliability and technology are very much in the product. My wife and I have no regrets. We have a loaded SUV and she claimed the Bug as hers before we returned home from the purchase…”

2016 Volkswagen Beetle

If you are on a slightly tighter budget then the 2016 Beetle is a great choice that offers lots of practicality.

It has a stylish interior, a premium-looking exterior and engine options that both have a great mix of power and fuel efficiency. 

It also comes with an excellent touchscreen infotainment system as standard.

A total of 13 trim levels were introduced for this model year, ranging from roughly $20,000 all the way up to approximately $35,000.

NHTSA safety results were very promising, scoring perfect ratings in almost every category, and securing an overall score of 5 stars out of 5. 

  • Edmunds: 4.6 / 5.0
  • Kelley Blue Book: 4.3 / 5.0
  • JD Power: 80 / 100

2016 Beetle, Edmunds review:

“Every time I get in my Beetle, it puts a smile on my face! Tons of style in this Classic, along with acceleration and mileage. I love this car… first new car I have purchased in 19 years. The only poor feature in this car is the lack of the ability to recline the front seats – It is really a little annoying for long-distance travel with passengers.”

Consumer Scores For Best Volkswagen Beetle Years

Model YearEdmunds
Consumer Rating
Kelley Blue Book
Consumer Rating
JD Power
Consumer Rating
2019 Volkswagen Beetle4.6 / 5.04.3 / 5.077 / 100
2018 Volkswagen Beetle4.4 / 5.04.3 / 5.080 / 100
2017 Volkswagen Beetle4.4 / 5.04.3 / 5.080 / 100
2016 Volkswagen Beetle4.6 / 5.04.3 / 5.080 / 100

Related: Where Are Volkswagen Jettas Made? (Solved & Explained)

What Are The Worst Years For The Volkswagen Beetle?

2013 Volkswagen Beetle

In the modern era, the 2013 Beetle is statistically the most problematic and complained about model based on figures from CarComplaints.com and CarProblemZoo.com.

The most prevalent problem areas of this car include airbag issues, electrical system defects, equipment malfunctions, and engine-related problems. 

Like a lot of other makes and models that were produced in the early 2010s, the 2013 Beetle was a victim of the infamous Takata airbag recall.

Owners reported spontaneous airbag deployment, airbag warning indicator turning on intermittently, and non-deployment during accidents or collisions. 

The 2013 Beetle had a total of 15 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 107 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine failure
  • Timing chain failure
  • Air conditioning stopped working

2012 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2012 Beetle had a lot of problems, most of which were centered around visibility concerns, electrical system defects, and airbag-related issues.

The wipers were the biggest and most frequent gripe of numerous owners of this model.

According to reports online, the windshield was very susceptible to premature wear and tear, structural integrity damage, scratches, and cracks.

This issue was allegedly caused by poor-quality materials and misalignment of the glass panel, hence the sudden and random cracks and scratches. 

The 2012 Beetle had a total of 16 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 81 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Engine stopped working
  • Faulty window actuator
  • Engine stalls, shuts down while driving

2014 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2014 Beetle was affected by the infamous Takata airbag recall, whereby faulty and dangerous airbags had been installed – they were subsequently recalled.

Due to the huge number of cars involved, owners were faced with unreasonable waiting times and severe delays for repairs.

Owners also reported various issues with the ignition switch.

The problem meant that owners were at times unable to turn the ignition switch or on off and the key would not immediately release from the ignition switch.

The 2014 Beetle had a total of 8 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 59 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Brakes rusted
  • Water spilling inside from spoiler
  • Door fails to lock

2015 Volkswagen Beetle

The 2015 Beetle warranted a spot on this list due to recurring electrical issues.

These affected various tech features such as Bluetooth, the backup camera and the infotainment system.

Owners also reported issues with the ignition switch – they were unable to turn the engine off and the key would often get stuck in the ignition.

This meant some owners were forced to turn the car off by pulling the fuel pump fuse.

The 2015 Beetle had a total of 8 complaints at CarComplaints.com and 58 problems at CarProblemZoo.com.

Common problems:

  • Airbag light is on
  • Poor gas mileage
  • Backup camera is too dark

What Years Have The Most Complaints?

Model YearComplaints
2019 Volkswagen Beetle011
2018 Volkswagen Beetle010
2017 Volkswagen Beetle16
2016 Volkswagen Beetle021
2015 Volkswagen Beetle858
2014 Volkswagen Beetle859
2013 Volkswagen Beetle15107
2012 Volkswagen Beetle1681

What Problems Do Volkswagen Beetle Have?

  • Transmission slips 
  • Car goes into limp mode
  • Battery died
  • Shorted out computer modules
  • Transmission lurches
  • Headliner is falling down
  • Melting sticky dashboard
  • Ignition switch problems
  • Airbag light on
  • Loss of power
  • Overheats

What Are The Best Alternatives To The Volkswagen Beetle?

Make & ModelScoreMSRPFuel Economy (MPG)
Honda Fit8.6$13,034 – $21,761City: 29 – 33 /Highway: 36 – 40
Chevrolet Sonic8.4$14,640 – $18,608City: 26 – 27 /Highway: 34 – 38
Mini Cooper8.4$19,559 – $30,073City: 22 – 28 /Highway: 31 – 38
Hyundai Accent8.3$15,580 – $18,491City: 28 /Highway: 37 – 38
Kia Rio8.1$15,806 – $17,449City: 28 /Highway: 37
Toyota Yaris8.1$16,948 – $19,009City: 30 – 32 / Highway: 39 – 40
Ford Fiesta7.9$15,319 – $20,827City: 25 – 27 /Highway: 32 – 37
Chevrolet Spark7.6$13,821 – $16,676City: 29 – 30 /Highway: 37 – 38
Mini Cooper Clubman7.6$21,370 – $29,606City: 21 – 24 /Highway: 30 – 33
Volkswagen Beetle7.5$22,276 – $29,455City: 26 /Highway: 33
Nissan Versa6.9$14,244 – $17,039City: 27 – 31 /Highway: 36 – 39
Fiat 5005.9$16,897 – $21,395City: 24 – 28 /Highway: 32 – 33

Source: cars.usnews.com, edmunds.com









  • Ian Sawyer

    Growing up with a father who was a mechanic I had an appreciation for cars and motorcycles from an early age. I shared my first bike with my brother that had little more than a 40cc engine but it opened up a world of excitement for me, I was hooked. As I grew older I progressed onto bigger bikes and...