Final Farewell: 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition Test Drive


The Volkswagen Beetle is one of the most recognized cars on the planet, but come July, global production of this iconic hatchback is coming to an end. This is no surprise as VW has already announced its plans to phase out this car, and the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition offers one final tribute to the Beetle's 81-year history.

The original Beetle was built from 1938 through 2003, and the torch was later passed to successors like the (1998-2010) New Beetle and the current Beetle, which was introduced for the 2012 model. VW has no plans to replace the Beetle, but there's still a chance that the Beetle name could be revived for an electric vehicle similar to the I.D. Buggy Concept. For now, though, we say our final farewell to this beloved car with a week in the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition SE.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Exterior

While it will be sad to see the Beetle, it's amazing this retro-style compact even made it to a redesign in the first place. Most vehicles sporting a throwback design (Chevrolet HHR, Toyota FJ Cruiser, Ford Thunderbird, etc.) only survive for a single generation, but the third-generation Beetle was a huge improvement over the New Beetle and harnessed a similar spirit as the original car. The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition isn't a huge departure from the standard model, but it does swap out the rear "turbo" badge for "Beetle," and the color palette is limited to just five colors including two that are exclusive to the Final Edition: Stonewashed Blue (similar to the light blue used on denim-themed special editions from 1970 and 2016) and this tester's Safari Uni (a nod to the Harvest Moon Beige hue used on the New Beetle). This model looks good with the 17-inch, 15-spoke alloy wheels, but opting for the Final Edition SEL adds even more style to this Beetle with a more retro 18-inch wheel design that features a chrome, dog-dish style center and white accents.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Interior

As a contrast to the retro exterior design, the interior of the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle offers almost all of the amenities of any other modern Volkswagen. The Final Edition comes standard with Volkswagen's MIB II infotainment system, which features a 6.3-inch touch screen display with capacitive-touch controls (similar to smartphones and tablets. Unlike most other touch screen displays on the market allows for gesture controls such as swiping and even pinch-zooming. Car-Net App-Connect is also standard on the Final Edition models bringing Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Regardless of exterior color or trim level, all 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition models get a unique Safari Uni color dash pad as well as the “Beetle bin” adding a little extra storage to the cabin with this secondary glovebox. The flat-bottomed, leather-wrapped steering wheel gets the same Beetle logo as the exterior, while other Final Edition features include keyless access with push-button start, cloth seating surfaces with leatherette inserts, heated seats, three-color ambient lighting, dual-zone Climatronic climate controls, stainless steel pedal caps and metal scuff plates.

Unlike the boxier Golf off which the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle is based, the rounded lines of this car result in a smaller interior that is limited to just four passengers. That being said, the Beetle feels roomier and more passenger friendly than style-driven small cars like Fiat 500 and Mini Cooper. Rear space is best suited for kids, but there is enough legroom and headroom to fit adults back there in a pinch. With the rear seats up, the Beetle can hold 15.4 cubic feet, and folding the rear seat backs down (not completely flat) opens up 29.9 cubic feet. A standard compact will offer better passenger and cargo space, but the stylish Volkswagen Beetle is truly one of a kind.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Powertrain

Compared to the original Beetle's 995-cc (.995-liter) air-cooled flat-four engine rated at 25 horsepower, the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle is powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged and direct-injected four-cylinder. This engine was introduced for the 2018 model year as an upgrade to the previous 1.8-liter turbo engine, and it packs 174 horsepower and 184 lb-ft of torque. While this is just 4 extra horsepower over the previous engine, it does bring a 2 mpg improvement in city driving with official EPA-rated fuel economy estimates of 26 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway*. Unlike the previous Beetle R-Line, the 2019 Beetle is only available with a six-speed automatic transmission; sorry, no more manual gearbox!

Aside from the obvious styling changes, the Final Edition doesn't come with any added performance or handling upgrades. While that might seem like a bad thing, the Beetle is essentially a stylized version of the current VW Golf, so the ride quality is exactly what we've come to expect from VW's sporty compact hatchback with an enjoyable steering and suspension setup. The Beetle, like many other affordable compacts, isn't necessarily fast, but it sure is fun to drive.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Safety

The 2019 Volkswagen Beetle has not been fully tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, but the Coupe has received a four-star rating for frontal impact protection. For optimal safety, all Beetle trim levels come standard with Blind Spot Monitor, Rear Traffic Alert Automatic Post-Collision Braking System and Intelligent Crash Response System. The only safety feature not standard on the 2019 Beetle is Park Distance Control, which is standard on the Final Edition SEL and optional on the SE Premium Package.

2019 Volkswagen Beetle Overall

After 81 years (including 70 years in the United States), the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle Final Edition is a fitting sendoff for this fun-loving cultural icon of a car. Not only did this car define a generation, but it also helped bring back some peace, love and happiness to drivers in the last 21 years since its retro revival.

Saying farewell to the Beetle won't be a costly affair as this stylish compact has a base MSRP of just $20,895**. The Final Edition starts at $23,045** for this SE trim level, and there are no option packages available resulting in an as-tested price of $23,940. On top of that, the Beetle also comes with the added peace of mind of a six-year/72,000-mile basic warranty.

Make sure to visit your local AutoNation Volkswagen dealership and test drive the 2019 Volkswagen Beetle today!

* Based on 2019 EPA mileage ratings. Your mileage will vary depending on specific vehicle trim, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, driving conditions, and other factors.** MSRP excludes tax, license, registration, destination charge and options. Dealer prices may vary.
Categories: Test Drive Reviews
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